Monday, July 28, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Week 4

I am 75 days away from successfully finishing the Chicago Marathon friends! The Houston Marathon is 173 days away. I am thankful to God for my marathon journey this far. It hasn't been easy running in the heat of the summer but thanks to my husband (who supports, funds, watches the kids and reassures me I should keep running) I've been able to train successfully. Last week's long run was 13 miles. I started way before sunrise, which was so smart. I tagged along with a friend and that made a world of difference. It was refreshing (literally) to run with someone else even if just for 30 minutes. I appreciate the friends who run with me and encourage me. I was happy with an average of 11:29 per mile due to the heat and other conditions. The plan for now is to pile the miles until this heat lifts. I am also trying to stay hydrated as well as on top of my nutrition. 
Thankful to God for my daughter's 4th Birthday
Yesterday I kept my tradition of running 1 mile per birthday my children celebrate so I had a happy 4-miler. I'm still wondering what I'm gonna do when they turn 27 and I turn 61. I might start driving the miles to happy places instead of trying to do an ultra. We'll see!
Last week I learned that planning and executing my runs is a must if I want to be ready for Chicago. The marathon is in 10 weeks and 6 days and I am spending a lot of time planning as well as praying. Praying that I will reach my goal. Praying that all my needs will be met along the way. I also pray that I learn the lessons divinely placed in this season of my life. 
People often ask about my weight loss. I took me around 2 years to lose 50 lbs and I am still losing. I have a racing weight I am trying to reach. It's not for vanity, it's for sanity and for the fact that when I'm leaner I easily race. 
I am trying not to obsess about my weight. Case and point: I enjoyed my daughter's birthday cake as well as the healthy treats we had at the party. This morning we joyfully shared the sugar with my husband's coworkers and we're right on track with nutrition and hydration. I don't know everything but I am an expert in my own life. I practice self-forgiveness as well as learning from my many mistakes. I believe that with God's help Chicago will be a great race. 
Another thing I'm learning this time around is to practice what works for me. I'm surrounded by runners training for different events and everyone is passionate about their method. I listen, encourage and try not to compare myself with them. I love people's passion for fitness. I also know that sticking with what works for me as far as training and nutrition is the only way I'll run Chicago with peace of mind. I do take advice from experienced runners often, I just don't thing that drastically changing what works for me with 2 and a half months to go is smart. 
Thanks for reading my weekly Marathon training post friends! I appreciate your prayers and encouragement. I wonder if you have difficulties when you compare yourself to other runners. How do you overcome that? 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Motherhood and Servanthood: an Intensive Course

I have always admired mothers whether they work or stay at home. The past 3 weeks have been quite the intense course in all things Motherhood and Servanthood. I was blessed to be an assistant teacher at a local kids camp. My kids were there with me, which was another great blessing. 
I love camp!
This blessing also meant packing extra clothes and lunch for all of us. It was quite the learning experience! I learned that no matter how tired I was, I needed to prep (clothes, food, diapers, etc) in order to have a successful week. Failing to prepare meant preparing to fail.
Last day of camp! God is great to us.
I also realized that my choice to eat mostly fresh foods contributed to the kind of food prep I needed to do. Although we enjoyed our share fare of processed foods we always had something fresh (mostly fruits) in the mix.
Last day celebration: award winning bbq from Tejas Cookers
Once I got everyone ready to go I'd often forget about myself. I quickly realized that drinking lots of water (at least 48 oz) and eating fresh food (my usual rice, beans and veggies) was the best way to have energy throughout the day. 
I enjoyed going to the pool several times a week.
I am also thankful that all the weekly outings for the kids were already planned. We did so many fun things together! The kids became very water savvy as well as great skaters and bowlers. My intensive class this summer has been in servanthood (I may give you more details in a later post). These 3 weeks were my time to practice serving as Christ intended me to serve others (through love). I thought I was going to flunk the class several times but thank God for new mercies, friends who prayed for me and who helped me stay accountable to the God I serve.
I'm excited that we still have a lot of summer left to enjoy. I'm also excited to have extended time in the morning to sleep (ha!) and run longer.
I pray for moms who work all the time (which all of us do!). I pray that God will give you the strength and wisdom you need to balance work and family. I pray that you have faithful friends who can help you renew your strength and hope. I pray that you know that your labor is not in vain and that every time God looks at you He says "well done Beautiful one!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The only Book that revolutionized my life

I had no choice but to love the Bible. My grandmothers taught me everything they knew through word and song. My mother quoted proverbs in such a way that I thought she came up with that beautiful poetry. My father magnificently expounded the historical background of his Sunday sermons. I had no choice but to love the Book they lived. When I had my choice I would read other things, practice playing my guitar and write on my diaries. Still, those Words of Life were living inside of me like seeds being watered. I can now see that my family as well as my Sunday School teachers contributed to the foundation knowledge I have. Everyone watered and cared for the seed of the Word. You see, I had no choice but to love the Seed that grows deep. Even in my hopelessness, I could reach in and find true nurture. Jesus was not joking when He said that He, the Word, is real food and real drink. It has been part of my upbringing to see the Bible as an adventurous journey. I always want to love the only Book that has revolutionized my life. So friends, I can’t have a religious relationship with it. It needs to be spiritual, life giving, surprising and super exciting. I find in my Bible the comfort for sleepless nights. The foundation when I don’t understand the many ‘whys.’ I find an endless source of wisdom and believe it or not, entertainment. I am currently enjoying the many adventures of people who have as many issues as I do. They are funny, they are hard headed, they are human. It is through the amazing Bible that I get to know the heart of a God who chose to love us and rescue us from our many shortcomings. I have no choice but to love the only Book that can precisely lead me to an abundant life on earth and an eternal life with the God I gladly worship. I don’t know everything about the Bible. My heart is not to be a walking encyclopedia, but to know enough to live the life Jesus died to give me and my heirs. I have no choice but to keep my nose in the Bible. If I keep my nose there, I will learn so many great things. I have no choice but to love the Bible and my prayer and heart is to pass this love to my children. I hope they love the Bible way more than I do. 

 * On a personal note, I have been blessed to serve as the Tuesday Night Coordinator for Merry Ministries. Merry Ministries is an Interdenominational Bible Study that meets weekly to learn the Bible in a clear, accurate and practical manner. If you are a local woman, please join us this Fall. If you are far away but want to grow in your love and understanding of the Word of God, listen or watch the messages in our archives.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Week 3

I have learned an amazing lesson about balancing running with life these past few weeks. I have been working at a kids summer camp. Working and getting my training in is challenging but thank God it has been possible. I have said many times that my family is my priority and running just has to fit after my family is cared for. Here are their happy faces during pajama day at camp:
Family before running. Always.
Last week we had the honor of a visit from our dear friends from North Carolina. They fit in a run with us in their schedule and we were super excited about that. The humidity was no joke but they are pros and rocked that run. I even added some extra miles to the run (ops!) but it's all good.
Friends make life richer!
Another challenge we have is how to fit our Saturday morning runs while having someone to care for the kids. I've been praying and God has blessed us with some paid help. Last week we couldn't fit the fee in our budget so I stayed with the kids while my husband ran. I can't remember when was the last time I stayed at home on a Saturday morning. I made everyone breakfast and enjoyed getting ahead with house work. When Zeke got back he brought our running group shirts for the year. They made a mistake but it's all good: 
It's supposed to be one word :)
Because I couldn't fit my long run Saturday morning, I ran Sunday night. I felt great for the first 11 miles. The last one almost made me give up on running all together. One more experience under my belt. The humidity got to me at the very end. I learned that I really need to stick morning runs. I pray that this week God will help me fit it in a morning run. I also learned that I need to have extra nutrition just in case. I'm a fan of pretzels at the end of my long runs so I'm gonna have to start practicing with it now rather than later. I also learned to get a good check of my body and mind during long runs. My mind was strong til the very end: the negative thoughts came when I was at home stretching.
I believe that big decisions should not be made after a bad run. I am thankful for the experience I gained and I am thankful for one more long run in my pocket. I will be crossing the finish line of the Chicago Marathon in 82 days. Let the build up continue! I appreciate your prayers and encouragement friends. Training is not always easy, as a matter of fact, it's the most challenging thing about running marathon. I can do it through Christ who gives me strength.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Week 2

Training for any marathon is never easy or convenient. Each week has its set of challenges but looking back I will be able to say that it was worth it. The marathon is the dream I chase and at the end of the day I earn more than a medal: I also earn rich experiences along the way. I will stand in the start line of the Chicago Marathon in 89 days and Houston is 187 days away.
Cheering myself works.
Today I want to tell you about how I get through the "inconvenience of training." There's a price tag attached to most things worth having in life. I spent countless hours studying to get my degrees. We changed our whole lives in preparation to have our precious children. Training for a marathon is the same way, it requires changing one's lifestyle but it's so worth it.

Because I chose a Fall marathon I have been training in the heat of the summer. I had to adapt and train smart. I hydrate religiously. Running in the heat is not convenient, so I try to get out there before the sun is in full strength and I also try to stay hydrated all day, every day.  My mindset is a key element: if I'm negative about the heat, the run will be even worse. I try to be positive and look forward to each run.

Training in the summer is inconvenient because my family's schedule changes. Right now I am working at a summer camp so I adapted to that. The solution was to make sure my training runs are a priority in my schedule. I physically write them down to be sure they happen. I also try to get done with my runs first thing in the morning so there's no excuse not to train.

I'm also a believer in practicing 'my minimum" when it comes to fitness. If it all fails, I know the amount of workouts I need to get in order to be ready for the marathon. Training for a marathon is never easy or convenient. I hope to be able to succeed as I prepare diligently for the marathon. Each run is a learning opportunity and I hope to keep learning to succeed.

QUESTION: How do you overcome your top inconvenience of training for an event?