Sunday, December 22, 2013

Running Humor

In 5 years of running, I've had my share of humorous (aka embarrassing) moments, so in light of that, I decided I'd share what I've learned.(And provide you readers with a laugh or 2). I'm going to back this up, starting with my very first race. When I decided to start running in 2008, I chose the Flying Pig Half Marathon to be my first race. I was such a rookie back then…

4 am, my alarm goes off, and I get up and begin my morning pre race routine. Only, because this was my first race, I didn't really know what the pre race routine was yet.  After preparing, we all exited the house on that rainy morning. It was still very dark outside, and I had no idea what I was getting into. I had butterflies in my stomach. My biggest fear? Getting lost. Yes, getting lost. I was afraid I wouldn't turn in the right place or that I would somehow take a wrong path. Little did I know there would be 10,000 or so runners around me and that fear would be non-sensical.
  My rookie behavior showed through as I got out of the car and began walking toward the start line.
  "Excuse me," I say to a couple of fit, experienced looking runners. "But where am I supposed to be? I've never done this before."

 The 2 fit (younger) runners looked at each other like, "Is she serious?" But answered, almost mockingly, "Well, over there, where the big start line is. You just line up."  And they were on their way; I never saw them again.

 I walked over to the start line area, and found my place in the middle of the street (aka the corral area). No one else was lining up. (Oh, did I mention there was still over an hour before it even began??) I learned from this experience, needless to say.

 Anyway, as the race took off, I found myself really needing to use the bathroom. I felt like it would pass, because perhaps I was just nervous. Mile 1, I passed the port-a-potties and kept going. I was convinced I could hang on. Mile 2….I slowed a little bit, but kept going. By mile 3, I knew I could not go 10 more miles holding it! So I stopped for the port-a-potty line. Yes. I said Line. I waited my turn, knowing that the clock was ticking (literally). When i finally got in and sat down and "felt better", to my dismay, there was no toilet paper! I had to resort to creativity. And press on. (But I admit, I was self conscious about it the entire rest of the race and endured some jokes about it after the fact.)  I finished in just under 3 hours (ok. Literally my time was 2:59:37) But I finished…. And I didn't get lost.
  I also learned from this first race experience to ALWAYS take Immodium before every race and make use of the port-a-potties all along the start area 15 minutes prior to race kickoff.

  What else have I learned from silly running experiences??
 -DO NOT take your brand new dog out for a run before you know how he behaves and he knows you. I made this mistake. I had just gotten the dog I'd always wanted: A weimararner. We changed his name, and on the 2nd day of having him, I decided I wanted to take him for a run. Only the problem came 3/4 of a mile into it. Having never really tripped running, that was not an obstacle I'd considered. Yet this time, I tripped and literally went flying in the air, skidding across the sidewalk. My dog ran off, I was crying, and it took a half hour to chase him down. I was left with a scraped body and pride. And a lesson well learned: wait 'til you know your pet to take him running! (Or perhaps the lesson was Don't trip!)
  -Stretching is more important after a run than before. I figured this out through my experience post first half marathon, when bending over to tie my shoes hurt and i walked oddly, as if I'd been horseback riding and my legs were a bit stuck that way.
 - On long training runs, I need to pack toilet paper in my water backpack. I learned this lesson the hard way: I was out for a 14 mile run (training for a full marathon), and there were no bathrooms for miles. I could not wait any longer, so I discreetly (as discreet as one can be on a bike path) did what any good runner would do: I fixed the problem.( And left a bit of clothing on the side of the path behind me due to lack of toilet paper…again, I used my creativity).
  - If I fall, get up. Keep going. It's funny. (So long as I am not hurt).It's also a great life lesson. I once was running in the dark (as I usually am, actually. 4:30 am runs are lit by the moon only), on a slightly broken up path, and while picking up speed to finish out the last mile strong, I found a part of the broken path with the tip of my shoe and skidded hard (on my side). Apparently I have fallen more than I thought. Anyway, I got up, laughed at myself, and finished strong.
  running has taught me much about determination, satisfaction, passion, accomplishment and a love for something I never thought possible. I have also learned to laugh at myself…..And always have toilet paper as one of the running necessities.
(Taken at the Flying Pig Expo)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The pursuit of….diligence?

This week a friend asked me if I were to be summed up in one word by another person, what word would that person choose? I found that to be a very thought provoking question. I know what I would like to be said, but her response (and she knows me quite well) was very different from what I would've said. However, the conversation took me back to a word, falling under a different category:
  Back in the beginning of 2013, by the prompting of a fellow blogger, I chose a word for which I wanted to define the year.  While many came to mind, diligent was what stuck out, so that became my choice.
 I have been thinking about that recently and with the year growing closer to the end, I was evaluating a little bit.  The reality of my diligence results left me realizing a few new things about myself.
  I wanted to become more diligent in :
    my role at home: being a wife and a mom
       my life dreams
          my prayer life and walk with God
              mom's scholarship

In my reflections the last few days, I have come to realize that as I became more diligent in one area, sometimes another area lacked. Usually, the area that lacked should have been the larger priority. It's a work in progress for me.

  Through the last months, I have learned the beauty of diligence in prayer. I have seen answers to thing I know only God could have done. I have developed new friendships for which I prayed about for a very long time. I have felt new peace in areas only He could do that. I also have felt redirection at times when I didn't really want to feel it, but nonetheless, deepening that time with Him helped me see circumstance and events in all new light.  Time praying….and listening….has become some of the most powerful moments of my year thus far.

  Diligence in the 5K, mom's scholarship,  showed great results, in our nearly doubling the scholarship fund this year. Through that process of diligence, I did come to learn the hard way that my diligence in my home lacked during that time. It's not always (ok, rarely) good to sacrifice one area of life for another. My family was amazing through the process of planning the event, though. Diligence is a great aspect to have in light of life dreams, but at times needs to be checked as well.

  Diligence in my role at home needs some work. I'd like to say that this role took my priority slot this year. Some days it did; other days, not so much. I struggle very much as a working mom/wife, to balance this aspect. Diligence in my role at home doesn't always mean a spotless home, either. Diligence at home often times should mean leaving the floor a bit dirty and reading to Elizabeth; or folding clothes later so I can jump on the trampoline with Joseph. Those moments matter far more than a moment of a clean floor in light of eternity.

 Life dreams....this aspect of diligence is one which shifted greatly this year. I started out 2013 with every intention of being back in school this year. I was determined this was the year. However, in my diligence in prayer time, I felt God redirect my steps significantly and tell me "No" to school. My first inclination was to fight that. I was sure that I was supposed to go to school. After all, I'd been saying it since I was 18. However, the more I pursued it, the more evident I was not supposed to take that path. I fought God many times on it, telling Him (Haha- as if I should be telling God what I should do!) that I was not supposed to be "Just" a barista the rest of my life; I was supposed to be in school! But He patiently redirected my heart over this. He opened my eyes to new aspects of my job and brought new excitement and joy to it. He showed me powerful pieces to what I do. And through the process of redirecting this piece of diligence, I believe one of the most important aspects I took away from it was that I am not "just" a barista; He has made me to be so much more. And through it, I developed a new love of my job. More importantly, I have developed a new sense of who He created me to be. He redirected my life dreams so I can more diligently focus on my family. and He planted new life dreams in my heart. (Stay tuned for future posts on that....)
  All this to say, I am not sure diligent would be a word that adequately described the year as I had anticipated. (Just as my friend's word to describe me was not a word I would have chosen). But as often times is the case, God's view of what the year should be is often different than what I say it should be. And His plans are always better than mine.
   Jeremiah 29:11 -12 , Message version
  "I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out-plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen."
   His plans for my future are far better than mine.