Archive for C25K

MY Race is all that matters: My First FiveMinuteFriday

Race. Racing. Running. It’s been on my mind a lot as I try to, again, bring running into my life. I want to learn to like it. Even love it. I want it to whittle away my bum and my thighs and mostly my calves so they’ll fit into tall boots this year.

I really need to sign up for a 5k for motivation. I have in my mind that I need to run it in under 40 minutes. Which is terribly slow for real runners. Yet it’s a stretch for me. Last time I did Couch to 5k, I ended with a 47 minute race. No lie. My friends walked faster than I “ran.”

So this time, I’m so determined to be faster. I’m more fit (but still a long way to go.) I’m stronger. I should be able to go faster, right?

So I obsess over Runkeeper and pace. I get discouraged when I realize I’m really not any faster than before.

God and I had a nice long chat during yesterday’s 20 minute run (the first time I’ve run an interval that long straight this time). And He reminded me of how I still need to break my addiction to performance. That all that matters is that I run the race He has set before me. No one else’s pace matters, no one else’s path matters.

Just run the race He sets before ME.  Nothing more. Nothing less.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)

PS – I’m a casual blogger who moves in and out of blogging in cycles.  I’ve been thinking about blogging again for a while, and when I wrote 3 posts in 28 hours, I figured it was a “back in” part of the cycle.

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Missed Lessons: On Self-Reliance

I ran today.  Outside, Week 3 of C25K.  Remember, the program I finished with a 5K, oh, 16 months ago?  And then promptly stopped running.  I wish I had a good reason why – but it went something like, “Oh, I made the goal – finished a 5K, and it’s July and really stinkin’ hot out here.”

But for some reason, I feel like running again. I started on the treadmill at Miracles Fitness a few weeks ago.  Which is odd, because the first time around, I NEVER ran on a treadmill.  Didn’t even want to try it.  But inexplicably, as I got back into a workout routine, running seemed to come with it.

But this week, it took a lot of psyching up to go and do it outside.  Which makes no sense, since the first time around I did it ALL outside.  What got me out there?  Good question.  That deserves some reflection.

What I’ve been mostly been pondering is how it felt.  I won’t lie – it was hard.  I’m actually more out of shape now than the first time I started running.  My running shoes probably need to be replaced, so my shins were feeling it a bit. And I missed the controlled speed of the treadmill, which makes my legs go fast just to keep up.  Suddenly I had push myself to do the running, not keep up with the external force that would knock me flat on my bum if I didn’t keep up.

And what I loved about it is that I was back to depending on God for the strength in my legs and my lungs and my mind.  I prayed much of the way through – often just for the strength to make it to the sign or the tree just up ahead.

And I remembered – THIS is what I loved and learned the first time running.  How it felt to depend on Him each moment, each breath. To rely on His strength that helps me do all things.  To trust in Him so that I can run and not grow weary.

I remember wondering what He was preparing me for 16 months ago.  Why did He call me to run at that point in life?  What did He know was coming that I would need to learn total reliance on Him for?  I was a bit apprehensive about that.

But the crisis didn’t come. Life went on as “normal” and I went back to self-reliance, controlling, planning, doing things in my own strength.  I’m not even so good at that – but I like to be independent even when it’s not working so well.  And I at times thought, “Huh, wonder what all that was for?”

And so today it hit me – He was preparing me for every day life.  Because I should be relying on Him like that EVERY DAY.  Not just through a crisis or a valley.  EACH MOMENT.

Some would say coincidence, but I say divine inspiration – here’s what I read in Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling this morning – somehow I got a day ahead, but I’ve just been going with it, so this is for March 16th:

“It is good that you recognize your weakness.  That keeps you looking to Me, your Strength.  Abundant life is not necessarily health and wealth; it is living in continual dependence on Me.”

Hmm.  I’m a bit sad that I missed that lesson the first time around.  But I’m hopeful that I won’t miss it this time.

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A Tale of Two Runs

Let me tell you a little about Thursday’s run.  My final training run before my first 5K run ever.

I ran exactly 2 miles, and didn’t think I was going to make it that far.  (That was my goal…taking it easy heading into the race.)

I had a stitch in my side – twice.  That’s never happened before.

I had trouble breathing.  Haven’t had trouble like that since early in the C25K program.

My knee hurt on and off the rest of the day.

My pace was the slowest it’s been in weeks.

None of this is making me very hopeful heading into the 5K on Saturday.

It’s Thursday night, and I could post this now.  But I’m choosing not to, because it’s not the end of the story.  Because it’s not about the hope I have based on my abilities.  It’s about the trust and hope I have in Jesus Christ.

If I had posted this on Friday, I would have had to tell you about how my knee hurt.  ALL DAY.  I wondered if I would even be able to run.

And yet…

Every time I started to question, I heard this simple question:  “Do you trust me?”

It has been a few days where the Casting Crowns song “Voice of Truth” has been for me – I needed to only listen to HIS truth.  And the truth is:

Phillippians 2:13  13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

1 Thess 5:24  The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.

Isaiah 40:31  31 but those who trust in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

With that kind of truth, how could my answer be anything but “Yes, I trust You.”  I have seen His faithfulness and His strength over and over since my first day of running – why would I doubt that He would not provide on the race day?

So, here it is, my race day notes:

I ran the whole darn thing.  From start line to finish line.

I felt great.  The one time that I felt like walking, my iPod changed to “Free to Run” – the song He first used to comfort and encourage me.  Like I could start walking during that song!  By the time the song was over, I was in the home stretch and knew I could make it.

My knee was fine.

I never had a single other stitch, pain, nothing.

I finished 2 minutes faster than the last 2 times I ran the very same course.

I even went back out and ran the Kids Fun Run with Megan. 😉  Who would have thought I would run extra?!

Thanks to Him who is my hope and my strength.

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Short and Sweet

Quick post today…just to share with you that I am celebrating running a 5K this morning!  Granted, I started out with a short warm-up walk, but then I ran the rest of the course I’ll be running in next week’s race.  It felt GREAT!

The difference between today’s run and the 2 I struggled with earlier this week?  Preparation in the form of prayer.

Sure, I could cite cooler weather, but in my heart of hearts –  I know that’s not it.

God put Isaiah 41:10-11 in front of me last night, and I quickly committed it to memory.  I prayed it, and I repeated it over and over to myself this morning.

“Fear not, for I am with you.  Be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

Praise be to Him.

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Just Call Me Peter

Do you ever read a quote (or in this case, a Facebook status) that just makes you stop and think?  Apparently it’s been happening a lot to me lately!

So here it is for today:

Peter began to sink when his faith shifted from the firmness of Jesus’ word to the instability of his circumstance. Trusting in Jesus and his word over our perceptions is difficult to learn. That’s why the Lord takes us through faith-building experiences. And it is never for just our own benefit. He’s displaying his power so others’ faith will be strengthened too. ~Jon Bloom

If you’re not familiar with the story, you can find it in Matthew 14:22-33.  Jesus walks across a lake to meet his disciples who are out in a boat.  They see him and are very afraid, thinking he is a ghost.  He admonishes them to “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  Peter, ever one to test Jesus, says “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

Of course, Jesus does just that, and helps Peter to walk.  Suddenly, Peter notices the wind, and gets scared.  He begins to sink.  Jesus rewponse? 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

When I read the Jon Bloom quote, I knew it was just for me.  If you’ve read any of my blog, you know this whole running thing is just not natural to me – yep, almost as unnatural as walking on water.  You hopefully also know that I believe God called me to do it, and that I’ve had to rely on Him and His strength for every step of progress I’ve made.

A few short weeks ago, I was DEEPLY relying on him – almost every step, every breath.  When I was running 60 second intervals, I could only complete them because I called on Him.  When I was up to 5 minute intervals, the last half of those were ALL HIM.  When I had to jump from 8 minutes to 20 minutes, I spent a TON of time in prayer as preparation, because I knew it would have to be Him to get me through it.

But now that my race is 10 days away,  and the most I’ve been able to run without stopping is 2.5 miles, and I haven’t been able to do that the last 2 runs.  I am FULL of doubt about actually completing 3.1 miles without walking.

And yet Jesus is still there.  He is still willing and ready and eager and able to carry me for all 3.1 miles.  But I have to believe Him.  I have to focus on that truth, and not on the circumstances – it’s hot, I’m tired, I’m thirsty.  Not listen to the part of me that says I can’t do it or is afraid I’ll “sink” like Peter did.

I need to keep my eyes on Him and my trust in Him and believe that He’ll carry me through.  After all, He called me to do it.

Ephesians 2:13 (NLT):

13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

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Obsessed with Speed

I have become a bit obsessed with speed lately.  Guessing that’s because I have none.

Let’s be real here.  Two weeks ago I got passed by a 55-yr-old couple out walking their dog.  Not passed by a teeny bit – fully passed.  Thank goodness I turned before I could see just how far in front of me they might get.  My 14-yr-old stepson can run darn close to 3 miles in the time I can run 1.  My time would have earned me an F- in high school gym class.

I’m starting to be pretty sure that I will indeed be the last “runner” to finish the 5K that is looming in less than 3 weeks.  Not a feeling I’m looking forward to.

I had a particularly hard run yesterday.  I made it 2 miles – which was my goal – but it felt TERRIBLE.  I thought my legs were going to fall off.  And it was my slowest run in a few weeks, and the previous ones were darn slow.

I realized that I’ve started to take my running a bit “for granted.”  Just a few weeks ago, I spent a lot of time in prayer before I set out.  I had several verses in my mind to repeat to myself throughout the run to keep me going.  I guess now that running has become somewhat of a habit, and the goals don’t seem so insurmountable (like the day I had to go from running 8 min at a time to 20 min at a time), I haven’t put the mental focus into it.

So yesterday when an article appeared on the Couch-2-5K FB page on mental training and focus, I knew I should click on it.  ( Maximizing… )

The first Principle of Focusing stopped me in my tracks:

1. Try to remain oblivious to the outside world. Orlick provides great examples of how well we are able to push ourselves when we are not aware that we are being “scored.” Ask yourself how things change for you when you realize people expect things out of you.

Once again, I find myself in the trap of worrying about others. Worrying about how I’ll look to them, how I’ll compare to them, what they’ll think of me.

I didn’t start “running” for anybody except God, and a bit for me.  HE put this path in front of me, and told me He had some things He wanted me to learn.  Part of it was about my physical health, but many larger parts were about my spiritual and mental health.  You can read about that in some of my previous posts.

So, I had to ask myself this – “Does God care about my speed?”

I couldn’t come up with any way to answer that question except for an emphatic NO.  He cares about my obedience.  He cares about where my heart is.  He cares about whether I’m listening to what He’s trying to teach me and to where He wants me to go.

And I suspect, within all of that, He’s also trying to teach me to quit thinking about what others are thinking and only care about Him.

And so I also have to ask myself in many other areas of my life (Bible study, relationships, serving in ministry, etc) – how would things change for me if I quit “scoring” myself against others and if I ignored people’s expectations of me, and how others change the expectations I have of myself?

Not a question I can answer today, but one I need to spend some time exploring.

Maybe I’ll do it on my next run when I try to push myself out of my comfort zone a bit.  Because although the numbers don’t matter, I know He asks us to give our all and sometimes – many times – that takes some discomfort.

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Where’s the Reward?

I’ve been waiting for the last 6.5 weeks.  Not very patiently.

For what, you ask?  For this running thing to start feeling “good.”  Where’s the magical “runners high?”  Waiting for something more than 1/2 pound to come off each week, when I’ve been running, watching what I eat, and squeezing a little Jillian Michaels in between.

And yesterday, I realized that God didn’t call me to start running because of some earthly reward.  He called me because He had some things to teach me.

Some good, much-needed lessons.  How to rely on Him moment by moment.  The joy of day-by-day obedience.  Not being worried about the future, but just trusting that if I do what He asks to do, I’ll be ready for what He’ll ask tomorrow.

God cares so much more about the journey and the process than He does the reward.  It doesn’t mean there will never be a reward, it just means that the end is not the only thing that matters.

Another lesson for me.  And not one I’m learning quickly, I can assure you.  I’d still like to see that scale move.

Update:  As I’ve been out driving this morning (taking the dog to the kennel – we leave for Florida in 6 hours!), it’s really been bugging me that I left this post where I did.  Because the truth is that I’ve had many rewards over the last 7 weeks – just not the ones I had hoped for.

#1 – My cardiovascular fitness is WAY improved.  Seriously, on Day 1, I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest.  My cardio fitness does not in any way impact my running anymore.  (so far)

#2 – I’ve experienced the power of community in a great way.  I wouldn’t be doing this if not for some great friends on the journey with me.

#3 – I’ve seen what God can do in me when I let Him give me the power and the strength.  I would have given up many, many times – especially in the early weeks – if I wasn’t able to pray for strength and actually feel a difference while I was running.

#4 – I’ve experienced the joy of doing what I know God wants me to do.  Even when it seems crazy – which running certainly seemed crazy.  There’s never a day that I get done that I am not joyous that I went out and did it.

#5 – I feel better and have more energy.  I have great new confidence – seriously, I ran 27 minutes yesterday!!  I’m not joking when I say that 7 weeks ago I couldn’t have run to the end of the block without giving up.  If I can do that, what else can I do???

He has much bigger rewards for us that we will ever imagine…

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