86. Going back to church

I haven’t been one to attend church on a regular basis. I can probably count on just my two hands how many times I have stepped foot into a church. But one thing that is true is that I have always found myself in a church when things in my life have been difficult.

When I went to basic training and I missed my friends and family, I went to church each weekend and it helped tremendously. When my mother passed away, I found myself back in church during the time I was home on Leave and also for several weeks after returning to my military base. Growing up, I went to church a few times with my mom. A few days ago, after struggling to get over my fitness test failure, I visited the Chaplain and spent about an hour with him, and again I was extremely relieved after the visit and felt a ton better.

But for some reason I have never been able to maintain the self-discipline needed to keep going every single week, or even just regularly. I can’t blame it on anything except pure laziness, and that’s my fault entirely.

I plan to visit a Methodist church here in Valdosta either starting tomorrow or next weekend. I can’t remember clearly, but I believe my mother attended Methodist services. I may be mistaken, but I’m going to give it a try anyway as a starting point to figure out where I best belong.

I’ve also been watching Dr. Greg’s YouNow broadcasts on a nightly basis for about the last two weeks. Dr. Greg is an ordained UMC minister in Texas and spends his broadcasts answering questions people have about religion, church, metaphysics, and other topics. Rather than preaching, he simply engages in conversation with his audience and he has answered many of my own questions which I am deeply thankful for.

My hope is that enough time has passed and that I have matured enough to where I can maintain the discipline needed to make it to church regularly. Can I make any promises? No. But if I can at least start going more often, I’ll be happy and I can continue to build from there.

85. Country Music

Today has been pretty quiet. I had Texas Roadhouse for lunch and then went out for a nice long walk of about 2.25 miles. It’s been a beautiful day and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Right now I’m just doing some laundry and hanging out. I have a Yankee Candle ‘Luau Party’ candle burning and my apartment smells amazing at the moment.

Later tonight I’ll have the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on in the background while I listen to some music. Every Saturday evening from 7pm until Midnight, Q106.5 in Maine broadcasts a show online called “The Original Country Gold” which features older Country songs from the 1970s through the Mid-1990s. To me, the golden age of Country was the period between about 1989 and 1995, not surprisingly when I was most exposed to it. Hearing those songs that were once new on the radio brings back memories of my Mom who passed several years ago. Many of the songs I listened to with her growing up. At the time, there used to be a festival in my town called the “Fairfield Community Fest.” Each year at this celebration, a local Country music cover band  called “A Touch of Country” played all of the songs I still remember and reminisce about to this day. The town took a hiatus from the festival for several years and recently brought it back, but I have not experienced it since being out-of-state. Still, it would be hard to recreate the magic that it once had.

84. Shut up and listen

Sometimes when someone tries to tell you something for your own good, it’s best to shut up and listen to what they have to say and then take their words to heart and use them. Today I let my emotions get the better of me and I feel like the people I was talking with didn’t get the respect from me that they deserved. They each had extremely good points, but because I was upset and “in the heat of the moment” trying to state my case, I just wouldn’t have any of it, and I should have simply shut up and listened to them.

And for good reason. This week I failed my fitness test. Granted, it was partially my fault and partially not. I spent the better part of the last two months training my guts out for the 1.5 mile run portion of my test, and surprise, they made us run on the track instead. I intentionally tried to avoid running on the track because I do much better on the road instead – it’s better suited to me and my abilities. The track is simply too soft and it’s difficult to train my calves to run on it without injuring myself, as I have done in the past trying to do.

As stated in an earlier post, I recently came off some restrictions which didn’t allow me to do any running between April and July. It’s harder than you think to recover from that, especially as you get older. I’m not 18 anymore. It’s not impossible, it just takes longer for some people to recondition themselves.

That said, I am conflicted about what I should believe right now, because there is no excuse for not being prepared to run on all surfaces even though there are legitimate excuses about why I could not as of today. It’s my job as a leader and as a role model. And looking back at today’s conversation, that’s what they were trying to tell me – that it doesn’t matter what my opinions are or how I feel – it just is what it is and I need to find a way to get better at what the military wants/needs me to do. Basically, 42 days to recondition yourself to running long-distance is just not adequate time. Given another two weeks, I would have been fine.

That’s what I aim to do nonetheless, and that’s what I’m going to do for my next test in December. I only need to make up 15 seconds – everything else I passed with flying colors. I just hope I don’t become injured again, because I am finally at a point where I am injury-free – and that’s not a place I’ve been in quite some time. It feels good to be injury-free.

As a quick remedy to this situation, I went to the store this evening and picked up a book called “Galloway’s 5K/10K Running.” While the goal is the 1.5 mile run at this time, I feel I can still get some good tips from this book. Ultimately, I want to be able to compete at the 5K distance again, but that will take some effort in order to convince some others that I am worthy.

And they are right. Right now I am not worthy. I need to earn that trust back.

I will do that.

83. Upcoming fitness test

This evening was my final run before I take my semi-annual fitness test on Thursday morning. I don’t know if I have talked about this much before, but I have a recurring shoulder/rotator cuff injury (dating back to 2003) that I was on some restrictions for earlier this year until July. Once the restrictions were lifted, I was cleared to start running and doing my normal workout routines again, but after taking 3-4 months off for physical therapy and rehab for the injury, it was a little hard trying to build my way back up to the minimum standards I have to meet. Luckily for me, this year I turned 30 and that puts my into a new age group in which I will be scored for my test.

In previous years, my 1.5 mile run time had to be 13:36 or less, my 1-minute push-up requirement was 33, and my 1-minute sit-up requirement was 42. In my new age group, the requirements are 14:00 or less for the run, 27 push-ups, and 39 sit-ups. So, a slight dip in the requirements, but not drastic.

I am pretty confident that I’ve been able to rebound from the injury (again) and I should be alright come test time in two days. My run last night and my run tonight felt great. I’ve been waiting until about 8pm to do them lately, so the temps have been cooler and the humidity has cleared away somewhat by that time. Plus, I wanted to try to mimic the temperature conditions on test morning, so it made sense to wait for cooler weather.

82. A quick check-in

I don’t really have much to say this evening except that it’s going to be a busy week for me. I have quite a lot of homework to finish including a major paper to write by Sunday. I also have my fitness test on Thursday morning and some meetings later on this week.

I ended up selling eight of the textbooks I had on eBay, so about half of them – which isn’t all that bad. Not sure what I’ll do with the rest. Maybe I’ll just throw them away, I can’t imagine most of them are still the current editions being used in classrooms. Who knows.

I didn’t want to go too long without making a post, so my apologies for this short and non-exciting one.