My first half marathon 2010

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cleaning house!

It's hard to believe 2012 is here! At the begining of each year I like to set goals for myself, but I tend to look at them on a quarterly basis rather than over the year. Breaking them up into quarterly bites is easier to swallow and I'm more likely to see them through.

Setting my running goals for the year have been easy. I want to run four half marathons and my goal is to run sub 2:10 in at least one, though I'm hoping to be sub 2:05 by fall. I want to run the Clarksburg 10k in under 55 minutes and at least one 5k in under 27 min to PR at all distances this year. My total mileage goal is 1000 miles in 2012. I feel pretty confident about each of these goals.

Setting goals for my personal and spirtual life are more difficult, so I've spent some time in prayer asking for direction on the areas of my life that need attention or areas where I'm still not willing to relinquish control and let God guide my steps. Several weeks ago it became apparent that the first area of my life I needed to tend to was my diet.

Last year was not a healthy year for me, I struggled with an ongoing illness that in September was identified as gall bladder disease which resulted in surgery. I'm feeling much better but I've really struggled to get my diet in check. I am about 75% vegetarian, never eat fried foods and seldom eat red meat, but I do have a terrible weakness for chocolate, baked goods and sweets in general. My diet has become so restricted due to a recently identified mild gluten and lactose intolerance that I find myself leaning toward empty calorie snacks and frozen meals because it's easier and requires less thought and frustration.

These dietary restrictions have really consumed much of my life over the past year, so it wasn't surprising to me that this would be an area for me to focus. For the first 90 days of the year I'm giving up refined sugars and desserts, with the exception of natural sugars such as those found in fruits, honey and agave nectar. This includes, obviously, my beloved chocolate, in every form. It's only been two days and so far so good, but I will surely be tested in the months to come which will require a great deal of prayer to get through. So stay tuned I'm sure there will be many entries on my struggles here. My focus will be on whole foods, not processed pre-packaged foods and less eating out in order to avoid hidden sugars that will only lead to cravings.

I've continued to pray for additional guidance on my goals for the new year, as its clear my diet isn't the only area I need to cleanup. I've been doing a much better job reading my bible, I'm 30 days into a plan that will have me reading through the bible in a year, I'm making some progress in my daily prayer life, but I haven't really felt movement which has left me frustrated and perplexed. I know that God is moving in my life but something has felt off. My prayer today was simply "Lead me and give me wisdom." My prayers are seldom poetic or profound. After reading in my bible I dove back into the book I've recently started, Relentless by John Bevere. What specifically struck me was the discussion around 2 Cor 7:1.Let's make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let's make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. More Passionate, More Responsible (2 Corinthians 7:1 MSG) I looked up a couple of translations of this verse and this one really moved me. Its clear It's time to clean house! I'm still not sure where exactly He will lead me or what distractions specifically have been getting in the way, though I'm sure there are many, but I'm ready for the journey!

2012 is going to be a great year regardless of what comes my way because I have been given the most precious gift of God's empowering and abundant grace to see me through.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Balancing Act

Saturday marks the official start of my racing season. I've decided to join MIT again and am hopeful that this season I will remain injury free and be able to achieve my goals. I've decided to run three half marathons between February and May, I've added one in April that I'm going to run as a training run rather than race. It's only $30 and in my hometown so how can I say no! My goal for the February race is to finish sub 2:10, this would beat my current PR by 6 minutes. My goal for the Pig is to finish in 2:15 or less. With 4 miles uphill I think that's a solid pace for my current times.

I've set some pretty tough goals for myself this year which means I need to stay on track with my training schedule. That can be a challenge, life with 5 kiddos is pretty hectic. Our week consists of Hockey, Basketball, Piano, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and homework to name only a few. In order to fit in quality training I have to plan smart and pray that it all works out, which seldom happens.

I enjoy running but I love our kids so they obviously come first. My running and workout schedule will suffer before our family, but admittedly it takes a great deal of discipline to keep my priorities in check. At the beginning of every race season I get a little panicked and worry that it won't work out and I will not achieve my goals. Honestly i have found myself pretty bummed out when I can't get the mileage I need in a week.

In church we've been studying through the book of John, this week we read through Chapter 4. What really struck a cord for me is in verse 13 "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13, 14 NIV) As we walked through the chapter I felt the Lord speaking to me specifically about how easily I can be consumed by my training schedule and allow it to interfer with my time with Him.

I really felt quite convicted this week with the realization that I pour alot of energy into running and exercising and my diet. While that may be of great physical benefit, how I'm benefitting spiritually . I have admittedly placed training before so many things and have allowed it to consume every moment of my time and thoughts.

Training for a race requires discipline and determination. When training for a race runners are focused on one goal, PR! Every minute we pour into our training is to reach that goal. Sure we face set backs such as injuries, sickness and uncooperative weather, but our determination to reach that goal drives us to push to achieve that one goal time and time again.

If I truly love the Lord as I profess then how can I not seek him with the same determination I seek my running goals. While I might find some shallow sense of satisfaction from running. I know that it will never bring me the joy I can have in the promise of Christ. My eyes should be fixed on that promise every moment of the day. I should be seeking Him with great determination, discipline and passion. At the of the this race is eternal life, not a shabby piece of metal that I will stuff in the drawer.

The best illustration I can think of is in 1 Corinthians 9:24. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

This week, as I map out my exercise regimen and menu plan, I will be also planning time in the word each day and drink from the well of eternal life.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Attitude

Great workout this morning. I hit the 6 am spin class at the Y, which is a tough class but a nice calorie burn. After class I dove into New Rules of Lifting for Women stage 2b which consists of

Wide Grip Deadlift from box - 2x10 with 25lbs
Bulgarian split squat 2x10 with 10lbs
Under hand grip lat pull -2x10 with 35 lbs
I apparently skipped 2 of the exercises 
Swiss ball crunch 2x10
Reverse Crunch 2x 10
Lateral flexion 2x10

Finished up with 2 miles speed - alternating 2 min 10:31 pace, 1 min 7:53 pace for 15 minutes. Ran last 5 min at 8:45 pace.

I typically get up at 4:30 each day so I have time to drink my coffee and read my bible. Admittedly,I've not been reading every morning during the past couple of weeks and it really has shown in  my attitude. I've been angered easily and kind of negative and maybe an itsy bitsy selfish. Honestly I have really no reason to have any of these feelings. My life is pretty cushy and my troubles are minute compared to what so many others face each day.

Once I get into that kind of mood I have to be very intentional about digging out, it seldom resolves on its own. I finally decided to get over myself and dig into Romans and read each chapter and take time to reflect on it over a couple of days.  

As I read  through chapter 2 I felt especially convicted about my attitudes recently.  When I allow anger to take root in my heart bitterness isn't far behind and it's  not too long before I find myself in the midst of a big ol' pity party for yours truly. I typically begin hyper focusing on working out and running, because it's just easier than dealing with my bad attitude besides, by this point I've completely justified my actions and feelings.  This pushes me even farther from God and I find my heart completely hardened to the truth. It's a yucky place to be.

As I read verses 5-8 it really struck a cord with me. "God will give to each person according to what he has done." Wowza I'm in big trouble. Thankfully I serve a God of mercy and forgiveness but that doesn't mean I can keep on this slippery slope.  

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self‑seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:5-8 NIV84)

My true hearts desire is to serve God and to be a reflection of His grace and mercy. It's kind of hard to reflect Christ's mercy and grace when your filled with anger and bitterness. so this week I'm praying that He will reveal to me the areas of my life where I am allowing anger to take root and impede my spiritual growth. 

My favorite verse in Romans is 5:3-5 and it's a verse that I can apply easily to running, but in life it's a smidge more difficult. I focus on the word "suffering", and I remember what Christ did for me. He gave his life for me so that my sins can be forgiven. There is NOTHING that I encounter that could ever equal the suffering he endured. Kinda puts my whining into perspective.

Rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5 NIV84)

Monday, December 5, 2011


When I first began training for Cap City in 2010 I felt the Lord nudging me to write a blog to chronicle my training journey. Of course, as I oftentimes do, I ignored this and chalked it up to my own crazy idea rather than His.  

Writing is not my strength, and my poor self esteem had me convinced that I have no new ideas or musings that could be of any importance or would add to the lives of others. However this urge has been increasingly present in my heart.  I realize that while I myself may have little to add, that its not about me, it is Christ who dwells in me that has so much to add to my life and those of others. 

So here I am! I will share my victories, losses and everything in between as I begin yet another half marathon training.  I hope that others will join me along this journey.