Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Journey to the Finish Line is Complete

I ran across the finish line after 13.1 miles and couldn't believe it was me!!
The message in sum total that the Lord gave me began yesterday at the race tent where we picked up our bib with name and number on it. They had a bunch of stuff for sale and we browsed around for awhile. I came to a booth that had a book that a marathon runner had written. The poster board read 52 in 52. He had run 52 marathons in 52 weeks while holding down a full time job. In awe of his accomplishment I took note and mentioned what a gift he had been given. He took offense right away to this comment and told me that my statment really took away from all of his hard work. I struggled to explain myself and quickly realized his offense was at the idea that anything outside of himself aided him in accomplishing his goal. This stayed with me all day and the Lord began to use it to finish the story of my journey.

I began this morning from the time I awoke knowing full well that there was only one place that gifts come from and that I was going to be in need of one today. My sheer will would have never gotten me over that finish line, my flesh is too weak. I knew I could finish becasue I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But I also knew that it was going to be really HARD. My husband was a rock and every time my negative thougths would surface he would quickly and quietly discount them and replace them with the truth. Thank God for him he is my best cheerleader.

This idea of a gift just kept ringing in my mind. Gifts are given wihtout request sometimes but what you do with them is what determnines their value. Everything is a gift. From motivation to accomplishment it is all a gift. At about mile 8 the longest mile of the race ( I was sure they miscalculated) I began to realize that the stewarding of the gift counted as much if not more than the gift itself. I had some tough choices today and it was me alone that had to make them. I begged the Lord for more strength and it was there for me to have but he did not just place it on me, I had to choose to receive it. I had to "dig deeep" as they say and find it.

At mile 11 I really felt sick, tired, my toes hurt, my quads hurt, my right hip still hurt and I was overhwelmed with the idea that I couldn't make it. As I kept running I began to feel like I was going to throw up and had to reconcile that if I did I would take some water and move on. I could only look at the feet ahead of me each step one at a time. Jim had his eye on the prize and wanted to tell me how far was left but I needed to focus on just what was right in front of me, the Lord. I needed Him right there close not off a ways . Although He was out there too, waiting for me to finish at the same time that He ran next to me as I was finishing.

My thoughts were turned toward the idea I had written about earlier, was labor or a half marathon harder? It was clear then that the two were so different. Labor comes no choice involved at all. The pain will stop but you won't have any control over when. There is something about continuing to run when you know it will hurt and if you stop so will the pain. It hit me hard when I felt my lowest that I did not want to look back and have any regret that I didn't push my hardest but that I gave in to my flesh at the last mile. I began to command my flesh to submit to my spirit and prayed hard. I kept thinking Lord give me what I want , I NEED you and He reminded me that He gives the gift but I am the steward of that gift. So I had to choose what to do with that strength, I could leave it on the side of the road where I stopped or I could dig and find it and use it to the best of my ability.

Don't misunderstand it was all the Lord but He loves us so much that He desires for us to partner with Him and that is a beautiful gift. I never want to take for granted the fact that the Creator of the universe wants me to work with Him.

As I crossed the finish line with my husband beside me and my hands raised to the Lord, it was a moment in time that no one can take from me, he ordained it , He gave it and I took it in as an act of worship to My King!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Almost There

I am getting really excited and yes a bit nervous. I know that I can do just about anything I put my mind to with the Lord but the doubts keep creeping in. I seem to be much more comfortable than I was in the beginning of the summer with the fact that I run. I run far, not too fast, but not really slow either. I am excited that a friend of mine has started running too. I hope that my example was an inspriation to her.

My girls are running a mile Keebler fun run the day before my race and they picked up their numbers and tshirts this Saturday. How cute they will be. I think more than anything I am looking forward to running once it is all done, no pressure to go a certain distance. I know that I will want to start working on my time then.

I already know that I want to run a few 10k's this year to keep me focused. I have really been pleased with my discipline to get out there whether hot or cold and whether I feel like it or not. Despite encouragement from others to stay home and rest instead.

I guess after Sunday I will have a real conclusion to what the Lord has been showing me but for now I know that I am strong and disciplined, able and determined. Those certainly aren't traits to be ashamed of and I know that I can hang with the Lord in silence for quite awhile and not feel the least bit bored. He has really spoken to me and shown me things about myself good and bad that I am better off for knowing.

This accomplishment was timed so well by Him, turning 40 today and knowing that I am in good shape, finished reading the New Testament today and almost at my running goal. Self dicipline has always been something I have prayed for more of and I am seeing the fruit of those prayers.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Question Of The Day ?

Ready here goes... Is a half marathon going to be harder than giving birth to a 9 pound baby naturally? I've done that and I am starting to wonder if this will be more difficult. My training is paying off I can feel my body getting stronger however at mile 10 while my heart is pounding and my lungs are aching and my legs are hurting and I must propel my body forward in strides that keep me going at a pace of running will it actually be more work than birth? Tell me what you think, of coarse if you haven't given birth I am not sure your opinion counts ....I will try to stay open minded

Friday, December 4, 2009

BRRR It's Cold Outside

Haven't written in awhile. It was funny as soon as I decided to write ablog I seemed to go blank quickly there after with words to write.Oh well, that is just a part of my journey. I was sick for one long week and wasn't running. Back on track now. Had a couple of runs while in LA visiting for Thanksgiving. That was sureeal to run around areas where I grew up.. Now a grown woman on a mission for this marathon. Just a reminder that you never know where you will be in the future.
Jim and I headed out early this morning and it was cooold. Running quickly is much easier it is actually necessary just to get your body warmed up as fast as you can. My time seems to be improving but I fiqure come mile 10 I make no prediction or assumption of how my body will perform.
Plan on running in the morning and on Sunday I am going for another 7 miler. My mind doesn't seem to have as much negative things to say to me now it has become more about challengiing myself, running faster and farther than I really want to because it is hard and that is never fun.
While in LA someone asked me why?
Why , what I said. Why do you want to run a marathon? Someone else there who had run marathons said I totally understand. I am not really doing this for any other reason than to prove to myself that I can and to get through the finish line.
I guess sometimes in life you reach a certain place and you need to know that you can set a goal, train for it, moved towards it and have victory over it! I am not a particularily driven person but I like to think I can do what I put my mind to with the help of my God.
Of coarse now that the goal has been set there are more reasons to achieve it, I can't let me kids down and they are watching as I struggle to catch my breath on the way in the door after a run, they see me laving whn I don't feel like it that day. They are proud of me and I want them to be. I want them to take a lesson from my exsample of perserverance.
No work tomorrow won't hav eto run so early, good it won't be so cooold. Till then ...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Words Have Power

I ran 6 miles on Saturday and I knew that pushing myself would feel great. I was away for a couple of days in LA and saw people I have known for my whole life for a funeral. I hesitated to let these people in on my journey. Although I love them very much they are on the fringe of my life and who I am. I went ahead and mentioned this half marathon I was set to run in January and one women in particular in true form , commented that my pace was not running, "That is walking!" I was immediately sorry that I had shared this new journey and wished I could just walk away from the conversation. I said something like, "Well although it may be slow I am not walking my feet are moving in a run." Another commented on the course for the Carlsbad marathon and how she had been on it and it was very "hilly". I told her no we have seen the course and spoken with people who say it is a perfect half marathon for just the reason that there are no hills. Not backing down she insisted that it was a hard and hilly course.

These words rolled around in my head from Wednesday until Saturday as I started out on my run, I was beginning to get ticked that I was so affected by these words but knowing they were affecting me because of my own insecurities. I am still struggling with the idea that I am a runner and when someone challenged that I am not, it upset me. (maybe because I am ) I pondered the truth that words have power but that perhaps I had the power what I did with them. Words can encourage, inspire, insult, infuriate , isolate and so much more. I wanted to own my reaction to those words that kept swirling around in my head and use them for my good whether that was what they were intended for or not.

So I ran with purpose and intent. I knew that improving my time was not going to happen immediately. Training your body for something is a process and I was OK with the process. I did have a time goal in mind just to keep me on track. I walked for a couple of jaunts and I ran with heart and soul. I remembered running this same path with Jim back at the beginning of the summer. I was running it in the opposite direction as the first time we ran it together. As I ran by the turn that I recalled feeling horrible at the beginning of my run last time and knowing it was almost the end of it this time, I felt good, strong, confident and not so tired. There had been improvement and the Lord wanted me to know it. I t always comforts me that in everything the Lord is at work on my behalf. I chose this route, I thought just so I could meet Jim at the church where he was working and he could drive me home. God knew it was for confirmation about the journey and that my training was paying off.

Many times when I am running I think to myself just one foot in front of the other each step counts and the stride will improve. I am so blessed that I have challenged myself physically with this run. But it brings me even more joy that as I run God challenges me spiritually. I love to grow and change and even more I love to see the fruit of that in my life.

I am a runner. I am also a child of God and I live in the truth and I know that words do have power, but God has given me the power over what I do with them!

PS Sunday morning I ran a short 2 miles but my time was shorter than usual, words can inspire!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Got Nothing

Today I ran 6.72 miles!! The longest I have gone yet. I can not lie I walked the hills that were on the path. It took me forever and my hips were hurting towards the end.
I kept running waiting for some great revelation and I got nothing. I thought about many things but I just kept running.
Yesterday I got news of the death of a loved friend that I have known all of my life. When I set out to run I definitely thought I would run because he couldn't. I would run out the sadness and overwhelming sick feeling I have in my tummy every time I think of his parents and their tremendous loss.
I thought out my girls and the gift their life is to me but nothing more. My husband and how quickly life can be snatched from us. But really nothing else.

I did have a tiny little pebble in the bottom of my left shoe but never took the time to remove it. I ran the whole way, It would roll around and then get stepped on, at times I forgot it was even there until it moved itself back under my foot. A tiny little pebble.

The pebble didn't really bother me that much. It was just along for the run. I felt a bit the same. Like my body was carrying me along for the run.

I am blessed to spend the rest of the day with my family and will try to celebrate the life of Jeffrey Mesnik in my memories.

Monday, October 19, 2009

White Noise Comfort or Distraction ?

I set out this am for my run and chose to run the "HaHana Loop". I have certain routes mapped out by distance and this one is about 4 miles. A few inclines and some areas where there is no sidewalk. After all, I do live in Lakeside. As I started to run I was first happy for the cool air, praise God the heat is no longer in the morning. I love running in the coolness because I heat up immediately.

About a 1/2 mile into the run I start thinking... when will I feel like a runner. I always start out feeling so tired, legs heavy and heart beating fast, I am panting from out of the gate. Perhaps I will need to interview more "runners" to see if this is typical. But I just can't seem to identify myself as a runner. I am guessing this has more to do with my insecurity than reality. I think every time when I am done; my brain told my legs, my heart and my lungs to get us here so, who else is the runner?

As I continue along I realize there is some comfort in the white noise of the cars whizzing by me. It is pretty quiet in the morning but many are traveling to start their day and the cars going by are loud. They are a reminder of energy I guess, the motors revving and the gears shifting. It is a picture of sorts of what is happening inside my body. Of coarse I know their tanks are full of gas and at times mine seems to be running low and the performance of my vehicle is less than efficient.

The sound of a bird brings me joy representing a different type of comfort. Acknowledgement of life, all it's sweetness and beauty. The noise of the asphalt, dirt or other debris under my feet as it crunches under my weight provides an audible pronunciation of my presence.

Then there is the white noise that seems to distract me from focusing on the goal. The beating of my heart and my breathing. I try so hard to allow that noise to remind me of life and that I am well and alive and able to run. (Praise God) Yet I am distracted by its consistency not really quieting or slowing I am reminded of the struggle it takes to propel me forward each step of the way.

Many run with headphones, the music providing them with inspiration and energy. I guess in part it is their white noise. For now I want to hear what is being said and the silence in my head provides a perfect stage for such a performance. The silence does in a sense cut out everything else but my thoughts, they are loud and I cannot escape their noise. I think of a baby being lulled to sleep by a ceiling fan, cutting out the noise of everything else around them. I desire to be tuned into the noise in my head even the unhealthy thoughts because I want to be free of them. If I choose to just shut them off then I am sure to be faced with them in my future silence.

After the incline, I found myself working at keeping my feet from getting ahead of me on the way down the hill. I had to consciously pay attention as to not stumble on the dirt path. As much concentration as it was taking it seemed quicker and easier to just roll down the hill in a ball. But I am sure that would prove to be unsafe. After all of that held back energy was able to be let go, I ran with a sureness and strength and for awhile I felt like a runner. My feet hit the ground harder and my legs seemed heavier and that was when I knew, I was going fast but it wasn't a running stride but more of a sprint. (not bad to do for training purposes though)

Life is a journey and the paths vary often. Our reaction and response to the path is a picture. Maybe a picture of where we are, how we feel, where we are headed or how we are getting there. None the less a picture. I choose to look at this journey as a path the Lord has placed me on and get out of it what He wills.

I leave you with this my little angel girls ;

Walk with assurance, purpose and grace
Know that the Lord has brought you to that place

Allow the tears and laughter their purpose greater
All bringing Glory to your Divine Creator.

He will walk with you every step of the way
He can carry any load and knows just what to say

Choose wisely each step in life you will take
and for sure always do it for only Christ's sake

Sometimes at the end of a run with the goal in sight I tire and feel weary and want to walk the last bit. Other times I am energetic and encouraged I've arrived and it's over. Either way the goal is met and I pray that I learn what the journey had to teach me.