Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Impossible.

My 30-day gratitude list asks: “What book are you grateful for?” Really? Singular? One book? Impossible.

You need to know this about me before I can continue. I love books. I have always loved books. I learned to read before I went to kindergarten and I’ve been reading ever since. I love all types of books…most genres (except horror, yuck)…many different authors and styles. Some of my greatest lessons have been learned while reading stories to my boys. One of my favorite series of children’s books are about a little raccoon named Adam.

adam_Raccoon - 2Adam Raccoon is the brain child (brain animal?) of Glen Keane, who both writes and illustrates all of the books. Formerly an animator for Disney, Mr. Keane wrote eight books about this little fun-loving fellow who lives in Master’s Wood along with his best friend, King Aren, and other friends (and enemies). In Adam’s many and varied adventures, he invariably learns a lesson or two, and always, always, King Aren pulls him out of whatever pickle Adam finds himself in.

My favorite Adam adventure involves a race he runs up Victory Mountain. Adam is very excited. He has new running shoes and is full of confidence that he will win the race, no question about it. King Aren, as always, is a wise and strong friend, who tries to dispense advice pre-race…but Adam thinks he knows it all and doesn’t listen well. (Sound familiar? Yeah, me too.)

One of my favorite lines is King Aren’s encouragement to Adam before the race begins.

“It’s easy to get off track. But when you do, get back on course and finish the race.”

Each of Adam’s books include a character meant to get him off alone and without King Aren’s protection. In the Race to Victory Mountain, the dark enticement comes from a bat who gives Adam a map of a “short cut.” Don’t we all want a short cut to the top? Don’t we all get tempted to cut corners and still reap the rewards? Yeah – it doesn’t work so well for Adam either.

The important thing to remember – for Adam and for us – “What counts is finishing the race. Everyone who stays on course and doesn’t quit will win.” More wisdom from King Aren.

As the race begins, Adam enjoys a comfortable lead. He is running great…until he hits Ruby’s Honey Stand. The temptation of fresh biscuits and honey get him off the course and a few pounds heavier before he realizes he needs to get moving. Then he encounters the old deserted fairgrounds. The various rides and attractions quickly become his latest distraction and time quickly gets away from him. He’s trying to make up some time when he remembers that short cut map.

At one point, Adam is standing at a crossroads. He sees King Aren’s course flag, and remembers the words, “Stay on course.” However, he’s worried he’ll never finish in time, so he heads off down the other path. As you can guess, this is not his best decision. He ends up hanging from a broken bridge slat over a raging river, “I quit.”

Nevertheless, to the rescue is King Aren, who encourages Adam to get back in the race. “You can still make it if you don’t delay!” So accompanied by his royal friend, Adam gets going, and as the last rays of sun fall over the mountain, Adam makes it to the finish line and receives a trophy, just like everyone else who finished the race.

Simple story. Yes. Timeless truth. Absolutely.

I go back to this story over and over because it so easily comforts and encourages me while I’m running my life race. I also have a king who is my best friend. King Jesus never leaves me, always provides the encouragement and advice I need, through His Word, to run my race with endurance. I can rely on His map (the Bible) and don’t need any short-cuts to a victory.

I’m grateful for this little book which showed my kids (and me) the way to live (race) victoriously – staying on course and never giving up.

“So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way. And we should remove the sin that so easily catches us. Let us look only to Jesus.” Hebrews 12:1b,2a

Read Full Post »

office exercise

I’m going to tell you right up front. This blog is stolen. At least most of the suggestions in it are “borrowed.” Okay – now you know.

Spring is coming…spring is coming! Yes, it’s still 34 degrees and windy but hey! It’s only a week until March and March means spring! So – spring IS coming!

I don’t know about you but I’m so tired of being tired. I’m weary of dirty snow and wind chill in the negative numbers. I’m tired of using excuses to sit around and munch on whatever junk I have in my house, but it’s too cold or miserable to go outside. I’ve set March 1 as my date to get back at that running thing I try every year. The mornings will be a little lighter and I hope the ice and snow will be totally gone. I don’t mind running in puddles (as long as they aren’t 3 or more inches deep).

But until next Tuesday – I’m going to commit to more movement during my day. I work in an office so sitting is an Olympic sport here. I have to be creative to come up with ways to move around…and this is where I “stole” some ideas. If you’re like me, and need an excuse to get up and out of your chair, here are a few suggestions to get you up and moving:

*Instead of emailing someone, actually walk to their office for a face-to-face conversation.

*Drink more water. (What?) By drinking more water, you have to use the bathroom more often! Then use the bathroom furthest from your office (or, if you’re like me and wait too long, then use the one you can get to fastest).

*Use the stairs instead of the elevator (and that’s all the time, not just in an office setting).

*Step outside for a breath of fresh air periodically.

*Take a walk at lunch instead of sitting with your sandwich and reading a book the whole hour.

*Park your car in the farthest corner of the lot.

*Do some laps around the building at regular intervals or walk around the block, if that’s allowable at your office.

According to Dr. Mercola on the fitness.mercola website, over 50% of American men and 60% of American women never engage in any vigorous physical activity lasting more than 10 minutes per week. Ten minutes a week! Come on, people – we can do better! Prolonged daily sitting can increase risk of diabetes and heart disease. Dr. Mercola goes on to say that the key is to make sure you move your body frequently throughout the day.

So get up and dance! Right now! Get up and move it…move it…move it! Or do that yoga pose with your toes on your laptop while taking a selfie and post it, please!

 

Read Full Post »

Laughter cropped

It’s mid-February and it feels like winter will never end. I can feel my stress levels rising and my temper closer to the surface. It takes less to make me upset so I eat comfort food everyday, which means more stress every time I step on a scale. I’m spending more brain power thinking of ways to cope with no sun or warmth. I’m sick of sweaters and leggings and fuzzy socks and boots. I’m in serious need of a vacation and my bank account says, “not anytime soon, sister!” So I’ve hit upon a solution (at least until I can see the sun again)…

Laugh! I’m going to try to laugh every day. If the normal life situations don’t give me enough belly busters, then I’ll go looking for some. Joke books, movies, old TV shows – there’s a plethora of resources for giggles. And if the comedians who make their living making us laugh can’t get it done, I can always turn to the internet. Facebook is rife with stories (true or not) of people who’ve done some pretty dumb things – always good for a chuckle or two.

I can’t get outside to run because I’m afraid of ice and snow and falling. So I’ll go with this  Norman Cousins quote for now: “Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.” Wonder how much laughter it would take to offset a chocolate truffle?

Seriously (really? in a blog about laughing) – I know that laughter has more positive effects than just a quick dose of humor in my day. In an article from Health Guidance for Better Health, Mack LeMouse says “humor and  laughing are infectious and can bring people together and make them forget their troubles.” It’s one way to maintain a positive attitude and good health.

So if you’re feeling the winter blues today, pick up a joke book, or check out Netflix for comedies or search the internet for Red Skelton or Jimmy Fallon You Tube videos. Boost your mental health with a good belly laugh today.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Finish Well

I ran another 5k last weekend. It wasn’t very fun…at least not the running part. It was hot and already 100% humidity at 8 a.m. One of my good friends was running also. Alanna’s a different class of runner than I am. She loves the long stuff…8-10 mile training runs are nothing for her. She’s a beautiful and godly woman who I have known for over 10 years. When we first met, Alanna was very shy and quiet. She was hesitant to share her opinion, but very willing to help in any way. She’s a great wife and mother and in recent years, has grown into leadership abilities I would guess she never thought she had.

On Saturday I noticed her confidence. She has found her place and she walks in it with assurance. She has grown and matured and, though she’s still quiet, she isn’t afraid to speak up and share her advice and encouragement.

We had a nice time getting reacquainted prior to the start of the race but I knew once the race began, I would be eating her dust. And I was totally ok with that!

The race began and I took off at my normal pace…slow. The weather conditions were ugly. I’ll take running in rain or snow over heat and humidity any day. The route was well marked but I knew I was in trouble when I had to stop and walk at the first mile mark. Though I’m not fast, I can usually run the whole 3.2 mile distance. But by mile two, I was struggling to run more than a half mile at a time. I knew my time was shot but I was moving forward and making little goals along the way.

I always have my run app going through my phone so every half-mile I’d hear the app’s voice tell me how far I’ve gone, how long it’s taking me and my pace. It helps me realize how far I have left to go. At mile three I knew I only had two-tenths of a mile and I was determined to gut it out. There was a turn in the course ahead of me so I assumed the finish line was just around the corner. Then I saw my friend Alanna coming toward me. She met me saying, “I’m going to run you in.” It was then I realized I had further to go than I thought. As we turned the corner I saw more than a quarter mile left to go.

I can’t describe how discouraged I became at that moment. Physically I really didn’t think I could do it. I knew I could walk it in, but Alanna was running alongside me and, to be honest, I didn’t want to disappoint her. I wanted to finish well…or as well as I could. I felt sick, my legs were rubber, I was panting, almost gasping, and sweat was dripping in my eyes. I was literally “a hot mess.” But I prayed “God, just get me home,” and with Alanna’s verbal encouragement and physical presence, I dug a little deeper and ran across the finish line.

My time was awful – but that wasn’t the important lesson. Here are my takeaways:

  • Train hard. It’s the everyday journey through life that prepares you for those sudden races that occasionally pop up.
  • Run your own race. It doesn’t matter where you are in comparison to other runners. You are the best “you” there can ever be. Be good with it.
  • Don’t believe the voice in your head. Keep your eyes and ears on the truth. My app was “off” on the distance of the 5k and I had put my whole mindset on its veracity. When I realized I had more to go, I was so discouraged. Run using the sign posts along the way – the Word of God is your sign post. Let it be your training manual for your own race.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, when you are confident and secure in your race, go back and encourage someone else along the way. Alanna’s voice and presence brought me in. Without her, I probably would have dropped back to a walk which was a failure in my mind. Be the coach, cheerleader, mentor, leader – whatever term you prefer – to bring others along toward their finish line.

The times we live in are getting hotter, tougher, harder…We need each other so we can all finish well.

By the way, I got first place in my age division…I was the only one in it! One more life lesson: There are no other runners in your race. As long as you show up and finish, YOU WIN!

Read Full Post »

simonvouet_womanplayingtheguitar

It’s July 2nd…a good day to look back on the first 6 months of the year. Or maybe not. Should have done it yesterday…July 1st. Better for my latent OCD. I mean really, who logically starts something on the 2nd of anything? So my “new thing” is doing something illogically and out of the norm for me. Convoluted arguments with myself. That’s actually pretty normal for me.

Back to the purpose of this – a self-evaluation of my 2015, part 1. I don’t really have year-long goals. Too easy to cop out and forget about them. I try for month-long goals…better for my short-term memory. Was going to make May my “watch movies I wish I’d already seen” month – didn’t happen. Something always comes up that seems more fun than sitting in front of the TV for a couple of hours. I still have the stack of DVDs in the living room (I’m sure they’ll remain there until Christmas) but summer is no time to hunker down in the house when the sun doesn’t set until 9 p.m. And by 9:01 I’m exhausted and ready for bed.

I am doing well on my 90-days-through-the-Bible challenge. One-third of the way and still on track. I tell myself that I can’t read anything else until I’ve read my Bible. It’s working so far.

I’m also still running…well, running, then walking, then running, then walking, and finishing with running. Still not very fast. But I do somewhat enjoy the discipline and feel so much better after getting in a 2-mile run. And I try to participate in 5K races periodically to keep myself out there. I won’t win anything except the finisher’s medal but that works for me.

Some of the “new things” I’ve tried have been successes – meaning I’ve made them part of my lifestyle now. Like edamame…delicious. Giving blood – do it every 8 weeks now (first time was last November after years – literally years – of being afraid. Silly me). Fitbit – addict. Found out I’m more competitive than I thought. New restaurants – I’m committed to trying new places because I’m tired of seeing the same menus at every place I eat. This is not a hardship, by the way. Downtown Cedar Rapids has a plethora (new word – try that every day too) of eating establishments and I’m not opposed to giving each of them a try at least once. Support local eateries people! The McDonalds, Olive Gardens, Red Robins, and Chilis will survive without your support – but there is so much more to experience.

I’m reading a new blog every day. It’s called Leadership Freak. Exceptional. Give it a try – even if you are the only person you’re leading.

By the way, a new friend recently shared a document on her Facebook page that I thought was awesome. So I’m sharing it here. It’s called “Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up.”

Second half goals: volunteer more, complain less. Stay out of arguments that won’t matter the next day. Build people, not walls. Love more, fear less. Keep trying new things to stretch my comfort zone into the 3XL range. I may even pick up my guitar again.

Read Full Post »

sushi

Are you resistant to change? Sometimes I am…sometimes I like it. It usually depends on what is being changed. Changing my clothes – good. Changing my sleep schedule – not so good. Being forced to change is where we usually resist. If we can choose what we change, then we seem more accepting. For instance, some women love to change their hair style or color. But if I told you what you HAD to have for a hair color (Purple? Let’s try it!), you may be a little more resistant.

Last year I spent a couple of months dedicated to thinking up ways to change things up in my routine. I visited places I had never been, tasted new flavors, challenged myself physically and mentally (which meant I was challenged emotionally too). And I loved it! Some of the changes I made were planned, which made them a little easier to accept. A couple of the changes were definitely not planned and they were much harder to deal with. But my mindset for change, which I purposely chose to buy into – that mindset which allowed the good and the bad, the planned and the unexpected – it pushed me beyond what I thought I could do.

I’m going to tackle this challenge again in April. It’s spring, the season of new beginnings. I’ve already thought of a couple of new changes I want to try. I’m using a little different criteria this time around. I’m specifically looking for changes which will challenge what I’ve always said about myself. So if I’ve said “I’ve never” or “I can’t” about something, that’s going on my list. Don’t worry – I’m not going to compromise my morality (in case you were fearful I’d end up on the 10 o’clock news) but there are plenty of things I’ve never attempted because I thought I couldn’t or shouldn’t. Like eating sushi, or learning to bake bread, or running a half-marathon. Of course, there are plenty of things I won’t be changing because some things just shouldn’t be done. Dark hose with white shoes and wearing yoga pants to work are some of the first things coming to mind.

Give me some ideas – what would you do to change things up for yourself in April? What have you always said you couldn’t or wouldn’t do? Make a list and then go for it!

Read Full Post »

Give_Up_1

Ever had one of those days? You know what I mean – When you feel forgotten and alone? When you can’t seem to get anything right? When your dreams look as far away as ever? Yeah. Me too. Let’s give up.

When I first started running last spring I had a lot of ‘Let’s give up’ moments. Pretty minor in the whole big picture of life, but I knew it was a small test I wanted to pass. I wasn’t going to give up on my goals even though it was difficult. My parents, especially my dad, always told me I could do whatever I put my mind to. I’m not sure that is always true but his affirmation of me helped shaped my mindset about what I can and cannot accomplish. As parents, my husband and I have always tried to instill a “don’t give up” mentality in our boys. When we signed up for a sport, we made them stick it out, even if they didn’t like it. And not just because “we paid for it, you’ll do it.” It’s important to develop perseverance – a character trait sometimes lacking in our culture today.

I came across a lot of quotes about giving up. Here’s a small sampling:

“You cry and you scream and you stomp your feet and you shout. You say, ‘You know what? I’m giving up, I don’t care.’ And then you go to bed and you wake up and it’s a brand new day, and you pick yourself back up again.” Nicole Scherzinger

“A winner is just a loser who tried one more time.” George M. Moore Jr. Member of US House of Representatives

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.” Japanese proverb

“Each mistake teaches you something new about yourself. There is no failure, remember, except in no longer trying. It is the courage to continue that counts.” Chris Bradford, “The Way of the Sword”

Winston Churchill gave a commencement speech at his alma mater, Harrow School, in October 1941. Great Britain was embroiled in war with Germany. The British people were facing shortages of food, munitions and oil. The war was escalating and people were growing frightened of the uncertainty their nation faced. As Prime Minister, Churchill had attempted to negotiate with other world leaders, but without much success. The most memorable portion of this speech has been immortalized, but I would recommend reading the whole thing at some point in your life.

Never-Give-In

Of course, the best example of never giving up was Jesus. He faced what he knew would be an agonizing death by crucifixion, betrayed by someone he had lived with for three years, left alone to face these trials without his friends, seemingly cast aside by his Father God. Yet he didn’t give up. Though he had legions of angels at his command, he didn’t give up. Why? Because he loved me. If it had been only me, Jesus would still have gone to the cross. Just for me. And you.

Don’t give up. God hasn’t given up on you.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »