Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What are you chasing?

Today I had a productive day.  I cleaned the house, started to refinish our leather chair (we will see how that turns out!) and worked on my teaching for summer bible study.  It rained for most of the day so I did not get my run in.  It was nice to give my body a break- I am sure my dog was happy as well.

Yesterday I was able to train with my marathon partner- my husband, Glenn.  Our boys were at a sleep-over so we were able to run together in the morning.  We did a familiar loop- a little over 4 miles.  Desi, our dog, came along which made it hard for us to run side by side.  Glenn ran a step or two behind me so that he won't get tripped up by the dog.  Desi and I held the lead for the majority of the run then Glenn took off for the last 1/2 mile-  Desi desperately tried to keep with Glenn.  Since he was attached to me, he had to run at my pace. 

Desi and I before the run

After our run, we talked about the upcoming marathon-  that it was going to be hot training this summer, that we hoped to stay injury-free during the training and discussed our finish time goal.  I would love to finish the marathon in 4 hours- that would be awesome but realistically I should shoot for maintaining a 9:30 per mile pace which would 4 hours and 9 minutes.  Glenn, the wiser and more mature one in our marriage, pointed out that we started this "journey" with the mind-set of finishing the race.  Deep down I know that is the goal but what if???

What am I chasing?  What makes me run after a faster marathon time?  Why can't I just be satisfied to finish the race- strong and healthy?  Or just be happy to finish- really it is 26.2 miles?  My inner athlete (a God-given gift) desires to compete even if it is just against the clock or my husband.  Just kidding- I have always lost to Glenn in competitive activities (even Golden Tee).

I have an inner competitiveness in my spiritual walk as well.  I truly desire to give God my best day to day- unfortunately I don't always make good on that goal.  I want to chase after His Way, His Truth, His Life but the bright and shininess of this world sometimes clouds my path.  There are eternal rewards at the end of His Race, not just a pretty, fancy medal but a "crown of righteousness".  So I will continue to compete and fight till I cross His finish line.

Pretty, fancy medals

2 Timothy 4:7-8 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remain faithful.  And now the prize awaits me- the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return.  And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Baltimore Marathon 2000- I ran another...

So one year after running the Marine Corps Marathon, I decided to run another marathon- this time my future husband, Glenn, would not be joining me.  A sweet friend, Wendy, had decided to train for her first marathon so we did some of our long training together.  Wendy's sister had signed up for the race as well- this was Baltimore's First Marathon.  Most marathons are run in the fall and this race was scheduled for October. 

I'll admit it- I was not as disciplined with my long runs for this marathon.  I got my runs in between teaching high school math, coaching field hockey and caring for our first puppy, Lenny.  Lenny was a English Springer Spaniel who had a lot of energy.  We got him because Glenn and I also had a lot of energy and stayed pretty active between running, biking and backpacking.  Lenny was a good running partner especially on some of the trails in Columbia, Maryland.  Just like our new dog, Desi, he could run for about 4-5 miles.  So I was probably running more frequently than I did before the Marine Corps Marathon though my longest run was only about 18-20 miles.  But I was an experienced marathoner- right??

Our dog, Lenny
On the day of the race, I met up with Wendy and her sister at the starting line.  Glenn was going to bike the course so he could cheer me on.  God must have known (of course, He did) that I would need a running partner for the day.  Unfortunately Wendy had been running with an injury and was unable to finish the Baltimore Marathon.  Her sister stuck with her for most of the race and finished it. 

At the start of the race with thousands of people gathering around, I ran into an old friend from high school- we had met years ago when our families went to the same church.  I hadn't seen Tricia in years so she started the race with us.  I think I remember around mile 4ish that Wendy was hurting so Tricia and I began the next 20+ miles together.  The city of Baltimore is deceivingly hilly- the marathon started and finished downtown near the Inner Harbor but the majority of the race was run up and out of the city.  There were a lot of hills in the course (the next year they changed the course to not be so hilly).  Without Tricia by my side, I don't know if I could have mentally finished the race . 

Tricia and I
Around mile 22 I felt very good- knowing I could continue to push the next 4 miles and possibly break by marathon time from the prior year.  Tricia was struggling with sore knees so she decided to walk and finish the race on her own.  We never saw each other after the race- I don't believe I have seen her since that day.  I finished around 4 hours and 20 minutes.  My family was there to celebrate this achievement with me.

Looking back on this story I have learned a few lessons about God. 
1)  He is faithful even when we are not.  I was not following God at this point in my life but I remember the encounter with Tricia that day as feeling like a gift from God.
2)  He is faithful to bring us through disappointments.  Wendy did not finish her first marathon but went on to run lots of races becoming a great half-marathon runner.  She has also been accepted into the New York Marathon this year and will get a chance to finish her first marathon.  How cool is it that I will be there to celebrate with her when she crosses the finish line.
3)  He uses little moments to touch our lives.  I will always look back at this marathon and remember God's Hand in it.

So as I prepare for New York, I can confidently know that He will be faithful to see me through it- no matter what comes my way. 
Romans 8:28 "And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Make the impossible possible

"All things are possible with God (Luke 1:37)"- do you need this reminder?  The daily grind of life can drive that point away and we can become focused on the wrong things.  But God wants us to remember daily that with Him, all things are possible. 
What seems impossible for you right now?  What challenges are you up against- physically, mentally, spiritually?  When we choose to focus on the impossible we can end up feeling defeated and beat down.  Choose to let God take care of the impossible and you take steps to focus on the possible. 

Philippians 4:13 says "I can do everything through him who gives me strength".  Let God be your personal trainer by spending time with Him, building up your spiritual strength to tackle the impossible in your life.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Running a What? A marathon? Part 2....

Why run a marathon?  Basically the average runner is running non-stop for 4+ hours.  What makes anyone want to do that?  I don't think I can logically answer this question- 13 years ago I wanted to do a marathon.  Now with my 40th birthday on the horizon (next year), I desire to do it again. 

Before running the Marine Corps Marathon, I participated in lots of races- 5Ks, 10Ks, 10 milers and one half marathon.  Glenn and I ran a marathon as a relay team- each of us running 13.1 miles.  So now I was ready to run a marathon.

I remember the morning of the marathon-  it began like any other race.  Multiple trips to the port-a-potty, eating a power bar (they didn't have gels back then) and saying farewell to our cheering section (my family).  It was a cool morning so most of the runners had on long sleeved t-shirts that were quickly thrown to the side as the race began. 

Glenn and I had trained together so we planned on running together.  Three months before the marathon we ran every Saturday morning- we put in our long runs.  You never actually run 26 miles during your training but you gradually increase mileage to about 22 or 23 miles.  We loved Saturday nights because after running 20 miles you could basically eat & drink what you wanted.

So we ran the marathon together until about mile 18-  Glenn was feeling great and I was doing ok.  He wanted to pick up the pace so he left me behind :(.  Just kidding, runners have an unwritten rule that you can leave your partner if you want to run faster (at least that is my rule).   Glenn proceed to pick up the pace then basically "hit the wall" which means your body starts to break down.  I have never experienced it but it sounds very unpleasant.  Glenn finished the marathon- vowing never to do another- he came in a few minutes before I did. 

Honestly I don't remember too much about my finish line experience.  I am sure I was emotional, tired and ready for a beer.  I guess I liked it enough to do another one a year later.  More to come on that race...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cool t-shirt

I got this great shirt today from the women at my bible study at Van Dyke Church. I had so much fun today- worshiping as a large group & participating in communion. It is amazing to see God's faithful hand in this ministry.

Picture by Matt- my 9 year old
Don't run from God- You'll get eaten by a big fish

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Training to be godly?

Yesterday I shared a scripture verse from 1 Timothy 4:7-8 which encouraged you to "train yourself to be godly". What does that mean? What does it look like to be godly? First thing I picture is a little old church lady or a regal minister- neither I can relate to. So what does "training to be godly" look like in my life? It means living an authentic, real & sometimes messy life with God as my leader. Chasing after His PRs, striving for His medals & focusing on His finish line.

So how about you- what do you think godliness looks like? How are you "training to be godly"? Please share your thoughts.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Running a What? A marathon? Part 1..

Yes I am running a marathon on November 4, 2012.  This will be my third marathon.  Before marriage & kids, I ran 2 marathons in the Baltimore/Washington area. 

In January 1998, I met my husband, Glenn, on a blind date.  We were set up by mutual friends & needless to say, it worked! 

Before I met my husband, I was a runner.  I have always been athletic- played multiple sports growing up- played field hockey in college.  For most athletes, college is the end to their competitive careers though not your competitive drive.  That still exists- so many former athletes become runners, bikers, triathletes, tennis players, etc.  So am I built like a runner?  No way... I definitely do not have a runner's frame- maxing out at 5'2".  But I liked the idea of staying in shape and competing at least against myself. 

In October 1999, Glenn and I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in about 4 hours and 30 minutes (I think Glenn's time was faster but there is more to that story...).  We had a good time training together on weekends- putting in the long runs on Saturday mornings.  A year later I completed the Baltimore Marathon in about 4 hours and 20 minutes.

Training for a marathon takes time & commitment- you need to prepare your body to endure the run.  Our spiritual walk is the same- we need to train ourselves to follow Christ.  It takes time & commitment to stay on the narrow path.  1 Timothy 4:7-8 tells us to "train yourself to be godly.  Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come".  Do you have a spiritual training routine?  Do you set aside time daily to read God's Word and pray?  This type of training is of eternal value.

Our marathon story to be continued....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fitting it all in?

How do you fit strength training into your work-out schedule?  I did wall push-ups, planks and wall sits last night while watching old episodes of "Bones".  What do you do?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spinning wheels but not on a spin bike

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you have gotten nothing done?  Everything you did was important and needed to be done but you have nothing to show for it. 
I love spin class.  I did my fair share of classes last summer when I was a member of a gym and I used the free childcare for my boys.  Currently I am not a gym member (I'm too cheap) but I also love exercising outside.  Sometimes my day feels like a spin class-  slowly warming-up then moving forward through hills & fast terrain eventually winding down at the end, exhausted.  In the end I haven't gone anywhere- I am still in that same smelly spin room, wiping my bike off of sweat & tears. 
Some days that is how my life feels- the laundry room still has dirty clothes (though I have run the washer 3 times), the floors still have clumps of dog hair, and lunches need to be made again.  In the end I still haven't gone anywhere- at least my house doesn't smell like a sweaty spin room (with 2 growing boys I am probably not far from that!) 
Overall I won't change it if I could- God has my days mapped out for me so He knows there will be times when I feel like I have been spinning wheels. I can trust that God will supply me with the strength to finish my day.
Isaiah 40:28-31 says "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired and weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Monday, May 7, 2012

Be Flexible

I started my training yesterday and already I had to adjust my workout schedule.  I fit my Sunday run in by running to the ball field to watch my oldest son play in a play-off game.  Unfortunately they lost but I was able to fit a 4 mile run in.  So I swapped my Sunday/Monday run days by doing 3 miles with Desi this morning. 
Tip #1:  Be willing to be flexible with your schedule. 
This can apply to your fitness routine or your daily schedule.  If you don't build in the ability to be flexible, you will end up driving yourself crazy and losing your joy.  Things happen... stuff comes up... as women who are balancing many different "balls" daily we need to learn to be flexible. 
Sometimes God allows the daily interruptions for our good- to slow us down, get our attention and save us from harm ways.  Don't be like Jonah who became mad when God chose to go off script.
Jonah 4:1 says "This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Getting Intentional

Having taken the week off of training due to visiting parents and a son with pink eye, I need to get back on track next week.  I have mapped out a schedule for the next 2 months that will increase my running base to around 25 miles a week.  By sharing my weekly training schedule on the blog, I now feel more accountable to my workouts. 
As a stay at home mom with 2 young boys, the summer months can be hard to stay on track with my running.  This is also true with my quiet time with God.  Unless I am up before my boys, the idea of "quiet time" can go right out the window.  This is why it is important to be intentional with my training time & my prayer/bible study time.  Keeping my body healthy and strong as well as my spirit connected to God is an excellent way to survive the summer months :). 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I Got In!

On April 25th, I received confirmation that I had been accepted into the New York City Marathon for 2012.  I was so excited to be picked since it is a lottery system and the chances of being picked are 1 in 9.  I began to think about the time I would be spending training for this event and asked God to show me how He could get glory through this endeavor (Romans 11:36).  I remembered that my friend, Leaha, had been encouraging me to write a blog and thought that this is a great way to record my own marathon training journey as well as my own daily walk with Christ. 
So here it goes... I will be starting my official training in July for the NYC marathon which is on November 4th.  In the meantime, I plan on strengthening my body by building a consistent runnning base plus strengthening my core muscles to head off injuries. 
Also as a Christian woman, I am building and strengthening my faith by running the day to day with Jesus at my side. 
My favorite verse is Philippians 1:6 which says " being confident of this, that he who began a good work in (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus".  I am confident that God will see me through this training for the marathon as well as my daily living.