Sweetheart Run 5K

February’s race was the Sweetheart Run 5K.  I ran this race last year with my daughter and a few friends and had a great time.  There is also a runners’ expo after the race, so it’s a good time to get discounts on future races, running gear, etc.

This race was originally scheduled for the 10th.  Due to a forecast of incoming snow, the race was postponed to the following week.  We didn’t get the snow that was forecasted, but it was very cold on the 10th, so I was glad for the week’s delay.

As always I was watching the weather forecast so I’d know what to expect and could prepare for race day.  It was forecasted to be about 43 degrees and cloudy at the time of the race.  I would need a jacket, earmuffs, and long pants.

When I got up the morning of the race, I again checked the weather.  It was as predicted, so I got ready for the race as planned and had a small breakfast.  I was ready to walk out the door when my oldest daughter came in through the garage, “You know it’s snowing, right?”

I looked outside.  The ground and our vehicles were covered in snow and there were huge snowflakes falling from the sky.  I was not prepared for snow.

Lesson #1:  Always pop your head outdoors to see what the weather is actually doing while you still have time to make adjustments.

We went on our way.  This race was on the other side of town–further away than most of my races.  We drove through the mist and wet roads.  I remember saying, “I’m not prepared to get wet!”

Lesson #2:  Always bring a change of clothes.

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Race time came and it was cool and breezy, but at least there wasn’t anything falling from the sky.  The pavement was wet, so I was expecting to get wet from the knees down.  Then, as we walked up to the start line I got another surprise:  this year’s race would be run in reverse of last year’s race.

With running being very much a mental sport, this threw me off.  I had checked the route, and it had not been updated in the race information.  I started going through the route backwards in my mind.

In the end it was a good race.  The weather held out, and I did not end up soaking wet.  Most of all, I met my goal:  I beat the girl in the pink pants!

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Proverbs 24:17

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Battle of the Bean 5K

January’s race and my first race for 2018 was the Battle of the Bean 5K.  The charity for this race was Happy Bottoms which is a diaper bank for local low income families.  Paper products are a great need for low income families as government assistance does not provide them.

Battle of the Bean does seem like an odd name for a race, but the “beans” that are “battling” here are the coffee bean and the cacao bean.  When you register for the race, you choose whether you wish to be on Team Coffee or Team Cocoa.  I never let something as vile as coffee touch me lips, so I went for Team Cocoa.  I rarely drink it due to the sugar and calories involved, but just imagining rich, creamy cocoa with marshmallows on top was enough to put me on the team!

The race itself was sponsored by a local coffee shop.  It was amazing!  Along with the usual coffee shop items, they also had gourmet chocolates and frozen custard made at the shop.  They had samples out for the runners after the race.  The chocolate looked too good to eat, and tasted fabulous.  The custard was the smoothest and creamiest I’ve ever had.

We were fortunate that we had some warmer weather move in a few days prior to the race.  It was foggy and damp, but all of the snow had melted from the roadways.  It was also about 42 degrees, which is perfect running weather.  The first thing I did when we got there was take about 10 steps and step into a pothole full of water.  So, I ran with one very soggy foot.

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As is my custom, I drove the route a few days before the race so I’d know what to expect.  With the cold weather, ice, and snow we’ve had lately, I haven’t been running much.  I knew mile one would be the easiest with a very long descent.  I expected mile two to be the toughest with a long hill to climb.  Mile three was flatter, so I thought it would be a nice break after mile two.

It didn’t take long for me to find out that two miles is about my endurance level right now.  The second mile was my fastest, but I was exhausted afterwards.  The third mile was tougher than I thought it would be, but I still made it with a time that I can live with.

Instead of a finisher’s medal, we got these really nice mugs that commemorate the race.  They are heavy duty and large enough to use for your favorite drink or soup–or maybe even a dessert!  I love that it’s something I’ll use over and over again.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 
I Corinthians 10:31

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(Cocoa not included.)

Christmas Blessings

No matter how you celebrate, I hope you had a merry Christmas.  I have tried to sit back, relax, and let things go.  One thing I did this year in order to try to make things simpler was that I bought a little four-foot artificial Christmas tree.  Cinderella has only known going out and buying a real tree every year, so this was a bit of a disappointment to her.  When I brought the tree home and pulled it out of the box, she took one look at it and proclaimed, “It looks horrible.  You ruined Christmas!”

She was right.  It did look horrible.  But, after some fluffing and decorating it didn’t look too bad.  Then I put it on top of the end table and that gave it the illusion that it was bigger than it really was.  Christmas had been salvaged!

Christmas Eve morning, we were blessed with snow.  Cinderella was also blessed with sickness, so I ended up staying home with her Sunday morning.  We did end up going out that evening for a bit of celebrating.

Christmas morning is always stocking time.  There was a bit of confusion this year as Cinderella could not find her stocking.  So, I ended up putting her stocking stuffers in her boots.  It worked.

Christmas day was family time at our house.  We still had some snow on the ground, and it was enough for it to be considered a white Christmas!  It’s been a while since we’ve had one of those.

As always, we had much more food than we needed and probably all ate more than we should.  After we were all stuffed, we exchanged some gifts.  I think everyone had a good time.

But, the most important thing of all is that we were all together.  It didn’t matter how big the tree was, whether or not the table was set perfectly, or that we used paper plates.  The important thing was that we were together.

Christmas

Grandchildren are the crown of old men, And the glory of sons is their fathers.
Proverbs 17:6

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I’m trying to remember that, I really am.

I’m trying to ignore that my stress levels are through the roof, my eating is completely out of control, and I’ve gained a few pounds.

I want to believe that we will find the answers for Cinderella that we’re so desperately looking for.  I want to believe that one day things will be “normal” for us.  A few weeks ago I had completely lost hope.

But now there is a glimmer–a glimmer of hope.  And, after all, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

 


May you accept the greatest gift of all this Christmas season–the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

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.

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

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

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

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.