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...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thunderstorms? Perfect Training!

On any given day there are tons of things that can be used for an excuse to not run. These excuses can range from very mild to real excuses, like my leg just fell off! And there are legitimate times when runners really do need to take a day, or even a week, off. When there is a serious injury or a family emergency it just isn't always using good judgment to try to get that run in.

And of course, if it is actually thundering and lightening it is unsafe to take a run! Actually, so far lightning is the only reason I have seen a race postponed! So this morning after the bulk of the storm passed I headed out in the rain for a good solid run. I figured rain really could be a legit excuse; but as I found out at the half marathon - you never know what you might get on race day so it could be a great training exercise. And boy was it!

First, I had trouble with my glasses during the half marathon as the rain kept getting on them and I couldn't see well. So today presented a perfect nonessential run day to see if a visor will help. It did! It got soaked and rain ran down the sides of my head but my glasses stayed clear!

I learned a lot about getting out in the stormy weather and running. For one, it was exhilarating! I can't exactly explain why, but it was! Don't you remember how much fun running through puddles was when you were a kid? I found out it's just as much fun at 50! And mama wasn't waiting at home to yell at me for getting my shoes wet!

The trees were beautiful with droplets of water hanging on the edges of leaves! I so enjoyed just seeing everything glisten in the rain. I even liked watching the droplets form and drop off my visor! Totally refreshing!

And another added benefit of running in the rain - my suntanned skin looked great! lol!

So it's not really so much about what presents itself as an obstacle today - it's what you make of it! I am starting to think that any obstacle can easily become a challenge which makes it a lot more fun to try to beat. Remember to enjoy the small things in the process of life...I'll never look at a run in the rain the same way again! I can't wait for the next raining-training session!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm A Runner?

I must admit that I am just learning about running. Although I've been at it for just over two years I consider myself pretty much a beginner. One thing I am learning though is that there really is a balancing act to be done to make the body all work. For me, it's a body,soul and spirit thing and they all have to come into balance to make me into a decent runner - which I am determined to become!

My body does all the physical part, of course. But then I have learned how stress, emotions and situations can really slow me down and affect my performance. That was amazing when I started seeing that one! But the time I run is my time; it's when I do a lot of my praying and sorting things out. So I think it's easy to say that my whole being is involved in my running adventure!

What if we could (or would) engage our whole being into serving Him? What if we literally threw our entire being, body, soul and spirit into His service? It's too easy to divide it out - our spirit is His, of course. Our soul is easily run by everyone and every thing around us. And our body is our own...do you see the problem with that picture?

If we could give Him our whole being and let Him be in control of all of it - what a true wholeness that would bring. No wonder David prayed unite me heart to praise your name. Maybe he sensed this type of dividing of himself all out like that.

It's time to tie it all together - but it in a bundle like the cable/Internet companies- and give it all to Him! So bundle up! And be whole - be complete in Him!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just Running - Or Running Well?

Yesterday I was doing a teaching broadcast. As a closer I was referencing Hebrews 12: 1-2. Of course the phrasing about running the race with endurance caught my attention. So I camped there a bit and talked about endurance and running the race well. I mentioned that a lot of people can run - but they are not running well.

By running well, I mean giving it the best you can for that moment. We cannot or will not all cross the finish line at the same pace or time. But we can each one run the very best for the moment. You really cannot run anymore than the moment you are in anyway! And for each moment we must reach out there and grab it and do the very best with what we have right now.

I also cannot run two races at the same time. I can really only be in this moment. And to run well, I really need to be in this moment.  Sometimes it can be helpful to think that we only have to endure the moment.  And seriously, we do not know what a day may bring. Each moment we do have we should embrace and welcome with open arms. Far too much of life is taken for granted...so enjoy the moment - and run it well!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hello Mr Templeton!

Yeah, that's right I was on my run, minding my own business, actually tackling a huge hill when I saw movement to my right. And there he was...Templeton! (remember the rat from Charlotte's Web?) He was huge!! And he was trying desperately to get back into a fence that was keeping him out of a very nice neighborhood. I assured him that I would not come close to him or bother him in any way!

Seriously, I have not seen a rat that big in all my life! Well, I saw a dead one once that was almost that big. He splashed his stinky guts up on my favorite orange dress when I threw a brick on him though. (at my cousin's strong urging...) But this one was huge and alive! And he really wanted back in his old 'hood!

I thought it was kind of funny that I was in a really nice area of town - well-to-do for, sure and there the rat was.. not over by the ghetto where I used to live! How funny! But then my mind went to a proverb. Solomon said that the spider (KJV) or the lizard (NAS) can be caught in the hand, but lives in the king's palace.  (proverbs 30:28)

My thoughts went to how the rich have the same things to deal with as the poor. We all can be alcoholics, have crazy relatives, are injured in accidents, have bills due... we just deal with things differently. They have rats too! It's all about how we deal with the situations that life throws at us...not how much money we have. Tragedy doesn't say, "Oh, I cannot stop here - they have (or don't have) money..." life happens to us all, we all hurt, cry, laugh...but at the core - we all need Him... period. Rich or poor, sick or well, happy or sad...we need a saviour - one who does not base His generosity on our situation but on His love!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Okay, so 5 Miles was too far after a week off!

Well, I didn't plan on 5 miles, nor did I make 5 miles! I planned on an easy 2 or 3 really. But the morning was so beautiful and I was so excited to be out running again when I got to the corner I was supposed to turn on to head back - I went straight instead. Well, after the huge hill and about 3.5 miles my knee did its thing again... not a happy camper. I had to walk all the way home and maybe I should say "hobble"...

So I had lots of time to think, and that I did. I was frustrated because I was hurting in an area I thought was okay. I gave it some time to heal after all. I wondered how many times in life we get hurt in some way and just keep trying to push it...especially in church matters. There is nothing that can hurt like those wounds we can receive from our church family. We are connected in so many ways those pains can run deeply. But how many times after being hurt in a church do we run out and try to do the same thing in another congregation...only to get hurt again in the same way?

The wound cannot heal if there is no time allowed. We really must go to Him and allow Him to heal our deepest wounds and then proceed with caution. It is flat unwise (and a catastrophe waiting to happen) if we leave one body and run into another and begin trying to be on the praise team, teach Sunday school, work with the youth...etc...without taking time to heal -

Then even after the healing has completed its course and we are whole - we must slowly recondition for the run! After allowing time to heal we won't be able to get back out and run that half marathon...it takes time. It all comes back down to waiting once again. Take time to allow Him to heal your deepest wounds - then build back up to the long run slowly! He will take care of you...it's all in the waiting...and the yielding to His plan...

Did your mom ever tell you "don't pick it - it won't heal!"? Yeah, of course she did...don't sit around and pick at your wound, rehearsing it over and over. Take it to the Lord - let Him bring the healing and renew your strength as you wait on Him...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Am A Runner...

It's funny as I am finishing up this week that I took totally off from running, I am so anticipating tomorrow morning's run! I can't wait! I think my body has recuperated enough now that it is just now realizing I actually ran a half marathon!

While I was taking the trash out to the dumpster I was thinking about tomorrow's run...and my mind went to my last race and then the half marathon that I ran a couple weeks ago. I think I actually started walking different - just thinking about having run a half marathon. That's when I had the thought: I think I'm a runner!

I still want to do a full marathon later - and eventually a full marathon. Then I want to do a Warrior Dash - those look like so much fun! And I'd like to give trial running a shot too...but all of that was not even possible two years ago when I first started training for the 5K!

It's funny how when we take on a new adventure we can barely take on the day...but then we start stretching out further and further and do more than we even imagined. And no matter how much progress we make we feel like we'll never get to do it all. I am trying to imagine what it would feel like to be able to honestly say "I did it all!" I can't even get my brain to go there because there will always be something we have not done or experienced yet. No matter how accomplished we are at one particular thing- we will never be good at everything or accomplish everything.Championship golfers will probably never play in the NBA finals or a super bowl. The players who won last year's World Series won't ever know what it's like to run a marathon...and the list goes on. We'll never ever have a handle on it all!

Maybe that's the way God designed us. If we could do everything we might not need Him. So be content and do what you can do  the best you can...and don't worry about the rest. If you could do it all...you'd be God! So I am content to admit - I'm a runner!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Body Has Actually Enjoyed the Rest! Who Knew?

I don't think I have ever taken a full week off by choice! Why would you not do something that you love so much and that pumps you so full of energy? But with the recent back to back races and extra training plus the pain in my back (the real reason) I decided to take this entire week off to rest. My body actually has appreciated it!

It's funny how a little bit of real rest without pressure to perform can give you such a boost for the next phase! I can't wait to pound some pavement next week. And it's even okay to just run 3 or so miles each morning. Then the next week I'll bump it back up. Well I do have another half marathon to train for you know!

I've always overrated rest. It seems so unnecessary and there's so much more that could be accomplished while sleeping or resting! But this week it's almost like my body has told me "thank you." Hebrews talks about a rest for God's people. I have to wonder if it's something like this feeling. You know you've worked hard and met some goals and then just sit down and rest. He did all the work for us though. That means that our only work is to try to enter into His rest. The rest He has provided for us by doing the hard part for us! So enjoy a rest the next time you have one scheduled! You will be surprised how much stronger you feel when you are rested!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Relieving Stress...When you cannot run...

I had my shoes on and was all ready to hit the pavement this morning when the aid called and said she couldn't come today as she had a family emergency. She's my relief. I am the caregiver for my son who was in a tragic accident two and a half years ago. And since she cannot come this morning I don't get to get out today at all. Actually, his accident is why I started running to begin with. After I fell in love with running I found out what a great stress reliever it has been...but I cannot run today...so what now?

Running helps all the tension run out of my body somehow. I can run four or five miles and am mentally, physically and just all around refreshed! I have found running to be great at relieving stress, mentally - just pounding the pavement for an hour or so and I can solve all the world's problems! lol!

So when I have a day like today I wonder if I am coming to rely too much on running for relieving stress. Is that possible? With the back injury I will probably just have to rest again today...and you know how I hate that! This means I only get two days to run this week. And a week off means I'll have to go easy next week too! And the tension rises...but I can't run!

What a perfect day to learn about letting the peace of God rule in my heart. That's really what it's all about anyway. Running is just one of the avenues I can use to still my mind and learn how to rest and be peaceful - full of His peace! When I cannot run it doesn't mean I have to trade out - they are not mutually exclusive! lol...I am so thankful that I really don't have the ability to rely upon myself for strength, hope or peace. I'm glad to have found the joy of running, but it cannot become a need above my need for Him! So for today I'll spend my running time running after Him! Care to join me for a run?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Uncomfortable? Good!

I was talking to my friend the other day about some of the dietary changes I really need to do so that I can be a better runner. She mentioned how uncomfortable we were when we first started running but that the pain is acceptable because of the goal. And every time we bump up the regime and push it a little more we can get sore - but we accept it as part of the package...no questions asked.

But when it comes to changing the diet...as soon as the craving makes us uncomfortable we give in. We decided to embrace the discomfort of dietary changes as just part of the journey in obtaining our final goal - being a better runner.

How many times as Christians (and just in life in general) do we avoid discomfort? Many times pain or being uncomfortable is the very thing that will spur us into much needed changes. But it is natural to try to avoid things we don't like - or things that cause pain! It is also true that to avoid the pain of feeling guilty we read or attend church. Trying to avoid one pain will not cause the true pain to go away...Our heart is geared to seek God - just as His heart is to seek us out. We try to do a lot of things to avoid this discomfort when really we need to suck it up and seek Him! Instead, we should allow the discomfort to help motivate us to search Him out even more. Discomfort can be a motivator - just like in running we embrace the discomfort and let it motivate us to train smarter and better to achieve greater results.This can be applied to our spiritual life too. So enjoy the pain! It may be what motivates us to follow more closely after Him.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Different Kind of Race

Yesterday I ran a 5K with my sister. Going back to the 5K after training and doing a half marathon was interesting.I think my heart will always be in the 5k - I just love the whole thing! It's a great atmosphere and a very positive experience. But I will continue my half marathon training.

Training for the half actually helped me out a lot with the 5K, even though I didn't do any speed training - only building endurance and distance. I still came out only about 30 seconds off my last PR and won the third place medal in my age division. (And yes there was more than two of us in the division! lol)

It's just kind of funny how preparing for something else builds your confidence in a totally different area. Sometimes when we are working on spiritual matters, it seems like maybe it's ineffective or we just are not getting it - but it is totally strengthening another area of our lives...and we just need to keep pushing through!

No matter what hits us in this race of life - God will not waste a thing. He will work on as many areas as possible all using the same circumstance! So don't worry today if you are not "getting it all" you are surely getting something of benefit - because God doesn't waste one second of our time!

Friday, May 6, 2011

And We Race Again Tomorrow!

That's right I am signed up for a 5K for tomorrow. It's funny how different my feelings are now that I have been running the longer races. I know the training is so different I probably won't even set a new PR as I have done very little speed training. But maybe I will surprise myself.

This is the Jim Thorpe Courage Run. I did the same race last year. It's a fund raiser for a rehabilitation hospital here in the OKC area. My son never went to that particular rehab but they are really good at what they do and the money goes to help fund equipment for patients whose insurance won't provide. Shoot, I probably need to do my own 5K so I can get my son some equipment!

anyway, I run it for my son basically because he's given me the courage to run! We learn a lot about ourselves when tragedy strikes. Since his wreck in late 2008 I have really changed a lot and learned a lot. Running has been a huge factor in my progress. Yeah, it helps me deal with the stress of the situation in a positive way. I really deal better if I have a good run! But I have learned so much more about myself. Plus I have accomplished way more than I would have ever thought possible...just because I tried!

I really never had what I thought was a valid reason to run before. But once I decided to run and tried it I found a new world out there that quickly has become a huge part of who I am. Now I can't imagine life without running! It's not that I need it so much (even though it is very helpful) but I really enjoy it. I also like who it has helped me become...I am more confident and sure of myself. I know my body more and know how and when to push vs when to sit out and heal. Boy is that key to an abundant life!

We all face various situations in life that make us want to sit out! And the church can be one of the most hurtful places of all...backwards huh? It's so important for our spiritual and emotional health that we know when to sit this one out. We must learn to identify those toxic relationships so we know when to step away. But we also need to know when it's okay to push on through - with questions, proposals, friendships etc...

Running has actually been a key factor in building my emotional confidence so that I have known when to step away from toxic relationships. Spiritual discernment and acting on wisdom come from a balance between the Word and listening to Him...just like I listen to my body when I run - we must listen to the Body...to be whole.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rest and Recovery

I didn' mind taking a couple of days off since my thighs were so sore! But trust me, it was a great sore to be! But today if was off the couch and out the door for my first post half marathon run. I was really sore and mentally prepared to walk...but it was great! I took it easy just like I'd read and did a little less than 3 miles.

While I was running I was reflecting on the half marathon. One of the things I thought about during the 13.1 mile course was so many things that I had read over the last couple of years. I've read runner's world magazine and use their site to log all my miles even. I get their "Daily kick in the butt" motivational statement too. During the race Sunday so many things that I had read (and lacked opportunity to try) just kind of came up in my mind. I would think a question and then I'd remember an answer or possible solution. I'd implement it to see if it would really work for me or not.

This proved something I've "preached" for years. For one, as a teacher I always told my students that if they did not put the information in before testing there was not even a remote possibility of remembering it - as it was never there! And as a minister I've always said to memorize scriptures or at least read every day so that when it is needed during one of life's tests it will come up- but not if you don't read it to begin with!

So my faith is yet once again exposed on the course. While running all those articles I'd read were of great help. This leads me to believe that for all life's races, or tests reading the Bible every single day is necessary. When we take the time to put it in our hearts it will come up when we need it most! So keep reading...you'll need it somewhere along the way!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recovery Days? Oh, I get it now!

Seriously, I have been training and running all along why in the world would I think I would need a couple of recovery days? Well, mostly because I can barely walk, that's why! lol!

Actually, over all I did well and am not too sore, except for my thighs. I am sure that is coming because of the extra miles and pushing it so hard the last two miles! So today is another recovery day. Tomorrow I will try to run a short, easy couple of miles to start loosening back up. I have to get moving because I have a 5K this Saturday! (not planning on setting any PR's there for sure!)

It's funny how we can think after a big race or a big trial of some sort that we can just get up the next day and bounce back into normal. There are so many things that can occur in a day and we can take them in stride - at least for awhile. But there will be a slow down day. It's a time to stop and reflect on what has happened so we can learn from it...

When there is a big happening in our lives it is a great time to spend reflecting on the past. Don't get caught up and dragged down by the past - but consider it, learn and then move on. These times are like when you move, change churches, realize friends are not friends at all - or lose a loved one...it's okay to emotionally take a recovery day or two. Actually, it can be very beneficial. So next time change happens in your life - on any level - take some recovery time. Don't make any decisions, don't quit, just rest and decide! And enjoy the rest!! There will be another race tomorrow!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It Wasn't Pretty - But I Did It!

That's right - this morning was my first half marathon! And I actually met all my goals.. I am very happy with myself and my performance in the race. I was so scared! I kept thinking about how until today I've only run 10.5 miles and I'd have to gut it out - and gut it out I did!

First the weather was terrible. It was raining the whole race. There were two lightning strikes downtown before the race so they had to move the start time. I started slow and just kept going. I did okay and before I knew it I was half way done. That's no biggy - because I've done a 10K before. I talked myself through the whole thing in a crazy sort of way...After I got to mile 9 which is where I figured I'd start having challenges with my attitude and thinking...I started working it backwards. I told myself I only have 4 miles to go. And I do more than that on my regular daily running.  Basically, I ignored the fact that I had already run the 9 miles. Then at ten I was like I have a 5K to go and I've done hundreds of those!

Right before I got to mile 11 my knee started acting out. I was hurting from head to toe anyway (thank you cold weather)...but I looked at the 11 mile marker and I thought I have gone further than I have ever gone... and I only have 2 miles to go!  And I picked up my pace...I was still really slow - but I started passing all those who had started walking... and I kept pushing and played this silly game in my mind. I thought 2 miles? I can run 2 miles in my sleep...I can run 2 miles up hill...I can run 2 miles on my head.. So I did that for what I thought was about a mile but there was no marker.

The last water stop told us there was one mile to go...so I pushed harder...and then about 3 or 4 blocks down someone told me there was a mile to go... I figured it couldn't be more than a mile by then! And before I knew it some guy said you are almost there guys..5 blocks to go! I asked him if he really said 5 blocks and he said he did. Then I saw the finish line.....I punched it as hard as I could and figured it was just good that I was still moving! lol!

The closer I got to the finish line the happier my heart got. I kept thinking I'm about to do something I've never done! I was smiling from ear to ear!! Then I saw the official time... I was still inside my 3 hour goal!! That included the four minutes I lost because the time started and it was 4 minutes before I crossed the start line.. and the 5 minutes or so that I spent waiting for the porta potty at mile 7!! I was about to cry I was so happy!!

I think I learned a couple of valuable life lessons. First, don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something (even if you're 50). Let pain be a motivator (within reason) not a stopper...and you can talk yourself through anything! There is a way to encourage yourself you may have to be creative to figure out what will work.

No matter what the struggle is in your life find some scriptures that will give you the strength to press on - there is a finish line out there - and we all will get a finisher's metal but we gotta keep running the race!