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Archive for October, 2010

Week 7, Day 1. 2.5 miles on the docket today, but it’s also Saturday, which means weigh-in day. I was extremely hopeful because my jeans were fitting well this week and someone asked me if I’d been losing weight. Until this week, my husband was seeing the benefits, but I wasn’t.

So, I excitedly hopped on the scale before our run this morning and saw … I’d gained half a pound? After gaining the past two weeks also? I was so depressed I didn’t even want to run.

What’s the point? I thought. I’m running three times a week and gaining weight, so why bother.

I evaluated my eating habits from the week and acknowledged that maybe I hadn’t done great this week, but certainly it couldn’t have been bad enough to counteract three days of running, could it?

My husband, in an effort to make me feel better, put himself on the scale only to discover he’d lost more weight. Thanks, honey. I feel loads better.

My mood didn’t improve when I couldn’t find my ear gear and dropped a stroller on my toe while looking for it.

As with most of our running days, though, it didn’t take long to get over it. Phil picked a new route today, and it took us across a one-lane bridge and past a wooded area near what looked like an old mill. It was lovely.

Early in the run, I felt like I was on autopilot. Between mile 1 and 2, I felt like I was dragging a little. Around the 2 mile mark, I picked up the pace, convincing my feet that yes, we were still running and walking was not an option.

With a few blocks to go, I had to take over pushing the stroller for Phil because his calf tightened up. We actually shared the burden for the last few blocks, and when we hit our stopping point, I was sure I was going to throw up. Nevermind that I didn’t have anything in my stomach.

We normally high-five after a run, but both of us were recovering, so we forgot. Our time today was just a shade over 33 minutes.

Years ago, I used to help my mom at the end of the Reagan 5K run. We’d snip electronic tags off people or take their numbers or something. I’d see people gasping for breath, puking and dripping with sweat, and I’d wonder, why in the world do they do it? Why put yourself through it?

I felt like those people a little today. I’m not sure I have the answers, but I know that the yucky feelings pass quickly and eventually I feel really good about what we’ve done.

Weight loss or no weight loss, maybe that’s where I need to focus. We’re still doing a good thing, even if the scale wants to tell me a different story.

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Week 6, Day 3. Yep, we’re approaching week 7. This morning we woke up to fog, so I donned the reflector belt while Phil decided the stroller’s reflectors would be enough for his safety. We didn’t meet much traffic so it wasn’t that big of a deal anyway.

The thing about fog is that you can’t see well where you’re going. We Google mapped a 2.2 mile route, so I had a picture in my head of how far we’d gone, but I had to jog by memory and faith along the way as I determined where we were at on the journey.

As we ran up the final hill, I knew that we had less than a mile to go, and I was encouraged; I can do this, I told myself. When Phil jogged in place so we could be side by side for the last three blocks, I found new energy. I could see the end, so I jogged all the faster.

And I thought about all the hard stuff of life. How sometimes it’s like being in a fog, and even if you know the way, you can’t always see exactly where you’re at. Sometimes I get tired of enduring the junk this world offers us, and I want to know that the end is near. That it’s almost over. Not in a fatalistic, I’m sick of this kind of way, but in a relief sort of way. Like saying, Finally. I don’t have to struggle anymore.

I know the Bible offers us hope an end will come, even if it comes through our deaths. I just have to keep reminding myself that this won’t go on forever and every step is progress.

So, as far as running goes, good-bye 2.2 mile run. Hello, 2.5 mile run for the next three training days. Oh yeah, and we ran today’s route in 29 minutes, about 90 seconds longer than our 2 mile run a week ago.

Progress! It’s all about gaining ground.

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Week 6, Day 2. And if I was going to continue stealing lyrics from R.E.M., I’d say, “And I feel fine.” Today was our official last day of training that includes any walking. We ran 2 10-minute stretches today and walked for 3 minutes in between.

I’m not sure if I feel “fine” about this or not. But we’ve already passed the mental hurdle of running 2 miles without walking, so I know my body can physically do it. Now, it’s just putting my feet one in front of the other and doing it for increasingly longer stretches. Next up is a 2 and 1/4 mile run.

What I really need to remember is that 6 weeks ago, the idea that I’d even be running for 5 or 10 minutes at a time without wheezing, puking or passing out was improbable to me. We’ve come a long way, baby.

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Week 6, Day 1. Brrrr. That’s how we started the morning. Barely 40 degrees. Wearing pants and headgear. The kids have the best spot on days like this. They stay toasty warm under a blanket in the jogging stroller. Gloves are the next must-have for my running gear. Cold fingers = not fun.

Today’s training included some walking again. 5 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking; 8 minutes of running, 3 minutes of walking; 5 minutes of running. I felt extra confident when we started. Since we had “conquered” the 2-miles, no walking a few days ago, I was sure today’s plan would be a breeze. Ha. The last 5 minutes nearly did me in. I have no explanation. We have only one more day that includes any amount of walking; after that, we’re all running, all the time. Exciting. Scary. Challenging.

I haven’t lost any weight the last two weeks. I gained a pound a week ago and stayed the same this week. I’m kind of disappointed. But I think it’s my fault. See,  I have a drinking problem. Actually, it’s an eating problem. We usually run in the morning, and since the first day, I haven’t eaten any breakfast before we run because I don’t want to throw up. So, when the run is over, I’m starving. A friend warned me about this: runners who actually gain weight from eating too much even though they’re burning calories by running. Typically, I eat a bagel with peanut butter. Maybe not the best post-run choice? Sometimes followed up by a banana or orange or some yogurt.

I’m not sure breakfast is really the problem, though. I’m a bit of a snack-a-holic. Especially if I’m tired (which is a lot lately) or bored (only occasionally). There’s also the monthly hormone-induced chocolate attack. Basically, I lack self-control when it comes to eating. Phil says I need to drink more when I feel like I’m starving. Our post-run drinks include one of these lovely Powerade Zero beverages and water, water and more water.

Any thoughts? What is good post-run food? And do you have any tips for curbing the snackies?

I’m grateful for the exercise we’re getting and I know that even if I don’t lose a bunch of weight, my body is getting healthier in other ways. But I’m pretty sure I should be losing weight as part of this plan, too.

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Two miles in my shoes

Week 5, Day 3. The end of the fifth week. The start of something incredible: my ability to run a couple of miles without stopping to walk. OK, so it’s more like jogging. We’re not setting any records here. Today’s 2-mile run took us about 27 minutes. Part of it was up hill.

The butterflies were dancing in my gut when I woke up this morning. Not since the first day when we’d set out on this quest have I felt so unsure of myself. As it would happen, the route we ran today was the same one we ran the very first time we trained. That day we walked much more than we ran, and I remember when we finished, I thought I was going to throw up. My lungs burned. My legs hurt.

Today, when I passed the same point where I’d felt that five weeks ago, I encouraged myself with those thoughts and pressed on. I really have come a long way since then. At the end of today’s run, I was breathing hard, but not so hard I couldn’t talk to Phil. My legs found an extra boost for the last stretch, which was also downhill, but still, they weren’t giving out on me. I felt good, and again, I couldn’t believe it. I keep expecting to hate what we’re doing, to want to quit because it’s too much. Instead, after each milestone, I want to keep going, face the next challenge and conquer it.

Now that the first 2-mile run is behind us, we’re committed to registering for the 5K, making it official, no backing out.

This is a crazy, amazing journey. If you’re at all interested in exercise, I recommend this plan 100 percent. It’s gradual. Each day is doable. I’m a reformed running-hater because of this plan.

Thanks for cheering us on! I can’t wait to see how this all ends.

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I feel the need to confess. I’m not 100 percent satisfied with being a mom.

I love my kids. They’re a great joy. They make me laugh, and I’m grateful that God gave them to me. I’m still amazed at the whole womb to birth to child development process.

But.

I need more than this. More than dirty diapers, jarred baby food, car seats, breastfeeding, potty training, waking up at 5 a.m. to crying children and a constant state of unclean. People tell me I’m going to miss these days. Really? I’m going to miss graham crackers stuffed into a piggy bank?
Stepping on toys in the middle of the night? Temper tantrums? Getting up 20 times during a meal to meet the needs of a  2-year-old, then a 10-month-old, then back to the 2-year-old? Stickers in every corner of the house, and on the van?

And for this, I feel guilty.

I know moms who seem to be totally content in their role. I love that you home school, make Halloween costumes, create fun activities and projects to do on rainy days, and enjoy your kids so much that even a day without them is hard.

I’m not you.

For this, too, I feel guilty.

Why is it that no matter our situation, we moms seem to always be on a guilt trip? And is it only moms or are women, for some reason, prone to book themselves on a one-way flight to can’t-measure-up land?

I heard at Bible study tonight that women find it tough to be “too much and not enough all at the same time.” (Our video quoted Staci Eldredge, “Captivating” author, among others.)

So, we can’t win? If we’re too much we feel guilty and if we’re not enough we feel guilty. That’s enough to make me feel guilty.

God has given me a passion — OK, I’ll call it a gift even if I don’t always want to believe that — for writing. And I’m insanely frustrated right now because there are words, stories, projects, scenes in my head, fighting for attention, trying to make their way from my brain to a computer screen somewhere, and I can’t make it happen. I can’t find the time. When I do have some time, I feel like I’m too wiped out to put in the effort writing requires. I need to read and research and write, and instead my days are spent with my two darling adorable children who will only be this age for so long, and at times, I’m resentful that I don’t seem to have any time to do what I was made to do.

And, you guessed it, I go back to feeling guilty.

So, what’s a mom to do? I can’t stop raising my kids. I’m not even sure we’re done having kids. I know that raising them is a worthwhile experience, but I can’t ignore the passion to write that burns inside me. I’m really bad at waiting. And I think to myself: if God is making me wait on the writing, then why is my head full of ideas?

I feel stranded, and I need a way out. I’d like to settle in the land in contentment, but I’m not sure I have the resources to make it there right now.

If you know a good travel agent, let me know. I’ve taken my last guilt trip.

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Leap of faith

Week 5, Day 2. Tiredness took over before we even hit the street this morning. Low to mid 40s when we loaded up the jogging stroller. Our session called for two 8-minute runs with a 5-minute walk in between. The first 8 minutes, I willed myself to not look at the stopwatch too soon, and when I did, nearly five minutes had passed. I was so encouraged that the next three minutes passed pretty quickly. The second 8 minute-run, however, not so much. I looked at the time too early, so the remainder sort of dragged.

But once again, at the end of the run, I felt good physically. So, looking ahead to our next training session, the 2-mile no-walking day, it’s not a matter of knowing my body can handle it; it’s convincing my brain that I can do it. We’re fast approaching the time when we’ll lose the walking altogether. I’m scared, but I know if we don’t make this leap now, I won’t want to make it at all.

No turning back now.

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Isabelle (she’s 2) decided to put dishes away this morning. I didn’t ask her to do it. It was just part of her 90-mph-morning energy burn. She found the cowboy hat cookie cutter I’d used earlier in the week on her turkey and roast beef sandwich and excitedly took it to the cupboard where it goes. She grabbed the handle, pulled hard and smacked herself in the face with it. Wailing ensued. But a Hello Kitty ice pack calmed her.

In her zest for life, her eagerness to help, Isabelle got hurt. She wasn’t expecting to get hurt; it just happened.

Am I equally as willing to give my all to help, to squeeze the life out of life at the risk of getting hurt?

I don’t know if this exactly applies or not, but this FFH song that’s out right now, “Undone,” has really been challenging me. Especially the words of the chorus:

Come undone, surrender is stronger
I don’t need to be the hero tonight
We all want love we all want honor
Nobody wants to pay the asking price

That last part, that’s what gets me. Am I willing to pay the price for what I really want out of life? Am I willing to get hurt?

I’ve heard Christians talk about taking calculated risks, and I get what they’re saying, that we shouldn’t do stupid stuff, but adding the word “calculated” to the word “risk” seems like watering down the whole concept. I think I could talk myself out of just about anything in the name of “calculated risk.”

I don’t want to be careless with my life and my decisions, but sometimes I think I’m too careful about everything. I’m not sure careful cuts it in the kingdom of God, but I don’t have any Scripture to back up that theory right now. Jesus does tell people to count the cost before deciding to follow Him, so maybe I’m way off base here.

If nothing else, a simple boo-boo this morning has given me something to chew on, spiritually and mentally speaking.

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Week 5, Day 1. Three 5-minute running sessions with two 3-minute walks in between. Another 40-ish degree morning. This may become the norm now that it’s the middle of October, but I was better prepared today with one of my husband’s Army-isssued Under Armour-type long sleeve tees with thumb holes. My hands stayed warm, though I noticed they were really dry later in the day. This was less overall running than we did last week but more long stretches. Monday, we’ll be up to 8-minute runs, which I can still hardly believe.

Even though we’re on our fifth week, I have trouble thinking of myself as a runner. I run, but does that make me a runner? To the people we meet on these morning runs, we probably are considered runners. After all, who would be out by 8 o’clock, with two kids in a jogging stroller, in 40-degree temperatures if they weren’t runners (and didn’t have to put kids on the bus)? I sometimes wonder what people are thinking. Do they think we’re crazy? (The answer is probably “yes.”) Are they convicted of their need to exercise or feel guilty about their own routines? (Probably not at that time of the morning, driving by at 30 mph!) Are they inspired to start doing something? (I can only hope.) Do they see us as fanatical and different or committed and driven?

Only one time have I not wondered these things. When we hit the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail on Monday, we joined a club of sorts. Everyone we met was walking, on purpose, or riding a bike. People come to the trail to exercise, so we didn’t have to feel weird.

I had similar struggles today as we ventured to the King of Prussia mall, touted as the premier East Coast shopping destination. It’s huge. It’s urban. It’s hip. It’s diverse. I felt underdressed the minute we walked in, and I wasn’t even wearing a ratty T-shirt! We decided to make this our fun family event for the end of Reading Week, Phil’s break from classes, and we planned ahead of time that we wouldn’t spend much money because frankly we don’t have much money to spend. I’m sure no one could have known that about us by looking at us or passing by, but I felt out of place, like that old “sticking out like a sore thumb” idiom says. This feeling heightened when Isabelle got tired and wanted to ride in the stroller. We had to switch Corban to a back carry with one of our babywearing carriers, and I thought I heard comments (maybe I’m just paranoid) but I know we got looks, the double-take kind. We didn’t see any other babywearers in the mall. I wanted to head straight to Lancaster’s Central Market, where every other kid is being worn by a mom or dad.

I’ve never really liked being different or sticking out from a crowd, especially not as a kid where my goal was to get through school mostly unnoticed. I wanted to blend in, be like everyone else, have no outstanding qualities that could be the cause for criticism or ridicule. I’ve grown up a little since then, but that feeling hasn’t totally gone away.

As Christians we’re called to be in the world but not of the world. Am I the only one who finds it hard to follow that admonition? I love Jesus. I know what I believe. But I also want to have friendships with people before they write me off as a freak.

Maybe this is another unintentional lesson from running. Inevitably, I will be able to call myself a runner, thus identifying with a group of people who some (me, at one time, included) don’t understand. The faith I cling to may require the same.

Some people may not understand why we’re training to run a 5K, but maybe they’ll see how it’s changing us.

Some people may not understand why we choose to follow Christ, but I hope they’ll see how He’s changed our lives.

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Week 4, Day 3. On to week 5. Has it really been almost 5 weeks since we started this crazy journey? We’re close to halfway, a little more than a month out from our 5K and this time next week, we’ll be running 2 miles, no walking.

As we finished week 4 today, I felt good. The run wasn’t as difficult as it was Monday. My legs held out and actually didn’t feel weak when we were done. The downside today was it was barely 40 degrees outside when we started. I didn’t wear gloves. I really wanted gloves.

The weather is going to force a bit of a transition in clothing and preparation, I think. But even the cool temps couldn’t deter me this morning. I want to see this thing through to the end.

Our next couple of workouts will be hard, but I’ve thought that before. If  I expect it to be hard, maybe it’ll go better than I thought? I guess only time will tell.

What I’ve appreciated about this running plan is the gradual increases in running times. I would have been overwhelmed if we’d have just started running two miles (not to mention injured, discouraged and worn out). As we complete each week, my physical endurance builds and so does my confidence.

Have you ever looked at a trial someone is going through and thought, “I don’t know how they do it; I could never go through that.”? I think it’s like the running. Events in their life have strengthened and encouraged them and prepared them for this trial, no matter what it is. And when they look at it, they see how difficult it is, but by God’s grace and His power working in them, they continue on the course set before them and find a strength and endurance they didn’t know they had.

Even if they have to take it one step at a time.

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