Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June Bug Race Report + Win $100 Gift Card

There is just something about running and racing that I love.

Maybe it's the energy/nerves combo or the large amount of bananas present at most races or the herds of sweaty people that love to run too. Really, what's not to love? Racing as a family makes it 110 times even more special!

Leo, E, and I ran the June Bug 10k together on June 14th. Leo even held my hand crossing the finish; it pretty much made my month :) E worked his little diapered rear off as he slept for most of the 6.2 miles in the stroller.

I will be taking it easy on the running for a while as the next race isn't 'til October. I suppose I still run more than the average American though now it is an every-other-day-or-so sort of thing. To switch things up a bit I have been rollerblading with the jogging stroller and biking with the trailer. E really wants his own pair of roller-blades someday. He keeps trying to run away with mine...

Rollerblading with the jogging stroller is the next best thing to running! If you try this at home, make sure your stroller brakes and back brake on your roller-blades work really well, especially if you live in a hilly area (unlike me).


Here is a picture of me biking super fast - notice the blur (or it's possible Leo took a quick picture with his phone and it didn't turn out too well). We got our first bike trailer last week! It is a 3-in-1 double trailer - jogging stroller, everyday stroller, and bike trailer. The trailer has been good so far, though our BOB Ironman single stroller is still my favorite for running and walking.


Here goes my first 10k race report...

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June Bug 10k Results:

Finish Time - 00:48:17 with jogging stroller
Average Pace - 7:47/mile
Placing - 10k Stroller Division: 1st, Women Overall: 2nd

Summary:

The June Bug is a great local small-town race and the 10k course consisted of two loops. The loop was mostly paved minus a half mile section of gravel. The weather was comfortably cool that day with gusting winds.

Once again, I started out way too fast in the race, especially for running with a stroller. Leo ran alongside E (in stroller) and I the whole way and I really appreciated the motivation. Whenever I start out fast, I know I'm destined for a much more uncomfortable/painful finish.

After finishing the first lap, I thought "Waaaait, I have to do that gravel stretch again?!". Wind and gravel proved to be extra tough with a stroller; I felt like I was running with a parachute but it's totally worth it to be together as a family. The two women who were running with double jogging strollers definitely take the cake (I hope I can be that awesome one day).

Mile 1 - 7:07
Mile 2 - 7:31
Mile 3 - 8:16
Mile 4 - 8:04
Mile 5 - 8:09
Mile 6 - 8:19
Mile .2 - 7:26

I did walk a few strides each loop on the nasty gravel stretch though our fast pace in the earlier miles made up for it. Overall, this race was a blast and I am so thankful God blessed me with the opportunity to race with my family. Plus, we received a little prize money that covered our entry fees plus some for a quick coffee date before heading home!


P.S. This race had my favorite race t-shirt design of all time. Grey is my favorite "color", the design is great, and the shirt material is cozy (and they actually fit)!


P.S.S. Are you pregnant or have a pregnant friend? For Two Fitness has adorable maternity clothes for active women. The "Running for Two" shirt is definitely my favorite!

One lucky instagrammer will win $100 gift card to For Two Fitness - the very best in maternity activewear. Simply post this image on your instagram feed along with the tag #fortwofitnessgift and mention @fortwofitness. Include in your comment the item or items you love the most. A minimum of 50 reposts will be required to unlock the prize, so share with all of your pregnant friends, and good luck!


What is your favorite part about running/racing?
How about your favorite color?

Linking up at Fitness Fridays and Mommy Moments.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Review: Pulling Back the Shades

Recently I won the book, Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman's Heart, in a giveaway on Faith's blog, "Life of Faith". I was excited to read a book by Dr. Juli Slattery because I had heard her on Focus on the Family though I wasn't sure if the subject matter would be very relate-able for me. After finishing the book, I found that this can speak into the lives of all women, whether you struggle with sexual sin or not.

Pulling Back the Shades opened my eyes to how destructive the Fifty Shades of Grey series is and how vital it is for us to guard our hearts and minds from Satan's deception. It broke my heart when I read the statistic that of all American adults who read the Fifty Shades series, 1 in 5 are Christian women.

This isn't something I can write off because it's not "my battle". Erotica and other immorality are destroying the integrity of God's people, our brothers and sisters, from the inside out.

Isn't it time to step up and do something?



Pulling Back the Shades Review

Dannah Gresch and Dr. Juli Slattery responded to the Lord's prompting by writing Pulling Back the Shades to shine light on erotica, intimacy and the longings of a woman's heart. I love that Gresch and Slattery do not sugar coat the truth throughout this book and they flat-out say reading erotica is sin.

I had heard about the Fifty Shades of Grey series at work a couple years ago and I didn't really think much of it - "It's just a book, how bad can it be?". Thankfully, I never read it, never will, and won't be seeing the movie either. Fifty Shades and other erotica are not just "harmless" books. They corrupt your heart, your mind, your home and your marriage.

In Pulling Back the Shades, Gresch and Slattery address why women read erotica, how successful erotica uses the same recipe to prey on women's longings, and the deception that is found in these books. A young missionary and Christian leader shared the destructive forces of erotica in her life and said "erotica seems harmless because it's just words on a page but it brands your mind, creates false expectations for future relationships. Erotica makes it seem normal for us to be used and abused, but it's not normal."

Dr. Slattery noted: "EL James (author of Fifty Shades of Grey) states that redefining morality was part of her agenda in writing the books. In one interview she said, 'What I wanted to demonstrate is that I do not look at the world in terms of black and white - and I find people who do rather scary. I think it's all shades of grey.' Fantasy becomes very dangerous when an author takes creative license to alter moral and spiritual truth."

Since reading Pulling Back the Shades, I have a new mindset on how dangerous the Fifty Shades series really is and how carefully we need to guard our hearts. There is absolutely nothing "harmless" about this! Dr. Slattery writes "If you really want to know what God says, take His warning seriously. Stop flirting with anything that causes you to think, lust, or fantasize about a man other than your husband."
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:29-30
If you have read/are reading/plan to read the Fifty Shades series, I challenge you to read Pulling Back the Shades to be fully educated on how erotica will affect your life and your relationships. If you have read erotica in the past, know that God can heal your heart if you seek Him. We always have hope in the Lord and He won't give up on us!

What have you been reading lately?

Check out Dannah Gresch's post "I'm Not Reading Fifty Shades of Grey".

Linking up at Titus 2sdays.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Times

The June Bug 10k on Saturday was a blast!

Slightly miserable for a short stretch that consisted of gravel and wind gusts but fun overall. Leo decided to run at the last minute so this was our first "family race". E and I placed 1st in the stroller division and 2nd for women overall.

Per my watch, we finished in 48:17 for a 7:47/mile average pace. What that doesn't tell you is that we started out at a ~7:07/mile pace, which is too fast for me and the amount of "training" I've done lately! I paid for it when we hit the gravel/wind hit and I had to walk a few strides. That will teach me to start out too fast! (no, probably not)

After the race they served baked potatoes with chili... so good! Then we made a quick coffee stop and headed to a birthday party. It was a great day!

I will write up a race report after the final results come in :)


We have been enjoying some beautiful summer weather lately.

E and I went to the county park this morning and picked up a season vehicle pass. This park has a 2.5-mile bike path that is perfect for running with the stroller. The terrain is even slightly hilly which is rare for this area!


I thought this "No Swimming" sign along the bike path was funny. Swimming was the last thing that came to mind when I saw that little pond! It's probably full of green stuff and bugs... no thanks.


After a 5-mile run, we played on the playground and walked around the beach. The farm where Leo works is only 6 miles away so I look forward to making many trips there this summer!


Today I'm thanking God for the precious memories with this goofball. I wouldn't trade them for the world.


What are your favorite summer activities?

Linking up at Mommy Moments and Fitness Friday.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Holding Close

Life just doesn't make sense sometimes.

On Monday, E and I went to a birthday party and a visitation. The party was to celebrate my great grandma's 95th birthday and the visitation was to say goodbye to my cousin's sweet baby girl who went to be with the Lord at only 17 months old.

Such a stark difference between the two. With sweet baby girl, it's natural to ask why she had to leave us so young. In my great grandma's case, she wonders why she is still here.

A lot of "Why?" questions have been floating around my mind lately. I feel like there are no specific answers to my questions, though they always come back to this definite truth --> God is sovereign. He is all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful, and all-loving. His ways are beyond my understanding.

This doxology from Romans 11 says it best:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments,
and His paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been His counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen.

ROMANS 11:33-36
(emphasis added by me)
At the visitation and funeral, family members reminded me to hold our little man extra close. Children are truly a gift from God and I need to remind myself that though he is in my care, E still belongs to God.

These days we're enjoying the time we have together as a family because you never know what tomorrow may bring.

Mind-Clearing Trails

E and I went with Leo to his army weekend so we could join him for the family day picnic. While Leo was working at the armory on Saturday, E and I explored the town's parks. AMAZING.

Lately I have felt like just being quiet and spending time outside. We ran 5 miles, wandered around the beach, played on the playground. They had a few beautiful non-technical trails that were a bit too bumpy for running with the stroller. I walked and took pictures while E slept.


These two paths remind me of the choice we have to make daily. God has given us free will to choose living in darkness or light, death or life, eternal suffering or eternal hope.


We found a little meadow full of dandelions. Have you ever taken a close look at a dandelion? God created them with such amazing detail! I had never noticed those weird curly things before (To any plant enthusiasts - what are those called???).


E was fascinated with the Canadian geese on the lake.


My hiking partner didn't last too long! He was wiped after our day of exploring.


On the way home, we stopped for supper with my brother and sister-in-law. We found these delicious yogurt sticks called "Chobani Champions" and E actually likes them! (So thankful he eats something besides graham crackers and cheese now...)

This one must have been made especially for me! (check out the riddle)


This week I've been thinking about my cousin and her family. My heart breaks for them. How do Christ-followers choose joy when they are in the midst of devastating trials?

I can't fathom the pain a parent goes through when they lose a child. My great grandma (who just turned 95) buried all three of her children yet she perseveres. I am convinced that it is her strong faith in the Lord that keeps her going and her love for all of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren!

As Christ-followers, we all have the hope of eternal life that can get us through the most devastating of life's trials.

I'm meditating on Romans 8:28 today. God works ALL things - the mountain-top highs and even deep valley lows - for our good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. ROMANS 8:28 (emphasis added by me)
How do you clear your mind?
What Bible verses do you focus on in life's trials?

Linking up at Fitness Friday.