We In a Marathon We Could Build a Marriage On

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Today was the big day. My boyfriend and I had our 10K this morning. Neither of us were very excited. We didn’t train well and ate pretty poorly this entire week. When I asked if he was excited he responded by saying, “It’s just another day.” So you can only imagine how we felt when the race organizer told us that they changed the course from last year and added trail running to the route. To be fair, we didn’t run this race last year, but no where online did it say that trail running was included. And to make it even worse, they decided to make the course easier for the 5K runners by minimizing the number of hills. How much sense does that make? So before we started the race, my boyfriend and I decided that our only goal was to finish.

We started the race at different times; I started almost at the back of the pack. We talked about running the race together, but the more we talked about how unprepared we were, we decided it would be best to run our own race. I tried looking for him, but never saw him. To keep myself focused, I singled out runners who were in front of me and tried to pass them. It worked. At the two and half mile mark the course split for the 10K runners and the trail running began. Oh my goodness, talk about a workout. Trail running is a beast of its own. There were some pretty tough hills and I was struggling to get up them. One runner in front of me had a shirt that said “use walk breaks” and that’s exactly what I did to get up that final hill.

Somewhere between miles three and five, I saw my boyfriend. I had just reached the top of the hill and he was on his way down. He stuck out his hand and we high-fived. I probably would’ve smiled if I wasn’t so tired. When I ran my half marathon last year, he was hundreds of miles away and couldn’t be at the finish line to congratulate me (No one was there which still bums me out when I think about it). But this morning, after he crossed the finish line, he waited until it was my turn. There’s just something about seeing a familiar face at the end that makes me feel like I conquered something special.

Before the race started I had no intention of checking my official time, but when I finished the clock said 1:00:45. It seemed like I was running for longer than an hour so I was curious to see how I did. We checked our race times and to both of our surprise, we both finished second in our age group. Heck yeah! I think we were both more proud of the other than we were of ourselves.

Although we’re both very busy, we try our best to support each other whenever we can. For me, that means attending intramural games or watching him host comedy shows and concerts. For him, that means watching me give a presentation to a group of students or attending a program hosted by my department. We do a lot of things separately and independently. Not that we don’t spend time together because we do, sometimes it’s just rare. Which is why our marathon this fall, hopefully, is even more special. It’s something that we’ll not only be able to do together, but also accomplish together.

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What’s Your Life Verse?

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My pastor speaks about this concept of “life verses” often. He has two or three different life verses. He also regularly encourages us to find our own life verses. There are a few staff members that I pray with who also have life verses. I’m also fairly confident that my aunt has one. So what’s my life verse? I’m not entirely sure yet. Of the bible verses that I know, I would say the one that speaks to me most is Isaiah 40:31.

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31 NKJV

Here’s why I like it:

  1. It’s a reminder that I must wait. Based on my MBSR assignments and the whole non-striving concept, I think it’s safe to say that I can use a little more practice with this whole waiting thing.
  2. It’s a reminder that my strength comes from the Lord and not myself. The word “wait ” is the Hebrew word “qavah” and the literal meaning of the word is “to bind together like a cord”. I read somewhere where the author used an analogy of a rope to explain “waiting”. Similar to our relationship with God, a rope is made of many strands. The more “strands” that we weave into our relationship with God, the more strength He gives to us.
  3. It includes three little words, “they will run”.

I worked twelve hours today and after how I felt yesterday, work was one of the last places I wanted to be. I’m an introvert. At my conference I attended a session titled “Being an Introvert in an Extroverted Field”. We basically talked about what to do when you’re an introvert who’s exhausted from attending multiple college fairs and recruitment events each week and how to recharge from that. We also talked about knowing when to “turn it on”. In other words, hyping yourself up to make a good impression or execute a great event. That’s what I did today, I hyped myself up and mingled with 168 incoming freshmen and their parents, my staff, colleagues, and various administrators. So at 6 o’clock when it was time to go home, the furthest idea from my mind was to go for a run. I decided to anyway because I was inspired.

My best friend, not the one who was on the plant tour but my other one, (You can have more than one best friend. Hilary Duff’s character in Cadet Kelly proved that to us.) ran her first half marathon today. She was one of the thousands of people in Kansas City, MO participating in the Burns & McDonnell sponsored race, Rock the Parkway. She hasn’t been running long and finding time in her busy schedule to train was difficult. She suffered an ankle injury two weeks ago, but decided to stick with it. And I couldn’t be more happy for her!

A year ago today I ran my first organized half marathon. Funny enough, it was that same exact race. Not running much the two weeks leading up to it and dealing with shin splints, I was skeptical about whether I would finish. I finished with a time of 1:56:57 and was 1307 of 4226. It’s definitely my greatest running accomplishment to date. It might be my only running accomplishment.

My boyfriend and I have decided to run a 10K one week from today to officially kick off our marathon training. Despite being only a few days away, I’ve only ran twice in the last two weeks. I haven’t really been motivated to run and keep sleeping through my morning workout times. I’m also slightly discouraged because my pace is anywhere from fifteen to thirty seconds slower than what it was a year ago and I’m also about ten to twelve pounds heavier. And a small part of me doesn’t find running fun anymore. I’m not sure if he knows all of this. He might. He knows me pretty well. Which is why I think he decided to share this video with me, I Ran a Marathon with Only Ten Weeks of Training.

Michelle’s ten week journey was wonderful. Like I’ve watched it twice already, wonderful. And I’ll probably watch it one more time before the day is over. I can’t imagine training for a marathon in ten weeks. I trained longer than that for my half. Besides actually seeing her complete the marathon and hearing how much she’s learned about running form, proper footwear, and herself, I had two favorite parts.

  1. When she had her mini panic attack. She mentioned that she never took into consideration how her personal life would affect her training. It definitely does. You can have a crappy day or emotional day and that definitely changes your mindset about your workout. But she still got out there anyway.
  2. The night before the marathon when she gives her reason for why she’s running. “My whole life has always been doing things to please other people, so I’m running this race for me. I don’t need to prove it to anybody else.” Yes. Yes. Yes. One thousand times yes.

This video and my friend’s half marathon finish gave me the strength to go for a short run today. It was only three and half miles, but it was three and a half miles more than what I had committed to this morning.

A few months ago I read the book Unashamed by Lecrae. Great book, highly recommend it. And in the book he mentions during his adolescent years (which were quite troublesome) how he tried to embrace positive things and his natural talents, but would always fail. He realized that the reason why he continued to fail was because of a void that he later identified as Jesus.

I feel like that sometimes when I try new things or hobbies – being vegan, running, blogging, anything like that. I constantly have to restart being vegan or restart my training because I fail. And as silly as this might sound, I think it goes back to me relying on my own strength instead of the strength of God. Maybe Isaiah 40:31 actually is my life verse. Maybe it’s not. We’ll see.

The Little Things

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Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference. It can be a handwritten note, a simple “hello”, or a home cooked meal. For me, it was pancakes, a run, and the return of an old co-worker.

Before I became the advisor of my current department, I was a student worker. For two years I worked alongside some of the most creative, hard working, meticulous, and driven students. When I was offered the full-time position, all I could think was how incredible reuniting with them would be. Well last December those talented people graduated and even though they’ve been replaced by wonderful students, a small part of me is incomplete. They weren’t just co-workers, they were family. So when one of them comes back to visit – for a fraternity event, for graduate school, for a Mars Rover design reveal – it makes my day. One of them stopped in today; he was always late to his shifts and wanted to assure me that the alarm clock I suggested he buy was working. He couldn’t stay long because he parked his car illegally, but promised to come back soon. He was also wearing flannel.

A long time ago, someone dubbed Fridays as “Flannel Fridays”. Even with a new team, they’re still keeping the tradition alive. Just like how the Mean Girls wore pink on Wednesdays, we wear flannel on Fridays. Recently, two of my students thought it would be a good idea to rename “Flannel Fridays” to “Flannel Flapjack Fridays”. Last week a young lady brought in homemade pancakes for the entire team. I love pancakes (IHOP is one of my favorite places), but couldn’t eat them because they weren’t vegan. So today a young man brought in homemade vegan pancakes just for me. They were the bomb! And to make it even better, I didn’t have time to eat breakfast so the pancakes were a great surprise.

Instead of eating breakfast I went for a run this morning, 5.03 miles. I haven’t been running for very long, only about two and a half years. The whole reason I started running was so that I could start being active again; weight rooms intimidate me and exercise classes aren’t really my thing. People always ask me how I can just get up and run or make comments like, “I only run if something is chasing me.” That’s fine. I don’t run just because it’s a great way to burn major calories, but because it relaxes me and puts my mind at ease. Shortly after I finished my first half-marathon in April, I started having terrible shin splints which caused me to put my running on hold (the last time I was able to run five miles was on August 6th). For about five months, I no longer had an outlet to help relieve my stress. Not being able to run made me realize the importance of stretching, proper form, and how beneficial physical activity can be to our mental psyche.

It’s been a great day; nothing spectacular happened, just the little things. Don’t underestimate the influence of little things. Take time to reflect on them. Those little things can make for big days.