Sunday, January 30, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
With that said, I did run on Monday, and it was a most wonderful day for running! The temp was upper 40's, no wind and mostly sunny with a few clouds that looked like feathers left behind by an immense bird. I ran to Avalon and Bebo serenading me with inspiring songs. (Was thinking, among other things, about this: You have two headphones, one in each ear, on either side of your head, but the music is playing fully and evenly inside your head. Not a little on this side and a little on that side. You don't hear it as sound tumbling down a little tube into the center of your head. It's just all there...in...your...head. God understands what I'm trying to say.)
I ran 3.5 miles and felt great! It was an encouraging end to my "weekend" which extended into Monday. On Sunday afternoon, I was privileged to stay the night at a monastery or spirituality center, which it's now called. I've been before and was long overdue for another stay. My waking hours there were spent reading, journaling and praying. I could've easily stayed another day...or several, but I was there just long enough to let the din of my busy life quiet just a bit. I would've loved another day or two to really savor the solitude. But, I'll take what I can get! It was wonderful! If you long to get centered, I highly recommend an individual spiritual "retreat."
As I write, I realize that the next best place of solitude for me is when I run. I typically run out on the rural roads by our house, where there is a lot of open space and cars are few. I often get lost in my thoughts or music or prayer. I do some of my clearest thinking and have my most inspiring thoughts while running. It's no wonder when I don't run regularly that I tend to get grumpy. So I guess I'm recommending running too, as an option for a mini-spiritual retreat.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
this Saturday, but I was feeling it today, so three it was! I felt great! I thank God I am healthy enough to run. Such a blessing.
I was running slow, if you could even call it running, but I plan to work on speed a little down the road. "Down the road." Get it? Okay, let's stay on track here. Ha! On "track!" Anyway....
Winter scenery in Oklahoma leaves much to be desired aesthetically. At least in my part of Oklahoma. The trees are bare, and everything else that used to be green is the color of straw. Drab is the word that comes to mind. Unless, of course, like today, the sun is a brilliant blue and the sun is shining bright. That makes it all okay.
As I was running today and thinking about the things I just described, I realized that signs of spring will be here in two months! It put a "spring" in my step just thinking about it. I love springtime when everything wakes up and bursts with color. I realized that I can tolerate and even enjoy the gray Oklahoma winter when I know that spring is coming! I wonder how much it would affect my spiritual outlook if I saw my hardships that way; believing that the unpleasant won't last forever and new life will emerge if I just hold out for the changing of the season.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I poked my head out the door early this morning and thought, "Dang, why did I blog that I would run outside today?" I went about my day hoping it would warm up. Ha! What was I thinking?! The high was going to be a blazing 26 degrees!
Well, to make a short story even shorter, I went for it. I did wait until one in the afternoon. It hadn't quite reached the forecasted high at 25 degrees, but I thought I'd live on the edge. The day was beautiful! Sunny and clear and not much wind. I ran the first tenth of a mile, then jogged the rest of two miles while listening to one of my favorite Christian artists, Robby Seay...on my ipod.
Layers are the trick in cold weather, and my face was really the only uncomfortably cold part of my body. It did hurt running north into the little bit of wind that there was. But, other than a little black spot on the tip of my nose, I'm good.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Days like today can put a damper on a runner’s enthusiasm, especially if you prefer running outside. It was cold…no, freezing, wet and gray! I resorted to Plan B, yet Plan B was a bit foggy in my mind, kind of like today’s early morning fog.
I ended up doing some things at home before going to the Y to work out, and my lack of planning resulted in a shortened workout time. I managed, however, to get in almost 20 minutes on the ellyptical, while reading subtitles on the t.v.s. That’s what I get for poor planning…left my ipod at home. Soap operas are ridiculous enough, but there is something even more ridiculous about them when you’re reading what they’re saying! (Woman pulls shotgun on other woman and says, “Like my grandpa always said, ‘If you’re gonna mess with the bull, you better watch out for the horns.’”) Excuse me while I throw up!
My other t.v. options were the inauguration of Oklahoma’s new governor and the weather channel. Not particularly inspirational workout viewing. Then I hurried to swim a few laps before going to get a massage; Christmas gift from Mom and Dad.
My day instantly improved, and I’m trying to figure out how to budget in at least one massage monthly, which may be doable with her reasonable prices. I’m sure the benefits of massage will enhance my performance on race day. Thanks, Laurah!
Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny…and cold. But I think I can handle cold if it’s at least sunny. That’s the plan.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
In addition to running, last week I lifted weights twice at the Y and joined a swim class. Stress and low energy levels have been my excuses for not working out recently, and although the stress and low energy haven't changed drastically, using them as excuses has. (Plus...I'm...growing intolerant of the encroaching insulation on my thighs and belly.)
You might think I am motivated by the new year, and that always helps, but much of my motivation comes from the upcoming Memorial Marathon held every spring here in OKC. It just so happens that the new year comes four months prior to the marathon; just enough time to train for the half or full.
I love the Memorial Marathon. I love what it stands for and the spirit in which it is carried out every year. I also love running the half; 13.1 miles. I've never run a full-marathon. Just haven't had the desire, but the half definitely agrees with me.
So for my own accountability and consistency, I'm writing this blog. I want to chronicle my progress and hopefully encourage you in whatever you are training for. But that is not all, as Dr. Suess would say, "Oh no, that is not all!" Running, and just physical training, parallels so beautifully our spiritual race. I want to look for and apply those every chance I get.
Our spiritual journey is often referred to in the Scriptures as a race. Discipline, persistence and focus is needed to "run" our spiritual race. We can make excuses and get spiritually flabby. We can get completely sidetracked and quit the race altogether, or we can keep our "eyes on the prize" and keep moving forward.
In a race, it's beneficial to find a good pace, thus my blog title; one that will allow us to meet our desired finish time. But finding that pace takes practice and perseverance in our daily and weekly training. It takes setting goals, pushing our bodies to certain limits, and pressing on in the face of discouragement or setbacks.
Spiritually, we need consistency; a sort of pace as well. A couple days communing with God and a couple days putting him on the back burner, will most likely create a spiritual limp rather than a steady pace.
The cool thing about running is that you don't have to be first to win. In fact, it's probably the only sport you can come in last place and still be a winner. In a race, the key is to do your best and finish, so if you crawl across the finish line in last place but set a personal record, then you are a winner!
It's the same spiritually. We are each running our own race. It may look and feel differently from someone else's. Others may look stronger or wiser or farther along, but if we stay in the "race" and do our best, keeping our eyes on Jesus, who's at the finish line waiting for us by the way, then each of us is a winner!
I ran 1.3 miles yesterday, because that's as far as I could go...or rather, it was as much discomfort as I wanted to endure at that time. Yet I finished semi-proud of myself and felt inspired to train for 13 miles in just four months. The journey will be tougher than a simple moving of the decimal...but, I'm sure it will be worth it.
"You may never win a race, but you can always win your race."