Saturday, March 15, 2008
For the past couple of years I've been deeply involved with a ministry called Theodyssey. The lessons I've learned there have been extremely valuable. They've even helped me with my running. I was cleaning off my desk today and came across a 2007 calendar from theodysseygroup. As I read over the ideas on each month, it brought back to mind so much of what I've learned and how it's changed the way I think and live. Instead of just tossing it in the recycle bin, I decided to copy the 12 ideas (one for each month) here.
Tourist vs. Explorer
Tourists use reservations and roadmaps to make their journey as comfortable and controlled as possible. However, when it comes to the spiritual life, God invites us to be Explorers. Explorers have no idea where the path will lead. They only know they must take it.
The more we understand this up front, the better things will go for us.
Following Jesus has nothing to do with just 'believing.' Instead, he wants to remodel everything that makes us us. This includes our will, conscience, emotions, thinking, and sexuality, to name a few. Like the massive root ball that supports and feeds a towering redwood, there is a lot going on below the surface of our lives. All of it is fair game.
What area of your life is Jesus presently desiring to transform?
Productive vs. Fruitful
Factory workers make things. Success is based on hard work. Do the right things, and the results are automatic. By contrast, farmers produce nothing on their own. They can only partner with mystery. Farmers do the back-breaking work of cultivating an environment where something can grow. They have little control, and the results are long term.
When it comes to your spiritual life, are you a factory worker or a farmer?
Sometimes we approach the Christian life like it's a cosmic vending machine. Put in prayer, scripture reading, tithing, and ministry, press the button, and out comes a spiritual person. The truth is that in and of themselves, spiritual disciplines accomplish nothing. They simply create space in our lives where we are available to God, so that he can change our lives.
The Christian life is about being attentive - and then responding.
The desert is a place where "I get rid of my scaffolding" (Henri Nowen). It's that place of nothingness where we have to sort out what's real - about God and us. It's where God weans us away from our illusions, and teaches us to not be so needy. Or driven. Or prideful. It's where we grow up when we're big.
Embrace the desert. It's the place where we are made new.
At his workbench, God made decisions about how things would work.
Option A: a perfect world.
Option B: an authentic, give-and-take relationship with people. Freedom to choose.
Without so much as an eenie-meenie-miney-moe, God chose Option B. He set up a world where people can either love him or reject him.
Maybe God has to tolerate the consequences as much as we do.
"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best" - and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what to call it.
Sometimes Winnie the Pooh is pure wisdom.
Imagine spending your life in a pool holding a beach ball under water so no one can see it. It takes a lot of effort and energy. So much for freedom and joy. Sometimes unforgiveness is that beach ball. The word Jesus used for "forgiveness" means "to leave behind." Not for their sake, but for ours. It doesn't mean forgetting, excusing, condoning, tolerating or even liking. Just leaving behind.
It's not about them. It's about you. Why hold onto the ball?
Train vs. Lettuce
Making progress on a train is all about passing markers. It's linear. This model of the spiritual life assumes that we have mastered each successive step along the way. By contrast, think about a lettuce with its overlapping layers. Some are healthy, others are worm-eaten and diseased. Yet, they all co-exist, laying right on top of each other.
Maybe spiritual life is more like a lettuce.
Secular vs. Sacred
We're busy. Who isn't? We exercise, do our God thing, eat, commute, work, shop, do chores, pay bills, watch TV, email, and sleep. All different pieces of our day. God is simply one compartment. But what if each moment was equally holy? What if God were every bit as present to us during an oil change as on Easter Sunday? What if every moment was sacred?
The trick is learning to pay attention.
Wanting vs. Choosing
You hate labels, but for 38 years you've worn one called "victim" (John 5). You have simple but effective strategies that help you to survive. Even though your life's a mess, at least it's your mess. It's predictable. You know how to get what you want. Now Jesus asks you, "Do you want to get well?" Possible Answer: Maybe not. Think about all the change that might mean.
Everyone wants to get well. Choosing to is a whole different thing.
Pay attention to the inner life is like laying with our ear to the roof of a three-story house. At first, we hear nothing. Soon, we detect closing doors and groaning stairs. In time, we recognize the source of each sound. First floor phone. Hot water running in the kitchen. Gradually, we're awakened to a world stirring within, where we recognize the movements and discern their meaning.
In the midst of all the motions stirring within us is the voice of Jesus.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Last year, 5 weeks after starting Couch to 5K, I ran my first 5K at the Turkey Trot. This summer I had the bright idea of starting my kids on the Couch to 5K to run the Turkey Trot. Fortunately, my husband said he'd join us in the training because looking back I never could have done it without him. We ran together as a family 3x/week the entire three months leading up to the Turkey Trot. Even with our flexible schedules being self-employed and homeschooled, that was no simple feat. Challenge after challenge presented itself. My husband and I quickly discovered our opposing coaching styles, his being, "You're out here to give it your all and do your best," and mine being, "You're out here to have fun and develop a love of running." It took us a while to find a good balance there. After my half marathon when I couldn't run for a week, we had to stick to paved trails where I could bike or roller blade alongside the kids. I probably would've taken the rest of the year off if it weren't for the family runs. Since my 7 year old had a natural pace of about 13:00/mile, we got the kids up to 39 minutes of continuous running before the 5K.
The day of the race we got up at 7AM and headed out just before 8. The race day registration lines were insanely long. I think we got in line at 8:15 and even with all the people that got out of line, we didn't make it to the front until after the 9AM start time. Over 6000 people registered. After about 20 minutes in line the volunteers announced they were out of t-shirts and were offering a $5 discount off the $35 race fee. 20 minutes later they were also out of timing chips so we wouldn't be officially timed. It seemed like hundreds of people got out of line at that point. They even ran out of printed bibs and began handing out plain generic bibs with only numbers on them. They didn't run out of kids T-shirts though so at least the kids got theirs. Fortunately the race started a few minutes late so we were able to be at the start line for the countdown. The kids really loved running on the streets and through the red lights with the crowds. I stayed with my 7 and 8 year old daughter and son holding their hands so I wouldn't lose them and pulling them along at times. My husband ran ahead staying with our 10 year old daughter. There was a water station at the halfway turn-around point and we took a short planned walk break there. My son and I took one more very short walk break up a hill while my daughter continued to run even though she was running as slow as we were walking. As my son took that walk break I told him it was a smart move because that last year I ran up that hill trying to see if I could run the whole race without walking, but as soon as I got up to the top of the hill I was out of energy and had to walk. We had started so far back that we spent the entire race passing lots of people which was great. During the last mile the 10K runners started catching up to and passing us. It made me feel really slow, but I think my son like seeing the fast runners go by. The kids did not complain the entire time, even though my son said he had a side stitch when I asked him how he was doing. They really enjoyed the run. As we approaced the finish line I pulled my ipod (nike+ only, no headphones) out of my pocket to check our time. Unfortunately that meant I no longer had two free hands and so I was only holding my daughter's hand when we crossed the finish. She threw her other arm up in the air and yelled woohoo!! It was so cute! Another guy who finished near us told her great job and high fived her. Our goal was to break 40 minutes and we came in at 37:15!! I think the race excitement plus the hand holding really helped their pace. My husand and older daughter had a goal of 30-32 minutes and they finished in 30:20. I told her she beat my first 5K time of 32 minutes. Out of the whole family she enjoyed the training and the race the most, even more than I did. I started running when I was her age, but I only ran for 3 years and then took a 20-year hiatus. She says she can't wait to run another race.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
A year ago I wasn't a runner. I tried running on the treadmill at the gym once or twice, but it was hard and definitely not fun. That all changed last year at the Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon. I only went to cheer for my brother-in-law Gordon at the finish line. I was watching all the finishers come in and it brought me to tears. I thought to myself, "I want to do that." The strong and powerful running bug bit me that day. I started running the very next week with the Couch to 5K program. This time it was a lot of fun. It is such a great feeling to run further or faster than you've ever run before. So great it often brings me to tears. Fast forward to yesterday.
I didn't get as far in my training as I would've liked to. I had only run more than 9 miles twice so I knew those last 4 miles would be tough. I decided to put an end to my pity party from Friday (last blog entry). I was not going to let a bum hip keep me from enjoying my race. I've enjoyed all the shorter races I've run this year. I enjoy pushing myself. That was my positive self-talk that I kept going over all day. I created a playlist on my ipod full of mostly praise music. Oddly enough when I had chosen all the songs I wanted, it added up to 2.1 hours. I thought I'd have to weed some out, but it was perfect. That's when I decided on a middle goal of 2:06. I actually had 3 goals. My shoot for the moon goal was 1:59, realistic goal was 2:06, and worst case goal was 2:15. But of course since this was my first half marathon, I tried to tell myself the goal was to enjoy it and finish safely. Before bed I taped my feet on four spots that I'm prone to blisters. They say never try anything new on race day but I had been having problems with blisters on my last few runs, and I was pretty sure it would be a problem if I didn't tape them. I had recently purchased this great blister prevention kit with taping instructions from zombierunner. I hardly slept at all, couldn't fall asleep until midnight, and then kept waking up on the hour. After 4:30AM I didn't go back to sleep. Gordon came to pick me up around 6:00AM. It was his first half marathon last year where the running bug bit me so it was great to have him there for my first one. We got to our corral, said a prayer, listened to the national anthem, and were off.
Mile 1 - 9:11 - Perfect first mile pace, feeling good. Gordon notices I'm hobbling. That's my new rotated pelvis (bum hip). Must get it fixed.
Mile 2 - 8:58 - I trained with a walk break at each mile, but decided to skip the first one. Gordon doesn't take walk breaks and we're running together and no one is walking.
Mile 3 - 8:39 - One of my coaches yelled, "Go Ivette" from behind me which gave me a little boost and then he quickly passed me. I missed the first Accelerade table. Fortunately I had my own on me. First walk break. I picked up the pace to catch up to Gordon, not realizing that he picked up the pace too, hence the 8:39 mile.
5K split - 28:12 - That was right after my second walk break at the start of mile 4. Had I known there was going to be a timing mat there, I would've waited until after I passed it for my walk break.
Mile 4 - 9:24 - That's okay because the last one was fast.
Mile 5 - 9:18 - Still okay.
Mile 6 - 9:42 - The 2 hour pace runner is ahead of me now and I don't think I can keep up. Positive thoughts, positive thoughts. Just keep going. Don't slow down. You can take a walk break after the 10K split.
10K split - 56:52
Mile 7 - 9:18 - Halfway there, yes!! Actually it was more like, "Only halfway, I can't do what I just did over again. I'm tired. Go away negative thoughts. I'm here to enjoy this race."
Mile 8 - 10:00 - I didn't want to have any miles slower than that, but it was getting harder. I think I'm drinking too much. My stomach hurts. Just get to the next aid station and you can take a walk break.
Mile 9 - 10:26 - Where is that PowerGel table? One more mile. Just run to the PowerGel.
Mile 10 - 10:27 - I ate that PowerGel so fast. I usually take them around mile 7 and eat them slowly. I should've brought my own. I'm trying to remember my most important goal to just enjoy the race. With each mile getting slower it's not feeling very enjoyable so I start high fiving the kids on the sidewalk. Trying to have fun isn't easy when you're so tired.
Mile 11 - 10:09 - My beautiful family!! They came to cheer me on. What a nice surprise. It made me cry.
Mile 12 - 10:19 - Starting to feel the beginnings of a blister. If I pick up the pace, I might still make my 2:06 goal.
Mile 13.1 - 10:40 - That was 1.1 miles. I had to dig deep to pick up the pace, but I did it. The cheering crowd helped a lot.
Finish 2:06:37 Goal Met! And I enjoyed it!
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