The Journey to Marathon Day

Since a few of you asked for a bit more about the marathon…here’s a little bit about my journey to marathon day:

January 31, 2011

I hit confirm and paid my $91.05 (with tax).  I did this mostly on a whim. I decided that if I wasn’t going to be moving back to Africa like planned then I wouldn’t be able to do the Two Oceans marathon so then I might as well do something. I needed something to look forward to when all seemed snowy and dark.  I wanted a goal, something happy. So, I committed and took the plunge of hitting submit. Plus, if you’re going to run a marathon, it’s gotta be legit.

Hello mixed emotions of “whoa did I really just do that with yay hello training.”

February-March

Indoor training. Love me some track running even if I have to go around and around and around. 14 times around a track per mile gets a bit tedious.  Thank goodness the distance wasn’t horribly long at this point.  I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning and loved playing with my Garmin watch.  Tracking heart rate, pace, and all sorts of fun things.  Plus, I got fancy new shoes–pretty pink Asics. All in all, I totally embraced the honeymoon stage.

April-May

Changes throw me for a loop.  I am an S (shout out to disc) which means that I do love structure, routine, schedules, and consistency.  These months challenged me because the weather started getting nice–kind of…Minnesota is weird like that.  I wanted to run outside, but had to wait until later in the day.  This meant a lot of runs getting switched around or missed.  All of which stressed me out because I wasn’t able to check the run off my list! I’m a list girl (oh hey J from mbti).  Here’s where God taught me about grace.  Giving grace to myself. Learning to prioritize. Learning to let go of the little things. Seeing that life does go on if my run moves to another day.  Embracing cross training. Allowing myself to be flexible and still live life.  Going on that bike ride with friends instead of a run because I love people and they matter more than a schedule.

June

Cue freak out month and even more changes.  I adjusted to my job at school ending for the summer and warm weather.  I went through a long time where I totally stopped running. I threw my plan out the window and ran when I wanted and did cross training with lots of days off. I had gotten through my last long run (cue point in my training where I decided I do not like my asics but I am committed to them for this marathon) and I needed to reclaim the joy of running. I missed running with God. I missed running for fun. My marathon plan suffocated me and I wanted air. I so very much didn’t want to burn out on running because I do love it. However, because of these crazy last few weeks…I totally got extremely nervous about running the race and battled in my mind over whether I even wanted to do it.  Many times I said I don’t even know if I want to run. This is where that commitment and money paid in January came back to hit me over the head along with my achiever personality. I said yes. So I would let my yes be yes. I wasn’t going to back out now even if I was so ridiculously fearful of failing and failing miserably. At some point, I threw my hands up in the air and said let’s do this and let’s just ENJOY. That’s become part of my word for the year. Learning how to enjoy even when I’m scared I won’t live up to my own expectations and learning to love life.  Still working on it.

Day before the marathon

Totally embraced it and here’s where all my mental game sprang into action with knowing what a long run feels like, playing my head games of “Oh only 8 miles to go, no big deal.”  Smiling and laughing and listening to good music and chatting with God. Remembering that He’s the one who will do this with me. Being thankful and intentional about seeing Him everywhere. Finding that grit and stubbornness inside me that I SO need to carry over into a few other situations in my life…I have it, I know what it feels like, sometimes I just lose sight of it amidst the hurt and the digging deep and looking back to let go. That last bit was a side note but if you got it then yay for you and you get a bit of me and you probably had a conversation with me about finding that confidence that’s lacking =)

Marathon Day:

Love. Pure love. I am still like how can I recreate more of that in my life. Read more from yesterday’s post here.

Post Marathon:

Oh hey I can’t WAIT to pick another event to sign up for even though I can barely walk and I’m ridiculously sore.  Not to mention I had to give myself a pep talk: “I ran a marathon….I can make it up six steps!”  But I totally am looking at new events already and I want to do something new! Maybe an Ironman, Half Ironman, Ultra marathon, trail marathon. So many options. Decisions and weighing all the possibilities. Cue my analytical and detail crazy information gatherer personality. Not to mention that I need new cute running shoes. So, I loved it. So much. Here’s to pondering what to do next and actually chatting this one over with God a bit more =)

So, all in all. I definitely found myself on a topsy-turvy, up and down journey to marathon day.

Are there things I’d do differently? Absolutely. I learned a LOT. Though, in the areas where I “failed” those are the ones that I see so much to be pondered in my heart.  Even in writing this out, I see the areas where running this race translates into so much… so I’m still processing and pondering.  I do a lot of that. There’s a bit more for you to fill in the picture of this crazy thing called a marathon.

What about you…what have you learned from some journeys in your life? Have you experienced the honeymoon and the hard stages too? 

Playing in the Puddles

Are you ready for a triple shot of real? If not, then skip ahead to the weekend and come back after I’m done playing in the puddles…

Sometimes life feels like one big puddle where you start splashing around only to realize that the water’s gone up and over your boots.  That feeling? Not so pleasant.  For me, rejection sometimes feels like that.  I’m running along, playing, laughing, enjoying, only to be suddenly struck with some cold, wet reality.

In my first year of college, I found my boots flooded with dirty water.  I skated through first semester: made friends, studied extra hard, even met a boy. Come January, I found myself participating in rush. Why? Good question. I’m not a sorority girl and I knew that. But that was the thing to do on a campus with probably 90% of the students in a sorority or fraternity. So, I followed suit. Problem number one…

The thing that they never tell you is that some girls…don’t make the cut. I was one of those. After parading around campus going to the different houses for little get to know you parties, each house makes a list of those they ask back. These girls I didn’t know. These girls I met for one night. Slashed my name off the list of “wanted.” And, yeah, those cold waters pierced my skin in a not so pleasant way.

Except, the amazing part? God turns things around. I can still feel the sunshine, the crunch of grass beneath a blanket covered in books and my pink Bible laid open.  See, I used all this extra time to soak up and wrestle with God instead of running around with a sorority. He brought me  further along in the journey of learning how to turn toward Him instead of clutching some of my idols (success, money, my plans). He started me on a continual journey of learning to look to Him for who I am rather than what others say because then I can play in the puddles and if the water comes rushing, I will not be shaken.  Because see, He wants me, I’m on His list, and in the end…I am His delight.

Ready to put on your rain boots and go play in some puddles with me?

Because I know that I don’t want to miss out on some fun because of the fear of getting wet…do you?

*prompted to serve up a shot of faith by the Faith Barista 🙂

I write because…

I’m a learner at heart.

As I read and write…I learn about myself, about God, about others, about life.

When I write, I want to capture a moment, a feeling, a piece of truth staring me down, and share that with whoever is listening.

And just maybe, sometimes, the words might strike a cord with someone else’s heart like they did with mine. They might bring up a question, bring them back to a moment, touch them, make them feel alive, let us share life.

Because when I feel deeply, the words are part of the story and what I see.  I don’t want the moment to go unnoticed, to slip away.  So, I capture the memory in the words that portray beautiful truth.  And when this happens, how can I not share the painting?

As life truly is a work of art made up of brush strokes that move us along in the journey.  So, I splash words on paper to evoke inspiration, encouragement, freedom, and the simple every day moments.

Good writing changes me, deepens me, makes my eyes go big and sometimes makes them green with tears.  And good writing itself makes me want to write to stir up the paint to make something beautiful that expresses the abundant life in Christ.

Why do you write?

I Am No Longer That Woman

The book Hinds’ Feet in High Places captured my attention from the beginning with the storyline, characters, and words.  In the story, Much-Afraid, the main character, is on a journey to the high places so that she can enter the Kingdom of Love and be with the Shepherd.

Along the journey, the Shepherd takes her on a path that leads away from the high places.  She questions Him about this with tear-filled eyes and in response He tells her, “No, it is not a contradiction, only postponement for the best to become possible,” and the author writes, “He was leading her away from her heart’s desire altogether and gave no promise at all as to when he would bring her back.”

I love her response to Him: I will go with you for you know I do love you and you have the right to choose for me anything that you please.

She also later after she has gone through trials and held onto the Shepherd’s promises, she says, “I was that woman, but am not that woman now.”  She said because of an “inner and secret mark [that] no one would have noticed any difference outwardly but all the same a deep inner change had taken place, which indicated a new stage in her life.”

As for me, I recently wrote about how God overwhelms me with love.  He holds me close and is leading me on a journey.  A journey that brought me to a crossroad where I chose and continue to choose to dig deep and press into Him.  Now as I read these quotes, I see that I have come to a new stage that I am no longer that woman.  That I am continuing and must continue to choose life, choose freedom, and ultimately choose Him.  Every day learning how to lay it at His feet and let Him choose anything that He wants for me. Letting the “bold” things in this blog be my prayer and my promise. All to bring glory to Him.

My New Love

guitarWhat started to be a “want to hang out” turned into a full blown crush, which turned into spending quite a bit of time together.  Yes, I’m totally still in the honeymoon stage, but my fingers are numb and my heart is happy.  Granted, I really only know a few chords and am not really even sure how to “strum” properly, but that’s okay.

I find myself in a stage where I’m learning and re-learning so many things that this fits right into the mix. I must go through the pain, develop those callouses and take time in order to learn the chords, which will turn into a song.  The song may not sound pretty at first, but with some hard work, pressing into those strings, and commitment, I know that I can be more than a conqueror and make something beautiful from the pain.

The same is true for the place I find myself in life.  I find myself at a crossroads where I can either press in and dig deep with God or I can be complacent while letting root issues stick around.  To be honest, I’m sick and tired and absolutely hate those roots in my life and the destruction and pain they have caused.  I need and want to go through the pain with Jesus at my side to dig out any and everything that is destructive so that I can bear good fruit and so prove to be His disciple.  In this, I need support, I need prayer, I need people because Christ created us as a body with Him as the head.  Thus, I need Him and I need the rest of the body to help me in this.  I recognize this and ask if you would join me in this journey in whatever way.  A journey where I am committed to this path toward forgiveness, healing, restoration, and new life because I know that in the long run it will all be worth it.

Soul Cravings, Part 3

“I am not who I want to be, but I am on the journey there, and thankfully I am not whom I used to be.”

“Let him change you at your core, then let your passions fuel your life.”

I am so thankful for the changes that God has worked in my life already and wait in expectation for Him to continue to work in my life.  I have a LONG way to go.  But, more than anything, I want to become the best that I can.  I want to give everything.  Give it all to Him.  I pray that as I prepare to leave, leave, and arrive in South Africa that I would continue to let Him change me, mold me, and form me into a better person for all of the things to come.

“The reason your heart leaps when you see greatness is that your spirit is drawn to it.  The reason we can experience the vicarious exhilaration of a great victory or an amazing accomplishment is that the human spirit resonates with greatness.”

This resonates so deeply in my soul.  I am reminded of Ayn Rand’s books and her gift in masterfully portraying the need, the desire for greatness.  For as with above, God wants greatness.  He wants us spur us on toward living and excelling within our gifts, abilities and strengths.  “Only God can take you where you were born to go.”