Monday, August 20, 2012
So, I know I don't usually get all religious on ya, SparkFriends. But, today...it's what's on my mind so I figured I'd share. It's OK if you don't have the same belief system as me...that's what makes our rainbow of friendship so beautiful.
This morning, as I was spending my daily time with the Big Guy, I was reading through a daily devotional that I picked up at Barnes & Noble. It's called "Come Away, My Beloved" by Frances J. Roberts. It's probably the best little devotional book I've ever worked through and today's entry really touched me pretty deeply.
THE ART OF COMMITTAL
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
O My child, lay your heart in My hand, and let Me heal it. Yes, let me gather up your tears, for they are precious to Me (see Psalm 56:8). You have not been suffering alone, but I Myself have been near you all along the way. My heart has felt all that you have felt. You do not have a high priest who is not able to sympathize with your sufferings, but one who experienced every grief and human emotion common to all people. In the midst of these painful experiences, He did not sin. Therefore, He is one who is able to help you (see Hebrews 2:18).
He is one, who having walked the same path Himself, is able to teach you how, in the midst of these human experiences of hurts, frustrations, loneliness, and heartache, you may rise above the natural self-reproach, depression of spirit, resentment and the like.
It is not easy. Not only is it not easy, but in the natural, in the flesh, it is impossible. But the same grace I promised to the Apostle Paul to help him bear his affliction, this same grace I will give to you (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
You may bring the whole of your burden to Me. I will help you as the days go by, and as the trials come and go; and as the learning process continues, I will teach you the spiritual secrets of the art of committal.
For in complete and repeated commital lies the key to victories that can be thus more easily won, less painfully achieved, and more quickly gained, so that valleys become less deep and less dark, and more quickly passed through.
"Man is born," it is written, "to trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). This is true as surely as rain falls and snow is cold. But it is equally true, and gloriously so, that I have promised to deliver you out of all your troubles.
So will you now take the first step in this experience of commital and give Me your heart?
Make it as tangible a transaction as possible, and visualize your own hand laying the physical organ of your heart in My hands. Say to me, "Take this, Loving Master and Wonderful Lord, and do with it as pleases You."
Wow. I can't fully explain the circumstances in my life to which this applies. But I can tell you I've been placing my heart in the wrong hands...and I've known this for quite some time.
Even though I knew in my heart that I was choosing incorrectly, my stubborn will (and my fear of not feeling loved) has kept me from giving up all my vain pursuits at love...which are, in the end, insufficient to fill me and make me feel truly worthy.
So, it was kind of a breakthrough morning for me. A lot of heart change here and I don't want to struggle anymore with these things that hold me back, that make me feel like I'm worth less and that feel great for awhile, but ultimately bring me heartbreak.
This choice to move forward has come with a flood of peace that surpasses understanding...and that's really how I know that it's the right move.
So, today...I am content. And thankful. And looking forward.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
This is Sunday Blog - take 4. I am feeling...agitated...frustrated...ugh. All kinds of things on my mind...budget, busy schedule, no change in weight, worry about returning to running, wanting to be better at work, feeling somewhat guilty about bad parenting choices today, etc etc etc. You know...life.
If there were ever a time where I would just LOVE to go for a long, 7-mile run all on my own, it is right now. I need some sort of outlet and I just don't have it right now. I can do the toughest deep water exercise workout...swim my heart out and I still don't get the same release that I get after a good run.
I've been doing all I can to fill this four weeks with good things...to keep my body in peak physical shape. But, it's the mental and emotional that's getting to me now. Gosh, I'm halfway through...more than halfway. I just need to hang in there a BIT longer. My follow-up appointment with the doc and hopefully the removal of the boot is in just 11 days. I can't afford to lose my focus. I'm already losing precious half marathon training days...I can't let myself go in this last week and a half. That would be so sad.
No...truth be told, I know I'll keep doing what is right. There are just times that I miss running SO much, I can't quite describe it. It's so much more than just exercise or a weight loss tool for me. It's my heart.
Oh August 30th....please hurry!
Saturday, August 18, 2012
What a GREAT day today!!! Up at 8am and I was ready to get moving! It was one of those days where you wake up and you just think, "I will not waste this day! There are so many things I want to do!"
Took awhile to get around and get my physical therapy done and get dressed, etc. Made a breakfast smoothie and slowly sucked that down. Around 11am, I was ready to head out the door for a nice, long walk with my 6 yr old. I realized it might be pushing the envelope going for a long walk in my boot, but it was a GORGEOUS 54 degrees outside and the sun was shining. I refused to miss out on that glory!
So, we stocked my hydration belt with water and some of those Powerbar Gel Blasts and embarked on our journey.
Originally, we set out to do 6 miles. However, she's small...so one of my steps is two steps for her. It's a long way for little legs. And look at the shoes she is wearing.
This is Elayna's imitation of a runner in the Olympics getting ready to run. I like the perspective of the sidewalk behind her, which looks like it goes on forever and ever.
I have to say, Elayna is my....unique child. She's quite gifted and also over emotional. She says the most random things and, most of the time, she says them with an inflection that is so grown up, you could just laugh out loud. She's devastatingly smart and has a great sense of humor. Spending time with her and listening to her thought processes is truly a delight! No shortage of laughter on this walk, I'll tell you that. She's also crazy curious and soaks up information and knowledge like a sponge. So, I took the opportunity to teach her as much as I could during our time alone together.
Along the trail, we happened upon this BEAUTIFUL fungus on a dead log:
I explained all about how it grew and Elayna made the connection between this type of fungus and moss (which also grows in cool, damp places). Smart, I tell ya!
We talked about limestone and fossils and geodes and snakes and foxes. Elayna (quite humorously) gave her opinion of every single biker and runner that passed us on the trail. We stopped twice to have water and Powerbar Energy Gel Chews. We talked all about hydration and fuel for a hard workout and explained why we don't just eat the gels like candy at home when we aren't working out.
Here are a few Elayna gems form today that made me giggle:
E: I can't wait to grow up and have a mansion!
L: How are you gonna get a mansion?
E: I'm going to be a billionaire.
L: Oh yeah? How are you going to get that much money?
E: I'm never going to spend any of my money. Especially not on crappy things!
L: There's a runner coming up from behind us. Stay on your side of the trail while they pass.
E: Mommy...she is not very fast. She's just jogging.
L: Just because she isn't fast doesn't mean she's not a runner.
E: Um, yes it does. Jogging is in between walking and running.
L: Well, I guess you don't think I'm a runner then. Because I run really slow.
E: *exasperated sigh* Yep. Mom. You're a jogger.
We had to take a little break mid-walk for some hopscotch.
Well, Elayna's bad shoes ended up giving her a blister. I ended up carrying her on my back for a little ways (not too much...but enough to realize how WRONG it looked for a woman in a boot to be carrying a kid on her back! Haha!)
All in all, my little girl hung in there for 3.4 miles! She didn't complain once and, when we were home, I read her all the stats from my HRM. 3.4 miles, 1 hr 45 minutes at 2.5 miles per hour. 9980 steps (for me...she must have taken about 18,000 steps!)
At home, we gobbled up lunch and grabbed the rest of the kiddos to take them to the Splash Pad.
This one is really in a strange frame of mind these days...I feel like she just can't decide between "being cool" and remaining a child, expressing herself and having fun with her family. Every time we ask her to do something fun or go somewhere, she just shrugs and says she doesn't want to go. Then, she practically cries as we leave her behind with her grandparents (even though we tell her over and over that we'd love to have her join us!) It's been so confusing to me (and her!) lately. I don't know what is going on in her head...but I know she is growing up and so much is changing in her heart and in her body too. I feel her moving further from me...and it's difficult.
She wasn't going to join us at Splash Pad but, at the last second, she ran out to the car begging me to let her come. She had so much fun with her younger brother and sister. Then, I took them all out for ice cream. It was just a wonderful afternoon - one of those golden memories that you take in and try to brand on your brain so you never forget this special time.
It warmed my heart so much when we walked in the house and she was singing to her Dad and grandparents, "This was the best day ever with my Mommy!" Then, she impulsively ran up to me and hugged me tight and kissed me on the cheek and said, "Mommy! Thank you SO much! That was so much fun! Thank you."
Predictably, I am EXHAUSTED now. But, it is a sweet happy exhaustion. Full of joy and thanksgiving. I have the sweetest kids on the face of the planet. Sometimes I look at them and I can't believe I MADE them. What a blessing to know these interesting little people. They drive me absolutely insane at times, but I wouldn't trade them for the entire world. Well....not today, at least.
Friday, August 17, 2012
You know those days where you just can't think of a thing to blog? Yeah...this is NOT one of those days!
This day has just not stopped since I dragged myself out of bed at 6am. It was early and I was sleepy, not looking forward to driving to the YMCA and jumping into a cold pool to swim 22 lengths of the pool...but I did nothing physical yesterday at all, so I really wanted to get a workout in today. And, frankly, 7am is the only time I had available. I just could not let another day slip by where I would not be actively working toward my goals.
I am one of those people that HATES eating breakfast super early in the morning or right after I wake up. My body needs some time, you know? BUT...I was about to do some pretty heavy duty swimming (for me, still a beginner) so I knew I had to give my body some fuel to run on.
Thankfully, I have a whole BUNCH of THESE sitting in my pantry:
I've never tried these before, but MARATHONDAD kept INSISTING that I would love them. Our local grocery had them on sale for $1 and I literally bought every single package because that was such a great deal!
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Friends, I have found my racing fuel of choice.
They are DELICIOUS!!! And, here I am, thinking...WHY didn't I listen to MARTHONDAD in the first place??? Oy vey.
These little guys have caffeine in them too and, I'll tell you, I could feel the energy boost almost immediately after eating them. In addition, you are supposed to take them with water, so I got 16 oz. in my body before I even started my day. Not too shabby!
OK, so...the swim. This was my second time swimming and I really just wanted to focus on form and technique and, especially, on breathing. It was every bit as tough this time as last time...but I was analyzing things more as I went. I was surprised to realize that swimming is very much like running, in that it is a pretty tough mental game.
This is what happens to me: I start off going down the length of the pool feeling great...totally at ease and relaxed. I still haven't figured out a breathing pattern, so right around the end of the first length, I am starting to get winded. By the time I'm going back down the length, getting ready to finish my lap, my body is so much more tense and I would go so far as to say "flailing". After one lap, I must stop and breathe for at least 30 seconds before I can start another.
In my head, I know that the same is true of swimming as running: SLOW DOWN and RELAX. But...I have not been able to figure out how to make my body go a different speed. And, as I said, I am relaxed until the end of a lap. I believe this is 100% mental. Phsysically, my body should be able to continue. Gosh, isn't that just like running? Except scarier...because when you panic in water, you could drown.
Because of these issues, my tiny bite-sized goal for today was to swim 4 lengths (2 laps) non-stop. I was able to do that...twice...at the end of my swim. That made me feel proud. That pride will make me come back and try again.
Of course, swimming is also NOT the same as running. The biggest difference I've noticed is the delayed onset of exhaustion. When you are running, you feel tired as you run. In the pool, I don't feel particularly tired or sore or anything. I felt a *slight* burning in my arm muscles near the end...but it wasn't horrible. When I get out of the pool, there is a period of about 15 seconds where I feel AWESOME...but then at 20 seconds out, it is like exhaustion pounces on me like a panther. It's the most bizarre feeling I've ever felt. Luckily, it doesn't last long...but, my goodness, it takes a person by surprise! I'm used to feeling RADIANT after a run...not like I suddenly got run over by a truck. Haha.
I am learning so much about fueling my body...by how it feels. This morning, the Powergels were exactly what I needed to get my body going and fuel my swim. I did a sprint triathlon distance in 26 minutes. But, as soon as I was out of that pool and showered, I literally HAD to eat something...immediately. As in, I had not even gotten dressed but I was eating. Thank God I had brought graham crackers with peanut butter with me. I truly believe I could not have gone one more moment without fueling. That's just crazy. I really LOVE getting to know my body in this way.
After swimming, I booked on over to the physical therapist's office. New office. New therapist. This is the location with the water treadmill and pool therapy. Spent one hour with my P/T just going over everything that's ever happened to my body, moving my feet every way possible, walking so he could analyze my gait, etc. Of course, it was a WEALTH of knowledge...specifically about MY body. SO great to learn!
You know what my problem is??? I run differently on one foot than on the other. I suppose I always suspected this because I know I tend to baby my right ankle, whether it be intentional or not. But it is a marked difference. He said my right foot turns out a little and my left foot pronates. This is just awful for the rest of my body. He gave me a pretty motivational speech about how we are going to work on this in the pool, but when I get back on land, my complete and total focus needs to be on nothing but running evenly. My goodness, he's a great therapist. I know I've said it before, but I feel SO blessed to have such an excellent medical team on my side!
Of course, that comes with a price tag. They are pretty much my personal trainers/coaches right now. What would you expect to pay for that? If you said $250 per visit, you'd be correct. I balked at that amount at first, especially when I did some quick math and realized I'd be shelling out a cool $2,000 when all of this is said and done. How much is too much to invest in this half marathon/marathon/triathlon dream? When I really consider what I'm getting for my money, I can honestly say it's the first time I've ever seen a doctor bill that I felt was completely justified. And if you think that this could save me countless injuries and setbacks in the future, it is literally priceless therapy that I'm receiving right now. 14 doctor visits in a span of 8 weeks is a little crazy, but I'll tell you...it made me think long and hard about what I really want.
I want to be an athlete. I AM an athlete. And, more than that, I want to be healthy for life. There are going to be bumps in the road (many caused by my obesity), but I refuse to let obesity win. It has been winning for far too many years. I have wasted too many days, months, years of my life wishing I could do things that are beyond my reach. My appetite and declining health have controlled me for more time than I care to admit. It's time for me to rule my own body and make my own choices. How much work am I willing to put into this?
The answer: as much as it takes.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
So, remember my running buddy, Sarah, that I met out on the trail?
Here is yet another photo I stole from Sarah's FB page:
Yes, gentleman...she's available! Haha.
RECAP: Sarah and I passed each other on our regular morning runs almost every day. We would pass each other twice around the same spot on the trail every time. She had the sweetest smile and was so cheerful and always said, "Good morning!" I really wanted to know her story, so one day before my run, I penned a quick note and took it with me, hoping she would be out on the trail. Of course she was! So, as we got closer to passing each other, I yelled, "I have a note for you!" And I passed it to her. On the second pass, she introduced herself and said she'd e-mail me.
A couple weeks later, we had coffee for about half an hour, chatted about running and realized we were meant to be running buddies. We agreed to go on a short run together...an easy 5 miler. I had never run with a partner before. It was so much fun!
We decided, rather spontaneously, to do a long run together on a Saturday. 7 miles. That was awesome too! But, that was the fateful day of my ankle injury.
We had texted each other a couple times since then. She has been such a sweet, uplifting force for me through this time of injury and we have missed running together.
The other day, Sarah announced that she would join me for Deep Water Exercise. I was so proud of her for going out of her comfort zone.
And this is when it happened...
Try and put yourself in Sarah's shoes (probably Asics) for a second.
There's this girl that is close to your age that you keep seeing on the trail. One day this freak passes you a note...like it's high school or something. In the note, she calls you beautiful, but also makes sure you know that she isn't hitting on you. What a weirdo. But points for originality.
You meet her for coffee and it's fun! Yay! Instant friend!
You go running together once and decide it was worth it. Let's do it again!
Awww....friend is injured...no more running buddy for at least a month. Maybe it would be supportive and fun to go to deep water exercise with her.
Then, as you are struggling not to drown, she lays this one on you...
"So...do you wanna train for triathlons with me?"
Here's the best part, Sparkfriends. She thought for about, I don't know...one minute...and said, "OK, let's do it!"
So...here we are. Two virtual strangers checking out swim instructors/classes and planning to split the bill. Biking will be next, but we can only handle one or two things at a time, you know. (Oh, did I mention she also plays tennis?)
We must be nuts. Barely knowing each other and agreeing to forge into this completely unknown territory together. But, the thing is...we don't feel like strangers. It's AMAZING what can happen on a short 5-mile run. So much sharing...so much common ground discovered. And it really doesn't take long to know when someone is a kindred spirit, does it?
Anyway, it might be insane, but it's fun...so...it'll be worth it. And I think we will only love ourselves more as we move through the process.
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