Thursday, December 15, 2011

My 21st Race

Last weekend I finished my 21st race! I will now think of myself as an "of age" racer! lol! This was my 18th 5K and I've done two 10Ks and one half marathon! It's been quite the journey and I have learned a lot about myself and my walk with God during the process. This race was very special though because I got to run it with my sister, Tina. It was our 5th race to do together! (all 5Ks.) We both starting running because of adversity in our lives.

 I started about 3 years ago while my son was in the hospital after a tragic automobile accident. I am still his caregiver as he slowly makes progress. My sister has a brain tumor. She has several brain surgeries before they finally got a shunt in correctly. We actually decided last year to make the Race for Hope (for the Oklahoma brain tumor foundation) a yearly event for us. We three sisters have done it now 3 years in a row. And we kinda branched out from there.

 We had done a race in June and met a new friend and she is the one who hooked us up with this last race. It was so much fun to run with people you know. Most of my races I have gone alone and run alone. That is fine - but it's so much more fun with others. So this was a special race.

 Sometimes in our lives when we face adversity we find ourselves running alone. So we just run. There's really no other option is there? Today - take a look around your sphere of influence and see who may be running alone. Perhaps they just need a word of encouragement, a pat on the back or a pleasant conversation with a friend. A small gesture can mean the greatest thing to someone who is in adverse situations.

 If you had told us that we would one day be running races together - we would have both laughed at you -- out loud!! -- for a very long time!! You never know what life will bring your way - but once you start - you just gotta keep running! Encourage someone in their life's run today -- Here's a couple of pics from race day! (btw - we are both "faster than the pastor"!)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Way to Keep From Limping

I am just coming off an almost-major knee injury. It was a "break" albeit a little tiny one! A few weeks rest and wearing a brace and I was good to go! The main reason I fell (I think) was I had some new shoes (they just now crossed 50 miles - so they were real new then!) and just misjudged the height of the curb, caught my toe and slammed into the ground. It happened so fast, I did not even feel the tripping part at all. My eyes never even closed! That's how fast it happened!

 I think sometimes in life we can find ourselves in troubling or painful situations just that fast as well. One small mis-step and we are emotionally, spiritually, financially or otherwise eating dirt! Just a minor calculation and we are on the ground. So when I found this scripture this morning I could really relate to it.

 Proverbs 4:12 says this in the New Living Translation: if you live a life guided by wisdom, you won't limp or stumble as you run.  Now that is a true bit of wisdom isn't it? The way I physically run requires that I be careful and protect my body from injuries that will cause me to limp. But many of us limp through this life and never quite find wholeness. If we will heed the words in Scripture and follow wisdom and peace will can go through this life without the noticeable limp. You think it's not noticeable? Sometimes others can see it long before we can see it ourselves....keep yourself limp free - run with wisdom!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My 500th Mile This Year

Yesterday I did not want to run the mile I had committed to run. I simply did not feel good. But I drug myself onto the treadmill and beat it out anyway! I still say that integrity is not integrity at all unless we have it with ourselves first. So to keep my commitment that I made to myself I crawled onto the treadmill yesterday to pound out a mile.
 
 When I get done with my run everyday I go straight to the computer and log it. I use two places. Runners World is my official run log. I always put my time even when it sucks on that one. And if I do a couple of workouts in the day (which is very - very rare) then I make sure to include it on this log. The other one is more for social purposes and a little more fun. I use Daily Mile for this one. That is the one if I have a really poor workout and don't want anyone to know it took me an hour to get two and a half miles in I do not put it up! lol! --hey - we're allowed secrets! Runners World remains my official log and I do not post it publicly that is where my secrets remain.

 Yesterday after I dragged myself through one terrible mile I logged it on both sites. I shared with the social media world that I had completed my mile. Then I logged on to Runners World to put my official (but sucky) time. As I checked the calendar to see how I was doing on my shoe mileage I noticed my miles for the year. I have run exactly 500 miles with that last piece of drudgery. Boy was I excited! I kept thinking I wish I had seen that first I'd have had more energy for the run!

Many times we really do not know what we are accomplishing until later. We go through our daily lives not realizing who we are touching or what difference we are making in the world around us. It is so important to keep putting one foot in front of the other one. It does all add up....eventually! And whether or not we ever realize it on this side of eternity - there is progress being made...people are being changed...so keep doing what you are doing naturally. God really does have a log and He's keeping track of the miles you run for Him - Keep running the race of life! Run to Him!

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Difficult Than I Thought!

When I committed to running one mile a day for the rest of the year, I thought it would be a cinch. Seriously! Yesterday I did a little more than 2 because I did some speed work and my mind set is geared toward getting ready for a 5K by the end of next week. Today was supposed to be an easy mile. Sheesh!

 It took several minutes to convince myself that this is indeed going to be worth it; and that it will take less than 15 minutes of my precious time! lol! But I finally drug my cold butt onto the treadmill this morning and slowly took off. It took me much longer than I thought to get warmed up and going. Once I did though, I raised my base speed from 4 mph to 4.2 mph. (don't laugh I am old and coming off a major injury!)That's when I realized the whole point is to better myself as a runner. Isn't it?

 If I can simply raise my base speed and keep my metabolism going it is beneficial enough. Plus I am guaranteed at least 7 miles a week! lol! I will never get that few I don't think! My hope is when January 1 gets here I may increase it to either 1.5 a day or 2 miles a day. Or... I may just try to keep it up for an entire year....my mind is working while my body works - can you tell?

 Isn't that true in life though? We hit an obstacle that is much more difficult than we thought it was going to be - well we wouldn't have signed up if we'd have thought it was going to be difficult, we only signed on because it sounded easy! - but once we discipline ourselves to reach that goal we begin to expand as an individual....funny how God made us that way huh?  What ways is He expanding you today?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One Mile a Day Until Jan 1...

That was the challenge issued by Runner's World magazine! They are doing this big try-to-keep-everybody-in-shape campaign during this part of the year. I thought about it for quite awhile before I signed up to do it. It's not like a contest or anything and there is no other reward than being in shape really.  But I didn't want to say I'd do something that I wasn't going to do. It may sound crazy,but we must first have integrity with ourselves before we can ever have it with others.

 So I have done it for two days. I will do my mile today after I finish writing a couple of blogs this morning. I think running at least a mile every day will help me stay focused. I can only run a mile today and stay within my limits. I am still on the mend from the busted knee cap so I cannot add miles too fast. I did do a 4.4 mile long run this week. (one of the reasons I have to only run one mile today!)

 I guess some people take the season off. I do not know what that means! I try to do a race a month every single month and fortunately around here there is usually one available. Last year I did get off track though since we had two blizzards and an ice storm. It would keep the aid away for days because of travel hazards. That meant I could not run and it made the winter months a difficult time to stay with the plan. But this year - I have a treadmill which means no excuses or escapes! So from now until January 1, 2012 I am going to try to run at least one mile a day.

 See how important goals are? Think how simple it sounds (to runners) to simply run one mile per day. But if you actually accomplish it then you will get in 7 miles a week just doing that! But of course some days you'll run regular distances. and in one month that will be 30 or 31 days! Actually, there are exactly 36 days from today until Jan 1. That means for the rest of the year I'll get in nearly 40 miles just running one a day!

It is important in many aspects of our lives to set goals. Set them so that they are reachable. But do not make them so small that they are no challenge or you'll lose interest and fail. I am learning to set daily goals in my life and it seems to be helping me visualize the bigger picture much clearer! I dare you - go ahead and set some goals today...and have integrity with yourself first.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Definition of Inspiration

Yesterday ended up a lot cooler than I thought it was going to be. I didn't really want to run as I have not been running outside in the cool and haven't had a chance to get my body accustomed to it. As I was contemplating whether or not to go for my "long" run, I started sharing a story with the aid who was here to help with Chris.

 I was telling her about a story I read. It was about an athlete, Fred Duling who had run a particular Thanksgiving Day race for 51 years in a row. But last year right after T-giving he had an accident in which he broke his back. He spent most of the year in hospitals and rehab units. the injury left him paralyzed from the waste down. But you know what? He is doing the race this year in his wheelchair!

His daughter will be running with him to help push him up the hills. I was like - wow! What tenacity! As I was telling the story to the aid, I realized how wimpy I was being. So I went and put on my warm running clothes and headed out the door!

I did not feel shamed for being lazy; and I didn't feel bad. I just knew that if he could have the heart to continue I could too! I have to say that Fred Duling is an "inspiration" to all of us - there is never a place to give up! For today - keep running! Check out his story on Runner's World.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's a Slow Climb!

Well I have been officially training again for about a month. I guess in light of all I've been through with the busted knee cap I am not doing too badly! I have learned a lot about my body. That's one thing I have really enjoyed about running - learning about myself. Although I basically had to start over I did not have to start at zero with nothing like when I first started running nearly 3 years ago.

 I learned a lot by having some forced down time. I learned that I am in pretty good shape for 51 years old! That the world didn't in because I couldn't run (but that was challenging!), and that you can really start over - but it's not easy. One of the most difficult things is knowing my potential. Don't take that as being cocky - because my potential is still slow! lol! But I know I can run a half marathon - I've done it. However, I am having to start with 3 mile "long runs" all over again! Next week - 4... I think! I cannot risk injury.

 The part that is encouraging though is that I see and feel my progress as I am training again. I can literally feel myself getting stronger. (I know it's there - just beneath the muscle pain!) I feel my stamina getting better too.

 Even though it seems like such a slow climb, it is progress nonetheless! When we "mess up" with God - we do not start over at zero either. And while we must work to get ourselves back in line with Him it's not that difficult...we come to the altar knowing the right paths and decisions to be made. And even though it may seem slow - He will walk us through each step as we grow back into touch with Him. So for anyone reading (if there is anyone! lol)... who feels like you can't get back to Him - please remember two things -
  1. Yes you can--
  2. He never left
It may be a slow process but it's very do-able. If you have been walking out of step with Him - just start walking in step with Him again. He's been waiting for you!

 And while you are getting your step back - here's a picture of the third place medal I won at my first "come-back" race last week! (and yest - there were more than three people in my age group!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Real Discipline Comes in Waiting

Well, I am up and running some. I'm still going slowly and allowing my body to try to adjust back to the more active lifestyle. Over the weekend I put in a 2 mile tread mill run and did it in right at 30 minutes. I felt real good about that coming off the injury. Yesterday I did my first real outside run in over 2 months! Sheesh! I did 2.2 miles in 27 minutes. I was pretty happy with it except I really wanted to push it to the 3 mile mark.

 There is is a little .4 mile trail through the park and adding an out and back on it at the end of the run would have made 3 miles exactly! But I have to stir up that discipline to not tag it on! My body was hurting but my mind was exhilarated to be running again! As excited as I was I could not risk the injury that can come from doing too much too quickly; so I held back.

 I realized then that the discipline to hold back like that is more important than the discipline to make myself get out and run when I don't feel like it! This body is the only one I get while traveling through time. If I injure it through negligence or ignorance I don't get another chance at another body!

So the discipline is in waiting even when I feel good about the run! I have to gradually build up my weekly miles and I have a 5K this Saturday morning. I can only run another mile - maybe two this week and be inside of safe! So what do you think... does the wisdom come from discipline - or the discipline from wisdom?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Let the Training Begin!!

It seems like it's been forever but I have been down and out.. I'll spare you the sob story of my broken knee cap and my 10 weeks off.. Suffice it to say I am "released" to run tomorrow... but I put in 1.75 miles tonight on the treadmill. I have a race in less than 2 weeks and I had to get started. It's difficult to start over at the basics again. But it is actually enlightening too... as if that is surprising considering the way my mind works!

 Today was about the fourth time I'd been on the treadmill and walk/run a little bit. But today I was pushing it. It was tricky to figure out how to push as hard as possible without crossing the line into the "too much" category.

 What I learned was how much I learned about myself through running. I actually could feel my limits today....and respected them for the first time in my life! It felt great to know where the line was and stop! So maybe limits are not so "limiting"... as much as something to use to measure how hard you need to work to go further.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gotta Start Somewhere

So I have not run or hardly walked since I first hurt my knee. I do not wear the brace too much now when I am around the house, but if I am out and about I wear it for support. I also wear it to sleep in to keep from bending it. But the last two days I have walked through the park. (wearing the brace, of course)

 It's almost exactly 1.2 miles from my door, through the Frisbee golf course with a nice walking trail and back to my door. The weather has turned cooler and I would love to be setting up some running and training schedules. But it's not happening yet! I have to start slow...I have to start somewhere. So I am trying to walk through the park every day for starters. I may try the treadmill next week and do that without the brace to see how my knee handles it.

 It drives me nuts to be sidelined like this. But there has to be time for the injury to heal properly or I might not get to run again....ever! So I am trying to be very patient and walk it out slowly - every pun intended!

Sometimes in life we become frustrated with ourselves, especially when we cannot perform like we would like to. But it will take some time to get where we want, time, patience and healing. It's not as easy as it sounds when the words just fall out of your mouth like that...and it's certainly not as fast as we want it most of the time either! But hey - no matter where we are on our life's journey, no matter what we are facing, or going through..to get to our desired destinations...we have to start somewhere. We have to start from where we are today. So today - just think about making progress - any amount really - from where you are. Make today just a little better than yesterday.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ugh! The Waiting...

I am not taking this injury nearly as graciously as I would like to think! I am anxious to get moving again. I want to be ready to run at least a 5K November 12. It's for the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation and my family does it together for my sister. This is actually what keeps me in line right now. I am trying to be very nice with my knee and let it heal in the hopes that I can do that race with my family.

 In the meantime, I did walk 1.2 miles a couple of nights ago. This is while wearing the brace but I thought I'd get started. I hope to do that again today. Then in a couple of weeks I think the knee may be well enough to try to jog on it. I'm waiting until after 6 weeks have passed to start doing anything seriously. I hope to let it heal before I push it too much - but that is difficult. I am going to sign up for just a walk in October. It's only 1.5 miles and if I need to I can do it with the brace on too!
 
 I am so anxious to get back moving but I know it can be longer if I do not take the time to let my knee heal properly. How many times is this true in our lives? I cannot tell you how many people I have known who have just divorced and before you know it they are engaged to be married again. It's too fast...we have to allow ourselves to heal properly or we will be limping through life never really whole. Take time today to assess what in your life needs to be healed. Take time to honestly assess your own emotions and soul. Then sit patiently with me while we wait on God to bring us through totally healed...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Breaking the Silence...

I know I have been quiet for several weeks. I have been sidelined by an injury. Even though I know that injuries are part of training I wanted to be "graceful" in my time of recovery. I am not too sure I have accomplished this goal. I missed my Chicago half marathon...And probably will not even attempt to run again for about two more weeks.

 The one doctor showed me the x-rays and showed me that due to a fall I had a small sliver broken off from my knee cap. The bruising was extensive and even now after 4 weeks there are tiny bruises left. The swelling isn't as bad now when I am up and around. It's getting better - but I feel dug deeper in.

 Running is like my only outlet. I guess I could try to find another one - but instead I have just been eating... now when I start running again I will have to run this all off first!! ugh!!

 I really cannot even say how disappointing it is to miss my goal race. It has damaged me from inside out and so I chose to ignore the gnawing most of the time while I wait to try to run again. But it never really goes away. Hopefully I will be up and going again and get back into shape quickly...

....from a frustrated (and sidelined) runner....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tough Challenges = Sweet Victory!

So I went to Eureka Springs this week to run the most challenging course I have done so far. It was pretty much up hill for about 2.5 miles and then straight down for the last half. And that is no exaggeration whatsoever! The first hill goes straight up - turns left and goes up and to the right some more! Then a very brief hilly section before the straight up incline leading to the historic Crescent Hotel. (can you say "butt-kicker"?) It was very tough...

 I had to walk for a few feet on the second incline...and I hate walking during a race! I felt like I was crawling along, barely moving at all. Then after conquering the hill I almost never caught my breath! Sheesh! And just about the time I did, the course shifted and went straight down Benton Rd! It was almost as difficult to hold myself back as going up the hill had been!

 I crossed the finish line in just over 35 minutes. That's not too bad actually, for an old lady. My PR is in the 31 minute range so I really felt pretty good about it. And then...I found out that there were 5 of us old timers running the race...and I came in first! It was a sweet first place victory!! (Yay me!)

 While I was going up the hill, barely moving and really wanting to just stop - my whole body crying out that I was overdoing it and pushing it too hard and too far -- I started thinking about how nice it was going to be to cross that finish line! It was the most challenging of any race I have ever run so far...but I started thinking about how sweet the victory of completion was going to be; and that's what kept my feet moving forward.

 Here's the life lesson: when we face struggles in life and it really feels like we are numb and cannot go on...just know the more difficult the battle - the sweeter the victory!! So trudge on all you warriors!! Keeping putting one foot in front of the other and take it one step at a time. There is a finish line coming and the harder the course - the sweeter the victory!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Little Apprehensive

Next week I will go to Eureka Springs and run a 5K. I would love to try the 10K, but I'm not sure that I could handle that on the hills. Actually, I am sure that just a 5K will kick my butt pretty good! I don't want to be too sore after because it'll only be a month until the Chicago half marathon. So there ya have it. The two biggest things that I am apprehensive about! (as far as running goes!)

 The Chicago half has a strict time limit. I can do a half marathon - did one in May. But I need to shave about 12 minutes off my time. That's quite a lot in the running world! And so I am forced to embrace the treadmill once again! lol! Actually, it's not too bad. It's right here and I can hop on it any time I want to! I enjoyed being able to run on Sunday this week!

 So here is where the pep talking begins. I must tell myself things like you can do this. It sure feels like an uphill battle. But I am determined to make it. I'm going to beat this thing! I have signed up for all sorts of tweets from different kinds of runners all over the place. So all day long I get these little inspirational quotes on my phone. They come in all the time. It helps to keep me motivated and encouraged.

 Isn't that what Christianity is supposed to be like? Each one of us can be encouraged to endure and continue our own journey by other people's stories. I think that's why we have some portions of the Bible isn't it? The scriptures are written so we have examples of faith. It's all about sharing it with each other so we can each run our own race!!! Happy running!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why do You Run?

Do you ever get tired of that question? I think I have answered it in a hundred different contests. (none of which I've won so far!) For the runner it seems more logical to ask the rest of the world, Why don't you run? That makes much more sense...those answers may seem superficial except for the very few legitimate ones...and my mind is blank...I started to say unless you don't have legs, but then I've seen too many successful runners who run with a prosthetic limb....Now they might be very well qualified to ask the rest of the world what their obstacle is to running!

It's kind of amazing to see stories like that though, isn't it? Or to hear such inspirational stories. You've probably all seen the video now of the father who pushes his son in a wheelchair in his races. Those are the types of stories that give us that extra kick in the butt to get moving down the road in the morning, aren't they? And although I did begin running out of desperation during a time (that is still ongoing...) of great trials and stress, my story is not that inspiring I think. However, there are people who say I inspire them. Then there's the few who started running because they figured if I could run in my circumstances (and at my age - they think it whether or not they say it! lol!) then they don't have any excuses...and there's been several.

Isn't that what living this life is all about? For us as individuals it is to simply put one foot in front of the other and walk through life the best we can. We don't think about if anyone is watching or not, because it is irrelevant to our goals. This is the same with our Bible heroes, don't you think? They had no idea that literally hundreds (or thousands) of years down the road people would be reading their stories and be inspired by their faith through adverse circumstances. They did not live out their belief, their faith or do anything because the world was watching...it was just the way they lived an honest life before God and man.

 So why do you run? ...why don't you run? Either answer should be natural and not fabricated or dictated by circumstances...just like faith. We all have our reasons...and we all have to keep walking in life whether or not we know that anyone is watching or not. Why? Because He  is watching...and walking with us. It's not about the final story that ends up in a book - it's about just doing what we do because of Him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Goals Outweigh Obstacles

Did I ever mention I don't like running on a treadmill? Maybe not. Mostly because I hadn't tried it. However, our aid quit and the new aid has very different hours so that means I cannot run in the mornings. I also cannot run at noon in this record breaking triple digit heat wave either! So I got a treadmill...the first time I tried to run on it I hated it...and nearly hurt myself!

 I actually gave one thought to quitting running...but then I have a half marathon I'm committed to this fall in Chicago...The more I thought about it, I looked at the treadmill as a help to get to my goal instead of an obstacle in the way. My goal far outweighed my obstacles.

 I have had to go pretty easy on the treadmill this week, because it makes my whole body hurt. But this morning was a little better so I am hopeful that I will be able to log some miles on this puppy!! And then the good news is that the aid will be here early two mornings a week so I can run outside those two days until this fall when it will be fine to run outside in the weather....

 It seemed after I started looking at the treadmill as a means rather than a drudgery...considering it more of a training device...my attitude changed. It's not about how I reach my goals... it's just about reaching them.

This is so true in every aspect of life. We have to turn all the obstacles into helps - that's the way we overcome them. It's no different in our spiritual walk - when an obstacle presents itself it is time to roll up our sleeves and figure out how He is going to help up make it a positive...we do not have to remain on the bottom...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Life's Races

Today is a rest day as tomorrow will be my long run for the week. I'm shooting for 7 or 8 miles. I really need to pump up my training as the Chicago half marathon is only a few weeks away. This heat is really kicking my butt though! And my age - that is a factor! And the fact that I am a full time caregiver which means two things - lots of stress (why I run) and very little sleep....but you know what? I figure those are all excuses. Are they weighty? sure. Are they real factors? Absolutely. But they are not reasons they are excuses.

I have to run while the aid is here in the mornings as I cannot leave my son alone. This week she told me she is quitting because she was offered another day job. It's funny to me because my first thought wasn't when I could buy groceries or run errands...my first thought honestly, was how will I run? I think that qualifies me as a runner! lol!
 
 It looks like I will be getting a treadmill and so my stress level can go back down to a moderately high level where it remains! lol! It's funny how things can become important to us isn't it? Three years ago I laughed at runners and thought they were crazy. I didn't get it. But now - it is a major factor in my life and there would be a huge gap in who I am if I couldn't run.

 What defines you? Are you a runner? I think I am finally. And when I get a treadmill and then complete the Chicago half marathon - wanna guess what's next? You got it! I'm going to start training for the full marathon!! Yep!

I think running is like life - there's not really a good place to stop. Just because we reach one level does not mean it's the end. We must continue trying to reach our capacity as a person, and that does not stop. Even as a Christian there is never a point where we arrive. There is always the goal to press on towards...until we are like Him...until we are with Him. Keep pressing on - life has many more races to challenge you with!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Point Exactly!

So i started this new eating plan right? It's nothing fancy mostly very little sugar and white flour, more grains and fresh fruits and veggies and high lean proteins like beans. I almost immediately lost 5 pounds which was good. I also started eating 6 meals a day. I basically eat the equivalent to either 6 medium snacks or 6 small meals - depending on how you look at it. Like I said I lost that initial 5 pounds and although I haven't lost any more (yet) I have not gained an ounce either!

But yesterday I decided that I wanted a pizza - that was brought on by the fact that Little Caesar's pizza has $3.99 pizzas on Mondays. I only ate 3 pieces, which is good for me as I could put away 4-6 normally. I did go back later at one of my "meals" and eat the other two pieces though! (my daughter ate 3 pieces too!) I figured I would gain but not an ounce when I stepped on the scale this morning.

 However, I had no energy on my run this morning. So my point is this...junk food won't fuel the run! I been saying all this time that today's food fuels tomorrow's run...and boy was I right! There must be barely any nutrients in their pizza - gonna look it up later.

 I learned my lesson well and will stay on my whole grains, natural foods eating plan from here on out! I think the spiritual application is that we have a race (the race) to run in this life and we cannot waste even a day on "junk food" of the soul and expect to be able to carry on for any distance at all. Solomon was so right when he said above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.(Proverbs 4:23)

 You know - I'm a minister, a teacher, a parent and an almost experienced runner... you'd think I'd learn to listen to myself eventually!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

ForeSight

I am planning on pushing myself this week. I think i want to shoot for over 20 miles this week. And I do have a plan! My biggest obstacle from here is actually the hot weather. It's nearly 80 for the night time lows! And by the time I run around 8 in the morning it's usually 80 or above already. But I will win this thing!!

While I was working on my technique for tackling longer runs last week I had a lot of thoughts...that's actually very normal for me no matter what I'm doing! I was thinking about how far out of reach the half-marathon feels right now. The pressure is that I have to complete it in under 2:45:00. My first was just under 3 hours.. so that's a little bit of pressure. I'm not sure the distance is the largest factor - my speed is. That's why I am really pushing for a higher base speed...

 As I was running I was thinking about how tired I was etc...but because of the half marathon I have out in front of me I must keep pressing on! So my thoughts turned to looking ahead and letting what is ahead be my motivation for today. I believe this is applicable in every area of our lives. My diet needs to be under control today so that I do not have problems down the road. My writing has to be practiced today so I will be prepared to finish those books I want to do down the road. I read my Bible today so that when situations arise down the road I will have the spiritual stamina to handle them. Today is all about getting to tomorrow in the best possible shape! Foresight is an essential element to preparation...pressing through today's situations is what prepares us for tomorrow's race.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Learning From the Pros

Okay so I have to humble myself here. I will admit that I have been a stickler for not walking on a run. It's important to me to run the whole way. But I found out this week that it is something I need to get over! It's still a run if I walk a little now and then.

 Before my run I was looking through a Runner's World magazine and came across an article that was about how some guy set a new PR for his marathon by walking. I was like, "No way!" But it was for real. The article talked about running faster when you're running but taking some walk breaks early on to help the muscles have a little relief and rejuvenate.

 I related it to hiking. I could be worn to a frazzle and stop for 1 minutes to rest and then have the energy to go just as many more miles on the trail. Just a little rest was all my weary legs needed. So I figured I would try this walking technique and see if it would work.
 
 I took a few walk breaks on my 6.6 mile run. I found out that it really did work! I felt like I could go a lot further although I was actually running faster than my normal easy pace. The walk breaks worked great to keep me going! What did I learn?

 I learned two valuable life lessons from running. One, that I can listen to those who are more experienced than I am. Try some new techniques rather than being hard headed. I can actually gain some ground by listening to the older warriors who have already been through! And two, I think reading and applying the Bible should be the same way as my Runner's World magazine. For instance, I should be able to read a passage and then get up and live it. I need to be able to make it applicable after I've read it, not just memorize it!

 What are you going to make applicable today?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sometimes Bad is Good!

I cannot believe how long this terrible heat wave has endured! It's kicking my butt on my morning runs...and yesterday I had the worst run ever! I think it was slower than when I first started...but it worked to get my attention that's for sure. I thought for sure I'd gone at least 4 or 5 miles... I ran an hour! When I got home I and logged the run I barely had 3.8 miles. Boy was I mad!

 So I went through my list of excuses...it's hot, I'm not hydrated, my eating habits suck, I'm fat... yeah, that went on quite a while really...then I decided to suck it up. All of that except the heat - can be changed. Ugh! Change? Well, I embraced it and made it through yesterday. I stayed within my eating guidelines and drank tons of liquids...and guess what; my run this morning was great! I even started later so it was hotter - and I did lots better!

 So sometimes bad things can be good. Instead of using them for excuses to keep from changing or progressing - let them help you self-assess and make necessary changes. Everything is not bad when there is something bad...it can turn into something good! It's back to perspective. So the next "bad" thing that comes along - turn it around and let it bring a positive out in you today.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Finished My Second 10K

Saturday morning I ran my second 10K. It was my 18th race and the last one I have planned before I turn 51. It's going to work out right it looks like for the Chicago half to be my 20th race. I viewed this 10K as part of my training for the half. I did shave about 7 seconds off my last 10k. That's only two and I expect to get better as it goes along!

 That's the whole thing isn't it? It's not as important where we are as where we are going. If we major too much on where we are there won't be any improvement. We'll get bogged down in today...so we have to keep looking at where we want to be.

 I expect over time to get faster on my 5k, 10k, and half marathon speeds. My body should be getting in better shape all the time. I am constantly working on my diet, adding miles and trying to run faster. All of this works together (or that's the goal anyway) to improve my stamina, endurance and overall fitness.

 It's no different with our spiritual man:

  1.  WE cannot stop in today - where we are going is more important
  2. Each day should bring us more stamina spiritually
  3.  Each step toward Him should bring us more endurance
  4.  Spiritually - we should be getting in "better shape" as we trust Him more

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Determination Has Its Rewards

Or at least I hope so! I am determined to (carefully) beat this heat thing. I will figure out how to increase my miles and speed so I can do well in this fall's half marathon! I have begun altering my diet and have drank so much water in the last 24 hours I probably won't need another drink for a month! - well - it's worth a shot!

 I'm getting ready to head out the door for this first experimental run. I have drastically increased my intake of fluids over the last couple of days. I want to see if there is any noticeable difference on my run this morning. I am also dressed and ready to shoot out the door right at 8 so that I can get on it as early in the morning as possible...we'll see if that's a winning combination.

 I hope I can develop this kind of determination in other areas of my life. It's kind of funny (not the ha-ha kind) that when situations and difficulties present themselves to us in a lot of arenas we just walk away- or sit down and quit. But with running I own it. I am determined to figure out how to do it in a healthy manner that prevents injuries while accomplishing as much as I can in the process...I want to be that way in my faith walk as well...and even in other areas like finances, diet and writing...I'm getting there...

 So I will let you know if determination does indeed have its rewards.. or if I have to drag myself in after a couple of miles! lol! I anticipate victory today - now I just have to go get it!! (it's all about attitude!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sucking it Up

Yesterday's run was very discouraging. It was so hot...But I probably pushed it a little too hard. I did the first half of the out-and-back in record time...then the heat started sucking away at my stamina and energy. I had to walk two or three times. I even ran on the wrong side of the road because there were a few more trees and I could bask in their shade for ten second increments as I slowly glided by! It was hot!

 I wanted to go 6 miles to prepare for the 10K this weekend. But I barely made the 5. I really don't like hot anymore! Today I will rest and then Wednesday and Thursday I'll do a couple of short 3-4 milers. Then Friday off and Saturday my second 10K.

 I must be honest and say I am very frustrated with myself right now. The time of day I run cannot be changed as I have to run when the aid is here with my son. So 8-10 in the morning is it...or there's nothing. (praying for a treadmill for Christmas - then I can train for the full marathon!!!) It's difficult to figure out a way to talk myself through this one.

 I only have two months before the half marathon in Chicago and I have to bump my miles up period! I know that I need to make some dietary changes and I know I need more hydration (and less caffeine!). I get a little nerved out because there is  a time limit on the Chicago half marathon...and my brain tells me my body cannot handle it - it tells me I should stick with only short distances like the 5K --which is precisely why I am signing up for the 10K this weekend!

 It's that time in every runner's career where we just have to suck it up and figure out how to get through because quitting is not an option!!!!!

 There are so many other things in life that there is not even the possibility of quitting or walking away from - we all have these sorts of opportunities to suck it up. For some it may be a tough job, a messed up relationship, or a tragic event - but whatever we find ourselves walking through today - we cannot quit. That will build no character or stamina...suck it up - figure out how to handle it and improve yourself (emotions, attitudes, etc.) and walk on through it...keep the goal in mind - you can do this  - you just gotta suck it up!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

When Does Training End?

I was writing one of my other blogs and this statement slipped of my fingers before I knew it : I only have two hours to train each day.No sooner had it appeared on the screen when I though of how erroneous it actually is.

 Yes, I can only run for those two hours each day M-F (until I figure out how to get a treadmill - then I'll train for a full marathon!!!) And although my actual running is so limited by the time I have available - training is really a lifetime activity.

Think about it - there are certain activities I will not participate in because it might jeopardize my running. There are foods I will not consume because it can harm my body. I make sure to carry water bottles with me through out the house to ensure I get enough hydration to last through my next run. And I make myself get enough sleep to sustain me ...so I can run!

 I began to see how training is so much more than the actual running...it involves and shapes my entire lifestyle....and so with my Christian beliefs...wow! Because I believe in God there are certain things that I will not allow to be part of my life,  since I believe in Him there are things I will not watch on television...music I will not listen too... books I will not read because I want to keep my heart pure before Him...

 Even as I desire to keep my body ready for a run at any time - I want to keep my spirit open and pure for a supernatural encounter with Him at any point in time...so spiritually and naturally - training never ends....

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Right Combinations

It seems like I cannot get it all right all at the same time. I can get my diet down and eat properly to have energy and then it seems like my sleeping patterns get all messed up! It's just crazy. There must be a way to get them both in balance at the same time!

 As I am realizing how quickly my next half marathon is approaching I feel like I am under the crunch to get my training back up going strong. But sometimes it seems that just about the time I feel the positive changes in my body it wipes out on me. And I feel like it's partly due to trying to find the right balance and combination of eating and resting. I hate to sleep - but I love to eat. That's the wrong formula for running success!

 I think this parallels life in a few ways too. It seems like we can really concentrate on one area - you know, the temper, our language, our finances or outlook...and when we get one of these areas refined and are moving along smoothly it's like Bam! Another area that needs serious change can hit us and demand our attention. The trouble is that we must maintain what we have accomplished in one area while beginning to work on another!

 What's a runner to do? You can't let go totally of one area without losing progress. Paul said in Philippians 3:16 that we should all walk by the same standard to which we have attained. That really makes it so much simpler. All we can do is the best we can with what we have today! I'm not going to worry about it. I can continue working on eating, sleeping and training... and each day do the best I can with what I have. Same thing with our Christianity. All God requires out of us is to walk in what we have learned and what we know. It's not as complicated as I thought... it's just about walking...and walking...and walking it out day by day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Am I A Runner Now?

At the race the other night I had a very unique experience. There was a lady who seemed to be competing specifically with me. As I would get close to her she would run ahead a ways and then walk until I got close again. She kept losing a little advantage on her position each time I got close. I chose to just keep my pace as it was working for me.

 I kept reminding myself that in racing I am only competing with myself so I kept it all under lock. I thought she was a little younger than me anyway so I chose to not compete but just keep running instead. Finally, I passed her for the last time and didn't really think about where she was as I got sick to my stomach because of the heat. I figured I wasn't dizzy, so I wasn't close to passing out - so I kept going. I thought that it would simply be a new experience if I threw up.. but I figured I would throw up and then finish the race!

 When I got through the lady came over to where we were standing and congratulated me on a "good race." She said she was just trying to stay ahead of me! She even said she tried to "draft" me! lol! How do you draft an old, slow lady? lol! But I took it as a compliment. Especially when I found out that I was about 4 years her senior! (I tried not to gloat as I picked up my 2nd place medal in the old people's category!)

 We exchanged phone numbers so we can race together again some time. I think she just wants revenge!! lol (Ah! motivation) But the funny thing to me was how she put my name in her phone. As a contact she put me as "Jeanie the runner" I had to smile! (It's okay - because she's "Pam @ race"!

 But it was very funny how affirming it was to have someone else recognize all my hard work that way. It's simple I know, but it was nice. I thought about how it is good to be recognized for accomplishments no matter what level they were attained on. I decided to find someone else to "affirm" today. I think it would do us all some good to just find someone today and tell them "you're doing a great job at...." And be specific... don't leave it open it's not as effective!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My 2 Year Race-i-versary 5K!

Last night I ran my 15th 5K! (it was my 17th race overall) It was a wonderful experience. Although it was so hot I thought I may get to experience what it's like to throw up during a run. I got very nauseous toward the end, but I figured since I wasn't dizzy I wasn't about to pass out so I just kept on going. I thought maybe I would throw up and add it to the unique race experience list! lol! But then I didn't...almost disappointing as it would have made such a great story later... oh well.

 I had a lot of emotions going into the race as I thought back about that first 5K. It's been such an invigorating, addictive journey! I started just to survive...and now I survive just to run! My legs just feel strong - I cannot really explain it any better than that - they just feel good under me. I thought of all the accomplishments that I've managed to do over this two years of racing... Of the 15 5K races I've placed 6 times. I don't think that's too bad! I have achieved some measurable increase in speed from the very first race I ran. And physically I just feel good...and I can't wait until next month's race!

 However, all the accomplishments have given me insight on the things that I need to work on. See, when we stop to view our accomplishments and camp there as if that's the end-all it becomes pride. But accomplishments are really meant to show us what else we need to work on so that we can continue to progress.

 I know I need to seriously work on my speed. But last night as I was running and feeling how strong my legs have become I realized how important it is to work on my core. That's my main weak area right now. I also have not eaten right lately and need to get that back in check as it's a serious energy sucker!

 So along the way - enjoy the accomplishments. Solomon even said that there is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good.(Ecclesiastes 2:24)  But it's not the end-all it's only our motivation to improve ourselves and continue on down the road. So do some re-assessment today. Give yourself credit for the accomplishments, or for the goals you've set and reached. But then let those experiences show you what needs to be changed or corrected so that there is the assurance of more success down the road.

 By the way - I brought home a second place metal in the old people's division last night!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Very Little Motivation Needed

Since I am only getting about 5 hours of sleep a night I wake up tired. Usually I go through this whole thing of how old I am and why I shouldn't run today. But yesterday as I was rehearsing my usual (miserable) excuses I happened to see a runner through my window. That's all it took. I'm so serious. I saw her head bobbing up and down as she ran along the fence and that was all it took. I put my shoes on and headed out for a nice casual run.

 The trouble was that I didn't leave early enough (I only have a two hour window to get my run in). I went out too far before I turned around and headed home. So coming back I had to kick it in high gear to get back before time for my son's aid to leave! so  simple miscalculation helped me log better than 5 and a half miles in an hour!

 The two things about yesterday's run are that it took almost nothing to motivate me and a miscalculation helped me log more miles for the week! How many times have we miscalculated something and ended up reaping its benefits? We have to come to the place where we realize two things.
1- we don't know everything
2 - we can run faster and harder than we thought
Although my intention was to do a medium, very laid back run I ended up running a pretty good clip in a short amount of time. I got a lot better workout than what I had planned. Sometimes we just have to let our mistakes teach us something about ourselves! That's really their purpose isn't it?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Enjoy the Progress - It''s part of the Journey

Well I guess we'll see if this week can go off as planned! I'm looking at possibly getting in 20 miles this week. And I am looking at a time crunch because the half marathon is coming in September. I have only run 8 miles for my long run recently. I think I'll be okay though because I can bump that up to 1 pretty easily. The terrain here is kind of hilly and the race is in Chicago which is really flat. So I think that will work to my advantage at least.

 I also signed up for a  night race this weekend. I haven't ever done that so it'll be nice. And it will be to commemorate my first 5K ever. It's the same Saturday that I ran my very first race two years ago. Boy I was so happy to run that 3.1 miles! And I was hooked on racing ever since. I never dreamed that about 3 miles would be my easy days! lol!

 It's funny sometimes how when we are going through life and we know that our struggles are shaping us somehow, we still cannot always see how far we've come...until another test comes along. But it's really good when we can do an honest assessment of ourselves and how we handle various situations and see that we have actually made progress. And it's not pride to be able to see progress in ourselves and smile! It can be pride when we think we did it all on our own...or if we think it makes us better than someone else who is still struggling in that area. But to realize we've grown and be glad of that is not a bad thing. (Unless of course you put it on a T-shirt and parade gloatingly around in it all day! lol)

 To not be able to celebrate life's victories would be like not allowing graduation ceremonies. So it's okay to celebrate your achievements. Today take time to celebrate your achievements and accomplishments.. and it's okay to smile!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Did I Mention Why I Run?

I know, I know! I could probably come up with another reason why I run everyday for at least a month before I'd think of another month's worth! But this week, I found another "why I run" spot in my life.

 First of all, last week was crazy for a lot of reasons. But one of them was on Tuesday night when a hail storm smashed in my little garden. I know, it's really not that big of a deal to most people, but it was to me okay! In the scheme of things it really is minor. But when you are already living on emotional overload even the smallest things can catapult you into depression. And that's exactly what happened on Wednesday morning when I decided to trade my run in for a quick yard and garden clean up.

 While a few of my plants survived (mostly the non-edible ones!), most were beat to a pulp by the hail. They were just blooming too. I had been so excited about finally seeing blooms and very small fruit start to appear. And now they are mangled and leafless. I pulled up a couple feeling like I was more putting them out of their misery but then my emotions crashed.

 It's only been about 2.5 years since my son had a serious automobile accident in which he sustained a TBI. (traumatic brain injury) I am now his full time caregiver. And as I was pulling up the flowers I realized we were both so on the edge of fulfilling our dreams when the wreck occurred...it was like these plants I had nurtured and cared for and they were blooming - so our lives were just before that cold November day. And I couldn't handle it. So I changed my shoes and took off for a run to sort it all out.



 The town was mangled and it was like a trail run here in town! But you know what? I just climbed over fallen trees and dodged fence pieces...and just kept on running. And that is a picture of life. Sure tough things come - so what? We don't quit - we keep running! We climb over obstacles and maneuver through challenges but we don't stop! I promise the earth is not going to stop turning so that you can catch your breath! lol! Or at least it hasn't so far for me! But...we can keep running, breathing, and living...right where we are! So don't stand there and look at the obstacles - they don't deserve that much attention! Just jump over, crawl around or make a path - and keep moving!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The More I Run - The Better I Feel

I am so serious on this one! This morning when I took off up the road with no where in particular to go - my legs felt so good under me. I can actually feel the muscles now. Sometimes I try to imagine just how it is that they work together like such a well oiled machine. And sometimes I concentrate on trying to really feel that fraction of a second that both feet are off the ground at the same time!

 As I am learning my limits and pushing them properly at the same time, I really do feel stronger. I thought about that this morning while I knocked out 3 miles at about an 11 min pace. That's not too fast for others, but I've come a long ways. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says that it is not wise to measure ourselves by others. I do think we should measure ourselves to His measure - none of us are all that great if we do that! Who can match His stride?!?

 But I can measure myself up against where I came from. I have only been running a little more than two years and I've come a long ways for an old lady! I think if we want to draw a spiritual parallel here it would be to enjoy our progress - without downgrading someone else! It's okay to feel our strength - and still know how weak we really are underneath...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mix it Up!

While I am pushing my body to get ready for the big half marathon coming up this fall, I am also having to learn my limits..did I mention how I hate that? When I have a 20 mile week it seems my body gives out. I'm sure that it is due to the fact that I only have one adrenal gland...I don't know how - but I am pretty sure it's related. So I had a 20 mile week, then last week I pushed it hard (in the heat) Monday and Tuesday. That kind of forced me to take Wednesday off. I really wanted to try to get 20 miles in four days. It didn't work - I found my limit.

 Now I could have pushed myself a little harder got some miles on Wednesday and more on Thursday. I had to get groceries and stuff in that time frame on Friday so I needed to get all my miles on M-Th. But my steam ran out. This used to really frustrate me. But as I am learning that a slow week doesn't mean it's over, and it doesn't mean a failure - I'm getting to where I'm okay with giving it my best shot with what I have to work with.

 Finding our limits can really be a good thing. It can help us reevaluate, make necessary changes and do better the next time. This week I am going easy M-Wed taking Thursday off and running long on Friday. That's the plan anyway. I'm not going to worry so much about the particulars this week and I'm going to concentrate on my time rather than the mileage. By time I mean I will run for an hour and log how ever many miles I get rather than trying to get a certain amount of miles in for the day. We'll see how it goes. I'm calling it an easy week!

 I think this re-focusing is a good thing to do with our entire life every so often, even in our spiritual walk. We can get caught it ruts and certain ways of doing things and then it loses its vigor. For Christians it's too easy to slip into religion and out of relationship that way. It's really good to change up your study habits now and then just to keep them fresh. So take this week and refocus on Him...live a little ... change things up some ..don't just be religious that's really boring!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Just Because It's Fun!

Yesterday's run was very different for me. I've been pushing myself pretty hard and this half-a-century old body has been complaining a whole lot. It always does that when I work up to running about 20 miles a week. Next week, I'm shooting for 20 again (or more) but it will all be easy miles. I am not even going to think about pushing it. Why? Because of yesterday's run.

I really wanted to get a run in just to log some miles. So I decided to just run easy for about 45 minutes. I figured that should be between 3-4 miles (I was right) and a good enough workout to keep everything moving and give me some log miles. I decided to just go easy and enjoy the run again. I have been working real hard...and you know what? I loved it!

It was one of the best runs I've done. I may adopt this practice of just running because it's fun again! I ran a little less than a 12 minute mile. So my base time has improved and that's been one of my goals. But sometimes I am working so hard that I forget to run just because it's fun.

A lot of our activities are that way you know. I can remember when I was a worship leader in a church, the responsibilities could take the fun out of it sometimes. I had to sing the right songs to engage the audience and try to lead them to a worship experience...but I want to do music and ministry again - just because it's fun...not because it's required! Don't get so caught up in what you are doing that you forget to relax and have fun...I think God meant for us to enjoy the gifts He gave us...so lighten up today - enjoy Him and just do something for fun! (but don't hurt anyone!)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How do You Fuel Your Run?

Runners know what an important role the diet plays in fueling the run. For me, it really is the pasta dinner the night before. You kind of have to experiment with a few things to find out what works for your body. And we all know how rough finding out what the no-no's are! That can mess up a really good run! (lol- runners know what I am talking about!)

But I don't think that what we eat is the guts of the matter. What really fuels the run is found when you top that huge hill that was just taken in stride, or you shave a few seconds off a PR, or you get that medal in your age group at a race...all summed up in one word: success. That's really the "stuff" behind why we continue.

Think about how discouraging it would be to run at the same pace every single day and never be able to get any faster ever - or if the same hill kicks you in the butt every day and you never conquer it...discouraging to say the least.

I think this is true in many aspects of our lives. And success doesn't have to mean getting a lot of money - you can be rich and very unsuccessful. But success in our walk with God means that the things that used to get us down, don't anymore! That the hill we have been climbing is getting easier because we are getting stronger in Him day by day. The same things don't trip us up anymore (not that we don't have a whole new set of situations to overcome...) but we get stronger and wiser because we are closer to Him...and that fuels our Christian Run.

As we see ourselves changing and being able to handle situations and people with the grace He supplies - that should fuel our Christian run - our run back to Him!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

This Hill is What Life is About

I have decided this one 5 mile route is my favorite. I get some pretty level running in before I turn to go up one of the biggest hills you'll find here in Norman, OK! Then at the top of the hill I swing through a neighborhood and over past a real pretty little pond to a street named, "Horizon View." I am not sure why it's named that as you cannot see a horizon from there at all! But then I double back and it's a nice morning run.

The hill and I have something personal going on! I always look at it from the corner and point to myself and say, "I'm taking you down today!" as I head toward it! (Sometimes on the weekends I swear I can hear it calling out a challenge for me! lol!) Monday when I got to that hill, I was caught up in my thoughts and it came so easy it even surprised me. I realized I had taken the hill and never broke stride and my legs felt so good under me!

But that success came at a cost. It's taken 2 years of training to get to that place. But it sure felt good! That's when I realized that it's not the hills that are the reason to run or train, it's conquering them! That's what it is all about.

If I can draw this parallel in life, the hill are the challenges we  face - probably daily. I don't know it's a pretty big hill, maybe these are the little bit larger situations that we must learn how to take in stride. But it's not about the hill...it's about arriving at the top and  looking back at where you just came from, seeing the challenge you just  faced - and conquered! It's about the successful running.

I think we run for that feeling! That elation as we stand at the top of the hill and are consumed with  all the emotions that come from that success. And really - that''s what keeps us going, isn't it? The hill is what life is about - it's about keeping on keeping on and taking on challenge after challenge and arriving on top. That success is what keeps us going toward the next hill - and why we run it!

We train  in life too. We study the Word, pray and get acquainted with God. That is our training for the next hill we will face in life. When we meet a situation head on and make the right response or react in an appropriate manner - we conquered that hill. So keep training - there are lots of hills out there that need to be conquered. And each success will drive us to the next!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

That may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but I almost had to sacrifice my Monday run due to another obligation. It was okay, but it only gives me 4 days in a row to run and some weeks I need an off day in the middle. My goal of course is to work up to running all 5 days - with a little biking thrown in.

I have several goals right now - but I can do them all at the same time basically, so it's not too overwhelming. The heat has got to be beaten, miles have to increase, and I need to lose at least another 10 pounds. Since none of these are mutually exclusive I should be able to work out a plan!

Sometimes we give up too soon on projects or plans because it gets too complicated. That can make us feel like none of them is do-able! I am finding that if I hang in there and don't change the goals just because of a complication I can figure out a way to accomplish almost anything! Here's an example. When I am running I get all sorts of ideas. I write stuff in my head for all 7 blogs I keep up with, I think of awesome lyrics, find solutions to life's puzzling situations...solve all the world's problem including reducing our national debts.... (Have President Obama call me!) lol! I really get all sorts of ideas while I am running and can't remember any of them when I get home! How do you fix that? I can't carry pencil and paper with me and stop every little bit to write down an idea for this week's ministry newsletter! Aha! I have a small digital recorder which I can slip into my armband with my ipod! easy to use (I'll sound funny when I play it back) - Mission Accomplished!!

I am learning that many of the corners we get backed into are breeding grounds for great ideas and solutions to many of our problems. And the truth is that many times we won't change some things until we are backed up and must make a decision or a move. What needs to be changed in your life today? Don't pick all one hundred choices - pick one thing and just change that one thing today.

I don't think God expects us to look at the whole picture and do everything all at one time. He didn't equip us like that. But He did give us a brain that is better than a computer...and if we will take some time to think things through we can make some necessary changes. Add 5 minutes to your devotion time, get up  15 minutes earlier and change your whole day! Cut your caloric intake by 100 cals a day...small changes can lead to big things!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Comfortable with Discomfort

I have officially lost 5 pounds over the last week. It certainly took a lot of willpower to make the necessary dietary changes. Plus by body is sore from the extra activity. Some would say that willpower comes easily. I think something else gives strength to willpower...discomfort. As long as we are comfortable where we are we will not feel like we need to make any changes. All too often we become comfortable with our discomfort rather than making the choice to change we embrace it as the norm and do nothing about it. But discomfort is what gives us the drive to change.


I was thinking about the baby eagle and how when it is time for them to grow up she removes all the "fluff" from the nest. This causes the bird great discomfort - enough for them to find another place to stay. Would it make any sense if the little bird went out and built a nest without the cushions so they could have one "just like mom's because it was so uncomfortable? lol! Of course not!

We have to chose to allow the discomfort to give us the energy to change. I don't like the way my clothes fit. I am not going to go buy new clothes so my discomfort has more room to grow!! Instead, I'll make the choice to change what I need to so that I feel better. When I get uncomfortably hungry - I go step on the scale, or think about my last run where I felt like I had a spare tire tied around my middle, or think about how heavy my legs felt on the other run...

When I increase my miles or go for a longer run than I am accustomed to, it's a given, I'm going to be sore. Now that is a discomfort that I am willing to embrace because it is the sign of change. We have to be careful to embrace the right discomfort! Which discomfort is making you better? Which ones are making you slack off and be less productive?

I really believe that God set up life so we'd have plenty of uncomfortable places along the way. When we get in those zones our reaction to them is everything...it tells it all...reveals who we really are - and who we want to become. A Bible example - Joseph. He was attacked by Potipher's wife, and he ran away. But I am sure if you asked him he'd say that the discomfort he experienced in prison was far better than that which he'd have had if he had been displeasing to God.

So which discomfort are you embracing today? The ones that are driving you to change your life; or the ones that encourage you to stay the same? Which is more comfortable to you?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The First Mile

Okay so yesterday was supposed to be my long run. It had been over a month since I'd run over 5 miles or so. To help myself be successful in my endeavors I set two goals. Running two hours was my minimum, I would not accept less than that of myself. The second goal was I really wanted to do 10 miles. It didn't have to be in the two hours of course...

I met several obstacles that I was not expecting. For one it was already in the upper 80's and I really wasn't prepared or conditioned for that! I did wear my camelbak as I always do on my long runs. And after about 5 miles just about every joint in my body was reminding me of two things a) how old I am and b) how difficult it was to run! And my poor toes! I've lost one toenail and have two more apparently getting ready to go through the same process...And by the time I got home I was nursing two good sized blisters... how'd that make me feel? Elated!! It is sort of like a rite of passage for a runner!

So I made my two hour goal but it's gonna take some conditioning to get used to the heat again. Another thing was I have been trying to control my weight and my joint pain with my diet. I was hoping I made a bigger difference but it was pretty rough yesterday. I did get in nearly 9 miles which isn't bad for an old lady! I'm sure my toes will thank me for the weekend off!

I am making many changes in my lifestyle right now and the joint pain was to be expected. Actually, when we begin to change we can rest assured there will be pain involved! It's part of the growing process. When we begin to bring discipline back into our lives everything may hurt for awhile...but it's just gonna have to hurt. I promise making positive changes will hurt - but you're not going to die from them. Actually, after the pain subsides, you'll live a better life!

So go ahead and make those much needed changes - discipline yourself. You know what area you need. Spend time in the word, worship Him, change your finances, make a diet plan...whatever it is - just go ahead and make the changes. It will hurt...sure...but you'll never get to the finish line if you don't run the first mile.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I Could Tell the Difference Already!

If you keep up with any of my other blogs (not that I expect you do ... but if you do...) you know I have changed my eating somewhat. Yeah, I just didn't feel well and the other day I stepped on the scale to see that I had gained an additional 5 pounds! So I called a halt to my eating habits and dove in! I've stated before that sometimes everything revolves around running when you are a runner. And my dietary changes are no different.

So I cut back and even though I am still heavier than I want to be I've already lost that last 5 pounds! Yeah me! I wondered as I hit the trail yesterday if I would be able to tell any difference yet. And honestly with such a cut in my daily calorie intake I wondered if I'd have the steam to make two laps...I did! Actually, I think I really felt better. Just 5 pounds made a difference. I can't wait to lose this other 10 - that's my goal anyway.

5 pounds doesn't seem like a lot. But think about the last time you bought a large bag of flour or sugar. (They used to weigh 5 pounds!) It isn't bad at first but if you keep carrying it around the store - like waiting in line forever to pay for it - it will feel like it gets heavier and heavier. Extra body weight is the same way...it gradually slows us down more and more.

Now I don't think the writer of Hebrews was a literal runner, but maybe he (or she) understood how the weights of life can affect us. When we carry any kind of extra weight, or baggage, around for very long our whole lives will slow down to try and accommodate. It doesn't matter if it's emotional, spiritual, or a physical ailment. If we cannot effectively put it down it will weight us down. And this is why Hebrews 12:1 speaks of laying aside all encumbrances, weights - and sins that drag us down. To walk a walk of faith is like running the trail - you just cannot do it as well if you're carrying a lot of weight around! What do you need to lay down today so you can keep running this race of life?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

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It Made Sense to Him!

The first time I rode up to check out the trail I decided to ride it first. That way I could check out the terrain and length to see if I wanted to try to run it or not. As I started a runner was coming my way so I asked him a couple of questions regarding the trail, like how long it is and if it's difficult to follow or not. He assured me that it was laid out simply and that it was about a mile and a half. But there was one T where if you navigate correctly you go around the "lake" (it's barely a pond in my book...). Then he made this statement Just stay on this path and you'll be fine.  I thanked him and rode on.

About a third of the way in, I came to a T in the path. I could continue going straight or turn sharply to the right. I thought about what the young man had said stay on this path.Well, "this path" seemed like I should go straight to me! But I soon found I had been looped around some little neighborhood just before the path met the blacktop on the other side. I went back and made the, now left hand, turn. He was right - easy path!

As I thought about his instructions "this path" made sense to him because he understood that "this path" was going to take a sharp turn. It seemed to me that he was familiar with this path! And he knew exactly where it was going. But to the novice it all looked the same and "this path" could really be either direction!

How easy it is to be so familiar with the things we've done for so long that we fail to realize someone else might not understand? I had a math teacher like that once too! lol! He could do some really high level math but he could not explain to us how to get from step one to step two! Because it just made sense to him.

If we are not careful our Christian walk can become so familiar that we don't know how to help others along the way. It is too easy for us to assume (because this is a Christian blog - I won't say what you're thinking!) that others know what we know. As believers we need to take the time to carefully explain the things that we have come to see as just understood, or mundane. Everyone isn't as familiar with the simple stuff as we may be. Take time to help others find the right path - don't make assumptions about what makes sense - we are called to disciple, not just run the path!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Embracing the Challenge

Mondays I try to get in a good little chunk of mileage. It kind of lets me stack it up so that it's easier to meet my mileage goals for the week. That way I don't feel like I am playing catch-up the rest of the week and there's less pressure to get it all in. I prefer going at least 5 miles on Mondays - Plus I'm coming off two rest days so it just makes sense!

Sometimes I can imagine the hills are issuing me a challenge. I can't wait to tackle them and take 'em down! Yesterday was no different. I headed out and the big hill on my chosen route is about a mile and a half from the house. That gives me plenty of time to get warmed up good before I get there! I love the challenge!

What I wasn't ready for was the return trip. (I prefer out and backs because I know my legs need the well rounded workout.) But when I turned around to come back I was facing a stiff head wind! I pushed it so hard! And each time the wind picked up - I picked up my pace in response. I refused to go down without a fight! lol! Talk about a full body workout!

I realized I was almost looking forward to these challenges. I embraced them and literally faced them head on! But in life it's not always so (for me anyway!). Don't we all like the easy path - if given a choice we will all choice the path of least resistance. I want to become more like my inside runner. One who sees the challenges as strengthening exercises, or character builders; rather than one who is always trying to escape.

We have no record of Joseph trying to get out of the prison so he could fulfill the dreams God had given him. Teh disciples rejoiced (yeah - rejoiced!) when they were ill treated for the sake of the gospel. Maybe challenges require a different perspective. Rather than seeing them only as adversity which seems to be tearing away at our existence..perhaps we should shift and embrace them as they are the tools that build our stamina and develop our character. So for today - embrace the challenges - and literally make the best of them. You do not face them without the strength of His word to help you work through to victory.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trail Running - The New Adventure

For several weeks I had been driving by this wilderness area. It's only a couple of miles from my apartment and I've been wanting to explore. Finally, Thursday was an off day (supposed to be a rest day) from running and for cross training I figured I would ride my bike up there to see about the trail.

It turns out to be almost exactly 2.5 miles up. That means I get a solid 5 miles of biking in! That's a plus. The internet said the trail was one mile. I thought maybe I would ride it to check it out and then come back and run it at a later date. I passed a runner who helped me know where some tricky spots were as far as following the right trail. Then he told me it was more like 1.5 miles around. I rode it first, then decided I had time to run it once just to see if I liked it...I loved it!! So I went back Friday and ran it 3 times!

While I was exploring I thought about how different the terrain was. But it didn't matter if I was riding there are on the supposedly smoother pavement of the road, I was still riding! It presented different sorts of obstacles and challenges but no matter where I was riding - I was still riding. Some things were the same. I had to maintain my balance and speed. I had to navigate properly and I had to know when to use the brakes! These are the types of things that do not change no matter how the terrain changes.

Life presents many different situations. No matter what the terrain of today some things remain the same. We must know our limits..know when to brake... know when to rest and how fast we can go safely.

We have to keep our balance. This is true in virtually every single area. Even religious activities must be conducted with wisdom and balance. Our eating, playing and sleeping must all be in the right proportions so that no one of them controls us.

We must be able to control our speed - how fast we handle each situation can determine success or failure. 

No matter what terrain we are traveling on in life presently - we must keep our eyes on the trail and stay focused on Him, He is the author and finisher of our faith...we need Him to survive.

Monday, May 23, 2011

God Hates a Proud Look

All weekend long I could hear "the big hill" calling out a challenge to me! So this morning I put on my running shoes and headed straight for it! I was doing pretty good too. To be honest I didn't find it to be too terribly challenging as my mind was walking through so many other things I really wasn't thinking about it much.

I got to the road that is about half a block from the top and two cars approached the intersection. No problem. The first one went on through and the second one stopped...right on the cross walk! For safety reasons, even though I know I have the right of way - I go behind the car. It's part of never assuming someone else sees you just because you saw them! I kind of shake my head in disbelief at people's driving habits but am really caught up in my music and thoughts too much to worry about it much. But then I saw her look...the Biblical term for what it looks like is a proud look. I could be way off (but I'm not usually!) but it was this smirk, I am here you are not, I don't care who I inconvenience, I think the world revolves around me... look. Very smug - and well, proudly disdaining. If that makes any sense at all. And it made me instantly mad.

Well, something like that really isn't worth compromising my time for so I didn't even look back but just kept on running toward my goal. But I immediately thought of the scripture in Proverbs 6:16-19 which lists the 7 things God hates. "A proud look" (or haughty eyes depending on the translation) is the first  thing listed!

I immediately went to prayer for a few minutes. I asked God to help me remember when I have done the same thing. I prayed that the next time I have that sort of attitude like a supremacy over someone else - for Him to reveal it to me immediately so I can correct it. I am sure we have all done it sometime to someone... but it was certainly something I do not ever want in my life again...time to do some soul searching to rid ourselves of anything from God's Most Hated list!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It didn't look like much to begin with!

After my whole week off I knew I needed to go easy on this old body this week. I ended up logging about 11 miles. That's a little more than half of my normal weekly miles. Next week my goals will be closer to 15 miles as I gently build back up to longer runs. I still have a 10K and the Chicago half to prepare for.

In addition to this I am making some dietary changes - going at it slow so I don't send my body too much into shock! I'll eat what I have here so I don't waste what I've spent, but begin to replace with whole, healthy options as I need to buy more. And I started walking in the evenings.

When I first found this apartment one of the things I liked about it was the park with a paved path that is behind the complex. My son is in a wheelchair and it looked like a great way to get him out of the house. It really was a factor in choosing this particular apartment. I measured and it's about .4 of a mile long, but it's an out and back. From my door, through the park and back is right at 1.2 miles. Now that doesn't sound like much...but I've already logged over 5 walking miles this week! If the weather cooperates, I'll get in over 6 by the end of today. That's not much, but when you are working on fitness goals, every little bit helps...and it all adds up eventually!

Sometimes it's those little things in life that eventually add up to something. This can actually be positive or negative. Think about it - ever had a day where you said it was the straw that broke the camel's back? That meant the last little thing was what broke you! One little thing at a time is easier to handle but when even little things keep digging at you all day - eventually it will get to you!

The positive reflection here is that it doesn't take much kindness to all add up either! Making little decisions like finding one person to show an act of kindness to each day - it will change your perspective and even though it doesn't look like much - it can make such a huge difference for them - and in you! As one who is basically shut in I know it doesn't take much to make that difference. Some days just a simple phone call from a friend (for nothing in particular) can change the feeling of the whole day. A friend bringing by a snack, or just stopping by - things that don't look like much can make a big difference in someone else's world and in my own attitude.

Think about that the next time you are standing in line at the store getting frustrated with how slow they are going. It's not fun for the worker either and they probably have to hear about it from every single customer who comes through...be the standard- you may make - or break their day by the words you say...