Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Nearly Cried...

Seriously. When I went to the Expo to pick up my packet for the race Sunday I actually teared up with excitement. I know I won't do great in comparison to others...but it's about me doing my best. I didn't really realize how excited I was until I looked up at all the choices and found the "half marathon" line! Crazy, I know!

And of course I keep vacillating back and forth between excitement and horror! lol!What was I thinking?  Keeps running through my mind as I realize the race is upon me! But thinking back offers a little bit of comfort. I was so scared right before that first 5K...and now I shrug that distance off. I run more than that on my daily runs now.

I think these feelings are true when we face new experiences. It's the unknown that scares us! But after some experience then the unknown becomes the known and many times becomes common place. Then it can become drudgery. I've seen this in many different areas including the church world.

We go to a new church and hold back until we feel safe, then we excitedly join in all activities and services. But before long it becomes common place and then it's just work. And sadly enough it can be this way in our personal prayer life and Christian walk as well. How to guard against it? Relationship. That's what keeps that invigorating energy pumping! Think about it on a purely natural level, like on your job. If you have good relationships with fellow workers or your boss - you love the job. If it's just a 9 to 5 and you sit in front of a computer screen without relationships with others it's drudgery. We must concentrate on maintaining a relationship with Him...that is the key to keeping life interesting! It won't be a commonplace existence if we stay in constant fellowship with our Creator!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Winning Isn't Everything?

Sometimes we just have to face the truth and be very realistic...it helps us deal and survive! I am not going to win the half marathon. I will finish it though  that is determined! I won't look back and I will complete the course that is laid out. Sports minded people (like me) can be very competitive. This attitude has helped me compete against myself to improve myself, but it can be destructive if it's not kept in check. So for me I have to redefine winning. And that means taking a realistic look at where I am.

I am 50 years old (or young). I rarely sleep more than 6 hours at night and even more rare is to get a chunk of sleep more than 3 or 4 hours long. (this is because I am a caregiver to my son who has a TBI) I have to train in the two hour slot when the aid is here or not run at all each day. As many do - I face tough emotional battles and frustrations with life. And I am just overall tired today! lol! I've had to work through two or three injuries during half-marathon training and got behind schedule because of two back to back blizzards. (that meant no aid came and no run for about 2 weeks) I've only run 10.5 miles max...falling far short of my personal goals.

Winning to me will be finishing.

So as I struggle with tiredness and not even wanting to run this morning I tell myself just log some miles.  And I will head on out the door here in a bit. Sometimes these days can yield the best runs if I can talk myself into getting out the door!

How many times in life do we face tough situations and want to give up or quit? If we can just convince ourselves to get up and get out the door...I wonder how Jesus felt having to get up and get out of heaven's door just to come to earth to die? That probably looked to some like a race that was lost before it started too...but He finished it. And then He got up and sealed the victory! That's why we are to consider Him who endured the cross and endured the shame... and when we consider Him - everything else tends to come into proper perspective.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You Never Know What You'll Get

That's right - rain and wind is th forecast for Sunday morning's race! Yikes! I was ready for mild and beautiful! No luck this year. It looks like my first half marathon will be wet and cold! But you know us runners - I'll be running anyway! You just never know when you sign up what the weather will be like. That's one reason I never let the weather discourage me from my training runs.

I have found that this is true with life as well. We really do not know what a day may bring - but we gotta keep running anyway! One Saturday morning when life was good and I was working toward my goals and plans, I got the parent's dreaded phone call, my son had been in a terrible wreck and he'd been medi-flighted to a hospital...Job had no idea that one morning when he got out of bed that he would lose literally everything  that day - including his children.

More recently tsunamis, tornadoes and earthquakes have hit unsuspecting locations. We really do not know what a day will bring. We like to have it all planned out - and we should - I believe it's wise to practice careful planning. However, when there is a wrench, like a tragedy or trauma thrown in - it won't cancel life's race.

We have to run in inclement weather, with aching joints, strained muscles...just gotta keep it going. Life doesn't stop for tragedy...it may change drastically and you may wish it would stop and let you off...but we must look to our examples.

Jesus faced the cross- He didn't look for a shortcut. CS Lewis said "In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not." We may have to face life head on in the midst of terrible circumstances - but morning will come. It may not come when and how you want it to- but if there's a night (a dark night of the soul) there will be a morning! You never know what life will put on your plate today - make the best of what you have in front of you...and keep running.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gut This One Out!

My emotions are so back and forth about the my first half marathon! I have only 5 days! Yeah! ... and Yikes! I am going to have to gut this one out! I am confident that my training thus far will get me through the race. I don't have to do anything but finish! After all I am a half a century old doing my first half marathon! It still is somewhat overwhelming just to think about now and then.

Life can hand us many challenges. It's easy to be overwhelmed when situations don't go as planned or tragedy strikes. All we can do is trust that our training will help us gut it out.We know the Lord is our strength - and we can do all things through Christ and those are easy to hold on to during our everyday activities. But then when the big ones come along we must trust that we have been prepare by staying in His word.

Life brings us variety. Some trials are like sprints, over with quick. Others are more like marathons where we must learn endurance, steadfastness and strength to keep going. Our every day study of (and living  in ) His word is what prepares us for both types of trials...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Throwing Out Faith?

Okay, so now on to the mental part of running. This is my toughest challenge yet to be sure. I only got in 10.5 miles on Friday. There were lots of factors that caused limitations. I just ran and didn't calculate until I got home and was pretty disappointed really. I hope to run light this week. I think that was one problem Friday is that I put in longer miles and ran more days.

The half is this coming Sunday and I'm having thoughts of ditching! Is that crazy or what? I know I can walk it and set a PR! And the main thing is not how well I do - but just that I finish it. If I crawl or roll across the finish line at midnight that's fine - I will have finished it...and that's what matters.

Isn't this the same as life with faith? We just have to be finishers, not always come-in-firsters! We gotta finish what we started. For many it's too easy when things get tough or too challenging to just want to ditch it all and throw out our faith. Even though that's really impossible for true believers - we still think about it occasionally! (or maybe that's just me!)

But the thing is that just like the marathon life's training sessions can leave us drained and feeling like we're not going to make it. But we just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. You know what? That's faith in its simplest and purest form! Just keep keepin' on...

The Bible is full of stories of true faith-ers. Not those believing for beautiful mansions and BMW's, but real down to earth people trying to make it through life living day to day. Like Joseph. If we could pick someone we wouldn't condemn for giving up it would have to be Joseph! His own brothers sold him into slavery...but he didn't lose faith. We see this when Potipher's wife tempted him and he wouldn't sin against God.(Genesis 39:9) And you know what - he even ended up with all the riches but that was not his pursuit.

So, don't give up you have more faith than you give yourself credit for! Just keep running...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grace for the Journey

As usual the day before my long runs, more challenging runs, or race day the day before is full of stress and usually very little sleep. I haven't figured out how everything knows to come crashing in 24 hours before a huge day but it does. So in its usual fashion yesterday was full of all kinds of emotional and other crazy stuff. Today is the last chance I get to try for a really long run before the half marathon on May 1. And add to that the uncertainty of new shoes and man, what a crazy combination!

But I will put them on here in a  bit and head on out the door...because that's what runners do. We run anyway! We're are geared kinda like the energizer bunny...we just keep going, and going, and going...lol! I find I need running to alleviate my stress! So with my heart heavy, my mind full and a brand new pair of Brooks I head out the door this morning to hopefully log the most miles I have ever done. Why? All so I can at least feel a little more prepared for the half that's coming up!

Isn't this the same thing we do in life, and especially as Christians? We just keep going. Circumstances cannot stop us, mind boggling situations cannot hinder, and no matter what we just keep putting one foot in front of the other and face another day, another challenge, with all the grace He gives! We just gotta keep moving along. Life didn't come with a "stop" button or even a "pause" button. Although that might have been nice so that we could catch our breath now and then! (I think that's the whole idea behind the Sabbath though...just sayin')

So today on my run I am going to try to keep my meditation on the peace He gives, and how He supplies His grace for the journey...I'm going to need it! And I'll just keep running...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Patience - Not One Of My Finer Points!

I got my Brooks a day early! I was like a kid at Christmas, quickly pulling them out of the box. Then I had to put them on to see if they would really feel like running shoes; and of course they did. I looked a little funny running around the house. But I was so excited I did not even care, and besides who's gonna see me anyway?

In all the excitement I finally realized that they had come a day earlier than they were supposed to. Then it hit me that Thursday is my day off so I can get all my errands done. I have to wait another whole day, til Friday, before I get to put them to the real test! I think my feet literally started itching! But when I do get to try them out Friday, it'll be my long run. Hopefully it will be my longest run yet and a real confidence booster. My half is one week from Sunday and I am getting a little anxious...did I mention I hate waiting?

Waiting can be a fine art you know; and patience, I've heard, is a virtue. I do agree that they must both be developed in us. But why can't we have patience right now? Why can't there be a patient button  installed at birth and when we are anxiously awaiting something important or exciting we can push it and just be okay with the waiting?

I am guessing that since it is listed in Galatians 5 as a fruit of the Spirit, it has to be grown, it won't just appear. And waiting is the key feature that causes the process to work properly. But, then we can put that with Isaiah 40:31- they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength! Okay, so I have convinced myself that waiting isn't all bad and that the end product is not only patience but a regained strength given by the Lord!

...waiting's not so bad since there is real fruit...enjoy your waiting today!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Encouraging Strangers

J. was so cool! I talked to him at Brooks Sports yesterday about my running shoes order. It was one of those things that just has to be cleared up. When  I ordered my shoes I clicked submit and it said "You're order has not been processed please correct the indicated field." I made the correction and clicked submit again...and it didn't go through until the fourth time. Yeah! Got my shoes ordered. Then I checked my email and had a notice from the bank that my account was overdrawn! I was like What the.....?

So when I called to talk to a Brooks rep J. answered the phone. We discussed how the process works and how soon the extra charges would go away and my account would be squared away. He also told me I should get my shoes by Thursday (tomorrow)! I said, "Yeah, that's just in time for my long run!" And then we started talking about running. He is training for his first half marathon too! It was like an instant camaraderie...and it centered around running. Isn't it funny when we meet a total stranger with common interests - how quickly we can be involved in exciting discussions?

The sad thing is that with us religious folks it can be the total opposite. At first we find that we are both Christian and that works well until we discuss anything doctrinally. Then we are done if there are differences. How sad is that? I can talk to a total stranger about running and be totally invigorated...but to find a fellow believer can be instantly dividing all because of denominational barriers...

What if Christians were like runners? One thing I love about a race is that there is nothing judgemental. It's like everyone celebrates that you're there and it's a very encouraging environment. I love when I'm running and the time keeper says, "You got this one"... and I'm lagging a good half hour behind the front of the pack and no where close to the finish line! Or people I don't even know are on the sidelines cheering me on with a "You're almost there!" or "Only a mile to go!" I'm sad to say this doesn't happen in the church world. We sometimes don't encourage people we know let alone total strangers!

Today - find someone different than you - and encourage them along their way.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm A Runner - That's Why!

I'm not too sure if I run because I'm crazy or I'm crazy because I run! But I am pretty sure it is either one or the other. As you know from some of my last entries my shoes were hurting my feet. And my first half marathon is now less than two weeks away. I was frantically trying to find some shoes (Brooks of course) within my budget...which is very small. I couldn't sleep, eat or work until I ordered the shoes.

Finally I found some on the Brooks website. I needed GTS 8s, but had tried on GTS 11s and knew they would work. The 8s are of course all gone in my size as they are an older version. After hours of searching I found some GS 9s or 10s (can't remember which right now) for only $65. That's not bad for running shoes.

The thing is that since they are outdated ones they didn't have my all too common size in any of the "cool" colors all they had was the black ones. I really wanted blue. But hey - for 65 bucks who can complain if they work right? So I ordered them and paid the extra 10 dollars to "expedite" which I hope means that they will be here this week so I can run in them a couple of times before the half...

What if we searched for things in life with that kind of energy? Of course our search for God should be relentless...but if we carefully searched until we found the things we wanted inside His kingdom it would rock our worlds. If we seek out His kingdom first He said that everything else  would be added to us. That's kind of like Solomon's search. God asked him what he desired and he asked for wisdom. Solomon didn't ask for riches, fame or anything common - he just wanted to rule God's people in wisdom. The cool thing was that riches, wealth and true honor come with wisdom. It's some sort of really cool package deal! If we pursue Him...we'll have the full life we desire down deep. And many things we think we desire - really won't matter any more...what are you searching for?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My Mind is Playing Games Wtih Me

I am totally stressing out over the shoe issue. I keep telling myself I will run this if I have to carry two or three pairs and change them throughout the course! I'm pulling out my retired Brooks tomorrow to see if they will work. I am hoping that switching back and forth between the two pairs of shoes will be enough break to get me through.

I try to do one race a month and as it happens I will do the half marathon on Sunday and then a 5K on Saturday following. Well, the logistics of that one are still up in the air and I may pull out another 10K but it depends on who is with me for that one. My family is doing it for my son. It's a fund raiser for a local rehab facility. I am going to try to take my son to the race to see how he does. Initially I was going to push him in it but it looks like they don't allow wheelchairs on the course.

I keep juggling my thoughts and money around in my head trying to figure out how to get new shoes and compete in the half that is actually 2 weeks from today! I am really excited and all the challenges just make it more exciting for me! I had no idea there was this much strategy involved in running! lol!

Living life to its fullest takes a lot of strategy too. For most of us each day has its own set of challenges that must be faced. Facing them head on and coming out on top takes careful thinking and strategizing. We can be busy with many things but to be truly productive in our walk with the Lord we will have to make it a purposeful walk. And that will take strategy to complete! We must plan to read His word, to pray and meditate on Him; otherwise it will never happen. So start your strategy today - we should be finding time for life around time with Him - not the other way around!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Addicted to Running

I read this book called, "The Brain that Changes Itself." Actually I was reading it to help my son who has a TBI. But the doctor pointed out how addicting running can be. There's some sort of chemical that the body makes and it can give this sense of euphoria, especially after a good run or race. Running is literally physically addictive. I know I'm addicted.

Since yesterday when my shoes began hurting my feet and I cut my run short trying to avoid injury, all I have done is try to figure out how to get some shoes by Monday! lol! It's on my mind about every second.. where I can find the money for new running shoes (will be going with Brooks this time!) and how to get them as quickly as I can since the half is only two weeks from tomorrow!

It's frustrating because of the setback...but challenging which at least makes it interesting! Life can be challenging and we cannot call it quits at the sound of every struggle. Otherwise we would never get anything accomplished. We simply couldn't even try if we were scared of defeat at every turn. We must just keep on going...maybe I am more addicted to the challenge than running. At least I think that I am welcoming the challenge of finding success in every situation.

For the Christian this is assured. Philippians  tells us that we can do all things through Christ.  He has done all the hard parts for us and all we have left to do is face the challenges that present themselves by living out our daily lives in Him. Another welcomed challenge - as I know like my running challenges - it will only make the victory taste that much sweeter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Major Fail...

I completely didn't reach my goal of running 11+ miles today. There were many contributing factors. For one I started some cross training yesterday which caused my thighs to be pretty sore and tight starting out this morning.. no worries though, right? I can run through that!

The the weather turned crazy on us. The wind was blowing like crazy with gusts up to 50 miles an hour. It was wild and cold this morning! I had decided to run a 5.5 mile loop double - out one way then double back and do it the other way. I chose to run the uphill direction first so that on the second half I'd have more downhill...however, the wind was in my face after I turned around and even downhill was a super challenging full-body workout! I am so sore - even my arms were tired from working it!

I cold feel my toenail coming off as it's been in bad shape for quite some time. But I ignored that right? It's minor details that are better left unattended while running. But my foot had this pain in it and it was growing more intense the longer I ran. About mile 8.5 I decided to hobble on home rather than risk a stress fracture and be out for weeks letting it heal...major disgusted...major fail...

I have several things going through my mind. First one is that there is absolutely no way I will give up now. Secondly, I'm figuring if I have to walk the whole thing as long as I cross the finish line I'm a winner...

But when I got home and slipped my shoes off to see if my foot was still there...the pain immediately stopped! I haven't even had a twinge since I removed the shoes and I could barely walk on it coming in. That tells me it's the shoes! Yeah! Problem solved, right? Wrong!! The half marathon is two weeks from Sunday and I have one more week to hit it hard and squeeze in a long run. Then the week before run regular in preparation. But running shoes cost lots of money! I will go back with Brooks Adrenaline though - they never hurt my feet. I have my retired pair but they have over 600 miles on them and it could do more damage to dig them out - but don't think I haven't thought about it already!!

So here I am not sure what to do and how this is going to play out. About the only thing I know is that I will find a way! It's that type of determination that takes us through life's toughest challenges. That I'm gonna make it no matter what attitude is what real winners are made of...no matter if we are limping or hobbling or too broke to buy new running shoes!! I'll find a way! Hang in there - that's all that life requires sometimes...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Naproxen in My New Best Friend

Naproxen really is my new best friend providing it keeps the pain at bay today so I can get another 5.5 miles in. All I hope is for improvement! I have taken it for a couple of days and used the heating pad! I can move and get up and down without as much of a sharp pain so I'm gonna try my run this morning. I can still get most of my weekly miles in if I can do another 5.5 and then the 11 or so on Friday.

It's very frustrating to not be able to do what you want to do. Or to sort of be able to do it only with sharp pain! sheesh! I like the wisdom that I at least think I have gained from getting older, but my body is giving me fits! So I guess no matter what stage we are in life there are advantages and disadvantages. I wouldn't want to trade what little wisdom I've accrued for the agility I had in my youth! lol!

One of our family Thanksgiving traditions used to be that my brother and I would take on all the teen agers in football. We had played together for hours and hours when we were growing up and could read each other perfectly. We did have to make some minor adjustments because of our changes in speed though!

We won every year. The closest year the kids got to beating us we were playing our three boys and they were in their mid to upper teens. We barely eeked out a win that year! But my son made a statement that I still use a lot. As we ended the game with a win he walked up to his uncle and me and said, I guess wisdom beats youth! I loved that statement almost as much as the win itself! lol!

So wisdom which is more precious that gold according to scriptures is something we should try to abide by. Proverbs tells us to search for it with all diligence...until we find it; then embrace it and live by it! Today while I am running I will be thinking about the pricelessness of wisdom...and praying that I can learn to live by the voice of wisdom found in scriptures.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Project Pain

That's what my running was yesterday! I had this glitch in my back that had been gone for a few days. Only it would have a little twinge now and then. And I had forgotten to take my naproxen for ...oh.. how ever many days (that's the trouble of course I keep forgetting!). So about a little more than half a mile into my 5.5 mile run it decided to "glitch" again! I was so mad... but determined!

I thought about going back but I just don't keep that in my vocabulary. So I pushed forward. My thinking was it is not a run related injury so it shouldn't hurt it more - even though it might irritate it somewhat. And that it did! A little more than half way through it got a little better - but it was one of my toughest runs so far. I still only did the loop 7 minutes longer than the first time I did that loop. And I was going the other way which is more uphill. So I didn't feel too bad about my time. I think I am feeling the time crunch with the half coming up in less than three weeks!

Life can bring us through seasons of pain. It can be real easy to turn back and lose out at the first site of pain. Now don't get me wrong, there are some types of pain you have to take time off for. This was not that kind of pain and i knew it! But in life pain can cause us to sit at home and never reach out to others again. And then there's church related pain. That can be some of the most severe pain there is, especially when inflicted by leadership. I mean, think about it - you trusted them! And it's not physical but it is emotional, spiritual and even psychological. Plus it even effects our religious side..because it hurts in so many areas it is certainly one of the deepest and most intense pains there is.

But we cannot turn back...
we gotta keep running...
even when it hurts.

 And that's the truth! We cannot stop because pain. We must continue our walk with the Lord no matter what others do to us or around us. It is a difficult decision with eternal ramifications.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Even if I Run Alone

My first half is now less than three weeks away! Three weeks from today I will wake up having completed my first half marathon and continue training for my next one! I cannot wait for that feeling!

One thing that I am kind of sad about is that no one will be going with me. Actually my sister and nephew went down to Louisiana for my first 5K ever - then they came back in a month and my nephew ran a 5K with me. And now my family does one 5K a year for my sister who has a brain tumor (It's for the Brain Tumor Foundation). Other than that I always go alone. I don't have anyone on the sidelines cheering me on...

But it's not that I really need it. I am an independent person and I will run and enjoy my successes no matter what...so it's not necessary. lol - if it was I wouldn't run at all! IF other's participation or encouragement was needed there really would not be a half marathon coming up. But you know - even though I made it unnecessary in my emotions...I still wish sometimes...

But it's really irrelevant anyway - in life we do not always have the luxury of others running with us. They choose a different course and if we are lucky they might cheer us on from a distance or tell us that they think we are doing well from their armchair...but we must run this race of life as best as we can whether we have others encouraging us or not. Everyone is not going to understand why we run - or our religious walk. We cannot sit out and give up just because no one else understands the significance it carries in our lives.

Hebrews 12:1 says that we must run with endurance this race that is set before us. Life doesn't carry an opt out clause. We have to take it as it comes whether or not that means we are alone. Running the Christian race is the same thing.. we gotta run it - no one can run it for us - and it's not a requirement to have someone running with us... so run the race with endurance. Run it and keep running and don't worry about running alone - because One is running it with you- and He said He would never leave us to run alone!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

15986-- My bib number for my first half!!

Yep - they emailed me the packet information and that is my assigned bib number! The race is only 3 weeks from today now!! I am excited. I am also anticipating a great running week this week. I'll start tomorrow with my 5 and a halfer then do a couple 3-4 mile runs and finish up on Friday with 11... that's the plan anyway!

I am really excited because there is really no way to fail from here. It's my first so no matter what it'll be a new PR! lol! It will give me something to shoot for in training for the Chicago half this fall...

I'm not sure - but I think I am a runner now! I've always wondered when I would know - and now I know. I am definitely a runner! I am not an elite runner - I'm a real slow - pretty much over the hill - just keep moving runner - but I am a runner!

It's cool when we know our identity and where we stand with it. I think that in our Christian lives this gives us much trouble. We either set expectations too high for where we are -- totally unrealistic to try to be perfect in every way. lol! But when we know who we were before He touched us... and see who we are in Him  now -- that's a very comforting thought. One thing I am learning for sure - while we are always striving towards being better and successful - what is ahead of us isn't the best way to measure. We must occasionally look back to see how far we've come. That's what will encourage us! So keep looking ahead - and behind... and keep moving one foot in front of the other! We'll get there!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Getting A Little Nervous

So.. my first half marathon is only three weeks away! I am excited...and scared too. I think I am just getting some of the nervous jitters. I wish I had the money to do a couple more 10K's before the big day! I know I can do it.. I've done 10 twice now and this week I will do 11, and hopefully 13 the next. Then it's the easy training the week of the race. I will probably pretty much run it like a normal week.

My normal week is a couple of medium runs, maybe a short one and the long one at the end before the two day weekend where I can relax and recover. I don't see any reason to do it any differently just because it's a race. I am only competing against myself anyway! And first races are always a new PR! So I can't lose even if I walk the thing.. which I am certain I will not do!

I basically will be very excited and a little nervous but realistically it's only about the distance and I've been working up to it nicely anyway. Maybe it's like the big test and we wonder if we studied enough to pass! Maybe if we didn't stress over it, we'd do better in the long run! (no pun intended - but enjoyed nonetheless!)

In life I'm now wondering if we just took each day as it came instead of thinking about the tests that might come, if we wouldn't do better on life's tests! If I just live today like I run - doing the best with what I have and giving it my all...won't today be successful? Test or no test? If we live life a nervous wreck worrying about failing the tests, we won't even get to enjoy the day...and really...that's all we have anyway!

So relax today - do the best with what you have and when the tests come (and trust me, they will!)...you'll do fine! Really.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Day Off? But I Just Got Started!

Have I said it a hundred times yet - I hate days off!!! But this week had to be an easy week with the little catch thingy in my back. Next week I should be back to my normal pace. I hope to cross the 11 mile mark. Since I moved I am having to recalculate and plan all my routes. I ran one yesterday that is exactly 5.5 miles. It's a big loop. So I figure my long run next week I will run it and then double back so that I do it twice. I am kinda excited about that since I have only a few weeks left until the half marathon! That puts me in safe range I think! Then the next week I'll run 13  - or that's the plan anyway.

Sometimes it feels like there is so many things to do just to run a few miles in the morning. You know, I have to eat right or I will run out of steam before I get to the end of the block. That's taken some tricky figuring for me too! Then there's the issue of hydration- a definite gotta do it right! And then I have to do some sort of cross training to have a well rounded muscle core... Finding the right clothes has been a challenge too! I finally figured out how to dress to run in the winter and now it's summer already! Back to T-shirts and shorts.. but with my ugly legs I gotta wear the right types of shorts... and I forgot that comfort isn't everything and the ones I really like have no pockets...and the list goes on..and on...and on...

Do you ever feel like trying to serve God is like that? You know - you master one thing and then when you go to mark it off the list you see that there are like 5 new things you forgot about! lol! Or you pick up the Bible and find it a long list of ridiculous requirements for serving Him? And sometimes going to church (which we do because it's on the list too...) is just as frustrating because they can so quickly add to our already lengthy list of things we have to do to please God...

Can I tell you that neither is really all that complicated? As for running - just get your butt out the door and take off! You'll love it! And as for God - He is not the one piling on all those crazy things you gotta do to please Him. Just serve Him ...get to know Him - it's really not that difficult He is just waiting for you to come to Him...that's all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It Was Just A Little Statement...

i don't even remember where I read it and all it said was something like you cannot run fast if you do not strengthen your core and upper body with cross training.  It hit me like crazy! It was the motivation I needed! Today will be a medium run of 5.5 miles and then next week should be back to normal. However, I will be adding more bike riding as cross training PLUS - Jillian Michaels super fat burner- metabolism booster workouts on the days I don't run.

I know I am slow - and I am old. But sometimes I feel so heavy when I am running. That one statement kicked me in the butt. I am motivated to make some necessary changes in my diet - starting TODAY! And to start some extra workouts to boost muscle building. I don't have to stay slow.

Isn't it funny how some little statement can change your mind even though you've been thinking about it all along? I guess it was like offering me a challenge. And once I see a challenge I am free to compete - even with myself!

I think the parallel here is that when we can look at scriptures and see others who made it through - they didn't stay in the fiery furnace, lion's den or wilderness forever - then we have the motivation to make changes in our own lives. For me personally, I added my music back in last night. I know it makes a huge difference in my overall mental state - but have lacked the motivation.

Now the challenge will be to stay motivated and actually put the DVD in over the weekend! As you open the scriptures today - let it challenge you and spur you into action - into change!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wisdom Triumphs Over Youthfulness

Okay so the back injury seems to have worked itself out mostly. Still little twinges here and there but mostly good to go. I still plan on making this week an easy week. That gives me two weeks to hit it real hard and then a medium tapering off week before the half marathon. (remember planning is everything!)

I started running when I was 48. I just passed my 2 year begin-aversary so you can figure that out! Yeah, I'm the big 5-0! I have to listen to my body more than I really want to. It is serious wisdom to slow down to avoid injury. When I was younger I would push and go for everything and many times be all but proud that I injured myself doing so! - I know - pretty dumb really.

As I have aged I realize the wisdom of doing the max for today and no more. It is not worth it to sit out for any length of time to nurse an injury - especially one that could be avoided! So I still go full blast, give it my best and do the absolute maximum for every single training day and race. I notice my maximums are getting higher as I continue...that's progress and that's wisdom.

When we are younger we treat everything with all the energy we can and then some, including relationships. We can injure or burn out others by pushing too hard too fast. I think I'm glad that I cannot burn out  God. However, when I look at my spiritual life the same as my training I think I can draw a parallel. Every day I can do all that I can do with maximum effort - give serving God everything I have that day...that's all He asks for anyway! When I put more pressure on myself to be better or more religious I will soon tire and have an injured soul. It's also true that when we give the energy due God to others our soul will be injured.

But I can live each day in Him to the fullest - counting only that day. And as I do that just like with running, I will see my maximums improve and see real spiritual progress.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On the Road Again!!

So - I had to take a brief break - and I hated every minute of it! I was so tied up with moving and all the chores that go with it that I literally didn't have time to run. (That's because I only have two hours each week day to take care of all my business plus get a run in - and it didn't balance out!) Plus somehow in the move I pinched a little something in my back and have been nursing it since last Thursday. Talk about poor timing! Sheesh! I'm like - the half marathon is only a month away I cannot afford an injury now!

But today I am headed back out the door. I will be very careful as to not aggravate the back thing - whatever it is. I have to sort of reset some goals now. But my goal now is to get in four short runs this rest of this week and then pick the miles up more next week. That only gives me two weeks until the big race! I have to keep telling myself that this half is just training for the Chicago half.. that helps me not get too discouraged.

There are lots of little bumps in life that tend to take the air out of our sail. It's how we deal with them and keep moving that shows our stamina and strength. If we give up at the sight of every little trial then we are demonstrating the lack of determination and strength. We must talk ourselves through some times. You know - like David encouraged himself in the Lord. If we do not encourage ourselves, no one might! Learn to talk to yourself - tell yourself encouraging things. Look up inspiring stories of others who accomplished feats even in the face of adversity.

I think that's why all our Bible stories become our favorites. We see the characters (who were real people) serving God and holding on to His promises in the face of great trials. So pick one of your Bible characters today and think about how they over came adversity. Then meditate on scriptures and how it is His strength that carries us through those times. We were not meant to do this thing called life all on our own. Get into the Word today and find some strength to continue your journey! And remember to hook up with positive people who will help push you toward your goals rather than discourage your attempts!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Uh-Oh!

So I pretty well spent the last few days packing and moving. Now I am trying to get unpacked. The trouble is that I have this catch in my back! It's not a muscle as it doesn't hurt all the time or if I lift stuff - only when I walk or move my leg a certain way...I'm pretty sure something is pinched off somewhere!

It's digging at my mind since my first half marathon is one month from today! I didn't run but one day last week since I was so involved in moving and getting things switched over and now is not the time in training to take a week off!! My head is fighting me like crazy. What am I afraid of? failure...

How do I talk myself out of it? First - I will do all I can do but nothing more to keep form injuring myself further. Second - this first half marathon is kind of a practice run so if I have to walk run it I will get it done. (this gripes me heavily as I want to know my real time so I know how to work to prepare for the Chicago half which has a time limit!!! - plus I hate  walking any portion of a race I'd rather jog slowly than to ever give up and walk!)

So as long as I think that I can walk/run in and accomplish the 13.1 miles, it won't be a failure by any means.. all I can do is the best I can. Hopefully I can take some NSAIDS and get any inflammation down and get back to running some by the end of the week...

I can talk myself through to success.. as failure is not an option! I believe this can be applied to anything in life, even spiritually. One way I deal with things is to think of worse case scenario and best case scenario. Once I see the full range of those two I can talk myself through to success on anything. It's guaranteed! I just have to keep moving and doing the best I can with what I have - and that counts for my spirit man as well. We really don't have to perform to please God anyway - so why stress over it . All we have to do is finish - that's it and that's a given walking or running. So keep walking or running toward Him and spiritual success in guaranteed!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Planning, Planning , Planning

I really had no idea this was all so mental and that so much strategy would have to be employed. It's only a month until my first half-marathon then I have time to tweak my performance before the Chicago half coming up in September.

In between, one of my friends wants me to run the 10K in Eureka Springs! That sounds fun! But I am mentally overwhelmed trying to figure out how all this fits together in a complete picture of training. It's more planning than I ever dreamed when I signed up for that first 5K two years ago in June!

How many times do we take on ministry obligations and not realize how much planning is needed? We know that word, and love to study. But then we sign up to teach a small Bible study or Sunday School only to realize it really has to be planned out, at least for it to be meaningful!

Even my morning devotions are planned in my life. I am a planner - an organizer! It has to be set as a goal and all the small steps measured out and timed - this ensures success!! WE must use the same strategies in our daily walk. Running a half marathon will not just happen - neither will a true relationship with God! It will take conscientious effort on our part. God is planning on walking this life with you - is He in your  plans?