Thursday, March 31, 2011

"S" is for Struggle

CONFESSION: This week has been abysmal in terms of my training for the Country Music Half Marathon (April 30). Today is Thursday, and I have run 8 miles so far this week. Further, I did not do a long run last week. Ugh.

Some reasons for this?

1. Work is killing me. Being on this side of the "end of the semester" is no easier than it was as a student. In fact, I might argue it's actually worse. I have tenure looming over my head so the pressure for research productivity is weighing heavy, a stack of papers that need to be graded so the students can move forward with their final projects, exams to make out, interns to hire for the summer, I'm chairing one search committee and serving on another, we've been in the midst of academic advising for the fall...Ok. You get the point. At the end of the day (which has been closer to 6 or 7 lately), I'm spent and the last thing I've felt like doing is lacing up the sneaks and going for a run. And then there's...

2. The overwhelming "Mom guilt." When I have to work more, my time at home is even more precious. It's pretty hard to give up those few awake hours I have with my boys - for whatever comes up or "needs" to be done. Enough said.

3. I'm really lacking commitment to the Country Music 1/2 marathon goal because I still haven't registered. I need to commit, pay the money and plan the trip (See reason number 1 for why I'm having trouble committing to taking a day off).

4. The scale's not budging. Over the past year, I've been able to see the results of my efforts - in my clothes and on the scale - and this has been a significant source of motivation. I think my scale might be broken because it hasn't moved in several weeks. While I know this is not what I should be worried about, it does motivate me as I'm a results-oriented kind of gal.

5. Oh, and the weather has really been miserable. It was so beautiful a few weeks ago, and I was loving spring running. Enter cold, rainy weather. Yuck. 

So, there you have it. My confessional for the week: I am struggling. I have a list of reasons why, but I guess if I have to find a bright side - I am working on finding solutions for all the issues and getting my groove back. 

Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beach-front Running

Yesterday, I arrived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a two-day conference. My husband tagged along  (he grew up on the Coast) hoping he could visit with friends while I was in the sessions. We left the boys with the grands (a BIG thank you to them!!) and it's been a nice little get-away for us both. 

Cool thing?

We BOTH packed our running gear and went for a 4-mile run along the beach this morning! It was a beautiful morning, perfect temperature - I really enjoyed our run!

Just a couple of thoughts from the experience...

1. A change of pace is nice...for life and running. I miss my boys something terrible, but it's been nice to spend a little time with my husband between the conference meetings. Our run together this morning was icing on the cake. It wasn't my "best" run ever in terms of pace (Bob Harper's kettlebell  workout is still kicking my tail!), but it was new sights, sounds and even smells.

2. I am so proud of my husband! He "left me" twice during our run to pick up his pace a little but we finished the run together. He got new, properly fitting running shoes on the trip down, and I think he's going to enjoy running much more now. I worried when he started running in January that he wouldn't stick with it through the rough time to get to the point where he wants to run and actually enjoys it...but I think he's getting there. I'll be surprised if he doesn't finish his first 5K in under 29 minutes (I'm trying to talk him into a guest post on his C25K experience - stay tuned!).

3. I think I'm going to like my new shoes! I have been wearing the Nike Vomero (3 and 5) since I started running and I've been scared to try anything different. But, I'm giving the Brooks Glycerin a go and so far, I like them. The fact that they look like mint chocolate chip ice cream helps a little, too!

4. I will never forget to pack a sports bra again. Enough said.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My New Running Partner?

So, my husband is a recent "graduate" of the Couch to 5K plan. I've offered to run with him the entire time he's been training and he has declined. But I'm pretty good at wearing him down (i.e. nagging until he gives in!) and...

He finally caved!!

We ran 3.2 miles (9:34 pace) together yesterday after the boys were off to school and I, personally, loved it! Still don't think he was all that excited about running with me, but he did it anyway. 

I am so proud of him for sticking through the program and next week, we are headed to get him some new running shoes. I think this purchase alone will make his running more enjoyable! He'll be signing up for his first 5K race in April; and he even mentioned needing another stroller so we could do races and running  with the boys (maybe he DID enjoy it!!). I suggested a double stroller...that he could push, of course.

So, that's my big running news (so far) for the week!

Note: A longer post to follow about my one-year running "anniversary" when I finish grading this stack of papers!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When Waiting Turns to Worry

** WARNING **  This post has nothing to do with running!

Sunday night, I shared with our youth group some things that were on my heart that I have been struggling with. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to constant worry and here's the short version of what I shared. I hope it helps you find a place to "put" your worry....

Ever feel like you’re always waiting? I DO! I am so impatient and feel like there’s always something – or someone – I’m always waiting on.

When I was a child, it was birthdays, Christmas, summer break or maybe family vacations.

As a teen, it was driving, dating, proms and then graduation.

In college, it was Christmas/spring/summer break, graduation and, really, marriage.

As an adult, it was starting a family, vacations or even the daily wait of 5 o’clock when I can get home to my family.

And now, as a mom, I spend a lot of time waiting – first, I was waiting on the boys to arrive, then their first words, their first steps, their first whatever.

When you really think about it - I’ve probably spent the greatest part of my life “WAITING” on something – or someone. But I don't wait very patiently. In fact, I’m often very impatient. I want answers and results and oftentimes what starts out as rather innocent WAITING turns into WORRY.

And while “waiting” is probably ok. Worry is not. Let me repeat that – waiting is probably ok. But when our waiting turns to worry, we’ve got problems. God very clearly tells us throughout His word NOT to worry. Not because our problems are trivial or not important, but because He has our back, so to speak.

Let’s look at some scripture on this:

Read Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 

So, there’s no denying this. Right? God clearly says NOT to worry. And when we worry, we’re essentially saying, “God, my problems are too big for you.” Or maybe you think, “God, I don’t want to bother you with my little problems. You’ve got bigger issues at hand.” Or worse yet, “God, I don’t need you to handle MY problems – I’ve got this.”

Let’s stop for just a second and watch this video to get a better perspective on how distorted this view of our worry actually is.

Wow! The God of universes yet unseen tells ME not to worry? The God who designed galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars knows how many hairs – even the gray ones – are on MY head?

The thought may seem preposterous but it’s so true. God LONGS for a relationship with us. He longs for us to bring our problems to Him. He longs to share in our joys and victories. And it is in this relationship that we can be freed from worry.

Some may not truly understand this idea of longing - from God’s perspective - until having own your children. I didn’t. But now, at the end of the day, there is nothing I want more than to wrap my arms around my boys and hear about their days - to laugh with them and spend time with them. And there is nothing else that will satisfy that longing. Spending time with someone else’s kids is not going to get it done. I want my boys and only my boys.

And this is what God wants from us – our time. He longs to spend time with each and every one of us – because we are His children. And when we give it to Him, our worries will begin to disappear. He will comfort us. He will guide us. He will make clear our path. He will love us unconditionally. He will rejoice in the victories of our days. If He can do that - what do we have to worry about?

Henry Blackaby, the author of the “Experience God” study once wrote,  “If we walk with Him closely today, we will be the center of His will tomorrow.”

How incredible is THAT thought? That a God so immense wants ME at the center of HIS will.

So, when we’re feeling anxious about things and it begins to turn to worry, we should take it to Him and GIVE it to Him. Don’t take it to Him and continue to carry it around and stress and worry. Leave it as His feet.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray continuously.” As our preachers said this morning, we should seek continual and unbroken conversation with God. And as you know, conversation requires both talking AND listening.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” These are eight powerful words – especially in today’s society. Some of you have had a hard time being still and staying focused during this brief devotion. But this is actually the key to letting go of our worry. GIVE the worry to Him….

and then let Him be God.