Side stiches. Remember those?
I was on the treadmill today and clipping along at a good pace and after a mile, it hit me. I hadn't felt one of those side aches/side stiches since high school. In college and afterward the pace you train at is pretty high and above the side stiches. You know those, they hit you when you're running or working out and the pain gets your attention.
Side stiches get your attention very well. They force you to make a decision. Do I keep going or do I back off? They make you think. They help you realize the cost involved in continuing at your present pace. Do you slow down and hope the pain goes away or do you push on and know the pain will eventually subside? There are aching pains = you'll get better, sharp stinging pains = oooops you broke something, and the side stiches. It's always important to know the difference.
My side stich got my attention. I was doing my usual 7:30/mile pace when it hit. I know that the treadmill makes you go faster, however I go slower on this device than when I run on the roads. I have also been struggling with a lot. Having spent the past 9 months heavily focusing on lifting I have added about 15-20 pounds including body fat. I have been running my lowest miles/week since grade school in the past year. I have slacked in my running and racing and have gotten heavier. I have also been battling a lunch infection since November. I have spent the last 2 months gasping for air for a mile and then walking for 20 minutes. I guess it must have been awkward today for the people around me hearing me slap on the treadmill, coughing, and wheezing. That's the advantage of an mp3 player--I'm not embarassed.
So I had every reason to slow down and I could think of every reason to back off. Even though it had been years since I had a side stich it was a welcome friend. So I remembered the old days. Maybe it was my prescription prednisone that was giving me energy but I did what you do with side stiches. Pushed on. And soon I was up to 7:00/mile pace and clipping along until both sides hurt. That was time to stop at 3 miles.
Why such a long boring post?
What are your spiritual side stiches? Some spiritual pain tells us we are overextending and we are about to damage what God has given us. Some spiritual pain calls us to a choice. Some slow down, others push through.
My spiritual side stiches tell me I have to make a choice, slow down and train at a mediocre spiritual pace or push through and grow to another spiritual level. The Spirit pushed Peter in Acts 10 out of his comfort zones. He was staying in a tanner's house (a guy who used urine to tan skins--ultimate unclean Jew) and he tells God he has never eaten anything unclean. He reminds Cornelius that he is not supposed to eat with Gentiles (forgetting that he was eating and sleeping in a tanner's home). He gives a passionless sermon. God has to intervene for these people to be saved. Peter constantly struggled to reach Gentiles--people outside of his comfort zone. He drug his feet but he must have pushed past the side stich.
What are your side stiches?