Saturday, March 29, 2008

Easiest 10 miles of the year said that it was about 22 degrees outside. They lied! At times it felt quite hot.
I got to run with my brother Matt today. It really made 10 miles feel as though they went quickly. I really enjoyed running with him and it made the mileage go much faster than it usually does. It was also really nice to go outside my normal route and see some more of Aurora. It was nice to run some of the routes I did last year in preparation for my half marathon.
As we were running Matt asked me what I was thinking about for writing for the blog today. Up to that point I really hadn't thought about much to write about. It was hard to really get into a grove of focusing for this journal. After he asked me, I started thinking about him. I started thinking about the fact that I wouldn't be running if it wasn't for him. That is a fact. I also thought about how running has changed his life. 20+ pounds later he has really changed his and his family's lives through his desire to be more fit and active. That in turn has changed mine and my family's lives and I am forever grateful for that.
Another thing that came up constantly during our run was how many memories I have with Matt. We talked a little about things we did while we were growing up and about some of the people we knew as we grew up. I know he is my brother so this should be obvious, but most of my childhood memories that I really remember are with him. I also think that I remember many of his childhood memories that I wasn't even involved in. This is probably due to the fact that I looked up to him so much and wanted to be like him in so many ways.
All this to say. My run was the best of the year and I would love to have the same one every single day.
Matt, Thanks!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

7 Miles March 26th

Today's run went alright. Something astonishing happened on my run today...I saw another runner. It was almost weird. I have been running for a couple of months now and this was the first time this has happened in all of the miles I have encountered. (I take that back, I did see my neighbor about a month ago, but it was in the afternoon) When I saw him, I happily said "Good Morning!" He looked scared as if he was looking at the ground and jerked his head up and excitedly said, "Hey!" It was a nice way to break up the run. Hopefully in the coming weeks I will see more people.
While running today I though about being content. I thought about 1Timothy 6:6 when reading and thought about wanting to live a godly life. To live a godly life requires contentment with what I have in my life. I know that this does not mean that I can not pursue future things and have desires for a better life, it does mean that I should not spend time pondering what "The good life" would be like. I spent a very good part of my run praying for contentment and for a chance to really appreciate my life. I do. I love my life. I love what I do and I love my family. I just want more for myself at times and for my family. I look at others and think, "Boy, that would be nice." I don't think that this is all bad, but I do get caught up at times in really wanting something that I know I can't have. Toward the end of my run, I was feeling good until a private jet flew over me. I looked up at it and thought about it's passengers. I imagined what life was like for them and found myself jealous and wanting to live a life like that. A few seconds after starting to think about this, I found myself right back where I started. I know that prayer for contentment is going to be a constant thing for me and my life. I want so much, but know that God will provide for my needs.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Did I actually run? March 25th

Today I only had 3 miles. I felt like I hadn't even started running and I was finished. I really think it took me longer to get ready and cool down than it did to do the actual run. This really is amazing to me. A year ago, I would have laughed at the thought of going out and even completing even one mile without problem. Actually, I remember about a year ago running to ACE hardware to get some screws and running home. I had multiple walking breaks on the way there and on the way home. The sad part is....ACE hardware is only like 5 blocks away from my house. It is amazing how much I have improved. Don't get me wrong. I am not going to be showing up at any Olympic trials, but I am just saying that my outlook to running multiple miles at a time has changed drastically.
While running today I couldn't stop doing two things: One, humming the song Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, and Two thinking about what the guys in my small group are going to be starting. The song is in relation to Dave Cook singing it on American Idol last night. The reading is something that I am just really excited about. My friend Jay told me a few weeks ago that he wanted to read the Bible in a year. I said that I would be interested in doing it with him and to work together to be accountable to the reading. After talking about it for awhile, we thought maybe only reading the New Testament in a year would be a better start. We thought it would be better because it wouldn't be a ton of reading each night, and since the reading is less we could focus more on the meanings of the words and to use it more as a devotional than as an assignment. We talked about it with the guys in small group on Monday night and they all wanted in. We decided to open up a blog/message board that we could all use together to put out our ideas and what struck us during the reading. I'm excited.
It just seems so many things are falling into place lately. I really feel as though God is blessing me in so many ways and giving me opportunities for new and exciting things each day. It is exciting!

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's not the same

On my last post I talked about how well my run went and how beautiful the sun was and how good I felt after my run. Today is not the same at all. I think everything went wrong on my run today. I wore too many clothes, I hurt my ankle, I was bored, I was tired and the biggest one of all, I stopped to walk. I don't know how or why it happened, I just stopped. It was terrible. I tried to start up again, but it took quite a while to get going again. I wasted a ton of time and energy just getting up to running again. With that said, I didn't run the whole amount I was supposed to, but rather only ran 9 miles. I felt broken when I got home. I know it isn't the biggest deal, it is only something that I do on my own. I didn't let anyone else down. My problem was that I had a goal and didn't live up to it. I wrote in an earlier post about how I struggled in the past with completing things after I started them. I had the hardest time today because I felt that happening again to me today. I am just really hoping that this is not something that my body and mind do in the coming weeks. I really want to stick to this program as much as I can, especially on the long runs during the middle of the week and on the weekends. We will see how it goes.
Today I wanted to focus on the sermon that I heard yesterday. The topic was about hell and heaven. I thought about my run today and thought it fit into one of the categories, but then remembered the sermon. When I was listening, I thought it was a great topic and one that I could focus on during my run today. So often we hear people say, "What the hell" or "That was a hell of a fill in the blank." It is weird that we hear the word hell quite often and just think nothing of it. Well in the sermon yesterday, it was challenged to think about what is really being said. Hopefully we are not comparing things here on earth to hell. That is impossible. Things on this earth are nothing like hell. If you think they are, or can be, read the book of Job. In reading his story, I would compare what he went through to the closest that I could compare hell to. But it still isn't hell. Think about how bad it can really be.
On the other side, I was thinking about heaven. This is something also used when doing comparisons. We use it for ice cream, beautiful summer days, a hot tub after a long run... There are many things in this world that make us feel great. They make us enjoy things more. They make us really appreciate life. These are not heavenly things. These may be blessings from God, but they are not heavenly. There is a difference.
I am sure that when each of us dies, we will all know the difference.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I just kept running

Today's run went really well. It was nice to finally only run with two layers on. I felt lighter and felt as if the run was easier to do. I finished my six miles and made it home safely with plenty of time for a good breakfast.
While running today, I took my earphones out of my ears and just ran in silence. It was a really neat time just listening to birds chirping up in the trees. It helps as a reminder that spring is actually going to come and the animals are preparing for it. While listening to the birds, I couldn't help but think of the song "Let Everything That Has Breath, Praise The Lord!" I just sang it in my head the whole second half of my run. I had a really neat thing happen today during my run. It also pointed out just how slow I run. I made a turn down a new street and the sun was just starting to rise. It was really cool watching it rise up as the roads I run down are very straight, I got to see it the whole way down. I actually wanted to slow down even more (if that is possible) to be able to keep watching it. It was a great connection to the song I was singing because I was able to remember that I need to praise God in what I do all the time. I felt great, energized and ready for my day after my run. Usually, I am beaten with exhaustion when I finish. Today, it was not the case, I hope more of these days are still to come!

Monday, March 17, 2008

12 long miles

I don't know what I was thinking, but I got it done. I ran 12 miles before 9 o'clock church. It was cold and windy. My drink didn't freeze this week, but it was pretty cold. I am starting to dislike my brother for putting bad thoughts into my head. I thought the whole time about going home because it is so close. I didn't think about it before, but now I think about it a lot more. Toward the end of my run the thoughts were gone, but it was tough at the beginning. Especially since I went to bed after midnight and woke up at 5:30 for my run! Overall, the run went well. No injuries, no stomach aches and nothing else bad to report on. My time was just about the same as it was from last week, so that makes me feel good to know that I have a consistent pace that I am going at for the long runs.
While I was running I thought about a blog post that my brother-in-law posted. It was about being fanatical about things that are earthly, while putting godly things second. He wrote in his post about being fanatical about saving money. I have fallen into this category very much where I am looking for the best deals and trying to do my best to save the most money that I can for my family. My situation is a little different in that I am not out buying a gas grill or big items, I am always looking for the best deals on cereal, milk or other necessities. I have turned into much of a bargain hunter. I spend plenty of time cutting and sorting coupons and looking for where I can use them best. I don't buy too many things that we don't need in the house unless I can get them for free. When I started I used to spend hours scouring for the best deals each week, now it is down only to about an hour a week. This to say, I have figured out what is important and what is not, but I am still a little fanatical about it.
Another thing that I seem to spend much of my free time doing is watching television. Usually it is on in the background while playing with the girls, but it is still something that consumes much of my time.
I think that if I spent a little less time being fanatical about these things and toward much of the useless stuff that I watch on television, I am sure that my day would be much better spent in God's eyes toward what I do with my life. I am not saying cutting these things out, I just know that I need to spend much more time reading the Bible and in devotion toward God.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Didn't run today 3/13

I was supposed to run today but just couldn't get out of bed. My stomach hurt a bunch and I just couldn't motivate myself to get up. I felt really sad when I finally did get out of bed. I felt like I let myself down, but I know that with my schedule it is flexible and I can do the miles tomorrow morning. I'm sad that the weather is going to get cooler this weekend. I was looking forward to running without all of the gear that I am used to. We will see how it all turns out. Hopefully I can motivate myself to get out and do my miles tomorrow.

March 12th 6 miles

The run went pretty good. Nothing exciting except for the fact that it was not freezing. My achilles wasn't feeling good when I woke up so I did a lot of extra stretching before going out and running and that helped a lot.
During the run I just thought more about reading the Bible with my friend Jay. I think I am going to download it onto my MP3 player and do that while running. I don't know how that will work, but I am sure I could figure it out.
I don't have much to write on today. Hopefully something will be more enlightening to me in the coming days.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The 3 miles I didn't want to run

It was terribly tough to get out of bed this morning. I know that I have always woken up when it was dark, but I am going to blame it on daylight saving time. After the first few blocks, I wanted to turn around, then I remembered I was going to have to write about my run and saying, "ran three blocks, then turned around to go home," wouldn't be the best blog post or the most responsible thing to do when my ultimate goal is 26.2. If I can't do 3, then I need to set my goals on something else. The run was fine after that. I ran at a much faster pace than I am used to and did quite well. As I have said before I am trying to run my short runs faster to be able to try to build my stamina for speed.
Today I thought about the talk I had with Jay last night at our Bible Study group. We talked about being the spiritual leaders of our homes and that we both needed to improve on what we are currently doing. I told him that by doing this blog it helped me to center my focus on my thoughts while running. I also told him that I spend a large amount of my running time praying. He said that he wanted to focus more on Bible reading. He told me that he wanted to read the bible in a year and I know that I have never done that so I thought it would be a good idea to join in with him for it. I said it might be a good idea for us both to spend time reading and talking about what we read as we go through. It is very early in the stages of this process, but I am pretty sure this will get off the ground. I might even add it to my daily blog. I can say though that I am excited and looking forward to what will happen with this.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Staying Healthy

One thing I am noticing as I go through this marathon training is that I am paying a lot more attention to my overall health than I ever did before. The thing that set this off to me was that I noticed that I am actually flossing and using mouthwash on a regular basis. I never did this before. I just think that I am seeing this as an opportunity to totally revamp the way I look at things and how I take care of my body. I will say that when I started running two years ago, I did not really fit the mold of someone that needed a physical overhaul due to getting out of shape. I do know that I am getting into the years where I am creating some of my habits that I will carry with me through the rest of my life. It is important to make sure that I am choosing wisely with what to do during these years.
The running program that I am following was created by Hal Higdon. I haven't read too much about him as a person, but know that he has been running for a very long time. In his running schedule he talks about strength training and stretching. These are both areas that I have neglected in the past and want to get to spend more time doing. I started this morning doing push-ups and sit-ups with some stretches. Boy was I humbled with the push-ups. I was winded after like 10 of them. I remember when I could do much more. I am sure that in the coming weeks I will see that number increase greatly just like I saw my ability to tackle larger amounts of miles. I am hoping that by the marathon I will be doing 50 of each with no problems.
With two little girls, I know that I need to take care of myself to make sure that I am around for a long time. I also want to show them a good example of how to live. I have started eating much healthier and have been making a lot better choices with what to do with my free time. Breakfast is a must for every day for me. I eat a bowl of Cheerios or something without sugar and a piece of fruit. Melissa makes my lunches and does a great job. Today I am having a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread, a banana, a bag of carrots, celery and broccoli, and a fruit roll up. For dinner Melissa has done a fantastic job lately at planning good meals and making them pretty well rounded. I have been eating very well lately and am really looking forward to keeping this up. I am not saying that I am now very militant and regimented with where, when, why, and how I eat but I am trying to be much wiser with these things. I try to eat a few pieces of fruit each day along with some veggies. I have taken to eating smaller pieces of meat when served, because my body only takes in so much of it anyway. I drink milk (skim) and water as my main sources of liquid with the occasional can of pop. I did just buy some powder Gatorade that I am going to be drinking after runs. I had been drinking just the regular bottles of it, but it was just getting to be too expensive so I went with the alternative. On my mid-week long run and by weekend runs, I also drink a Boost shake to try and get more nutrients back into my body. I do still eat a bunch of sweet and salty snacks, but those have definitely been cut back.
Over the past few years I have had health screenings provided by my school where they draw some blood and do some tests on it to check different levels of stuff. I am interested to see my results from this test because I really do think that it is going to be much different from previous years. I'm interested to see if all that I am doing is really paying off. If not, I am probably still going to continue and will just have to wait until next year's results.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

March 8th 12 Miles

Today's run was really tough!  It was the farthest that I have ever run on my own.  I am going to have quite a few of those kinds of days coming up over the next few weeks.  I just realized that I started my marathon schedule one week early so I am going to do this past week twice.  That means 12 miles again next weekend with 13 the next weekend.
During my run today I had a constant battle with my mind to keep going.  I don't run too far from home and I basically run in mile circles the whole time.  Every time I came to another loop I had to convince myself to go another loop until finally I was finished.  I have got to say that I was mighty proud of myself when I finished.  I didn't walk at all (except to drink) and I made it the whole way.  Overall it was good.  I think the best part of it was that I was finished before 9 am.  When I got home, I was dead tired.  Luckily the girls were in bed and I had time to get my shower and breakfast.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

6 miles in the cold wind

Today's run went alright. I got up and Fox News said that it was 24° outside. I didn't check to see the wind though. It was brisk, I was glad that I had worn my scarf today. As I was running today I think it was another zoned out run for me. I don't remember much of it other than just putting one foot in front of the other and having no cars on the road at all. In my last mile a bus passed me, but that was it.
I don't have much to write about as far as any epiphanies that I had while running. I did get to thinking during a short part of my run about one of Melissa's family friends from Michigan. We found out yesterday that he was rushed to the hospital this week and was in really bad shape. Fortunately, the doctors said that he made it just in time with just a few minutes to spare. Wow! It is amazing how a few minutes can make a difference. We say we will do things in "just a few minutes," but to think about how just a few minutes can alter your life, it really is crazy how in those few minutes, so many things can happen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

March 4th

Today I ran 3 miles. It went pretty well. I had a rough start because I just couldn't get myself to get out of bed. Finally I got up and made it out the door a little after 6:30. My problem is that I always try to get myself home by 7:00. I started with my stretching and then got to running. As I was running, I kept track of the time and realized that I was going to have to kick it into high gear in the last mile to get home by 7:00. My last mile I ran in 7 1/2 minutes and made it home with 15 seconds to spare. It was fun for this short run to try for speed. I think I am going to continue this with my short runs each week.
I did not run with the MP3 player because a) the run was pretty short and I don't need it to motivate me for such a short time and b) I wanted to spend the time thinking about what we discussed at our small group meeting last night. The topic came up about adding people into the group, which would then put our group to 14 people. That is far too many people to have in a community group. Melissa and I have talked at length about what happens when there are too many people in a group, less people can talk and you can't get to know everyone else on a really deeper level.
As Melissa and I were talking after our group meeting, Melissa pointed out just how much our group has been blessed over the past two years. We have grown quickly and have also had another group in our demographic start up that we have gotten to know. As we look around at church each week, we still see couples that are out on their own that could definitely be reached out to. We don't know if they are lonely, or if they have tons of friends and connections with people, but we do know that we don't know them and that should be a focus of community. We have gotten to a point where we are comfortable with our group and know each other, but at the same time, that comfort comes at a price. Other people are out there that are desperate for community and don't know where to turn. I think our group has the opportunity to help give many other people out there a chance at the community that we have been blessed with.
During my run I thought of Jesus' parable of the fig tree. I do not think of our group as a barren group that does not grow fruit, but I thought about how new growth can come about our group if we are willing to make big changes. In the parable, by taking apart the fig tree allowed it to produce fruit and flourish. I do believe that our group has a chance to flourish, but if we did make changes, we would be able to spread out even more to grow the community at our church even more. I don't know where we go from here or how to make these changes, but I do know that some changes will need to happen some day. We will see what happens. I guess I'll just keep praying and wait for that answer to come.

Monday, March 3, 2008

March 2nd - 7 miles

The run was not too difficult. I didn't feel tired during the run. I got up before church and did it with no problems. I actually felt pretty good all day without incident.
During the run I listened to music. It was interesting at times because I am not used to running with music. At times, I wanted to sing along or to play air guitar or drums. I think I need to reconsider what music I listen to while running. I know that if I saw someone running down the street playing the air guitar, I would be worried for them.
One nice thing about running before church was the lack of traffic. I can say that on a normal morning, I encounter about five cars. Today, I only saw one. I know that the roads that I run are side roads and safe, that is why I use them.
While I was running today, I couldn't stop thinking about all of the people around us that have kids or are expecting them. We had our friends over that are expecting the twins. Our goal was to show them that it wasn't as daunting of a task as you might think. Unfortunately, the girls were pretty cranky. They said that it was good to see us at our house and how things functioned with multiples. I think they are a little more relieved to see that it can be done.
As I was thinking about the people that I know that are expecting, or trying. I prayed for them a lot. I remember all of the worries about health and safety during our pregnancy. It is something that I still worry about now that the girls are here. I just want the best for everyone and really wanted to focus my prayers on them. It is a great thing to get the children, but it is a tough road to getting them.