5 Things Running Has Taught Me About Life

This upcoming weekend is the weekend I am supposed to run my first marathon. But, I got hurt, could not run for a little over two months, and now am just getting back into the swing of things. To be completely honest I am heartbroken about not being able to run this race. As I looked down at my planner to make my to do list for the week I saw the word MARATHON plastered all over Saturday’s date with stars around it and I cried while scratching it out with my pen.

I have been pain free for a few weeks now and I have not pushed myself past 3 miles because I am terrified that the pain is going to come back. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak. If you have any tips for how to get over this fear please feel free to share your wisdom! As of now I have pulled back from running a little bit as my husband and I have really gotten into swimming. While I love swimming, and anyone who knew me growing up knows I live in the pool during summer time, it cannot take the place of running in my heart.

I started running around the time I turned 16. Since I am turning 26 this weekend I thought I would share 5 things I have learned about life from running in the last 10 years. Maybe this will cure my marathon blues.

 

  1. It is all mental.

 

Running can be a tougher mental sport than physical one at times. Do not get me wrong. Running is HARD physical work, but sometimes that mental game gets to you. I have had many runs where my body obviously could keep going, but my mind tells me no. It is frustrating, annoying, agitating, ________ (insert whatever word you feel here), etc. I think life can be the same at times. We all have days where we would rather jump back into bed all day rather than face whatever hard or scary thing we know we have to face that day. I have learned that it is easier to face the hard thing dead on rather than avoiding it and having to deal with the anxiety of avoiding said scary thing. Pushing past hard moments builds character. Embrace it just like you would on a hard run. The ups and downs are just part of the journey.

 

  1. Setting goals is important.

 

I will let you in on a little secret about me: I am a nerd. I love goals. I love lists. I love planning things out. This all ties into my Type A personality I am sure, but I truly think goals are important. Goals keep us striving forward out of our comfortable little nests we call a comfort zone. Well, they will if you set them that way. Then again, is it really a goal if it keeps where we always are? Food for thought. Anyway…back to the point. There are endless goals for running. Anything from distance, speed, qualifying for specific races, etc. The list goes on. Life is the same way. You can have goals for school, goals for work, goals for sports, goals for new activities you want to learn.

There are also different kinds of goals to set. Short term and long term. We set long term goals that are the big picture and then we can set the short term goals up for how to reach the long term. All you need to do is be S.M.A.R.T about your goal. Remember learning that in school?  Be specific. Make it measurable. Make it achievable. Think about what you want the results to be. Make a timeline for your goal.

My goal is still to run a marathon and I have two races I am debating between. However, I am not going to announce anything until I get the fear out of my head of getting injured again.

 

  1. Sometimes we need to slow down.

 

There are days when I am running and everything is clicking. My breathing is great, my legs feel weightless, the weather is perfect and so I kick up the speed until I realize that I sped up too fast too quickly and have to pull myself back to catch my breath. Life can be the same.

Being busy has become a symbol of success in our society. If you are busy you are important, needed, and good at what you do. Or so that is what many think. If you honestly reflect on your schedule do you think you could use a little pause here and there? We all could. If you do not take the time out to relax and slow down you will more than likely burn yourself out.

Take time to do things you enjoy that fill your soul. Read, run, walk, play golf, do whatever it is that refills your energy. Make it a priority to do those things on a regular basis.  

 

  1. Change up the scenery!

 

I have the same lake trail I love to run on every week, but sometimes I just need a change of location. If we run the same trails all the time it no longer becomes a challenge after a while. Different trails means different difficulties!

When we feel as if we are in a rut with life that might mean we just need a change of pace. Go to a different coffee shop, run in a different neighborhood, take your work out of the office and into a different location. It is amazing how the brain becomes creative in different settings.

 

  1. There is always room for improvement.

 

I know that I still have so much to learn with running and I am excited to do so. In life we are always to be learning. There is so much out there! In every career there is always room to grow. Even if you happen to be the top person in your field there is always more to learn. If you feel you have learned everything you can in one area move to another!

 

These are just 5 life lessons I have learned in the last ten years. Hopefully year 26 will be the year of 26.2 miles for me. If not, I will keep on trying!

 

Run. Sweat. Do something to achieve your goal!

 

Until next week my friends. Peace.

Advertisements

Obsession

Don’t focus on the food….oh, okay. I knew there had to be a simple solution.  

Why hadn’t I thought of that??

Now let me back up a few days.

It started innocently. It always does. You log on to Youtube thinking you will watch one video, then a few hours pass and you have gone down the rabbit hole. I was deep in the rabbit hole friends… like hunched over in a weird position on the couch kind of deep. I stumbled upon this video talking about the “easiest diet ever” and the more I thought about it the more annoyed I became.

The gist of this video is explaining the secret of our skinny friends is that they do not obsess about food like other people do. At first I did not think too much about it, but the more I thought about it the more I thought about how much food has consumed us as a society. How it dominates parts of our conversations and thoughts. It did not take me long to realize how often I think about food. It is an embarrassing amount of time. Not only food, but weight and outward appearance. It has become like a moral guideline.

Good foods and bad foods.

Clean foods and dirty foods.

Cleanses.

Paleo.

Keto.

Vegan and Vegetarian.

Can we just pause and think about this? Food has always been at the center of our lives. We celebrate with food and grieve with food. I mean think about it. We have large dinners to celebrate marriages, birthdays, job promotions, etc. When people die or are fighting through an illness people will often bring those who are suffering food. It is a comfort for many and it is a necessity to live. There is no getting around it.

Since around the early 1960s diet culture has really skyrocketed. Diets varying from things like the low fat diet, high protein and low carb diet, to now having this all natural clean eating diet. The talk around dieting has become a little overwhelming.

Almost daily I overhear conversations about weight and guilt associated with food consumed. I see judgements made on other people’s plates in restaurants. I hear people using weight descriptions to describe someone instead of using characteristics of their personality to describe them. I do not need to know whether or not someone is a “big” guy or girl. What does that tell me about them? Absolutely nothing. Tell me what they do for their career, what their hobbies are, what color eyes they have. Those descriptors tell me things. How aesthetically pleasing their body is to your mind does not tell me anything of value.

I hear kids after they scroll through Instagram say things like, “Well I guess I am not eating today” or “Now I feel guilty for having that donut for breakfast” after seeing a food blogger’s post. How are comments like that healthy? To be honest I have said things like that as well. As much as I know better I cannot sit here and lie and say that scrolling through Instagram does not affect how I view myself.

 

It absolutely does.  

 

I know that about myself, so I do not scroll through the pages that make me feel bad about myself.

 

It is not just social media that affects people though. It is not fair to place all the blame on social media. People’s expressions can say more than words or pictures on a post sometimes. In a blog post I wrote a couple months ago I talked about how I lost a lot of weight in college. I could no longer keep doing the things I was doing to my body in order to keep up that weight loss. In recent years I have put that weight back on. Guess what? I am a lot happier where I am now than I was back then. But, when I see people who knew me after that weight loss look at me now I see a look in their eyes that is almost like a look of pity. I do not believe that this is what they are thinking in real life, but when I see their faces I feel guilty for putting the weight back on. That is when the obsessions with food and weight come back into my mind. It is a daily fight in my brain. I know what is healthy and I want to eat like a “normal” person. But it is crazy how easy it is to justify and going back to those extreme behaviors with the diet culture we live in currently.

It might seem like there is no escape when food, weight, and appearance take up more than half of advertisements, social media posts, and personal conversations we hear and see on a daily basis. I have made it my mission to redirect conversations when it turns to these issues. Now, does this mean I think we should only eat chocolate, twinkies, and all the junk food?

No.

We should be taking care of our bodies and fueling it with things that make us function at our best. I do not think we need to obsess about eating only things that society deems “clean”. We need balance, and obsession is not balance. My worth and identity are not equal to my weight. What I choose to eat or not eat does not dictate if I am a good or bad person. I am a daughter of the most high king. I have been baptized into God’s family. Forgiven and redeemed. That is and always will be my identity. Not what I look like or how much I weigh. Here is what I want my diet to consist of: Love for Jesus and love for others. I love our mission statement at Epiphany. “Connecting people to Christ and to one another”. There is nothing more important than this. Sharing the Gospel. So I do not have time anymore to obsess about food when there are so many people I could be chatting about Jesus with. That is a hundred thousand times more important than discussing the food on my plate.

 

Until next week my friends, peace be with you.  

Even If You Are Scared…

Fear is the worst.

Worst of the worst.

Ugh. Heart pumpin, hands shakin, mind racin.

I’m cringing just thinking about it. . .but if I am going to be honest with myself fear has been frequently running in my my mind the past few weeks.

My old car bit the dust, so Phillip and I made the decision to buy a new car. This was the most nerve wracking purchase I personally have ever made. I signed so much paperwork that I felt as if I was actually signing away my soul. As before any large purchase we went over our budget multiple times. More times than necessary really, and knew that we were totally fine to make this purchase. With no fear I signed the paperwork and went home that night with a Ford Escape that I am in love with, named Garrett. (Yes, I name my cars.) A few days later all these fearful thoughts entered my brain. All this anxiety that something would happen and we wouldn’t be able to afford anything anymore.

I am sure I do not need to spell out all these thoughts for you, but it was like my brain was running around saying, “But the sky might fall! The sky might fall!”

 

Anxiety. It is the greatest… or the worst.

 

I picked that example, but it is not the only one. I have taken a break from writing because I am too afraid of what people might think, that they will not like it, that people will say, “She will never succeed in the writing world” or even worse, “She tries too hard to put herself out there.”

Not only writing, but things that have to do with my job. I would love to do certain events with my youth group, but I let fear and anxiety creep in and shut it down.

What if no one shows up?

What if no one relates to the topic I want to cover?   

Other people have done it better so you might as well just give it up now.

This morning in our Wednesday Morning Women’s Bible study we had a devotion that kind of smacked me in the face. Actually one line of the devotion did the smacking. In this devotion there was a line that said, “Do it afraid.”

 

Do. It. Afraid.

 

Well fine. I am here today to call myself out. I am going to do it, even if it is scary. I love writing. It makes me happy. Will I ever go anywhere with it? Who knows. The thing I do know is that I am not going to let fear stop me from writing anymore. This is the first time in weeks that I have not doubted what I am writing.

Do it! Even if whatever you want to do makes you scared. It is only scary for a while. I remember the first time I did a children’s message at the church I work at and I was TERRIFIED. Okay… let’s be honest, for about the first year I would pace my office in the morning going over the message a hundred times and then I would pace outside the sanctuary until it was my time to go up. My hands would be shaking and my heart would race the entire time I was giving the message. Now, I do not have that fear anymore. Do I like doing them? Not every time…mostly because I do not think it is a gift of mine, but hey, with more practice who knows. That is not the point. The point is, as I have done more and more of them I have come to fear them less.

I think the more I write the more confident I will become in it. For right now it is still a bit scary to put my writing out there, but I am going to do it anyway!

So thank you if you are still reading, but now I want you to go do something you are afraid of!