Monday, September 26, 2016

95 days till 2017!

95 days and we are in 2017. We have work to do people! The key is to start where you are! Read "September is the new January" for inspiration
 I'm trying not to be discouraged when I look at my goals but to be inspired to reach them. Here's the thing about goal setting: just because I wrote it down, it doesn't mean that it will magically happen. It does mean that I have margin and guidelines for the year. 

One of my goals was to run an out of town half-marathon and the race is coming up this weekend. I trained, I set my goal and Sunday I will race after that goal (literally). I appreciate your prayers for a successful race and trip. 
Others goals have not been easy to do. I often think of ignoring them but that would not be fair to the person who wrote those goals last year (moi). I choose instead to keep pursuing them for 95 days and then I'll see what I can get accomplished.
One of my real life, goal setting inspirations, is my friend Jennifer. She's a working wife and mother of a little one who just finished her second Ironman Triathlon. Instead of thinking of her as someone who has supernatural abilities, I think of her as a wife, mother and professional who has a busy schedule but takes her goals seriously. I also admire her thankful heart. Recently she shared her thanksgiving for her family and the many people who support her so she can reach such a big goal. It does take a village! I'm thankful for Jennifer being one of my real life goal achieving examples.
So here is what I am working with:

Fitness Goals - I successfully trained for my Fall Half-Marathon and I'm on track to reach my PR goal. This upcoming race will also be my base race for the rest of the season. My ultimate goal is to PR the Chevron Houston Marathon in January. I have lots of racing to do and I plan on learning strategy that way. 

Family Goals - family schedules are quite fluid throughout the year. The first 6 months of this year was very intense. Okay, the first 8 months! Things are different now which means I have room to be on top of my family goal of scheduling dates with my husband. We've been dating when we can but the plan is to get a firm date each week. Another one of my goals is to "give everyone 100% attention: no looking at screens unless working." I've been convicted about this because I'm teaching through my actions. So far, so good. 

Business Goals - this one has moved slowly but not really. I've invited God into my business goals and I've been getting exactly what I can handle in this are. For that, I'm really happy. 

Faith Goals - I've been super late with my Bible in a Year plan but the great thing is that I haven't neglected Bible reading at all. During the summer I focused on Colossians and in the Spring, when things got busier for me, I read less in quantity. I still think I can catch up. Stay tuned! I also set the goal of (Biblical) Fasting more often. I'm glad my church has Fasts on Wednesdays, which is a great reminder of my goal. It's also nice to do it as a church. 

Other Goals - Most of my "other" goals were accomplished. I don't know why, it just was easier somehow to get those done. They were also travel related, which is nice.

I also would like to remind us that the holidays are near. As of today, we have:

89 days till Christmas
58 days till Thanksgiving

We don't celebrate Halloween but if you do, get on the ball! The goal is not to let these holidays catch you unprepared. How am I preparing? I've been cleaning closets and making room for the extra things we pick up at the end of the year. This is making me very happy!

Time is going to pass by my friend. Wisdom is found when you decide how to spend it towards reaching your goals. Have a blessed day!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Chevron Houston Marathon 2017 Training Week 13

Time does not slow down for anyone. The key thing is to set goals (arrive at the finish line of the Chevron Houston Marathon injury-free, feeling great at 4:54:51) and pursue them with persistence. Persistence is the name of the game when it comes to me. 
I am getting out there, training and being realistic about the heat and humidity. I am also celebrating every step of the way. 
Last Saturday, we celebrated the high mileages our friends training for Fall marathons ran. It has become our tradition, which I love. I remember running those same miles a few years ago and my friend Rita coming out in person, then on her bike, then with breakfast to cheer me on and celebrate me. That made a huge impact in me and I  decided to celebrate others around me big time. 
Tomorrow is my last long run before running the San Jose Rock'n'Roll half marathon. I'm excited and ready. Unlike Chicago a few years ago, I have never been to California before. It'll be an incredible adventure and I've been training to PR. Let me explain what that looks like. I ran my first half marathon in TN a few years ago and although I had a PR, my time was super duper slow. Those hills plus, the fact that I was not in my top shape, gave me the results I got. I am confident that I can beat that time with no problems. Oh, I've been weather stalking and the temps in California are gonna be dreamy!!! Are you serious, 50s?! I'm eager to get there and get that run done. 

Another every exciting thing is that I signed up for the Houston Marathon Warm-Up Series. I've ran the 30K the first year I ran Houston but I have never ran the other races. Well, I attempted to run the Houston Half last year but it was canceled due to rain. I did get the t-shirt and the medal but you know, never pounded that pavement officially. I'm eager to have that experience because my running mentors tell me the series will really prep me for the full marathon. I'm thankful to God for this amazing opportunity! 

My stress-management is going well, which means that my nutrition choices are getting better and better. I've lost 5 lbs so far and I am committed to get to race weight. My cross-training has gotten solid this weeks. I am lifting weights and doing a lot of squats and lunges with free weights. 

Friends, I appreciate your prayers for a strong training season. Please know that you too can reach your goals when it comes to your training. The key thing is to set your goal and to pursue it with persistence. You have everything you need inside of you so tap into it! 

Previously in this Series:
• Week 1
• Week 2

• Week 3
• Week 4 - Barry Walter
• Week 5 - Christine Soliman
• Week 6 - Ron Booth
• Week 7
• Week 8
• Week 9

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Discouragers Welcome

Has anyone ever discourage you? I'm gonna guess yes, just for the simple fact that you are alive. Discouragement is part of life but it is not fun. Today I want to tell you that you should welcome discouragers into your life. They're inevitable, so by welcoming them, you and I can become stronger.

Discouragers are everywhere. I've been discouraged to stay at home with my kids. I've been discouraged to wake up early and exercise. I've been discouraged to spend time with God. 5 years ago I was discouraged to run in Houston. Little did I know that Houston would be the place where I would become a marathoner. I didn't refute the discouragers but I didn't affirm them either. I just let their words fall in the soil of my heart as fertilizers do.

The fact is, discouragers are the fertilizers to your dreams. Don't look at them with hate and disgust. Look at them as a way for your dream to grow faster. That's what fertilizers do. When added to good soil they bring optimal growth. God created fertilizers to enhance the growth of plants. Fertilizers increase the capacity of a plant to produce new steams, flowers or fruit. The speed of that growth is enhanced by fertilizers. Without fertilizers, there's no optimal growth. Without processing discouragement properly, there's no optimal growth. 

The decision to forgive the discourager means that you are planting the fertilizer in the soil of your heart. The decision not to forgive, means that the fertilizer is still in your hands. If you know anything about organic fertilizers, you know they smell awful. Your hands, clothes and hair will smell like cow poop mixed with spoiled food. That disgusting smell is the scent of unforgiveness. Decide today to let go of the offense by forgiving my friend. That fertilizer will go straight into the soil of your heart and God will make sure that it will all work out for your good.

Keep on dreaming and achieving. I have learned that there are more encouragers out there than discouragers. I have learned to let negative words quickly fall into the ground as I release them through total forgiveness. Your dreams will come true as your character will match the greatness that God has placed inside of you. It just takes a little patience with the fertilizing process.

"Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.
Joshua 1:9 (The Message)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Chevron Houston Marathon 2017 Training Week 12

Hello friends! Today on Once Upon a Run, I want to introduce you to the coach responsible for successfully getting me through my Chevron Houston Marathon finish lines. Brian Stonesifer started running as a way to take control of his health. He successfully lost weight & continues to inspire many to run for life. He's a Chevron Houston Marathon legacy runner. Enjoy his interview!
SC: How did you discover long distance running?
"I discovered long distance running in college in the 80s. My friends were on the cross country team at University of Houston - go Coogs! We would run together after classes. After college had no time to run because of work. Then was on medication and gained lots of weight. I saw this group running every Saturday on my way to work and it was Fort Bend Fit. I check it out and joined. I have now completed 10 Chevron Houston Marathons, 1 Aramco Houston Half Marathon, 1 Chicago Marathon, 3 San Antonio Marathons plus too many half marathons and 10Ks to count.

SC: What is your favorite Houston Marathon memory?
"Several years ago my father was in the hospital and could not go to watch me run. As soon as I was finished I rushed to his bed at the hospital and he gave me a thumbs up."
SC: Can you give an advice to a newbie as well as a veteran marathoner? "Have fun doing the training and running the race. Don't take it so seriously. Experiment with what works for you. You will get to the finish line! Best advice to a veteran: Help a newbie become successful. Encourage, do not discourage."
SC: Do you have a morning ritual before running the Houston Marathon? "I get up and take a shower. I just feel fresh before I get dressed. I usually pick up fellow runners for a car pool and we all go downtown and park at my office building (no lines). We walk over to the GRB and meet our running club (FBF) for a picture. Usually we are there very early so I just sit on the floor and wonder why am I doing this. I know why when it's over! I feel very emotional and proud of my self."
SC: How has running changed your life?
"Running has changed my life by making me healthy and participating in marathons, which not everyone can or will do. It has given me life long friends that understand what we do each week. I have more accountability in my life and enjoy every mile I run. The camaraderie is amazing amongst runners when you all have run together for as long as our group has been. Some of us have been out just about every Saturday for the last 10-11 years. Amazing!"
SC: Anything else you'd like to add? "I always read articles from every night. Try to read at least one or two. Great place to learn about training, nutrition and new ideas."

I'm thankful to Brian for coaching me and encouraging me and many others to keep running and doing our best. Thanks for reading friends!
Previously in this Series:
• Week 1
• Week 2

• Week 3
• Week 4 - Barry Walter
• Week 5 - Christine Soliman
• Week 6 - Ron Booth
• Week 7
• Week 8
• Week 9
Week 11

Read the stories of my previous Marathons in Houston:
• Chevron Houston Marathon 2014
• Chevron Houston Marathon 2015
• Chevron Houston Marathon 2016 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Doctor will see You Now

A symptom is the first sign that there is something wrong going on. When I can't shake that bad feeling, whatever it is, I call the clinic for an appointment. This whole process seems incredibly slow because all I want to hear are the words "the doctor will see you now." 
I have been through the same process with my own kids. Recently, my little one's eyes were red and they were just not getting better. She got sick on a Saturday so I had to take her and her symptoms to the presence of one who could solve her problem. I was amazed at how the doctor quickly diagnosed her as he took two steps inside of the exam room. Only a look was all that took for all our worries to dissolve, the look of an experienced practitioner. 
I don't know what kind of patient you are. Some of us take forever to get to a waiting room where we can hear the words "the doctor will see you now." Maybe you are like me, you go prematurely just to hear, "you're fine. Just go home and rest." I can't tell you how many times I felt embarrassed yet assured, by getting a great prognosis for my stress related problems. 

Every time I open my Bible, I think of the words "the doctor will see you now." God has the answer to my every issue. I have hidden sins that even I don't know exist but God is great at diagnosing the invisible. When I submit myself to the systematic study of the Bible, I think of the words "the doctor will see you now." God, through His Word, has the power to touch this very life and change it. Every time I finish a prayer, in Jesus name, I go on with my life. Somehow I know that I just had a "the doctor will see you now" moment. Some way my spirit is free to believe that I am healed and because I insist in being in God's presence, I am whole.