Friday, September 30, 2016

Why I love Morning Runs

The smell of fall wafts through the air and into my senses. This is my favorite time of year to be a runner.
 The weather is just cool enough to feel good, but not too cold to be wearing winter gear yet.
 The leaves are beginning to fall and the crunch under my sneakers makes new memories.
 The rain is refreshing and welcomed.

 The sunrises are gorgeous.

 The animals roam around more freely this time of year.

  I love being a morning runner.

 I woke up today, tired and not so into the idea of endeavoring outdoors. However, I have a race in 2 weeks, so this is no time to decide to sleep in. And this morning's run proved to me why I love to run so much.  and why I love to be a morning runner.

 When I go out at 5:30 in the morning, one cup of coffee already down, it's the one time that the world feels like it's slowed down a little bit.No one is awake yet, except maybe a few neighbors here and there, tinkering in their garage.There are very few cars out yet. And the noise is just the crickets. It's just me and God's creatures.
  We live in a face paced world, where very rarely do we slow down long enough to catch our breath and take in the beauty around us.

 Being a morning runner gives me that time. In part because most of the world around me is still asleep. But also because it's the one time of day where no demands are being made of me (except the ones I am placing on myself.) It's my time to pray. It's my time to sort out the loud thoughts that swarm in my head all day long.  It's my time to be me.  Time to be free.

 I also love my morning runs because I get to experience God's nature like others may not. This morning, 4 deer were in my running path. They froze and looked at me, as if their standing still would somehow make it so I could not see them. They were beautiful.
  Yesterday I saw the most gorgeous sunrise ever. That sunrise reminds me why I love being a morning runner and why I love Ohio fall. The yellows swirled into the orange; the purple and pinks pushed each other just past the orange hues. And still in the distance, dark storm clouds danced, taunting their way into the day. It was so beautiful, there really aren't words to describe the scene.

 My run may not have been my best one on this training journey. However, I ended it with such a smile because it certainly was/is a beautiful way to start my day into God's creation today.And a great reminder of why I love running - and being a morning runner - so much.

 Happy Friday, Ya'll.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Celebrate Progress

Are you a glass half empty or half full person? For me, I am so often trying to help others see theirs half full, I am striving to find the positives for them to see in whatever the situation might be.
 But I admit that for my own self, I probably am more of the half empty gal. I hate admitting that, but honesty is what I do here. And so I'm being honest. I often struggle to see the positives in whatever my scenario might be.
 But- in recognizing that, I can work towards fixing that! And so I start by celebrating progress, even when that progress is slow.

 This year I have been implementing a lot of changes in my life. Those changes have been very healthy and very good for me in moving forward to the next horizon, but that being said, I need to stop and celebrate the progress a little more often.

 I can get tripped up by how long something takes. I can get frustrated because I am not seeing results I want. Or I get discouraged by the fact that some things are moving inches rather than feet at a time. But this week my friend said to me "Celebrate Progress." And I dwelt on that for a little bit.
 I often times miss the little victories because I am dwelling on the long process rather than the bits of progress.
 For example, when I started TRX back in March, I could only hold a plank for 30 seconds. Last month I was able to hold it for 2 minutes! For me, that was HUGE progress, not just little progress. But sometimes I get lost in the fact that I may not be exactly where I want to be. (The monthly plank challenge is to help us know how we are improving. I have come a very long way, even if I sometimes don't feel that way.) I still want to grow stronger, but I can look at what has transpired and celebrate!!

 With my school work, the road is very long. I know that, and if/when I think about it that way, it feels like forever out of sight. But instead of looking at it that way, I am celebrating progress. I am down one semester, a quarter of the way through the second, and moving towards a very worthy goal.

 Losing weight is a long process. But, celebrate the victories.

 Marriage has setbacks, but celebrate the progress.

 Parenting is at times and exhausting journey, but celebrate the progress.

 Training for a race takes 13 weeks (more or less), when the race will only take a few hours (or much less for those who are faster!) But celebrate the progress being made through those 13 weeks.

 You can also look at it as seeing the glass half full.

 So, while this can be a challenge for me at times, life is full of beautiful moments to be celebrated. Why waste it worrying when I can be celebrating? (disclaimer: I recognize that this is far easier said than done, but I am a work in progress- no pun intended- and therefore, that is the perspective I aim to hold.) 

What can you celebrate today??

Monday, September 19, 2016

The 20th Air Force Marathon

When my head is so full of thoughts, the only way I know to really get through them well is to put them down here. I will live in a congested state of mind until I share.
 At this point in time, many emotions over multiple topics are swimming in my mind, but they will unfold in time. Today, I want to share as I do each year about the Air Force Marathon experience. I tried to take a few moments through the days to capture some memories in photos, and I was able to grab a few here and there. What's not in photos is in words, so bear with me as I share.

 Each year's event brings on new lessons learned, new friends made, reunions with old friends, hugs from strangers, and growth, one way or another. This year was no different. I found all of those embedded in the 2 days of the expo, along with the actual race day. This will be a two part blog.

 Each year, I am reminded just how much I love what I do. I am reminded how exhausting race week is, but how worth it in the end. I typically feel elated and on a high of sorts from the joy I get of watching it all unfold, but there is a sense of relief as well. It hits me every single year how we work so hard all year long for ONE day basically. That is challenging at times for me, but again, race week is totally worth it. There is even a sense of sadness for me when it's over because the experience is so good, so fulfilling, that I don't want it to be over so fast. I want to soak it in for a little bit before jumping in to the next one. (Not reality, but writing about it here helps me soak and recap.)

 At the expo, my job is to fix problems. When I tell people this, I typically get wide-eyed responses, like "Good luck!" or "I wouldn't want to be you." My friend Danielle said "Girl, I could not do this like you do."
 I don't say that in an arrogant way; I say it to share.... I get some interesting issues that come across my way. But I love it. I love helping fix what is needed. I love it when I can make a runner's experience better. I enjoy it because it gives me a place to meet so many of the people I talk to on the phone or computer through the whole year. For me, it fits. I do have to give bad news and hard answers to them sometimes, but for the most part, it's an all around good experience. Some highlights from this year in the solution center:

 -I absolutely love the company we work with that helps me help our runners. (Our timing/registration company) Josh Drew and his crew are so easy to be around and so helpful. Josh always has a witty statement to lighten the atmosphere and he leads his team with ease. Their crew does a great job, works hard, never rolls their eyes at my needs (as far as I know, anyway!) and helps me do my job in a way easier fashion. He deserves some props in this blog.  I could not solve problems as easily without their help behind the scenes. I get teased for being wordy (in case you hadn't figured that out that I am!) but it's nice to have this crew in my corner. So much more could be said, but then I would lose my audience.
End Results/Get Me Registered Team
Josh Drew and me

 - I had one lady really needing/wanting something. I will not go into details, but I asked her to give me a few hours to troubleshoot it and see what I could do. When she came back and I was able to help accommodate what she needed, she lit up and literally grabbed me in a bear hug.
 Totally worth it.  Totally why I love what I do.

 Honestly, There are plenty of stories that could be shared. The point is, while it can be exhausting to hear all the needs of the people, it's also quite rewarding. (And occasionally gives me a few good stories to tell later. )

 Reuniting with Runners

 One thing I love about race weekend is seeing return runners. Some of these people have become a part of my support system because I helped them once. Then they begin to ask about me, and in time, a friendship unfolds. I am thankful for the variety of people this event has brought my way. Each person who becomes someone in my corner teaches me about life in a new way, supports my desires and dreams in life- not just in my running. I know I will leave someone out, but I was only able to capture a few of these people (it's not like I had all the free time to wander around taking photos...)

 Chief Walden has been coming back since my first year at the office. One year I helped him with something, which turned into the next year and the next. We don't get tons of opportunities to speak, but he's one of those people who gives me far more recognition than I should have and doesn't take enough for himself. He's constantly helping others, rallying his teammates, and encouraging others around him to grow- be it his students, his team, his wife and children or me. I'm happy to call him friend.

Annelise, me, Chief Walden

 And along with Chief, last year I met this special lady, Annelise. She's a blogger like me and you can find her here. She's pretty awesome. Her story encourages and inspires me. Aunie is full of vibrance and faith. Her smile lights up the room and her hugs are special. I could say a lot about this special lady, but check out her blog. I was happy to see her again this year.

My pilot friends, Eric and Bill. They are better known to each other by their "pilot names" (I am certain there must be a better term for that, but I don't know how else to describe it), but last year we met because they came in as part of the flight crew of our featured aircraft. They chose to come back this year and it was fun to reunite with them.What a fun crew they are to be around. Both pilots will be retiring this year. I am thankful for their service and for their friendship.

Katie. Katie actually lives locally now, but we met last year, as she came in and swept away the 10K win in 2015. We fast became friends. We each lead busy lives, but we make time where we can. Katie is awesome. She helps me be a better runner, better woman, better person. She is in my corner, cheering me on in all of my life endeavors, and I am thankful this event brought us together as friends. Katie is a beast when it comes to her running. Unfortunately, she got super sick race week and though she diligently tried to plug away in the half marathon, her body forced her to stop and led her to the ER. She's ok, but sometimes the body says stop. I admire her tenacity as she said "Training will pay off. My time will come, I am sure of it." And she keeps going, not letting the setback knock her down.

Meeting Someone Famous
 Anyone in the running world probably knows the name "Meb". He is pretty famous in the industry, as he has been to the Olympics 4 times, won NYC marathon and the Boston marathon. This year, we were lucky enough to have him as our speaker. I was pretty busy and didn't actually think I would get to meet him, which left me disappointed. However, in between a task, I happened to catch him for a moment after he finished running the 10K. My friend, Danielle, and I took a moment to thank him for being there and speak with him briefly. He's down to earth and pretty cool . He wrote Run to Overcome a book I totally recommend.

Really the list goes on.... but those are a few of the moments from the weekend. I can't always share everything, and I am still processing some of the weekend. Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow, where I will share about lessons learned. I really do have a cool job.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

What I Learned in August

I cannot even believe today is the last day of August! This month came and went without a breath it seems.
 School started back for the kids (and for me).  Joseph's Cross Country season began. Work vamped up. And my fall training kicked in hard. It's been a pretty crazy few weeks. Here's a recap of what I took in in the month of August.

 1. I need to delete the word "Slow" from my vocabulary.

Who defines slow? As I have been training for my fall race, I came off the heels of a time in my spring race that was 1 minute off a PR for me, so I thought for sure I could get to where I will beat that in the fall. The truth is, it's not going to happen this fall. I have lost some of my speed. But since my spring race, I have started taking classes myself, Elizabeth began high school and has tons of things going on, Joseph is running cross country, I work full time and of course my hubby needs time, too. Oh yes, and we changed our entire way of eating. So, I have decided I need to be OK with where I am this fall. I'm steady. I'm still out there. But I'm not faster. However, nor am I going to use the word slow. It's not a nice word in the running world and I really need to quit using it to describe myself. How about determined? Steady? Fighter? Strong? Those are good words. It's my own standard, no one else's. (I just have a habit of being a competitor).

 2. Joseph inspires me.

 As my son began cross country this fall, he has been inspiring me. As I teach him it's not about his time, but about what he learns and about being the best him he can be, he is inspiring me to live out those words. I love being the spectator of the sport instead of the participant for once. It's kinda strange, but kinda wonderful.  His teammates cheering him on gets me teary eyed. He is inspiring me to be a better me. And our conversations that follow his meets are teaching me lessons as much as I hope they are helping him.

 3. Change is good.

 August brought on a lot of change for our family. We got full on to our new eating plan. Elizabeth shifted to the high school, which is big (especially for this mom, who grew up in a tiny town and was in the same school building her whole life!) I cut my hair way short.... I like it, but I haven't decided yet if I'll keep it this way or not. I got new glasses. We began prayerfully trying a new church. Joseph started CC, which is something neither of the kids have ever done- a sport. My semester began. Life is full, to say the least. But the more and more change happens, the more I learn to embrace it and the lessons that come with it.

4. Wise Decisions

 Making wise decisions sometimes is nail biting for me. I am not a quitter, so when I feel I have to give something up, I wrestle with the idea of not being good enough to be able to do it. However, in my older age, I think I'm growing wiser in this area. When this semester began, I had a math and and an English course. I figured it would be fine. Well, this math class was ridiculous. It fell at the same time of the first week of the kids' school and if you didn't know, this is my crazy season at work. So, I was pretty frustrated and stressed out that I was not understanding the math. I tried everything and I was not connecting. So, I decided I probably needed to drop it. I did not want to, I don't want to go backwards in this forward journey. Long story short: I decided to drop it. And when I did- a weight fell off me. I will pick it up in the winter when it's not so crazy. But here's the even cooler piece of this story: in dropping it, to keep my fin aid, I needed to pick up something else. Well, I have a bunch of electives that have to take place in my major, and so I chose an Art appreciation course, per my advisor's recommendation. Guess what? that class does not start until Sept 19, which is AFTER my craziest day of the year- the Air Force Marathon. That could not have been a better decision!!!! Perfect timing. God oriented. So exciting for me to watch Him work out these details on this journey He is clearly laying out for me.

 As I move into September, I am going to go quiet for a while. My family and my schooling and my job need my attention right now. I am sure that after the race, I will post the happenings, because when my head is full, I find I have to write to sort through it, no matter how much (or how little) time is there. But for the next few weeks, if you think of me, pray for me, as it is going to be busy and very full. And please drop me a note for how I can pray for you. I have taken in the tremendous value of prayer over the last few months, and while I may go quiet here for a bit, I will still be praying for you. So please don't hesitate to message, email, comment or tell me how I can pray for you.

  Goodbye summer.... welcome, fall. A new season. New opportunities.
 One day at a time.