Sunday, April 29, 2012

My first 10K recap...TRUMP!!

So I wasn't sure how todays race was going to go. It's been rough lately for me physically and emotionally. With lots of stress comes stress on my body. My almost 12 mile run a few weeks ago was awesome! I felt great. I'm learning all about good runs and bad runs, you'll have both. I didn't run at all this week and was concerned about my back/hip/knee on my right side. Since my long run a few weeks ago, it's been slightly flared up. I hydrated really well yesterday consuming about a gallon of water mixed with gatorade after 2pm and had my spaghetti and garlic bread (my usual night before a race meal). I got up this morning and had my 1/2 cup of oatmeal my coffee, and a few gulps of my water/gatorade mix on the way to the race. I was really excited to find out last night that one of my new "running friends" was also doing the 10K. I've done a few runs with Janet and did the marathon relay with her about a month ago.

I get to the race and pick up my packet and John and I make our way to the starting area. I find Janet at the stand she has set-up to promote her book, "Because I can". Janet is one of those incredible people I've met along this journey who was in a horrific accident a few years back. Dr's weren't sure she was going to make it, or at the least thought they'd have to take her leg. She has a great story of overcoming obstacles and making it back to being an avid runner. We exchange a few words and she tells me there are almost 400 runners signed up for the races. They were doing a 1 mile fun walk, 5k, and 10K. This is a pretty big number for a local race. We talk about how the race is going to be a challenge and talk about the HILLS. She tells me that the race directors actually had to change the course due to some construction and there will actually be MORE HILLS than first thought.

We line up and wait for "Beethovan" to tell us when to start. This was a benefit for the Reading Youth Symphony. Music was a HUGE part of my life growing up from the age of 8 years old when I started taking piano lessons through high school where I was involved in ANYTHING music and made it to the State Band festival playing the alto clarinet. I played multiple instruments and was the Drum Major (the one that conducts/leads the band NOT twirls the batons as some people think) my senior year. I was really excited to be helping out a great organization. The down beat of the symphony started us..and we were off!

I could tell from the beginning of the race it was going to be a LONG one. It usually takes me a while to get warmed up but today felt extra hard. My breathing was fine, my pacing was fine...I just felt heavy. That's the only way I know how to explain it. There are times where I feel "light on my toes". You just go and everything falls in place. Something was just off today from the start. I had set my time goal extremely high due to knowing there were going to be HILLS and based on how I'd been feeling this past week. I ran my 6 miles at the marathon relay in 1:13 there was an extra 0.2 miles added onto today and the HILLS. I set my goal at 1:30...yes it's high, but I'm one who would rather set a lower goal so I'm not really down on myself if I don't achieve it. I've always been my own worst critic and I've learned to deal with this by setting reasonable or MORE than reasonable goals for myself.

I started cramping (those side stitch cramps) at about 2.5 miles. REALLY?? I'm only 1/3 of the way done and I'm cramping. I do the whole, throw my arm over my head move a couple times, and finally decide mind over matter is going to have to kick in. I kept feeling twinges in my back and tried putting that as mind over matter too. The course was crazy....since they had to change things around, they had us going all kinds of crazy loops, repeats, out and backs it was rather maze like. They did have a TON of signs with lots of volunteers to help us along. Janet had passed me at this point, checking to see how I was doing, my response, "not good, I'm really hurting." Somewhere around mile 4 I think..might have actually been before that, I lost all sight of Janet and anyone else. The race went down a small hill, out to the street (off the college campus) up a hill turned left and up another hill which led to another hill, came back down that hill and up another hill and out to a portion of a gravel trail which guessed it...HILLS! I was passing people going back the other way at this point and it was on the gravel path that Janet passed me again (going the other way) and told me it's not much further down the trail. I was SERIOUSLY hurting at this point. I made it out to the turn around where the volunteers cheered me on, and kept on my journey. I realized as I was on my back portion of the out and back I wasn't passing ANY other runners. What I did pass was the sweeper of the race on his bike. I realized at this point, and was quite dumbfounded, that I was the LAST person...last place. I've always been at the back of the pack but NEVER in last place...and I had a LONG way to go! "OK, I told doesn't matter that you are last." I checked my time and I was still doing ok. I was still well on my way to meeting MY goal. Not anyone elses.MY goal, MY time. At this point I had already taken SEVERAL walk breaks and was past the point of trying to push it up the hills. I realized that my "running" had become a sort of limp-like shuffle letting out a little "uggh" at each stride. I decided this was quite ridiculous and I might as well just walk when I need to walk. I made it back out to the road that went...yup...up a HILL and I actually was able to get a small quick stride pace going up the hill. This took me back into the town that led back to the college campus. There was NO ONE around at this point and even some of the volunteers were starting to pack up their things. Luckily I had remembered the one turn from before and knew to turn onto the street that led me back to the campus. (the old man that was at the intersection was messing with the sign that was supposed to be there and was fumbling to get it into his car). I kept hearing the sweeper pass the volunteers along the way and his respone to their inquiries, "nope I think this is it." As I came into the campus I eventually saw John standing with the camera ready along with 2 volunteers.

 Notice the sweeper directly behind me ;-)

At this point Janet was way ahead of me and John was able to capture some shots of her apparently "chicking" a guy up the hill! whoohooo

I shouted out to John as I was passing him, "Hey, dead last finish is better than did not start right??". I knew I had to have a good attitude about things or I could easily get really down on myself. I checked my time and regardless of being last, it was still looking like I should have no problem making it under my time goal. I ran up the hill that Janet is on in the above picture and had to stop and walk again. I could hear John yelling, "C'mon honey you got this. You're almost there!" I get to the top of the hill and have NO idea which way I'm supposed to go. There are some people standing there (who didn't look like they had run the race) and I'm shouting to them, "do you guys know which way I need to go?" No one is answering. I think this was the worst point of the race. I just wanted to be DONE, I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing and no one was around. I was stopped dead in my tracks trying to figure this out and no one around to help. I finally look back down where John had been and I see him frantically waving his arms to the right. I turn to my right and finally see a lady frantically waving HER arms in a come here motion. The route took me back out and around the parking area (where a TON of people were already leaving) and the volunteers out there were all really nice and helpful cheering me on and one girl even gave me my time..telling me, "You're almost there!" At this point, probably a few yards from the finish line I hear a little girl say to her mom, "Mommy is that lady still running?" HAHA....OUCH! Kind of a punch to the gut. YES this lady was STILL running....but it's better than this lady STOPPED running or better yet this lady NEVER ran. I sucked it up and continued on to the finish line getting a time of 1:21 which was BETTER than the goal I had set for myself. So even though I was last, I was still under MY time and was pretty proud for embracing the suck and finishing out amid feeling horrible. Janet gave me a big 'ol high five across the finish line. I have to say I still feel pretty accomplished. It's kinda hard to feel that way sometimes after a "bad" run where you just feel completely spent physically. There was NO sprinting in at the end. It was a nice trot across the finish line.

After the race Janet found me to let me know that at the end of races she's at with her books, she always gives the person that comes in last a free copy...and she was really excited that she got to give that free copy to me today. She wrote on the inside, "First place! In determination! Keep on keeping on! Because you can!-Janet". I was really glad I got a copy of her book, been wanting to read it, but obviously no funds to purchase at the it worked out! :-) 

I was really glad I got to share my first 10K with her. It's people like Janet that keep me going. I may have some health problems and aches and pains that limit me sometimes..but there are other runners out there just like me. We just keep on keeping on and embrace the suck. You push through and don't give up, and while last place may be a horrible place to be in some people's minds...I'm ok with it. I'm not in competition with ANYONE else except for myself, and I met MY goal for the day. Not only that, I ran my first 10K, 6.2 freakin miles and I'm not even to the year mark of when I started running. Dead last finish is greater than did not finish, which trumps did not start!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I've become comfortably numb..not sure how comfortable though....

I dunno who's going to read this..I really don't know who I want reading this, but this blog is supposed to be about health, faith and life, all of which I'm struggling with at the moment. I always say that I like people to see my down's, not just my up's. Life IS about up's and down's, and I'm sorry, anyone who just posts or talks about the up's has a lot going on in their life that you don't know about. I'm an open book. I don't care who knows what about me. I wear my emotions on my sleeve and talk openly about my life. I guess sometimes that's good and sometimes that's bad. Here in Lancaster County people are known to be quite nosey...or curious. I don't let people have that chance. You wanna know something ask me, chances are I've already told you. So, I'm taking this time to get out some of my emotions of the last couple weeks as sort of an exercise/healing time for myself and like usual I'll put it out there for anyone to read.

It's been rough. I mean, really, really rough. I have NEVER been in this situation before in my life. I've come upon hard times, or what I thought to be hard times, but nothing this severe. I HATE having to count on people. The one thing that John always teases me about and actually my mom always used to tell me, is that I'm "Miss Independant". I don't want help. I wanna do it myself! I don't take "hand-outs" very well and I don't wanna have to rely on anyone else but myself! It doesn't really matter what it is, something I need to use brains,brawns, or whatever else it takes to get the job done. I'm on it. That being said, I'm also a total control freak. Most times, one of the biggest reasons I like doing things myself is because I know that I'm doing it "the right way". Nobody else does it the "right" way or does it "good enough". It's a lot to handle sometimes. John is very understanding of this concept. We have now hit a point where it doesn't matter what I think or feel. I've lost total control and need to rely on some people to help us out.

The job market is an absolute disaster right now. John has sent out countless resumes, filled out applications, and made a ton of phone calls over the past several months. Most of the time he doesn't hear back, the times that he does he goes for an interview and never hears back. Lots of follow-up calls only to be told the person isn't in, or the position has been filled, or if you haven't heard we've chosen a different way to go. Bills keep piling up and weren't good to begin with as we were behind on bills from him being on unemployment before. We are now at the point of coming close to losing our car and apartment. I am NOT writing this for hand-outs or pity parties or anything else other than to just get this don't even think about it! We sat down yesterday to go over the bills and I just broke down in tears. Part of it feeling helpless and part of it wondering why God let's things like this happen. I'm at the point where my faith is fading again. I KNOW that as Christians it was never said that we wouldn't suffer or face trials or tribulations, it just really STINKS that after turning our lives around everything goes to crap. There isn't a doubt in my mind that this is God's perfect timing and there is a reason for all of it, but when you're going through it, sometimes you just don't know what to think. I just want to know the WHY part of it. I know I may never know that...but that's the control part again. The guy downstairs had his electric shut-off so even though we were able to keep ours on, there is no heat at the moment and I am FREEEZZZZZING. Someone from the borough came last week and we were going to have our electric and water shut-off last Thursday. "Luckily" because John is diabetic we were able to get a medical exemption form filled out, which states they are not legally allowed to shut it off. Ephrata Area Social Services helped to pay part of our water bill so we were able to keep that, although our toilet is broken right now and you need to shut off the water valve and turn it back on for it to flush properly. SO even though we still have electric and water, no heat and a broken toilet.

I've been in a funk with working out this past week too. Pretty sure on the brink of being depressed. I could care less about what I'm eating and I've only done 2 light runs/work-outs in the past week. Everyday I say I'm going to come home and work-out and I find an excuse. I'm in a "just wanna go crawl under the covers and wake me up when everything is better" attitude. I'm past the part of anger where I just wanna work-out and get it all out. I'm just kinda numb. I know this will pass and I'll get back on track, but I keep coming down on myself because of that now too. I have a race on Sunday which I'm really glad for. Hopefully it's the push I need to keep going. I have a 5 mile trail race coming up on May 12 too, and I've been REALLY bummed out about not being able to go anywhere with trails to run. Nature is my solace and I haven't even been able to enjoy it and relax.

SO, not sure what else to say...yeah I'm kinda having my own personal pity party. I'm allowed to once in a while. I know that everything will be ok. I have my health, I have my friends and family and I have a wonderful husband by my side through it all.....but right now I'm just bummed. So is life..the up's and down's and REALLY??!! I've learned to appreciate the hills...I'd really like to start climbing a HUGE one and get out of this pit we're in at the moment!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hang On and Enjoy the Ride!

OK so here's another "cut and paste" from about 2 years ago. All you biker's out there will appreciate this one. Again, need to keep reminding myself of these things. John had another interview today, but again it wasn't meant to be. 10 % commission pay only and in this economy NO ONE is buying things that are more then necessary. We continue to pray that God helps us in these rough times and while we wait we'll hang on and enjoy the ride....God's in control...

Were you ever the passenger on a motorcycle? You get on the bike excited for the ride, ready for the wind to blow through your hair. The refreshing crisp air blowing on you, you breathe it in deep and it makes you feel alive, free. You can smell, hear, and see everything along your journey, way better than in a closed up car. As the passenger though, you’re not in control. You enjoy your ride, but at the hands of someone else. You put complete trust in your driver. Your life is literally in their hands. You have to make sure to hold on at all times, keep your balance and go with the flow of the bike and your driver. Especially around twists and turns, the unexpected. You hold on tight for fear you’ll lose balance or fall off. Isn’t, and or shouldn’t our walk with God be the same? Do you let God be your driver, give him complete control, let your life be in his hands?

Those of us with control issues, me included, can have a really hard time with this concept. The so-called “back seat drivers”. Making sure the driver sees that stop sign, or slows down around that curve, or the infamous passenger seat breaker. (you know what I’m talking about, where your foot suddenly juts out trying to push the break pedal that’s NOT on that side of the car!) That’s impossible to do on a cycle, but you get my drift.

Think about it though, if we stopped being that back seat driver and went with the flow- God’s flow. Like the Kerri Underwood song, “Jesus Take the Wheel”. If we saw our walk with God as a passenger on a motorcycle. Held on tightly to him at all times, let God steer us in the right direction. When those curves and bumps in the road appear you hold on a little tighter. If you let go and lose balance you’ll fall off. You fall off and get hurt. The wounds inflicted from letting go hurt, they make you weary to get back on and ride again.

So imagine never, ever letting go. You never let go there’s no chance of getting hurt. You’ll ride smoothly through the bumps and curves, twists and turns, holding tightly to your driver-to God.

Bill Hybels talks about a leader getting people from here to there. We are constantly moving forward. We will never stay the same. As a leader, to move people forward he brought up a concept to not make THERE sound wonderful. First make HERE sound awful. Then build your case for why we can not stay here. Then cast your vision of THERE. Does this sound familiar to anyone? This pattern of here being awful, and at the end of building a case for why we CAN NOT, and SHOULD NOT want to stay here, a great and wonderful vision of THERE. It starts in Genesis and ends in Revelation. God is the great leader who started this concept. He is the leader that will move people from here to there. A leader, who if we hold on tightly to, just like a passenger on a motorcycle, will get us from here to there.

We should constantly be thinking about getting there, heaven, and letting God be our driver. Always let him be in control. Put your life in his hands. Breathing in the crisp air, smelling, hearing, and seeing everything along the way, feeling free. So my advice is to hop on, hang on, and enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wait or Dance??

I can make this one easy tonight...cut and paste. I know a lot of people going through rough times right now...myself and family included. As I was posting this picture to a friends page tonight, it reminded me of a devotional type writing I wrote about 2 years ago now. It was a good reminder to read this. As in my mind I sometimes feel like what I wrote about might become a reality to us soon, "no job, no car, no electric" I know that God will not let that happen to us...and quite frankly IF he was meant to happen. God teaches us a lesson in everything we go through and it is only to help make us stronger, and also to realize that no matter what we go through here on Earth....this is not our home.           Enjoy the read...    
Wait or Dance?

A few days ago terrible storms passed through the area. Strong winds, lots of lightening, trees and wires were down everywhere, some areas were flooded. It was a mess! The next day at work I was taking a patient back. While I was checking his vitals he was making small talk and mentioned, “It’s a nice day out there today”. I thought about it. The sun was shining, big white fluffy clouds floating in a sea of blue, the humidity was down, the temperature was perfect. Yeah, it really was a “nice day”. I thought, “well, the storm took away the humidity and brought the temperature down, and the rain made way for blue skies, so really, it was the storm the day prior that made this day so beautiful. But can’t rainy, stormy days be considered beautiful too?”

We know it takes a day like that to bring a truly beautiful day. So why can’t we see the beauty of the storm? It makes me think of the quote, “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Isn’t this what God tries to teach us? He is always there for us, steadfast and loyal, in the good times and the bad. Ephesians 3:12-13, “In Christ, we can come before God with freedom and without fear. We can do this through faith in Christ. So I ask you not to become discouraged because of the sufferings I am having for you. My sufferings are for your glory.” Proverbs 20:24, “The Lord decides what a person will do; no one understands what his life is all about.”

We never know what might happen next, only God knows. It’s all part of his perfect plan. Thankfully, we are not without hope during these trials. So many people have been through horrific times dealing with suffering and loss, grief and despair. Take Job for example. At one site he lost all his oxen and donkeys, his servants slain. In another pasture his sheep and servants burned to death by a fire that fell out of the sky. Then his camels were stolen and those servants killed. To bring everything to a tragic end, he got word that the house collapsed where all of his grown children were eating together. No one survived. Can you imagine? Put it into today’s perspective. First, you lose your job. You now don’t have enough money to pay the bills so eventually your car is taken in the middle of the night, repossessed. A few weeks later your electric is shut off. You are cold, have no food in the house, what you wouldn’t give for even a piece of toast and a glass of juice. Then, you get a phone call. Your grown children were taking a trip together and the car they were driving was struck head on by an 18-wheeler, no survivors. What would you do? What would you do? You want to know what Job did? He “let go and let God.” He stumbled into relinquishment. He realized who are we to determine our destiny? Who are we to counsel God? Who are we to try to reason with the holy? Job 2:10, “Should we only take good things from God and not trouble?”

One of my favorite verses, James 1:2-3 states “my brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.” Steven Curtis Chapman lost his young daughter in a tragic series of events. His son was backing the car out of the driveway and didn’t see his little sister playing. She was run over and did not survive. His song, “Beauty Will Rise” was written based on the tragic event. His lyrics read, “Out of these ashes beauty will rise. We will dance among the ruins.” He learned that the Lord has a mighty plan that slowly unfolds even in the worst times of our lives, and while we are waiting out the storm, God is with us.

If you haven’t invited God into your heart I encourage you to do so. As you can see, all the troubles we endure, all the pain, all the suffering is for his Glory. We will reap the benefits of our suffering when we arrive in heaven. Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying or pain-because all the old ways are gone.”

So back to our thunderstorm, I’ll leave you with Psalm 29 starting at verse 3, and the next time you are caught in a storm, whether a real one or another storm of life, think about it. Are you going to wait for it to pass or are you going to dance in the rain?

The Lord’s voice is heard over the Sea.
The glorious god thunders.
The Lord thunders over the ocean.
The Lord’s voice is majestic.
The Lord’s voice breaks the trees
The Lord breaks the Cedars of Lebanon.
He makes the land of Lebanon dance like a calf
And mount Herman jump like a baby bull.
The Lord’s voice makes the lightening flash
The Lord’s voice shakes the desert
The Lord shakes the desert of Kadesh
The Lord’s voice shakes the Oaks
And strips the leaves off trees
In his temple everyone says “Glory to God!”
The Lord controls the flood
The Lord will be King forever
The Lord gives strength to his people
The Lord blesses his people with peace.