Friday, March 30, 2012

Pay It Forward and Marathon Relay

So it's been a pretty crazy week in my world and this is probably going to be a long blog, but a lot has happened and I really want to share all of it!! Monday started off with me going for a first time group run with a group of women I linked up with online. A few were some that I'm going to be running a marathon relay with tomorrow. I've been really emotional this week. John lost his job about 3 weeks ago and finances are now crashing down on us. I'm not talking we have credit card debt (we have no credit cards) I'm talking months behind on all of our basic needs. Waiting for the car to be repossesed, a month behind on the rent, a few weeks away from our electric being shut off. Been really bummed about everything and feeling frustrated that I at least want to be able to take care of the, clothes etc. I thought my run would restore some of the faith I've slowly been losing as of late. Running with these women might sound like no big deal to some, but if you know my story thus far it was a really big deal to me. Starting to get more involved in racing and meeting new runners is a totally new world to me and it is amazing!! Being able to share your passion with other's is a feeling I haven't had for a very long time. When I was done with my run I couldn't help but think about how awesome our God is. He has placed all these new amazing people in my life little by little. I thought about my financial situation and thought about how far God has let me come with my physical problems and health and realized that God isn't going to let things crash and burn around me. At that moment a very special song came on the radio, "I Can Only Imagine". This song was played at John's grandmother's funeral which is one of the moments that helped me to turn my life back over to God. The song was a reminder of 1. "I'm right here Adriane and I'm not going anywhere" 2. My feelings of awe and amazement here on Earth are going to be NOTHING compared to when I reach heaven. I pretty much all out sobbed the whole way home (30 minutes) crying out asking why all this is happening, but also realizing that He is here with me and knowing that I'll be ok. It's ok to be angry with God sometimes. We won't ever know why things happen sometimes...but even in those moments I trust that he knows what he's doing.

My week went on and things started getting worse. I got my paycheck and after paying rent realized how much money we will have for the next 2 weeks and really started to freak out. Last night was NOT a good night. I still went and met with some ladies to work-out but couldn't really get into it. I broke down at my parents house and told them "I just don't know what we're going to do." I broke down with my 2 friends I was working out with and asked them to just pray as hard as they can, because John had an interview this morning. I told them that my faith was wavering and I know God is with us but really hard to keep your faith when your world is crashing and burning all around you. I've had a song in my head all week from church, "God You Are Faithful". It kept playing over and over again in my head. I started getting more and more angry that this song kept playing in my head, but I wasn't feeling it in my heart. John went for his interview and it was a total bust...AGAIN! Was strictly comission and paid horribly. In a moment of desperation John decided to take his grandfather's arrowhead collection, that was given to him by his father and see what he could get for it. He went to an antique place and was told the women who buys arrowhead wouldn't be around for several weeks. He started talking to a couple of the vendors and some apparent regulars. They were asking him about his situation and why he was looking to sell them. The convo went a little and they were talking about how bad the economy is and about how many people are in such bad situations. He really started talking to a woman who completely understood his situation and had also been on unemployment at one point. John explained that he used up all his unemployment and just lost another recent job due to health issues and now we are trying to make it on my income alone.

John packed up his arrowheads and started heading out to the Jeep. This woman had given him some ideas on where to look for a job and as John was walking to the Jeep she yelled to him, "Sir, Sir." John turned and asked, "yes?" thinking she might want to give another idea for a job. The woman said to him, "I know your situation. I have been there. Someone did something for me a few years ago and told me that when I was able, the only thing they asked was that I pay it forward. I feel that you are the person that I'm supposed to pay it forward to." She proceeded to hand John a wad of cash...and immediately John said, "no, no, keep your money I can't take that!" The woman stated very sternly, "NO....take it, I refuse to take no for an answer!". At this point John could see that the top bill was a $100 bill...and started to tear up and asked if he could give her a hug. She said, "of course". John thanked her over and over again and got in the Jeep. When he got in he looked to see exactly how much was there.....1,2,3,4,5.....all one hundred dollar bills!! $500!!! WOW!!! Tears flowed from him as he realized how great our God is!! A grown man sitting alone in his car with tears streaming down his face. He called me at work to tell me the news and same thing...tears...sobbing....I couldn't believe it! Clearly this was straight from God himself. We did not know this wasn't just $25 or some small amount of was $500 from a complete stranger!!! My faith was immediately restored. This was God's way of letting me know AGAIN..."I am RIGHT here, and I am NOT going anywhere. You are my child. I will protect you, and care for you. I will not let you break or fall. You are safe in my hands. Everything comes in my time...not yours. John might not have gotten a job today, but I'm going to give you a weeks pay anyhow...just to show you that you CAN put your trust in me and I WILL make it happen."

Later, John and I realized how MANY, many people were praying for us last evening and this morning. Friends, family, people I've never met and only know online, and others that are in similar situations. Prayer really does help! You can throw around statistics, equations, facts and figures to try and explain things sometimes....and yes sometimes you can come up with a good answer....but the only answer I can come up with, and the answer I hope people realize in my telling this story, is that God really does answer prayers..there is none too big and none too small. I don't know too many people that can say they were given $500 from a complete stranger!

 I have my race tomorrow, 6 miles...the longest distance to do so far. I always get extremely emotional before a race realizing how far I've come. This week was just a total rollercoaster! My mind is still spinning round and round and round....I'm hoping to just sloooooow it down on my run tomorrow. Now that my faith has been restored back to where it should be I'm feeling a lot better. Emotional things take so much out of you physically. I am so grateful to be able to do the things I've been doing physically. I am really excited to be a part of a marathon. I again just love the analogy of running a race and life. I can't wait to cross the finish line tomorrow, but even better I can't wait to cross the finish line of my life. Going over these hurdles and falling down sometimes just makes the "finish line" look so much sweeter, after all.....this is not my home!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ordinary NO, Delicious YES!!

Looks like an ordinary piece of pizza right??'s not. This pizza's crust is made with 1 particularly strange ingredient....Cauliflower! Yes, yes you read that right! In making the many changes I have made, another important thing is what I eat. Diet no....changing my overall eating habits yes!! I've really cut out a lot of carbs lately and was looking for something to calm my pizza cravings. I've used the whole wheat pizza crust, but really trying to cut that out these days too. When I came across this recipe I was eager to try it. Much to my amazement (and my whole family including hubby and 2 teenagers) it was delicious!! I kept the secret ingredient a secret until I got the oooo's and aaaaah's of taste bud satisfaction. Even after telling them they continued to eat it....which means it must have been really good in their minds as well! I just made this for the second time tonight and it is amazing at taking care of my pizza cravings. Tonight I had left over grilled veggies to top it with. Make sure to pre-cook any ingredients (esp your veggies) because when you put on your toppings it only goes under the broiler until cheese is melted. I find that with my oven just 8 min at 450 deg is perfect (even though recipe calls for longer) Enjoy!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Serves 2; Adapted from Your Lighter Side.


1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt
olive oil (optional)
pizza sauce, shredded cheese and your choice of toppings*


To "Rice" the Cauliflower:
Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Add to food processor and pulse until it looks like grain. Do not over-do pulse or you will puree it. (If you don't have a food processor, you can grate the whole head with a cheese grater). Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. There is no need to add water, as the natural moisture in the cauliflower is enough to cook itself.
One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To Make the Pizza Crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir. Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9" round. Optional: Brush olive oil over top of mixture to help with browning.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).

*Note that toppings need to be precooked since you are only broiling for a few minutes.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

200 HR circuit but still can't freaking run......

I'm struggling tonight...I'm struggling with my running but still just threw down a kick ass circuit routine and had my heart rate up to 200 by rep 5. My totals go a little something like this:

300 jumping jacks
100 push-ups
250 high knees
35 burpees
100 crunches
70 squats
5 minutes total of wall sits

By my fifth wall sit my heart rate was up to 200 beats per minute!! That's like where you can barely count fast enough to even GET your heart rate. I am REALLY struggling at speed with my running. I have distance down...very slow but can get it. Throw me out there at a slow trot, like high 12 or low 13 minute miles and I can go forever as long as I'm fueled. I'm at a crossroads. I either feel like I just need to focus on longer distances and be ok with being a very slow runner, or I need to crack down and pick up my pace for shorter distances. I'm doing my sixth 5k this Sunday and I'm still not below a 10 minute per mile pace. I know some of you will tell me I'm being too hard on myself, and yes in a sense I am, but this is just something I want REALLY bad right now. I tend to be hard on myself, get frustrated and give up on things. I'm a perfectionist, I'm type A, I'm all about not being good, but being TOO good. If I'm not smarter than, faster than, better than, then I'm just not good enough. I know, I know....but these are my really deep down, heart and soul feelings I'm wearing on my sleeve for all of you right now. I know I have come a loooooong way over the past year, but I'm constantly comparing myself to others. Everyone I seek for motivation and inspiration are all secretly my competitors. I really need to start taking my own advice and not compare myself to anyone else but MYSELF. I think anyone in the real world of sports has a reallly hard time doing that though. What is a sport, it's a game, every game has a winner, and of course everyone wants to be a winner. Am I right?

So tonight was all about reaching a goal...and in a way I met it. I was planning on doing 2 miles tonight and setting a new PR. I think my best single mile I've ever done so far was about 10:53. I was aiming for 2 miles at 10 min miles. So here's how that went. I pushed, I mean really pushed myself my first mile and got it in 8:53! and then it hit....WHAM, outta fuel, outta breath, outta steam. I hit the wall. I'm struggling with my breathing, I seem to really fight for air when I'm running, get about half tight in my chest and cough a lot when I'm done. I keep trying to figure out if I have more of an asthma element then what I think. I used to take an inhaler in high school for exercise induced asthma, but was never really sure how much I believed in that diagnosis, because I don't ever remember actually having a test done. I did try using an inhaler (no I didn't just randomly pick one, it was my husbands and what I used in high school, just albuterol) a while back and HATED the way it made me feel. I thought my heart was literally going to come out my throat or chest. I'm torn, if it is asthma I have one of 2 choices either live with it and know that my breathing might improve a little, but won't ever be able to push as hard as I want, OR if it is asthma I can use an inhaler, have my breathing improve and feel like my heart is going to explode.

Now for all of you saying, "Oh, but Adriane you just need to look back at where you came from and how much you've accomplished in the past year", I know. I really do know. It's still hard in my mind right now, I will still fight to be "winning". I know I will never actually win a race. I'm not to the point of thinking that will ever be a reality, I know it's just physically impossible for my body to run that fast, and THAT I'm ok with. It's the fact that I'M not where I want to be be, I'm NOT winning against myself right now. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do you really understand????

I have quite the "rant" to go on about tonight. Some people that don't know me really well, still don't understand where I "come from" when it comes to a blend of my faith and my fitness. I would like to try to expalin it as best I can tonight! There is a huge overlap of what you can feel with your faith journey and your fitness journey. People who have not taken up the "challenge" of following Jesus will not understand (I'll explain what I mean by challenge in a bit), just as people that have not taken up the challenge to get their health in check with fitness will not understand. Let me TRY....
First, when I say "challenge" of following Jesus, I'm referring to the fact that it might not be as easy as some people make it seem. A lot of non-Christians think that we as Christians have perfect lives and that Jesus makes them that way. The Bible does not tell us that at all...the Bible tells us ,"Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23. Following Jesus is easy when life runs smoothly; our true commitment to Him is revealed during trials. Jesus assured us that trials will come to His followers. Discipleship demands sacrifice, and Jesus never hid that cost. NOW, this is also true of fitness. Before I started working out and being more active, I looked at people who did this on a regular basis and thought, "Oh they are just born athletes and it just comes easy for them." The more people I come across that are disciplined athletes, are the complete opposite. They have overcome hardships and many trials to be as good as they are. For a lot, it has not come easy.
Eyes On the Prize:       

This is absolutely true of the way we should lead our spiritual life and the way we need to train our minds for anything physical. "Eyes On the Prize" is a song that was written based on Luke 9:62, Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Nothing in this world should take your eyes off of the real prize that we are continually running towards. If you look back then you are not focused enough on what you need to be, God. I don't think I need to explain too much, what "eyes on the prize" makes you think about during a race, but what I might need to explain is how I relate the two. Nothing, NOTHING I have been able to accomplish is of my own doing!! I realize this and completely embrace the grace and love that God has given to me. There is no better time for me to thank him for this, or to break out some real prayer time, than when I'm running. A lot of this is due to the fact that I use it as an analogy. Spiritually I am always trying to run in a forward motion. I love the words of Paul on this topic, "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14. I have come such a long way spiritually and physically over the past couple of years. God prepared me spiritually first, knowing that he would then prepare me physically. I would NOT, nor did I ever in my past before turning my life over to Christ, have been able to stick with a plan and endure the discipline that it takes if it wasn't for God showing me your faith also takes discipline, especially in times of trial and tribulations. On my long runs I love to come up with a specific topic to pray about. I will also tend to make a mental list of people that I know need prayer and pray for them while I'm running. The other week there were so many that I almost wrote it out on paper to carry along with me!

I do tend to talk a lot about my training, my running, races etc., but those that know me, also know that I give ALL the glory to God on this most wonderful journey and would not be on it, if it was not for Him! I do not want anyone to lose sight of that, or to take any of my training posts, Bible verses, topics on encouragement, pictures for motivation, my goals or my accomplishments as being proud, boastful, or self-centered. Again, God is my strength in all of this and will always be my ultimate "prize". My relationship with Him has grown so much stronger in being able to connect my faith and my fitness. Having such gratitude and awe towards Him has taught me to see how powerful our God really is and all you have to do is ask for His help.

I'm not sure where He's leading me right now, but I know it's to help others. THAT is the reason why I post so much about my training and fitness. Along with all of my praises I also post my struggles. I want people to see that just like a Christian has to go through some hard times to grow, so does an athlete. (yes I believe I just actually called myself an athlete). God has placed His hands on so many people's lives by giving me the opportunity to follow Him and by answering my prayer of healing. This is what I hope God keeps doing through all that I post. It is again, NOT my doing. I just had a friend thank me today for being an inspiration to her. She was involved in a really bad car accident a few years ago and has struggled with fitness and pain issues since then. In reading my posts and blogs she has started to get some motivation to start her own journey. I shared with her today that I draw all my strength from God and that He is the reason I've been able to stick with a program. I leave you with another of my favorite verses because yes, in my mind it blends faith and fitness...and if fitness helps me draw closer to God then I say, "Go sweat!" In the end, I'm winning the "real" prize and in the end...that's really all that matters isn't it??

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. " 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Sunday, March 4, 2012

No pain, No gain

For those of you asking how my training session went..well, it went well! I am extremely sore today, but as some of you know, I live by the saying, "No pain, no gain." I first heard this saying in middle school from a field hockey coach. You KNEW the first week of field hockey, field hockey camp, that you were going to be SORE. You pretty much just went to practice, ate a whole ton of food when you got home and crashed. (as a teenager to crash at say knew you were working hard!) I've learned to embrace that saying, and try to really live that these days. I KNOW when I push myself I will undoubtedly get sore. I'm sure that some of you will find this crazy and others of you will totally get my "warped sense of thinking" but I LOVE the soreness! It's like a little reward from my hard work. I say reward meaning, I KNOW that I just kicked my own butt and yeah..that muscle there..and OH that one there, and OMG that one there....yeah they WORKED!! What do I gain from knowing that my muscles are sore? A sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride, a sense of happiness. You see, the things I'm doing these days are things that I NEVER would have imagined myself doing, even a year ago from today.

Concrete blocks, truck tires, tractor tires and my rock Buster (bust-her) are things I am training with these days. In looking up some info on the weight of tractor tires, they are estimated to weigh between 400-600lbs....I don't doubt that this one weighs any less. The average weight of a regular tire seems to be around 22 pounds. Yesterday the training I did started with a regular tire and ended with the above bad boy. Jason, the trainer, had us run quite a bit to get warmed up. (not nearly the distance that I normally run, but was pushing myself to run harder than normal as I am a slow runner). We started off doing 30 sec of step ups followed by 30 sec of push-ups hands on the tire...5 sec break and repeat. We did squats, picked up the tire, threw it out in front of us and did walking squats up to tire and threw again. We did hand over hand planking around the tires. We jumped in the tire and out, followed by kicking back to plank and back up again. Mountain climbers, forward lunges with tires on our shoulders, clean and jerks with tire and then came burpees!! 10 burpees, ran a short distance did 9 burpees, back to do 8 and so on down to 1. (that's a total of 55 burpees with runs in between, for those of you wondering). I can't say I did spectacular the whole time..but I pushed myself and tried my best. After our training session my friend Colleen and I went to tackle the tractor tire. It takes two of us to lift it. We did 10 flips down her yard and 10 flips back up. At this point I was hurting, but I always have a craving for MORE once my body feels like it's pumped up. I left and went to my parents house just down the road and did a slow, flat 2 mile run. I like doing my runs once in a while without my music. It gives me time to reflect on things and let my mind wander. My mind was wandering thinking about how freaking cool it was that I was just able to do that work-out, flip the tire and now I was running...2 miles...a distance I couldn't even begin to do a year ago! After I did all this I still ended up going for a hike with my sister later in the day...a fairly challenging hike, (lots of hills) and think probably ended up being about 3 miles.

I'm feeling really good about things again these last 2 weeks. I've started eating better again, cranked up a few notches on my training and the combo of not having junk in my diet and the natural "high" you get from working out have made me be on cloud 9. Life is just so great right now. My beast mode is officially set to on! Once I get back in the habit of working out fairly hard every day, I start to crave those work-outs more and more! Every inch of me hurts today. I did manage to make it out to the park with my nephew and sis and did some climbing around on playground equipment. I'm loving being sore right now.....I can only imagine how sore I will be after my Spartan race. I am SO looking forward to it!! No pain, no gain...and the gain I'm getting is one of health, happiness and accomplishment.