Thursday, April 28, 2011

war of wills

Most of the time when I go to the gym, I'll put on a specific workout mix on my ipod.  I'll crank up the tunes and block out the sounds of all those around me.  If I'm there with friends, I'll talk to them and catch up on the day.  Sometimes, when I'm working really hard I take my headphones out of my ears and stare blankly ahead, focused on a spot in the middle distance. 

It's not often that I'll listen to a sermon while on the machines...but last night that's just what I did and it was a perfectly timed message, one that I needed to hear.  A friend recommended a sermon series from a church he used to attend back in NY state.  The pastor is preaching through the Lord's Prayer and the message I listened to as I plugged away on the elliptical last night was on the section "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven." 

He spoke about how God is in control, ultimately, and is ruler of heaven and earth but Satan is the prince of this world.  God doesn't smite us and send ravaging tornadoes...Satan does.  God knows that in the midst of the hurt and pain He will be glorified.  It is somehow in His will. 

The pastor then moved on to specifically talking about His will for our lives.  How many of us are actually willing to truly and utterly pray that God's will be done in our lives?  In all honestly, I pray that God's will might align with my will...because obviously I know more about my life than God does.  (sarcasm...)  There are things in my life right now that I am begging God to reveal His will in...but am I really ready for what that may entail?  Am I ready to fully accept what His plan for my life is?  Really?  I'm not so sure...

In Proverbs 3:5-7 it says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil."  I know what I want out of life.  I know what would make me happier, successful, on the right path...or do I?

In Romans 12:2 Paul writes, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will."  Not MY good, pleasing and perfect will....His. 

It's hard, this submitting to what God has in store for me and harder still (for me, anyway) that I don't get it in the form of, oh say, a road map.  You know, pointing out where I should go and the easiest, safest, most unchallenging way to get there.  Instead, in the process, most often in hard, challenging and sometimes not-so-safe ways, He makes us more like Christ.  Redefines and reshapes us into the people He wants us to be.  It hurts but it's good.  Running analogy:  Training is painful, but in the end the rewards I reap are good.  Becoming more like Christ is good and what I was put on earth to do.  That, in the most basic sense, is God's will for my life. 

Let me end by sharing with you a prayer spoken by a New York Yankee's baseball player back in the 50's: 

Dear Lord, Your will.  Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

accountability makes the treadmill go 'round

The weather forecast that I read yesterday morning must have been wrong.  Turns out, after work is was merely cloudy and 60deg.  Perfect for a run outdoors...unfortunately, I packed for the gym and made plans to meet friends there.  I didn't want to just we went to the gym.  Today I packed for the gym AND for outside!  I'm learning...

I'm sure I've mentioned before the temperature in my gym.  If I haven't, it's this:  HOT.  My friend and I spent an hour on our respective treadmills and let me tell you, when we finished it wasn't pretty.  But, we finished despite feeling a bit queasy and ridiculously sweaty!  I did not feel like making it all the way to the end of my hour.  I felt like at 40min I could easily have finished and been happy with that.  But, plugging along on the machine next to me my friend breathlessly said, "I know you can do it!  Keep going, only 20 more minutes!!"  I responded, "UUUUGGH!"  See, accountability (and encouragement...).

I got 6.26mi in even though I told you I was going to run 12.  See, a couple weeks ago I wrote about what I do when I'm not running.  Another friend met us at the gym and said, "Hey why don't you come over for dinner!"  Well, I thought to myself, I can spend another hour on an elliptical (and continue to sweat my face off) OR I can go have dinner with two really good friends.  I think you know what I chose.  And it was good and more accountability runs were planned.  I can't wait.  :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

good friday, rainy saturday, easter sunday

And that, folks, was my weekend.  No run on Friday as I stayed at work to volunteer my services for serving communion at our Good Friday service.  I did get a quick (quick in terms of short, not in terms of speed) walk in with the dog I was pet-sitting.  She walks soooooo sloooooow! 

Saturday was rainy and cold.  And quite honestly, I just didn't want to leave the warm I didn't.  I read.  And read and read and read.  :)  It was wonderful.  I had numerous cups of tea and lounged around the house.  Finally, I realized I needed to take the dog for a walk, it had stopped rainy and was merely misting.  Again with the slow meander around the block.  (It's almost painful...) 

Easter Sunday was a beautiful day!  I awoke to a gorgeous blue sky and 70deg temps.  My friend and I made our way to the PACKED out service at Grace (it was wonderful!) then headed over to my boss's house for lunch.  There we had great conversation, a delicious lunch and an egg hunt!  Too fun.  I now have enough candy to last me through the summer. 

It was not a weekend filled with running/training.  Instead a weekend filled with reflecting on God's sacrifice and my response to it as well as joyously celebrating His resurrection with my church family and good friends. 

Today, since it is again raining, will be a long night at the gym.  I would run outside if it's just misting...but I have to get in about 12miles or the equivalent...and I'm just not up for being cold and wet for two hours unless I have to (ie, the Hyannis Half on Feb 27th).  I will instead spend an hour on the treadmill and an hour on the elliptical.  I'm currently finding some sermons and new music to download...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

feeling better, one run at a time

Well, yesterday's post was a wicked Debbie Downer (SNL, anyone?) post and I apologize for that...there are just sometimes when you just feel out of the game.  In fact, yesterday I made my way to the gym after work and literally sat in the parking lot for 5min trying to decide if I should go in and run my 5miles or just go home (those last three words should be read in an Eeyore voice).  I ended up forcing myself to get out of the car and into the gym and got my 5miles done.

And you know what?  I felt better.  l knew I had to do it, I did it and felt better for it.

Other than just letting you know about my quick workout last night, I wanted to fill you in on what's been happening training wise - some good stuff!  (Don't let yesterday's post fool you.  I am fully prepared!)

2nd 20 miler recap - For some reason, spring in New England means one thing:  Wind.  And while it provides for excellent resistance training....I hate it.  And on this particular 20miler, the wind was with me as I ran away from home, and therefore, against me as I ran towards home.  I headed out on the hills in my neighborhood, over to the lake and then down into Melrose.  It was as I was coming out of Melrose, back to the lake that was the killer.  Sustained 20mph winds.  Ugh.  It was rough, but I finished and felt better than I had the previous 20 - sore, but the right kind of sore, not the hurt kind of sore.  My pace was 10:32's.

3rd 20 miler recap - Finally, a beautiful sunny spring day with less wind!  Only 13mph!  I ran mainly the same route, just did the lake twice before heading in to Melrose (I couldn't bear the thought of doing it again after I came back to Wakefield!).  This time the wind was against me as I ran away from home....and therefore, with me as I ran back towards Wakefield.  This time I felt even stronger and better than the previous.  Perhaps it was the wind or perhaps my body was just getting used to these ridiculously long runs!  This time the pace was 10:09's - WHAT?!

Chase the Gorilla recap - Each year, for the past 4 years, I have run a race in Ipswich, MA called Chase the Gorilla Down Argilla.  It's a fun little 5K put on by the YMCA of the North Shore.  I don't know why I like it so much...but I always enjoy it when I do it, if I'm alone or with friends.  This year my friend, Jocelyn, ran it with me.  It was her first 5K (not including her track/CC career in HS)!!  This was just one day after my 20miler and I was thinking we'd just take it slow...but Joci decided to push her pace and ran faster than ever before!  She finished with a time of 30:22, which equals to 9:45's!  Great Job, Joci!!!

Lexington Patriot's Day 5miler recap - Again, I have run this race each year for the past 3 years.  It's in the town where I work and just a fun, hilly course.  A few coworkers usually participate as well.  After Friday and Saturday's runs I decided I wasn't going to push myself but merely enjoy the run and consider it a training run with 500 running buddies.  I did and felt great about my time (45:45/9:09pace).  Also, on this day was The Boston Marathon...and what an amazing run by all the elites!  A new World Best was set as well as PR's by all the top Americans.  Too cool!  Congrats to everyone who ran this course (special shout-out to Josh Piotrowski who ripped up the course!!)...someday I hope to get there!

Phew.  That's the big stuff.  Obviously there are other little runs thrown in here and there.  But you get the idea.  If you stuck through all of that, I thank you!  And I promise to try and no longer post anything like yesterday's again.  :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

sometimes feelings = BLAAAH!

I've been putting off posting here, friends.  Mainly because I felt like I needed to tell you I'd been thinking through some deep stuff and this is how I saw it relating to both running and to life....well, I don't.  Quite honestly, the past few weeks I've just been trying to get by.  I feel a little un-hinged right now...there are quite a few things that are up in the air and I don't feel like much is on steady ground right now.  A bit unnerving, to say the least!

I don't really need to go into specifics but it's a lot of life stuff and a little running stuff.  In regards to running stuff, I'm more prepared for this marathon than Chicago (Oct '09) and perhaps just as prepared as the Portland Half (Oct '10).  I ran three 20milers.  I ramped up training after a long, brutal winter.  I am feeling great physically and know that I can do this.  It's just....what if I can't.  What if I totally fall apart and don't finish.  What if I don't represent Massachusetts well (being a part of the 50 State Challenge and all, I feel pressure there...).  What if I don't beat my Chicago time.  What if I suffer an injury in the next 17 days and I can't even start.

And then there's the life stuff:  apartment, job, relationships.  I mean, come on!  How much change and unsettled-ness can one girl take at one time?  It's been tough doing ministry and feeling close to God in all this too.  I know He's there, I know that I can rely on Him to help me through these weird unsettled times, but sometimes it's all I can do to get up in the morning, let alone be pouring out to other people...  After being in ministry for as long as I have, it's almost as if people expect you to be a certain way, and I just don't have it anymore.  Or, what I should say is, Right Now.  I need a break, I need to be refreshed and to just take some time to myself and focus on what is next. 

And currently, in 17 days precisely, Next is the Kalamazoo Marathon.  It's coming like a freight train.  And whatever I have to do, I will fight off these negative thoughts and run this race to the very best of my ability!  Maybe all this craziness is just me giving into taper madness....