Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Getting Fit

Last year, in June, I posted about my goals of running a few 5ks and my desire to lose weight.  I half-hearted did it the last part of June and some of July, but in August, something inside of me clicked.  I honestly cannot tell you what it was, but I knew that if I was EVER going to do anything for my health, it would have to be NOW.

So, on August 15th, I started the C25K (Couch to 5k) plan.  I worked the whole plan, sometimes repeating a week so I could catch up.  I finished it, and I ran my first 5k for real in 40 minutes.  I realized I loved running, and my husband realized I was serious.  What a strange combination!

I lost 20 pounds in the process, and I began sleeping better and eating better.  It was a natural progression, and it just morphed into a total lifestyle change. 

In 2012, I ran a 5k in January, and a 10k in Febuary.  I was supposed to run a 15k in March, but for personal reasons, I had a friend run that race for me.  I did, however, finish my first half-marathon on April 29th in 2 hours and 40 minutes.  You'd think after all that running that I would be done.

Not anywhere close!!

I did take a running break to relax a little and catch up with my kids, but I'm back on track now.  I'm doing some of the last half of my half-marathon training program, and I'll start my marathon training during the next month.

Yes, I said (typed) MARATHON.

26.2 miles.....not meters.....miles

One year ago, I would never have imagined that I could run a marathon (and there are definitely days that I still have my doubts!)  But, I am going to try.  I'm so excited and scared. 

I'm so thankful for all the runners who have encouraged me along the way.  They say that running is a solitary sport, and it is.  But, while you may physically run alone, you never run alone.  It is very difficult to stay motivated and on-track all by yourself.  Thankfully, the running community is filled with people who are always willing to give a "Good job!", "Way to go!" or "You can do this!" at just the needed time!

I'm also thankful for my non-running friends who have encouraged me even though they think they could "never do it" (even though I'm sure most of the could. After all, I did!)  Not one time did anyone tell me that I was wasting my time or that I wouldn't succeed.  All those fears I had about myself were just in my head.  No one ever spoke those things I thought about myself. (Do you think there's some sort of lesson there?!)

Now, I'm going to name some names!

First, I had an awesome race partner, CJ.  I've known her since high school, and she's an awesome motivator and friend.  I could not have finished any of my races this year without her--she's awesome.

Second, my family is beyond words.  My Mom & Dad totally supported me running.  Babysitting for long runs or races was always ok, and they always had Academy gift cards so I could buy running gear.  My husband, Kevin, was a little hesitant at first, but he is ALWAYS 100% supportive!  And my beautiful children, Abi, Hannah, Connor, & Jada, are the absolute best cheerleaders!!

Third, I have friends online and in real life that offered the kindest words of encouragement.  Katie Cook (who ran the marathon when I did the half), Stefanie Shockley, Tara, Brette & Joel, Mary Ellen, Amanda, Lucretia, Connie, Amber, Tammy, Chandelle, Crystal, Jennifer, Jenn, Shannon, Cassie, Laura, Charlie, Deborah, and all the other "Sistas" whose names I cannot always remember. 

I have a few people that I consider running "mentors".  Some I have never met. Some inspired me to begin running.  Some I met after I began running, but they have encouraged me to keep pushing myself to new challenges.  So, Jenn & Barbie, we will meet some day and run together! Jodie, you'll always be younger (& probably faster), but I'll race with you any day! Erin Henderson, I am totally rooting for you to qualify in 2016!  Jason Butler, we don't live that far from each other and we are bound to finally meet at a race this year, but you are going to do awesome in Boston!

What about you?  Are you running? Swimming? Encouraging? Being encouraged?  Let me know about your goals and mentors.

Fading Scars

One year ago (and a few days), I posted about a vicious storm that ripped through my area.  I showed the pictures of the devastion just one-quarter mile from my home.  I spoke of the faith and generosity of the people in this area that jumped to help one another.  What an amazing and terrifying time!

Now, it is one year later.  New homes sit where the old ones had been wiped away. Storm shelters are inside or outside most of the new houses. The trees are green and so is the grass.  A new oil rig sits whirring every hour of the day (much to the annoyance of the neighbors--me included!)  It seems as though healing has begun....

And it has, but...

There are scars.  Lots of 'em.

There are the trees that will never have leaves again.  There are the expanses of land that still have no grass--just a fine covering of topsoil where the grass was sucked from the ground.  There are the giant balls of twisted metal that no one has had time to remove from the pastures.

Then, there are the people.  Some were injured physically during the storm, but they all have a mental battle to fight.

Storms don't stop in Oklahoma.  Just last week, while at the ball game, my kids and I had to race to the van and drive the opposite way of the house just to avoid a hail storm.  When you've weathered a tornado, you might think you wouldn't be afraid any more, but it doesn't quite work that way. 

Anytime someone faces a major battle in life, there are scars.  It doesn't matter if it is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, God gives a reminder--a memorial, so to speak--of the battle that was fought.  In Joshua chapter 4, God has the Israelites make a memorial of stones in the place where they crossed into the Promised Land.  God gives us these scars as a reminder of the work He has done in our lives.  Some reminders everyone can see, like the place where the metal has sliced open a man's head.  Some reminders no one can see, like the memory of that loved one that was ripped from your arms by the twirling wind.

Some scars never change, but most begin to fade with the passing of time. 

As I drive by the properties affected by last year's storm, I pray that God will let me use the scars in my life as a memorial for all the work He has done in the last year.  So many things, so many lessons, so many reasons to praise Him for His faithfulness.  In every situation, His hand was upon me. I pray for the families who deal daily with the scars from this particular storm, and I pray for those whose scars cannot be seen.  "Treat everyone you meet with the love of Christ for you do not know the battle they are fighting."  seems so appropriate when I'm reminded of the grace and mercy that people have shown me during my battles this year. 

Do you have scars?  Visible?  Invisible?  I pray that you will not see them as a reminder of all that is bad that you experienced in life, but as a reminder of the ways that God has worked in your life.