Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love the Morning Run!

I have found that I prefer running in the mornings. I also love it when it is about 39 to 43 degrees. That is like perfect conditions for me. I don't have to bundle up and as I run I get plenty warm - not too hot or too cold! And I really enjoy running in winter better than in summer..if you knew how cold natured I am all of that sounds crazy coming from me!

Running changes us. Our metabolism speeds up and we have to eat differently so maintain proper energy levels. I know there are differing schools of thought out there on the pasta meal the night before a big run; but I have found that it does work well for me. If I don't charge up I run out of steam real fast. It's not as much what I eat for breakfast I think, but what I eat the day before that charges or drains my strength for the run.

This is true for our inner man as well. It's not so much my 10 or 15 minute morning devotion that gives me the strength to run today's race, although it does help. It's the consistent seeking after Him and His truth that sustains me in life. I told someone one time that you cannot wait until the big storm to try to figure out who God is. As you get to know Him day to day then when the storms life throws at you come - you'll already know Him and you won't be trusting in a  stranger.

So today even if you are not "going through" anything in particular take time to pursue Him and knowing God better. As we do this each day knowing Him will continue to sustain us on the walk of life. There are not really any crash coursing in trusting Him...you just learn it over time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Planning is The Key

I know I should be packing boxes and moving them over to the new apartment. But I only have two hours to work with when the aid is here with my son. So what will I do? Run first!

I must admit this is a very busy week with moving and all and it's been difficult to figure out how to balance it all out. I can pack other times but I can only run for this little two hour slot. I will run and then do errands! My first half marathon is only a little over a month away. I know I am not under too much pressure since I consider it training for the big one in September...but I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the best I can...it's only fair.

I pretty much only have three days to work with this week so I will call this an easy week and hit it hard once again next week. My goal for this week is to just log some miles and keep my muscles up. Then next week I want to run over the 10 mile mark.

I really feel like planning is the key to success. I have to plan for lots of things. One of the most important things I plan into my day and actually plan my day around (other than running) is my quiet time. I order my day based on my quiet time. I have my coffee and my Bible with me at the beginning of every day. That doesn't change much no matter what comes my way. It's pretty much a given in my day with very few exceptions. Running has to come in second to my time with God....that will bring success. It's all in the planning.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I Build My Life Around the Run!

I have so much to do this week and it's going to be difficult to get it all in. I am moving! Yeah! But that means exploring new routes too. I have to play a lot on runner's world maps to figure out new routes for next week. Today I sign my lease.

See, I am a cargiver too so I only have 2 hours M-F to get my run in. That's why I am doing the half instead of the full marathon. I can't train in the one 3 hour spot I have on Fridays. Anyway - I realized with moving and packing this week that I pretty much can rearrange my whole life around my run! I use the two hours for running and then whatever time is left I do my errands! lol!

I saw my nephew's finisher medal for the Austin half that he and his dad did a few weeks back. And that fuels the fire even more! I will try to run three days of 6 miles this week to get close to my 20 mile a week mark. Then next week I'll be back on with a 10 miler. But I am shooting for a full 13 by next week!

I can't believe I've begun to build my life around the run!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Had No Idea Running Was so Mental!

When I first starting running I thought you just put your shoes on and started running and that was all there was to it. It was all physical in my thinking at the time. I soon learned how to plan my own successes by scheduling my training although I did not call it training then.

When a fellow runner talked me into signing up for my first race I was so nervous. But as I trained for it I realized that to be mentally confident going to that first 5K I would have to run at least as long as 3.1 miles before  the race. That way I could keep telling myself you've already run this before. And that is how I started learning about the mental part of running.

Earlier this month when I did my first 10K I had to do that distance before the race so that I could talk myself through it. Yesterday I found myself doing the same thing on my second trip through my 10 mile route. I found it a lot easier and of course much of that is the physical conditioning. But mentally I knew as I was running that physically I was doing better than the first time around. I also knew I had already done 10 miles once. That made the possible shortcuts less tempting!

It's quite a confidence builder when you get your mind and body involved. I think there are things outside of running that we do not even attempt because we think we will fail. If you had told me I would ever even sign up for a half marathon when I first started running I would have laughed and told you that you were crazy!

But I've taken the challenge a little at a time. Sometimes we look at the whole picture and won't even attempt things. Christianity can be a huge challenge unless you concentrate on training your mind in one little area: intimacy with Him. I plan my life around my runs! As a Christian our lives should be planned around our relationship with Him. And we can ensure spiritual success by taking each piece as we learn it and do it well. Then take a bigger piece..and once we learn something spiritually and make it a part of us.. it should bring us the confidence in Him to walk the rest of it out because we've done it before! And even more than that...He's already done it! We don't even have the work part, just the following Him part! We can do this thing...one step at a time..!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Staying Focused Would Be Easy if I Weren't so Easily Distracted

It really is easy to get distracted. Maybe it's just how overwhelmingly huge my goals seem from where I am living right now! I was so excited to sign up for the Chicago half that I forgot it requires a lot more training as they implement time constraints. I will have to improve my time at least just a little! And that was great the other day...but now I have to get out and run another 10-miler!

I took two days off because of a slight muscle strain. So that makes it easy for me to want to scale back a little. However, I have to build at least 3 more miles and the OKC half marathon is only a month away! The last week has to be tapered off so that you are running on fresh legs. (not that my legs could ever be really fresh!)

And now the blister healed...but I have an ingrown toenail.. perhaps I should scale back for this week....and...

Do you see where I am going with this? There is always a reason to drop off training, to scale back or to lighten up. But it takes discipline to push through to the bigger goal. That thing that excited me in the first place - you know - back when I actually signed up! But then the realities of running and training have started to settle in...every little twinge can cause distraction from my goal...and it doesn't have to be something major...

In life there are tons of distractions as well. But there comes a time when we just have to suck it up and keep running the race of life too! We cannot let the little day to day distractions keep us from our larger goal - serving God with all our heart.

So today I will run - I will ignore what I can and nurse what needs fixed so that I can keep pressing toward the goal. Paul said it this way:

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect,
but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet,
But one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ.
(Philippians 3:12-14)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just Signed Up For the Chicago Half Marathon!

Yeah, I know it's crazy but it actually helped me mentally! Now I can look at the OKC half marathon as simply part of training for "the big one"! It totally changed my mental attitude about training. The OKC half is May 1; that's the one I am training for now. I've felt like I was under a lot of pressure but then last night when my friend and I signed up for Chicago the OKC half just became another part of the whole and it all fell into perspective!

It's so funny how breaking things up into smaller pieces can help us sort through and win mentally. I wonder if there's a way to do that with nearly everything? Maybe some of the lack of progress that we see in ourselves spiritually is because we make little pieces the whole sometimes. (yeah, I know I am still on that one!) You know - we take one verse out of the Bible and make it our entire doctrine or theology and it was just one thought.

But of course we always pick only the comfortable ones. For instance the term "born again" is only used one time. And I'm not saying that it's not a huge concept in our Christianity, but we build a lot around John 3:16. But Jesus also mentioned other things only one time. For instance, He told the rich young ruler to sell everything He had and give to the poor. Jesus mentioned both of these concepts one time. We build doctrines around the comfortable one and ignore the uncomfortable one! When they are both simply pieces of the whole!

I want to serve God with my whole being, not just selectively! We can look at each scripture as a piece of the puzzle and it will make the whole thing a lot more do-able! Just like running a marathon!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In A Time Crunch!

Ever been there? I am in a time crunch right now. I just realized that the half marathon is a little over a month away. I need to run the distance at least once for my own mental health! It's part of my strategy. That way race day I can tell myself It's okay - you've done this before! But now I am crunched...

I am still sore from my 10 mile which means I am afraid I'm gonna hurt myself if I push on; but equally afraid I won't get my long run in this week and then I'll never be able to work up to the needed distance! ugh! Then I have the 5K next week - which takes a totally different mind set...then only 4 weeks to race day and usually you are supposed to be tapering off just before the race! ...it's crunch time!!

So how do I battle on? I sign up for the Chicago half marathon!! That means this half is only part of my training for the big one! lol! I can then see it all as one big race season rather then simply training for the half. It makes it easier to break it in to pieces and see the little parts making up the whole. Each are being built up into this big picture that will make the season fun and challenging - and even more relaxed all at the same time.

With Christianity - sometimes we look at each thing as huge. Jesus told us to not worry about tomorrow that each day has enough trouble of its own! So my decision in running is to do the best I can with each day as it is a step toward the whole. And Christianity is the same way. We cannot take a look at the Bible and see it as overwhelmingly huge and unattainable. But if I can take each piece as I learn it and apply it to my life - I will eventually reach the whole.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Discipline for Doing the Easy Stuff

Today is a short run day. The only thing that is sore from my 10 miler is my thighs. But since they are a little bit sore still I will just be doing a let's loosen up  run today. I hate days like this. I want to work on speed work for the 5K next week. But I have to stay on track for the half marathon as it is my goal.

It's funny to me that I can dread the easy days more than the more difficult days. It's like there doesn't seem to be a challenge. Just run 2 or 3 miles easy to log the miles and loosen it all up. However, even though it seems trite it is still a small goal on the way to the big one! If I overdo it today I may get off course for the rest of the week and not be able to stay on track for the larger goal - the half marathon.

Sometimes doing the easy things takes more discipline than the harder things. But it's all part of the process. Taking time to read and apply ourselves to Bible study seems like one of the easy things to me. But as we discipline ourselves to read some every day then when trouble strikes we will have some backup! There really is benefit in the easy things...and it takes great discipline to carry them out! So do the easy stuff today - the stuff you don't really like or want to do- it will build you a better tomorrow!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

And Now that I Can Move Again...

Actually, I wasn't as sore as I thought I might be after a 10 miler. Honestly, I can say I am not looking forward to a repeat this week. That's funny to me. I was elated when I finally drug myself across the end of the trail mark. But it was more work than fun!  I think this week I'll put something really different on my ipod to listen to and maybe that will distract me! Plus it should be easier now that I finally did it!

I never dreamed how much running would require of my mind. I really thought about it as a body activity only! But it has required a lot more than physical stamina. I have to talk to myself a lot when reaching for new goals.

I am wired kinda funny. When I am presented with something new or challenging I have a way of talking myself through it. I always think of the best case scenario. Then I contemplate what would be the absolute worst case scenario. Then mentally I can deal with whatever comes of the situation because generally it falls in between those two extremes...just kinda weird I know!

I do that thought processing no matter what it is, not just running. The whole process plays out in my mind no matter what kind of situation I am assessing. Somehow thinking about the worst possible thing that could happen helps me find a happy medium. Even with things of a Christian nature. I know God's not going to send me to hell if I mess up one time - that's the worst case right? It helps relieve the pressure of making decisions because let's face it, every answer we need is not written in the Bible in plain ole black and white.  There are lots of tidbits of wisdom to help us know what to value when we are making decisions, but it's not going to say in Proverbs 32:19 - yes - move to that new apartment next week!

I don't think God gets mad at some of the things we call failures. And I think if we tried something and it didn't go just like we planned (like lots more pain than fun on a 10 miler!!).. it doesn't mean we failed. It may mean we learned a valuable lesson - in which case it's a win! We do need our brains to serve God. Whatever you do don't turn it off! Keep thinking! Keep trying.. we'll get to our goals eventually.. and remember nothing is a true failure if we learned from it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Each Step Was A New Distance

I did it! I made my first 10 miler... and I'm still breathing. Oh it wasn't a pretty run; and it certainly wasn't very fast, but it is done! Yeah, me!

I so wanted to give up along the way. I think everything I have was hurting by the time I got to mile 7. I was looking for short cuts, but encouraged myself to stay on the charted course for the entore distance. But I did have tons of crazy thoughts along the way...

  • Whose idea was this?
  • Are you trying to prove something?
  • I don't think I'm built for long distance running
  • ugh! my feet hurt all the way up to my head
  • when I get to Boyd street, i could cut straight up and be home faster...
  • there goes the hip
  • i wonder if i can bathe in ibuprofen
  • how does your thumb hurt when you're running
And the list went on and on... But then I got just past mile 7. Well, I just did 8 miles last week so I knew I could get that far. When I plotted my route to make sure it was indeed 10 miles I noted several distance spots. I knew where the half way point was and I specifically noted the 8 mile mark. It was at a street a lot like my name Jean Marie Drive.

As tired and in pain as I was something happened to me when I crossed the 8 mile mark. I had never gone over 8 miles. And each new step brought with it a new distance travelled. There was no failure past that point! Then when I rounded the corner at the 9 mile mark I had it in the bag. I was going slow...very slow.. but I was still going. And I did it!

The last two miles was simple invigorating! Not for the body of course, but for the mind and soul. I kept my mind on my feet...and I kept saying - that's one more step than I have ever run before!

Today, that's how I want to live my life with God. I want each day to be adventures with Him like I never had yesterday. I want to know a little bit more about Him each step I take in life; after all each step toward knowing Him is a new distance too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Various Methods of Training

My sister and her son were at the first 5K I ever ran. My nephew kind of caught the bug from me and said he wanted to run the next one. So we found one in the area and the next month they came down and we ran our first race together. Last November we ran our 4th race together and both placed in our age divisions.

He posts on my facebook wall that his school is hosting a 5K for a fundraiser and he wanted to know if I would like to run it with him. I was elated! I am always game for a race! As I started making mental arrangements around that date I realized I am not prepared to run a 5K because I've been training for the half marathon.

Today I will run my first ever 10 miles (hopefully!) and the distance isn't the problem. I haven't been working on speed at all. I've been working on endurance and distance to get ready for the half.When I was training only for the 5K I added distance mostly for endurance and worked on speed in between. I got a little nervous at the thought of a 5K!

In my life I see this same scenario. Some situations and trials are like running a 5K  - it's short and it's over. Other trials are more like the marathon, you run and run and run. I think sometimes emotionally we try to treat the little things that happen like they are a marathon and we drag them on and on and on long after they should be dealt with and done. Then when something big hits we try to make it go away and do not deal with it properly as if it will just go away in the morning.

Hebrews 12:1 encourages the believer to lay aside all the things that are weighing us down so that we can run the race set before us. Isn't that what it's all about? I cannot run your race and you cannot run mine. And we may be experiencing and training for different events that only God knows about. So for today - let us run toward Him while running the race He has set before us to run.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Are you Running To or From?

We all started running for different reasons. I really started because I wanted an inexpensive way to stay in shape. But I soon found out that it worked well when I needed to run away from the pain of my situation. It was (and still is) a great way to get all the tension released out of my body! Seriously, I had no idea how much it would help when dealing with the stresses of everyday life of caregiving.

But lately I think it's changed and I am more running to something rather than away. After deciding to go for the half something in me changed. I had already figured I was really a runner since I'd completed several races and arranged my free time around running! And yes I hang out my running clothes hoping they will be suitable for one more day of running! And I am elated to get a T shirt and a number along with a bagel for just about 20 bucks! So I must be a runner already! lol!

Training for a bigger race has changed my whole perspective on why I run. I am no longer running to get away from pain. I am running to my goal. I'm running for  me and not from  me! I think pursuing God may take on some of these same characteristics. I start our running from hell! I pursue Him simply because I want to escape the eternal horrors.

But after spending time with Him and learning about Him - I am now running  to Him rather than away from anything else! Take some time today to  run to Him. Learn a little more about Him and His ways. It will change your running forever!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Official - I'm Overweight!

Emotional eating used to never be in my vocabulary. But during the stress of the last 2.5 years I have found it a terrible habit. I keep healthy stuff in the house so I am not always overeating on junk foods, but I munch a lot of the time and have to bring it under control.

It's not today's meals that effect today's run...it's what we ate yesterday. If I did not eat enough of the right foods yesterday, I won't have the fuel for the run today!

That is a profound truth in many areas of our lives. Our habits today will dictate our tomorrows. This is why we must become disciplined even when it seems unproductive. I have to keep my mind on positive thoughts and those which encourage active living and proper care of this body.

Spiritually, what I eat today will effect tomorrow's journey as well. If I have not cultivated daily devotions, or Bible study into my life then when the storms of life come (and trust me - they will!) - I won't have anything to pull up for strength. Just like my food today fuels my run tomorrow - the input of God's word today will carry my through tomorrow!

I recommit today to eating right - and proper portions - spiritually and naturally. I want to prepare my spirit and body for the tomorrows I may have coming my way!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stay in the Race

You just can't run hard every single day. There's too much chance of injury if you push it with all you have every single day. I have a minimum I want to achieve each day, daily goals. Then I try to do the very best I can that day, but I know I cannot run full out every single day. (especially at my age! lol!)

So each day as I concentrate my effort on various areas I do what I can to the best of my ability that day. Some days I will work on speed, some days I concentrate on distance and of course there are days that I just try to log some miles!

Presently my training is working on distance. I am also trying to slowly raise my base speed, but my  main focus is on building distance.

I think this is a life skill we can all work on. I run each day the best I can for that day and I should also live each day the best I can. We never know what a day will bring but it's up to us to stay on course and handle it the very best we know how. Our Christian lives are no different. Each day we need to be the best we can be body, soul and spirit; following Him with all that we have to the best of our ability for that day. As we grow our ability to follow Him and please Him will grow as well. All we have to do - is stay in the race.

Monday, March 14, 2011

One of Those days!

This is one of those days that I really don't want to get out and run. I know - I love running but today I don't want to. It's been a long weekend with very little sleep. My whole body is hurting and aching - I guess it's the cold weather.

Oh I will run though! I have a goal in mind and it is only getting closer and cannot be changed to accommodate my weakness! May 1 is coming whether or not I am ready.So I will run - towards my goal. That is my running motivation for the day.

I plan on doing an easy loosen me up type of run today. I have to preserve my knee for the 10 miler I am planning later in the week. Plus I want to run at least 4 days and I do not like disappointing myself! I also didn't run over the weekend and I don't like to go more than 2 days in between runs. I'll run!

I am so glad that God did not give up on us before He reached His goal. Jesus came and completed the work the Father gave Him to do. I am sure He faced exhaustion, dealt with cranky people and just wanted to go home too! But He completed it.

And even past that He won't give up on the work He started on you and me either! Philippians 1:6 says:

For I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Just like I am determined to make my goals - He is determined to make His and part of that is the perfecting, maturing, of the saints. He will not give up on us! He's running toward His goals too! There's peace in that for me - and motivation to run one more day!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Getting Ready for the Week

You know me by now, I gotta set those weekly goals! Last week I accomplished running 4 days (working toward 5 a week), an 8 mile run, and just over 18 for the week. That's not too bad for an old lady I think!

This week I want to hit a 10 mile run, run 4 days and get over that 20 miles for the week mark. That will keep me on track with my half-marathon training...and it will just feel good if I accomplish it!

Sometimes it is more difficult to set spritual goals. Not so much setting them, but maybe measuring them. I can pray "longer" but is that always "better" or does longer accomplish "more" spirtually? I can read my Bible more, but whose to say that I get more out of it? Perhaps it is better for me to read one small passage and meditate on it until it becomes a part of me...so how do we set these hard to measure goals?

Maybe David gives us a hint in Psalm 57:7. The old KJV says My heart is fixed, O Lord, my heart is fixed. There is a determination that was made that the psalmist was going to set his heart wholely on the Lord and not be moved. That is my goal today, to fix my heart on God. Then all my daily activities will come out of that. Just like setting my goals for this week dictates my mornings to make sure I achieve them - setting my heart on Him will dictate my actions. They will all be toward Him. And that will cause spiritual growth. It may not be a real obvious growth, but when we look around we will see others through new eyes, we will love more, give more and become more like Him!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A "loosen up" Run

It was supposed to be a run to simply loosen up a little bit. Since I ran my 8 miles the day before I figured I would just run a couple of miles to work out the stiffness. That's what I told myself when I headed out anyway. But it all changed at the end of the first mile. I was feeling good and turned right instead of turning around!

I made sure to stay on a route where I could easily turn around to head back on any of the cross streets should me knee begin to complain. But it didn't, and I kept going. It was a slow just-because-I'm-enjoying-it run! I ended up going about 4 miles by the time I got back to the apartment. My knee did fine until I was about a block out! It was actually perfect because I did as much as I could without damaging anything.

sometimes we don't know how much we can do until we push a little bit. My trouble in the past was when motivated by fear or anger I would push too hard and hurt myself. But I am learning from running that I want to do all I can but not more than I can. It's a delicate balance really.

I think this is paralleled in life too. Especially in areas such as witnessing and ministering to others...sometimes we can push too hard and turn people off. But we need to walk this walk of life just like my last run life (in Him) should be a just-because-I'm-enjoying-it  life. As we enjoy our walk with Him it will just ooze out as we are in contact with others. It's not just trying to push ourselves hard to make goals we have set...it's just fun to walk with Him.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Setting Goals - Reaching Goals

I finally crossed the 8 mile mark yesterday!! It had been very elusive and it seemed like I would never get there! No I just have to get to 10 miles, but I should do that next week I hope. I didn't do it pain free though as my knee started acting up after 6.5 miles. I had to walk some of it and I hate (really HATE) that!! But better to walk and meet the goal than to fall short. And even with walking I had at least a decent "slow" time. My 2.5 hours for the half I think is a realistic goal at this time.

There's nothing like reaching a goal. It's celebratory even when it is only a smaller goal on the way to the bigger one!

There's nothing like reaching a goal to spur you on to the next one. It's like getting an energy going somewhere down inside. A confidence seems to rise - like I am very eager now to reach the 10 mile goal. I have never run more than 8 miles in my life so I cannot wait until my long run next week..it will be a new accomplishment for me!

I think it's okay to congratulate yourself on accomplishments. I have been in religious organizations that frowned on this and called it pride. But I think we are to take pride in our work, decisions and accomplishments. It's not the bad kind of "pride" that looks down on others but a self satisfaction in knowing you did the best you could with what you had. And that's all any of us can do!

Don't go around announcing your accomplishments - but take some time today to congratulate yourself on some progress you have made in some area. Give yourself a break. Unless you set goals, reach them and celebrate - you won't ever set another goal!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Taking the Shortcuts

Today my goal is to run 8 miles. I am really slow and I only have two hours to do it in. The aid sits with my son and that is as long as she is here for so I have to be back before she is supposed to leave. I know it should be okay time wise. I ran 6 miles in a little over an hour so I should be able to safely tack on a couple more miles and make it just fine.

I planned my route with a couple of shortcuts though. I specifically chose to leave one way so I could come in the other. Because coming in from the south I can jog back up this way on any of the roads and cut it short should time or strength run short. Yeah, i set my goal for the day but I also allowed for the just in cases.

How many times do we do that in life? Sometimes it might be wisdom - setting us up for success. Other times it lends itself to failure. Specifically if we are obeying what we feel God has told us. Those are the times we set up plenty of short cuts - plenty of outs "just in case." Today my prayer is that I will follow Him fully and not look for any way out of what He has told me to do. I don't want any shortcuts to be available, I just want to obey Him. I just want to run through faith the race He has set before me... happy running - no shortcuts today!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To Run or Not to Run... that is the question

I finally decided not to run, and I have lots of reasons (excuses)! My body is crying out for a break. I have been pushing it rather hard of late. My joints are all yelling at me and my back and muscles are telling me all about the over use. Joints scream about the weather changes and the cold... so I gave myself today off. But only with the stipulation that I will run 8 miles on Friday.

It's gnawing at me that I'm not running today. I can't hardly stand it but I cannot afford an injury at this stage of the game. I can feel my muscles getting stronger. I can't explain it real well but my legs feel great! (they are still ugly - but they feel strong!) I'm liking what running is doing to my body.

And so it is in our spiritual life. We should be able to tell that we are stronger than we used to be. The little things that used to trip us up should no longer be a problem. Isn't it silly to think that I would run and never see the progress in my body? Yet we expect to just live out our Christian lives without seeing the effects of growth? That's crazy thinking.

Today let's take a few minutes to reflect on where He has brought us from. Think about some of the things that He has carried you or led you through. Flex those spiritual muscles - are you stronger than you used to be? Are you growing in Him? 1 Corinthians 11:28 says let a man so examine himself and Paul said in another place to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith. He also said that if we will judge ourselves we won't be judged by others.

So take a few minutes (maybe even while you are running) today and reflect on how you are growing spiritually, mentally and even physically. Are you stronger? How far have you come?

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...
Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why Do I Run?

This morning is one of those mornings when I ask myself why I run. I am sore - mostly due to running a little harder than I should have yesterday (but hey - it felt good!). And partly due to some new exercises I wanted to start to strengthen my core.

I look out the window and it's raining lightly. It's one of those mornings that I have to drag myself outside. But I know that once I get my shoes on and get out the door I will be invigorated once again. Right now my head is playing all these games with me I have all these thoughts:
  • it's raining
  • I didn't sleep last night
  • is my heart gonna be okay
  • i am so sore maybe I need to rest
And the list goes on! But today is one of those days where we learn what we are really made of. I may seem whiney right now but once I put on my shoes and run just so I can log a couple of miles. I'll get to the first mile and be ready to go for two or three more. (Runners are funny like that)

I think this is applicable in life as well. We just need to get our "shoes on" and get moving "out the door" toward our goals. That is when we will be productive. No matter what our goals are we have to move toward them or we will never meet them. This is true in every walk of life.

If we just sit we will never see success. I have a half marathon in view... that's why I run!

We have to train our mind to help our bodies out! There's a scripture that says do not grow weary in well doing for you will reap in due season. To reap we have to plant. To run a half marathon in May - I have to move out the door in March and April! So keep sowing good things in your life and in others.. we will reap and we reach our goals.

Monday, March 7, 2011

And Now For an Easy Run

That's the agenda for today. I rested totally yesterday and now it's time to get back to work. I am pretty sore though so today will be a short, easy run. I'll probably try to log around 3 miles. That still sounds funny to me.

When I started I remember working so hard to get that first mile, then the second. Now I run a 5K distance on my easy, short days! It really helps me mentally when I can look back at where I have been. I still have a ways to go to get to my half and then of course on to the full marathon later this year. But today I reflect on how far I've come.

I think this is also a good life principle. Today I will train my mind to think on the things God has done in my life. Rather than looking at my situation which can seem overwhelming I will think about the things He has brought me through. I will not think of all that may lay ahead of me. I'll make my meditations dwell on all He has done for me. And I will pray that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart will be acceptable in Your sight O lord.

Just like it takes training to get my body used to longer distances, my mind needs training to think on good things and the things of God. This will bring success in my life as I meditate on Him.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sweet Success!

Yeah me! I finished my first 10K. I came in far less than my goal! (slow compared to everyone else but this was my first race of this length)...I was doing well even though going slow. But as I passed the 8K marker and knew I was almost there I started thinking back to when I first started running less than two years ago.

It was so difficult to finish that first mile! Then the second mile was done. Slowly I got ready for my first 5K  - I would have never dreamed I would ever even try a 10K much less think about training for the half marathon! I thought about the last couple of years of training and I was happy with myself. It may be one of the only times I just was content. I knew I had worked hard to get to this race and I was just happy because the end was in sight!

Sometimes we need to take a few minutes and just enjoy our successes. Some people do not think that this is a good practice. But there are times when it is just okay to celebrate your successes. And today was mine!

So take some time today and think about the things you have accomplished, running or otherwise. Those are your fuel for making tomorrow better. It helps you maitain a positive attitude and be able to press on into another day. I cannot wait to get to next week and push my training to the next level. Happy reflections!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rest Is Part of Training

There are so many different things that runners need to work on. It will all depend on what type of running you desire to do. If you are only doing short distances endurance training and speed training looks very different than if you are preparing for a marathon.

Speed training sessions will depend on the type of running you do as well. For me, I don't do a lot of speed training right now. Mine isn't broken up into short sprints or fartleks. What I am doing is working on increasing my base speed. I want my slowest speed to improve so that over the long run I will get a better time and have more endurance.

I'm thinking that life is more like marathon training. Yeah, those little situations that pop up here and there that do need to be dealt with; those are like a 5K - here and then a blast and they are gone. But then there are the "big" things we have to deal with in life. They don't go away in a day, a week, months and sometimes even years. Those are life's marathons and we have to have some spiritual strength to endure!

Rest is a part of training no matter what type of runner you are. There are a few who run every day (the real runners!) But even if they run every single day they do not do the very long distances every day. They change up their routine so that key muscle groups can rest. Speed work is one day, hills may be another and the long run is usually mixed in a week's training as well.

In the Christian life we need to be able to handle the small stuff, the day to day stuff. But we have to cultivate faithfulness and endurance for the big stuff too! I must say that the Word is adequate for it all. There is a scripture to help deal with all of life's situations! But we gotta get in there, dig around and pul it in our heart. For two reasons really 1- so that we do not sin against God and 2 - so we can finish the race and fight the good fight of faith!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Hate Rest Days!

It seems like such a waste. But then this is someone who cannot figure out for the life of me why God made our bodies need to sleep one third of the time! Do you know how much we could get done if we didn't have to sleep?

For crying out loud, I'm training for a half-marathon here! But no; the 10 K is Saturday and I already have over 12 of my 15ish miles in for the week so I need to rest so I do well on race day. I know it is essential for recovery and healing, but I just got going here! My legs are feeling good under me and I feel like I have reached a new runner's high...and then nothing.

Maybe God wanted us to know how important recovery is. If I could I guess I would work all the time ( or run all the time). But the down time is supposed to be refreshing. Resting can rejuvenate our whole being if we use it correctly.

God promised there would be rest for His people. He said it would always be there. I am trying to use these two days off as a resting place. Clearing  my mind - telling myself that I have prepared for this race and I'm ready...even though it's supposed to snow Saturday morning!

Sometimes with our spiritual life it's time to take a rest. Time to call everything off and just relax. Even though it messes with our minds it is a good thing to chill out now and then. Resting in Him is especially beneficial because as we rest in Him we gain His strength for a new day!

In returning and rest you will be saved
in quietness and trust is your strength
Isaiah 30:15

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

3 Days to the Race!

That's right - it snuck right up on me like that! My head is filled with crazy questions like did you know 10k is over 6 miles?...and it's a RACE!  I also hear my head reminding me over and over how old my body is - as if my joints were not speaking loudly enough! lol!

Yeah, I have a little anticipation of this race. I am not sure why though. I have prepared. I have run a little more than that distance twice in the last few weeks so I know I can do the distance. I am thinking it is something new. Aren't we always afraid of the unknown? The good thing is that I have already committed to it and paid the fees - there's no turning back now. I wonder if the butterflies will get bigger as I get close to the half-marathon I've already signed up for! sheesh!

I have to look at this race like David must have looked at Goliath. (well - not exactly  like that - but you get the analogy) He had fought before but he hadn't fought a giant before. He had killed a bear and a lion with his bare hands. He ran to the battle with Goliath. He'd already see God's deliverence so he wasn't afraid to take on the giant.

Now I'm not sure how God feels about races - but I know in life He is my strength! And I know I've done 13 5K's and medaled in four of them (in the old people's brackets!). If I've done that and prepared then I will be good to go for Saturday. I can do this one too! That's what I have to tell myself.

Life can be like that too. There are those times when we really are not sure of the outcome of situations but we must tell ourselves we have prepared and we can do it! Our mind kicks in with postitives to push out the negatives. For me that means I use scriptures from the Bible. And the one thing we must remember about racing and about life - it's not so much how we run - it's that we must finish  what we started. Don't Quit! Race day is almost here!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Full Mind Makes for A Slow Run

Since my 10K is scheduled for Saturday and I did a pretty good run yesterday I need to do a couple of easy days to just log some miles. Then I'll take two days off before the race and hopefully my legs will be good to go!

I use my run to clear my mind and get my thinking going in the right direction for the day. But today I just had a lot more to carry with me on the run. I realized how slow I was running and it was all because my heart was heavy and my mind was full.

Life can tend to be the same way. We go through it a lot slower when we are weighted down internally. A lot of days I have to make the conscious effort of lightening my mental load. The day is much more productive when I have my emotions and mind under control. However, this is easier said than done!

But this morning I had to retrain my mind to find His peace. Too bad "peace be still" doesn't work in this instance. However, I can remind myself that the psalmist said to "Be still and know He is God." And that is what I had difficulty figuring out how to do this morning.

But by the end of my run it had served its purpose. The stress was relieved and the mind was back to ground zero for the day! I love running! Now to finish getting ready for the race on Saturday.