Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why do You Run?

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Goals Outweigh Obstacles

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Life's Races

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Point Exactly!

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 17, 2011

ForeSight

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

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

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

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Learning From the Pros

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

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

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

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

 What are you going to make applicable today?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sometimes Bad is Good!

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

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

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

Monday, July 11, 2011

Finished My Second 10K

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

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

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

 It's no different with our spiritual man:

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Determination Has Its Rewards

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sucking it Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 3, 2011

When Does Training End?

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

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

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

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

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