Monday, November 24, 2014

Houston Marathon Training Week 5

54 days to go or in 7 Sundays I will be running the Houston Marathon! Let’s talk about training 54 days out of Marathon day.

Cross training went so well that I realize that the class is becoming easy unless I add a little more weight to the bars in order to keep it challenging. My shoulders beg to differ though: the last reps are shoulder focused and I felt the burn. I’m feeling stronger. The fact that I am showing up and doing what it takes has made a difference. I feel that I need to do more core exercises on my own, so that will be my challenge for this week.

Runners run, so that’s what I did this week. My husband was out of town so the little time I had for myself was for running. I also ran in the treadmill once. Turns out the gym replaced all their treadmills and I replaced my shoes this week too.

I’ve had a challenging time keeping up with my shoe mileage. I figured it was time to switch because I was having some knee pain and I kept telling myself I needed to count my miles. I have at least 430 miles in the old pair which means it’s right about time for a change.

I wore the new pair again for the long run which was lovely. No knee pain or whatsoever. I ran 14 miles with my running group which was so incredibly great. Because of Chicago I ran by myself a lot this season, so getting back to the group has been a sweet reward.

There’s camaraderie in group runs. I also find a lot of encouragement and wisdom from the seasoned runners. I learn something new every time I run with the group. I also solve all the world’s problems by the time we’re done running. Yep, we have a lot of fun in our running group. Last Saturday for some reason, I ended up hearing about different marathons to try.

My goal for Houston is to PR. Running the Houston Marathon sub-5 hours will be incredible. I know I have it in me to do it.
I’m also setting long-term running goals and qualifying for Boston is one of those goals. I’m not expecting to do this short term because the Boston qualifying time for my age group is 3:35:00
The good news is that the older you get, the more flexible this time becomes. While I do not want to wait till I’m 80 to qualify, I do hope to improve my time annually until I get there. I also want to improve my time without getting injured. It will be quite the journey and I realize that each step counts.

I believe in the power of words. 9 years ago (I went to my blog archives to get this number) I said that I wanted to run a marathon and it happened twice this year. I hope to be a good steward of my words. I pray that I say positive things about my training no matter what I am facing.

Thanks for coming in this journey with me!
Previously in this Series:
Houston Marathon 2015 Week 4
• Houston Marathon 2015 Week 3
 Houston Marathon 2015 Week 2

• Houston Marathon 2015 Week 1
• Chicago Marathon 2014
• Houston Marathon 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Seven

1. dream – I find that when I’m frustrated or disappointed, dreaming is fundamental. Dreaming (and writing that vision down) helps me get out of the ditch of disappointment and helps me navigate through life with more hope. You should totally give it a try.
2. friends – I met with my friend Lisa from this week and I was so thankful I did. God sends me the most amazing people. I enjoy the heart connection. I enjoy the encouragement. I enjoy the sound of iron sharpening iron.
3. mentors – I believe God puts mentors in our lives so we can soak up their experience. This week I met with my dear Jeanne who has become such a blessing in my life. I also appreciate the fact that mentors have been where I am and they can wisely guide me and encourage me. I think the best moments are when I’m done meeting and I have a million other questions to ask. Healthy relationships are fascinating.
4. God as a source – I have experienced God as a firm foundation last week. It seems that when all you have left is God, He really comes thru. I’m enjoying all the new experiences. He is as wonderful as His Word says plus way more.
5. group exercise and faith – You know I’m a fan of group exercise. I have been studying the dynamics of my current class. I see that the language the instructor uses seems to be similar to religious language. I don’t agree with the rhetoric but I can’t argue with results. I also see that a lot of people “worship” the teacher – trust me, I’ve heard them praising her figure and saying they want to be just like her. This curious stuff makes me ask myself, "what am I doing here and what is my motivation?" The answer is, I’m trying to get stronger (and I am) and my motivation is to take the second chance God gave me to change my lifestyle.
6. my tree – I have a great looking lemon tree in my backyard. In our previous home we had so much good fruit we had to give it away to at least 50 people. The fruit of this tree does not taste good. I can’t seem to be able to do anything good with it. As I read the Gospel of Matthew  I can relate to being known by your fruit. My Bible teacher said we’re to be "fruit inspectors." This tree in my backyard reminds me of that. The fruit was just not good last year and my hope is really low for this year. There’s nothing worse than harvesting stuff just to throw it away. I pray that when people inspect the fruit in my life, they’ll find it so good that it will bring glory to my Father in heaven.

7. marriage – I’m finding interesting that with an approaching wedding anniversary there is still a lot to be learned about having a healthy marriage. I’m not a perfect person and that translates into every relationship I have. I find myself constantly in prayer for wisdom in how to be a wise wife (and mother). I have seen the more I allow God to change me into His image, the more my marriage benefits from it. Every major lesson I’ve learned about relationships was internalized through friction, challenges and making the hard decision to submit to God’s plan. My hope that God will be faithful is pretty much non-negotiable. I’m thankful for almost 9 years of marriage to the most honorable and amazing man alive.
Have a great Thanksgiving week my dear reader!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What's your God Lesson for 2014?

If you could describe 2014 in one word, what would that word be? If you are a glass half-full kind of person you’d use adjectives such as perfect, great or even super.
In case you do not want to describe 2014 right now, you will soon see social media platforms offering to put together highlights for you. They cannot and will not be true to your 2014 as you lived it. Platforms do not show your lowlights. They do not show those moments that challenged you and caused you to grow in character.

Today I want to talk to you abut those challenging moments. Forget for a moment the way the kosmos (it means world. Just felt like using a big word) would describe your year and think from God’s perspective.

You have lived 11 months and God has definitely taught you some great things this year. What is the word or theme that kept popping up these past 11 months?
For me, it was “Serving.” Throughout the entire year of 2014 God taught me some great things but the one thing that really helped me grow is knowing and living the true meaning of serving. I got quite the intensive course on serving others during the summer. I can also identify this theme during other times of the year.

One way I know that “Serving” was my word of the year, it was because this issue came out of moments of friction. For example, I was having issues serving from my heart in my every day life. Performing simple tasks felt like pulling a molar and I realized that living in frustration was not God’s plan for me. Although my wish of having half of Dowton Abbey’s workforce to perform my domestic duties did not come to pass, I realized that a heart change was in order. As I read the Bible I saw the way God sees serving. I saw many great examples of servants, but my primary example has been of Jesus. He said that He came to serve (Matthew 20:28) and not to be served. The more I read the Bible, the more my heart adjusted to the lesson God was trying to teach me.

To be very honest with you, I feel like I took 2 baby steps towards being a better servant. I’m glad I serve a God who loves me and who is willing to teach me how to live a better life.

Back to you and your year. What was the God lesson that kept popping up in 2014? I believe that God is in the business of transforming us, thus, God lessons are needed. God has no problem with us having fun and accomplishing stuff but I do believe that He cares more about the state of our heart.

My challenge for you today is to look back 11 months and identify the primary God lesson for your year. I have way more to learn about my lesson and I am looking forward to growing as I apply what God taught me through those moments of friction.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Weight Loss: How to set Health Goals

It's been a month and here is where I am:
Current BMI: 27.8 | Goal BMI: 23.6
This photo does not show the two times I had to be on antibiotics because of two different infections. It doesn't show all the times I pressed on and worked out and ate well. It also does not show you the times I indulged or plain messed up. One thing is for sure: pressing on towards a goal works.

Goals don't discriminate who have them. One thing is for sure about a goal: if you aim for nothing, you'll hit it every time. Today I am determined to reach my goal of having a normal BMI
If you are a long-time reader, you know I believe I am not what I weigh. I believe God created me to be more than the number on the scale. I also know that my overall health benefits from living with a normal BMI and avoiding many preventable diseases. 

Here are the steps I take when setting health goals: 

1. I Write down my Goal - I'm specific. How much weight do I want to lose? My goal BMI is 23.6. The ideal is to be very specific with my Goal.
2. I Choose a Date - I can't be intimidated to give myself a deadline. A target date actually is even more motivation to reach my goal. 
3. I List my Obstacles - I identify the things that will most likely impede me from reaching my goal. The obstacles I often face are stress, mindless eating and not writing down everything I eat in my food journal. Once my obstacles are identified, I can be empowered to overcome them because I recognize them. I can also look for tools to help me overcome them. 
4. I List Groups or Organizations you need to work with - in the past I was part of weight loss groups and they really helped me reach my goals. Currently, I need to work with my Running Group to help me reach my goal. I also need to attend bi-weekly classes at my local gym in order to reach my goal. 
5. I List your Plan of Action - how will I reach your goal? My plan is to drink 64 oz of water daily, eat nutritionally dense foods and exercise 5 days a week. Training for the Houston Marathon is also part of my plan of action. As I'm specific about my plan I can put it to work. 
6. I Set a time limit - this is not a forever project. Setting a time limit guarantees that I will reach my goal and enjoy the benefits I gained. 
7. I identify the Benefits - this is where I answer the question: "what's in it for me?" Here's what I wrote "I will have a lowered risk of health complications. The quality of my life will increase because I will be a more active wife and mother. I will be mentally and physically stronger. I will be able to log greater running distances with increased speed without putting too much stress in my joints. I will fit in smaller clothes. I will feel better overall. I will be even more mentally and physically present for my family. I will look healthier. I will buy new workout gear. I will gain rewards on the way to my goal. I will have new opportunities to encourage others. My kids will learn to stay healthy by example. When I defeat this Goliath, my children will also benefit from my victory."

Last month I learned that life happens and I am not a robot when it comes to weight loss. I have learned that facing and overcoming obstacles are part of life. The important thing is to have a Goal and pursue it till I reach it. 
Thanks for coming in this journey with me! I will give you another update next month. Till then, I challenge you to write down your goals and pursue them to completion. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Houston Marathon Training Week 4

I am so thankful to God that I am not only fully recovered from Chicago but also healthy and rested! I have experienced a lot of “common” things that happen to runners who are more seasoned than I am these past 4 weeks. God’s grace has been enough to help me manage this recovering period.
Strength Training Class
Strength Training – I’ve always heard that strength training is important for runners so I decided to include it as my cross training. Last week I went to two strength training classes which were challenging but fun. I do feel like my muscles are getting stronger already. I tried not to overdo anything while paying attention on posture and making sure I do the reps that matter the most. I pray that God will help me stay faithful to these classes.
Mental Training = Believing God
Mental Training – the mind is where battles are won and lost. I find that training my mind for my third marathon has been challenging but not impossible. I am seeking new inspiration for my mental training. More than practicing visualization and having a mantra, I find that my greatest challenge was answering the question “Can I run this marathon?” With God’s help I can and I will.

Running in the Cold –I forgot how fierce the cold wind can be. I find that running in every season is good. The winter has its challenges but it also has its joys. I thought about all my runs in the humidity and all of a sudden “the cold never bothered me anyway.” It seems that as soon as my hands and ears are covered I can take on cold weather running.

Oh, I had my longest run since the marathon as well (15 miles). We’re gonna keep this as a base then we’ll build to 17-milers til we reach the 21-miler. I am looking forward to knocking those miles down with my beloved running group.

The Houston Marathon is in 9 weeks and I am very much ready to conquer this challenge. I count on your prayers and encouragement as always!