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An Invitation

This week’s post is a thank you, to you, the reader.  Thank you for reading my posts and liking and commenting.  You don’t know how much of an ecouragement your likes and comments are to me.

The purpose of my “305 lbs.” posts was to chronicle my fitness and weight loss journey.  I wanted to back track and to catch you up to modern-day events.  That has been accomplished, but I still plan to continue to write about my journey.

The reason for chronicling my journey was to be an encouragement to you, the reader.  Unexpectedly, it has been very therapeutic to me as well.  Bottom line is, if I can do it, anyone can.  I am not anyone special.  I am not pretty.  I am not wealthy.  I am not athletic.  I am not any smarter than the average Joe.  However, I am stubborn and a hard worker.  And, believe me, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

My journey continues.  I don’t know that it will ever truly be over.  I invite you to come along.

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  Hebrews 3:13

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Christmas Light 5K 2017

Last Saturday was the Christmas Light 5K. Proceeds for this race go to benefit a local YMCA and their learn to swim program. I ran this race last year, so I knew what to expect. Last year’s race was a PR and is still my best 5K time yet.

This is more than a race, it’s an event! Runners are encouraged to dress up, and there is a costume contest before the race. Winners are chosen by audience participation (cheering). In other words, you’re judged by your fellow runners. You can also get your picture taken with Santa before the race. The race begins at 5:30 pm, which is right about the time it gets dark this time of year. The idea is for you to take a look at the Christmas lights along the route. Many of the homes are actually in a Christmas lighting contest with hefty prizes involved.

I was better prepared for this race than last year. Last year I got caught up in the dressing up, and had too much garb to deal with while I ran. This year I focused on doing well during the race, and that was a help. I wore less garb, so that gave me less to deal with while trying to run. The temperature was about the same as last year, so I knew that I needed layers–two pairs of pants, a long sleeved shirt and a jacket, ear muffs, gloves, and something to cover my face. I also knew that it was very likely that most of this was going to come off during the race and that it needed to go in my pockets and that I needed to be able to zip my pockets up. I did not zip my pockets last year and ended up losing a glove.

I met up with some friends before the race. We were busy gabbing, so when it came time to line up for the race, we ended up towards the back of the pack. Once race time came, the Christmas music stopped long enough for the National Anthem. Then the gun went off. It would be a full minute and nine seconds before we actually crossed the start line.

I am still dealing with my ankle injury, and I’m convinced it will be spring or even summer before it is completely healed. My endurance was also way down after not running for nearly three weeks. I am continuing with the run/walk/run method using a 60 second run/60 second walk. I was hoping to change to a 60 second run/30 second walk for this race, but I knew I was not physically ready for that yet.

The course was the same or nearly the same as last year. It is in a part of the city that is flat as a pancake. Some people like that, some people don’t. At least with the hills, you get to go downhill at some point.

About half way through the race, I started feeling tired and fatigued. My third mile was my slowest, and there were a lot of people that left me behind. I finished right at two minutes slower than last year. I’m ok with that, because I know that’s where I am right now. It’s still far from my slowest time.

Afterwards there was hot chocolate and healthy snacks provided by Natural Grocers. But the best part of all was the time spent with friends.

Up and Over

Life can be overwhelming.  After the Grub Run, I did not run or exercise for three weeks.  On top of that, I caught a terrible cold that is still with me today.   It did not take long before I was feeling like garbage in more ways than one.  Not only did I feel horrible physically, but I could also see that my spirits were down as well.

Knowing that I had a race coming up in a few weeks gave me the motivation to get back on track again.  In fact, I went out for a run the weekend after Thanksgiving for the first time in a while.  I was thinking I had three weeks before my next race but soon realized that I only had two!

To get back on track, I have had to purposefully take the time to get some exercise in.  I’ve found that the best way to do this is to schedule it and put it on the calendar.  So, I’ve committed to run with a group that meets locally on Wednesday nights.  I’ve put out the call for a Monday night run and am running with a friend.  On Saturdays I’m running solo.

I am still nursing my injury which I am convinced will not be fully healed until spring.  Considering that and the fact that my endurance level is way down, I am still using the run/walk/run method.  I was elated to find that using this method I was able to go up and over the Flyover for a 4-mile run!  This is something I hadn’t done since my injury.

Last Saturday was unseasonably warm and sunny.  I decided to go for a run through the park while the trail was dry and clear of debris.  It felt great to be outside.  The animals were enjoying the unseasonably warm and sunny weather as well.  We haven’t had any rain for a while, so all of the leaves are very dry and crunchy.  The squirrels were having a great time playing.  I could hear them running and chasing each other through the crunchy leaves.  At one point I had to slow down and even stop to watch the squirrels play.  Oh, what a life they must have!

At this time in my life it would be very easy to say, “I don’t have time right now,” with the intention of coming back to running later.  However, the benefits of making myself get out there a few times a week are so great that I can’t pass them up.  There have been plenty of times that I didn’t want to go out there, and I spent a lot of time talking myself into going.  However, I’ve never regretted going.  There have been times that I’ve not been pleased with my performance or the way things went, but in the end the feeling of accomplishment was well worth it.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  Matthew 6:25-26

 

Thankful

With Thanksgiving approaching we often take time to pause and think about what we are thankful for.  It’s easy to think of material things such as our home, food, clothing, etc.  We also are thankful for our family, friends, and relationships, but there is so much more to be thankful for.

I am thankful for the free gift of salvation by grace through faith.  I am thankful that salvation is not something that is earned.  I don’t have to worry about whether I’m working hard enough to obtain it and/or keep it.  It is a free gift from God that all I have to do is accept.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  Ephesians 2:8

Jesus will go to great lengths to retrieve His lost sheep.  He knows His sheep and they know His voice.  He will do what it takes to find His lost sheep and carry it home.  He rejoices when He finds the lost sheep and organizes a party once He’s home.

“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? “When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ Luke 15: 4-6.

He hears my cries.  We know that we will have trials.  It is comforting to know that we have someone to cry out to and that our cries will be heard and acted upon.

In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.  Psalm 18:6

The righteous cry, and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles.  Psalm 34:17

As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried to You.  Psalm 31:22

A Song of Ascents. In my trouble I cried to the LORD, And He answered me.  Psalm 120:1

He is my rock and my fortress.  I don’t have to be strong, I don’t have to be anything at all.  All I need is Him.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Psalm 18:2

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress.  Psalm 59:16

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.  Psalm 62:2

What are you thankful for?

 

Grub Run 5K

November’s race was the Grub Run 5K.  This is the third year for this race which goes to benefit a food pantry at a local church.  The church also has a silent auction in conjunction with the race.  This event is about as close to home as it gets–literally less than a mile the way the crow flies.  It’s always nice to support something local, and especially nice when it’s right in your own town and/or neighborhood.

Within the last couple of weeks, the winds have turned around to the north, and it has cooled off.  This makes for perfect running weather; however, I’m not used to the cooler weather quite yet.  I’ve been drinking lots of warm drinks and trying to stay warm.

At start time, it was about 45 degrees.  Again, perfect running weather.  I always start out with gloves, a jacket, and something to cover my ears in this type of weather, but it never stays on for long.

Since I’m still recovering from my ankle sprain, I’m using the run/walk/run method.  I had decided to go with a pace of running for one minute then walking for one minute which would mean that I would run half of the race.  I use a tabata timer on my phone to tell me when to run and when to walk.  “Walk” in this instance means to walk at a swift pace, not to walk like it’s an afternoon stroll in the park.  My ankle was pretty sore Thursday and Friday after running Wednesday night.  I tried to take it easy Thursday and Friday, and I was relieved to have my ankle feeling pretty good Saturday morning.

This race had a lot of hills and wouldn’t you know that it worked out that I had to run up every one of them!  But, with the one minute walks, the hills didn’t seem bad at all.  For the first two miles, I pretty well kept pace with the same people.  Some of them I’d pass, then they’d pass me, and we kept playing the passing game.  However at mile three, I started leaving people behind.

I was expecting my time on this race to be one of my slowest.  However, once I saw the clock, I knew it wasn’t!  I was even more surprised to be first in my age group.

After the race, there was a pancake breakfast and silent auction that could be enjoyed during the award ceremony.  I did great in the award ceremony, but struck out in the silent auction.

Once I got home, I decided to compare my time with my other races.  Out of 18 races that I’ve participated in so far, my time on this race came in fourth.  When looking at my one mile splits, my pace got faster with each mile.  I am sold on the run/walk/run method!

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.  John 6:35

Loving It

Last week I met with a running group that meets once a week downtown.  It has an interesting format.  Communication is done via Facebook as seems common these days.  The route is published the evening before.  It’s a four mile route and is an out and back, so if you do the total route, it’s eight miles.

The group was very casual.  We met outside of a local pub and chit chatted a little before taking off.  Everyone was pretty well on their own to go their own speed and distance.  I was familiar with the area, as the route went through a neighborhood that I lived in many years ago.  I decided to run to the elementary school that was across the house I used to live in and back.  I was doing a run/walk as my ankle is still healing and went about two and a half miles.

I didn’t go far, and it wasn’t strenuous, but it felt really, really good.  It felt good to be outside again and to be moving.  I was reminded of how much I love running–that is once I got out there and got going.

Beforehand, I was dismayed.  Here it was the middle of the week, and there was a city-wide marathon on Saturday.  Most people in the group were running the marathon, some the half.  One person had run a marathon the weekend before.  All everyone talked about was how they were sick of running!  One person even commented that he was considering quitting running after the marathon.

I never had the desire to run a marathon, and I certainly don’t now.  I run for two reasons:  (1) I love it, and (2) I need the exercise.  I don’t ever want to be in a place where I don’t love running anymore.  And, if that means not training for a marathon or any other event, I’m ok with that.

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever
circumstances I am.  Phil 4:11

 

4th Annual Kyleigh’s Gift 5K Run/3K Walk

Saturday, October 14, was the 4th Annual Kyleigh’s Gift 5K run/3K walk.  Proceeds from the race go to support infant wellness education and parental support.  One of the things they do is give a sleep sack to each newborn at our local hospital.

The race was set to start at 5:00, and so were severe thunderstorms for our area.  There was also a candlelight ceremony scheduled at 6:30 to recognize National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  Before the race and/or before the ceremony, you could decorate a luminary.  Everything was originally planned to be held outside but got moved to indoors due to the severe weather we were expecting.

All of the events took place at the hospital with the race going through the parking lot, down a road less traveled, and then on a walking trail that goes through part of the hospital grounds.  We were told it was one lap for the 3K, and two laps for the 5K (must be that new math).  Since I’m still recovering from my ankle sprain, I registered for the 3K.  I knew I could walk that distance.  My friends, however, registered for the 5K.

Everyone was mulling around waiting for the race to begin.  So far it was dry, but it was gray and we could hear thunder, so it was evident that bad weather was approaching.  Finally, at 4:45, the race director said that they were going to go ahead and start the race since the bad weather was supposed to arrive at about 5:30.  He made it clear that only those comfortable with being outdoors with severe weather approaching should proceed.

The horn blew and we were off–runners first and walkers behind.  It soon became evident that we were running/walking right towards a thunderstorm.  Lightening was very close.  A lot of people turned around and went back after traveling less than 50 yards, especially those with children.

I set my tabata timer for 10 seconds work/running and 30 seconds rest/walking and planned to use that for at least part of the race.  However, there were times when I thought that I felt good, so I went ahead and ran a little longer.  I continued to run/walk and it soon began to rain.

Once I reached the paved trail, the wet surface was slick, so I decided I would have to walk the rest of the way.  I tried running beside the trail where the grass had been trimmed, but it was too uneven for my ankle.  It was not a risk I was willing to take.  I had to slow way down and watch my step on the trail.

After going a short distance on the trail, a race official in a golf cart pulled up beside me.  He said they were calling all the runners/walkers in due to the weather and that he wanted me to take the first entrance into the parking garage that I could.  The weather wasn’t horrible yet, but it looked like it could get that way in an instant.  I had gone 1.3 miles.

By the time I made it through the parking garage and up a few levels, the storm was here.  People were being encourage to go inside.  Within a few minutes the wind was blowing and tents and speakers were going everywhere.

Once inside, we waited.  We watched the rain come down and the wind blow.  We chatted and took a few pictures with our friends.  We gladly ate some of the snacks that were provided.  The electricity went out a few times, and the water rushed into the building under the doors.  It was good to be indoors and to be safe.

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We would not realize the full extent of the damage until later.  Parts of town had utility polls snapped in half.  Many were without electricity and wouldn’t have power for a few days.

He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.  The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”  Matthew 8:26-27

Back in the Saddle

Last week on Thursday I had a check up with my doctor on my ankle.  I’ve been given the green light to do some light running.  By that, I mean slow jogging for short periods of time on smooth, flat surfaces.  I’ve been reading about the run/walk/run method and assumed I would have to use that method or something like it to return to running.

Saturday afternoon I was able to go out for a walk in my neighborhood.  I knew the route I chose was about a mile and a half.  I signed up for a 3K next weekend, so I knew if I could finish this route ok, that I’d be fine for the 3K.

For the first half of the route I walked, and it felt good.  I also set my tabata timer for 10 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest and listened to it for part of the walk.  This wasn’t an arbitrary number that I came up with.  I found this recommended by Jeff Galloway for injured runners.

I decided to try some slow running for the second half of my walk.  That’s how long it took me to get the courage up to try it.  I was scared to death of re-injuring myself.  I did finally try it, and it felt good.  I made it back home feeling great and with no pain.

Sunday afternoon I needed to go to a store about a mile from my house, so I decided to give the run/walk/run method another try.  The first section of the walk was hilly, so I walked it.  Once on flatter ground, I gave it another try.  It didn’t feel so great this time.

My ankle felt tired and achy.  Then I remembered that the doctor said not to run two days in a row.  Oops!  I backed off after that and spent more time concentrating on my breathing than anything else.  Besides, fall is here so running is more treacherous now with leaves, acorns, and all kinds of things falling off the trees.

It was good to feel as if I’m “back in the saddle” again.  However, I know it’s going to be slow; and I know it’s going to be a lot of work.  However, I’ve done it before; so I know I can do it again.

A Blessing in Disguise?

As a contrast to last week’s post, this week I’m writing about why I’m not running–at least for the moment.

First I injured myself which has prevented me from running.  I would like to start trying a little bit of running, but I’m not sure what I’m up to right now.

On top of all of that, life has gotten very complicated.  Cinderella is needing my attention around the clock.  This is all exhausting and making me very weary but under the guise that we’d all do anything for our children, I keep going.

Trying to find the time to take a walk around the block is almost impossible.  If it does happen, it’s late at night.  In thinking about when to fit running into my schedule, I come up empty right now.  The only time available is late at night, and if I run after 8:00 I can’t sleep.

Thankfully, this is all temporary.  We’re being yanked into a new schedule and way of doing things.  Once we get adjusted and figure it all out, it will be better in the end.  The adjustment period is the killer!

In retrospect, I’m looking at this injury as a blessing in disguise.  Right now I’m having a difficult time finding time to go to the grocery store and to the doctor for my injury.  If I were trying to fit another thing into my schedule (like running) it would just be more stress and more exhaustion. I know I wouldn’t be doing anything well.

Right now I need to step away from the pavement and give Cinderella my full attention.  This injury is forcing me to do that.  Maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

Why I Run

Why I Started

At first it was a challenge–a huge challenge.  I had completed a 12-week Commit to Get Fit program through my community center.  I had a personal trainer that I met with once a week.  It was tough, and he knew I wanted to leave the gym feeling like I had been through the wringer.  However, the program was long enough and I worked hard enough that I was seeing results.  My trainer convinced me that I could do anything I wanted to, so when I saw the flyer for the Couch to 5K program, I decided to give it a try.  I knew I could run for a whole minute on the treadmill, so surely I could work up to a 5K.

Why I Continued

There were some days, a lot of days, that were really tough.  My first run with my Couch to 5K group was the hardest.  We were to run for 60 seconds and then walk for 90.  It was the shortest 90 seconds of my life!  Our coach told us that the first day was the hardest.  At that moment it was hard to understand, but he was right, and I realized that as time went on.

What kept me going was the support I received from the coaches and from a friend.  There were so many times that I wanted to quit with the thought that running wasn’t for me, but the encouragement I got from those around me was incredible.  I had so many people telling me that I could do it and not to give up, that I kept going.

Why I’m a Runner for Life

It took a while, a long while, for me to fall in love with running.  I love that I can continue to challenge myself.  There’s always some way to improve whether it’s with a faster speed or a farther distance.  I can compete with others if I want, or I can compete with no one but myself.

I love being outside.  This wasn’t always the case, as I was allergic to everything, but that has also changed.  Since I started jucing and eating lots of fruits and vegetables my allergies have disipated so being outside is much more enjoyable now.  Getting some sun and fresh air almost every day feels great.

Running is a simple sport that I can take anywhere.  Running does not require a lot of equipment.  The most important thing all runners need is a good pair of shoes.  Beyond that, most things are optional.  Having the right clothing will make it more comfortable, and I do have some lights and refelctive gear that I use for running at night.  In the big scheme of things, this equipment is all very inexpensive and can be obtained a piece at a time.

In the end, it’s all about feelings.  Running makes you feel great.  There are so many days that I don’t want to run.  I make myself do it and am always glad that I did.  I end up feeling so much better afterwards.  It feels great when the air is cool and crisp to have the sun warming your skin.  When it’s hot and you think you’re going to melt, a soft, gentle breeze feels equally as wonderful.  Going out and accomplishing what you said you’d accomplish is always a satisfying feeling.  That doesn’t always happen, and some runs are better than others, but the “runners’ high” is always there no matter what.

I also run to encourage others.  It has been a life-changing experience for me, so I know it can be for other people as well.  Not only that, I know that if I can do it, anyone can.  That anyone could be YOU!

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.  1 Corinthians 9:24