Monday, September 28, 2015

Race Report: Wild Hog Half Marathon 2015

Hey there! We're back after a fun weekend away as a family and I've got a race recap to share with you.

After an "unplugged" week, I'm joining up with Jessica and Jill at the Fit Dish link-up. The week was wonderful but it's nice to be back!

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Wild Hog Half Marathon Results:

Finish Time - 01:39;58
Average Pace - 7:37/mile
Placing - 43rd/553 Overall, 13th/300 Females

Summary:

We traveled to the race on Friday evening, picked up my race number and went out to eat with a friend at Noodle's & Co. It was a nice night... minus super cranky children. Baby W cried from Noodles & Co. until we made it up to our hotel room. And then cried some more. E was beyond tired.

Leo and I both agreed that we should never leave our home with the boys again.

5:30 AM - My morning alarm came way too soon! I was thankful to have a decent night's sleep with E sleeping through the night and Baby W only up a couple times to nurse. First things first, I pumped and prepped a bottle for W and put on my race clothes.

6:00 AM - E was awake so he came down for breakfast with Grandma and me. I had a blueberry bagel with peanut butter and honey plus some apple juice. My race morning nerves tend to suppress my appetite but I knew I needed to eat as much as I could (within reason).

6:30 AM - Time to go! After saying my goodbyes and taking a quick picture with E (and a pair of socks), Grandma and I were on our way to the race. Grandpa and Leo hung out with the little guys in the hotel room.


7:30 - We checked out the starting area and then my mom (alias "Grandma") dropped me off at the sports arena. I wandered for a while, watched the sunrise, jogged a little, ate my first GU (vanilla bean, of course!) and then headed off to the starting line. God blessed us with such a beautiful sunrise that morning! I was thankful to be able to take the time to watch it.

7:45 - The half marathoners, relay teams and 10k runners all lined up. I found my way to the 1:40 pace group and announcements and anthems started soon after.

8:00 - And we're off!

As the mob of runners spread out, I ended up with the tail end of the 1:35 group. I did my best to hang with them in last year's Wild Hog and I knew that wasn't a realistic goal at 4 months postpartum.

Even in the first mile, I could tell my body was just worn out. I did taper from running in the week prior but life itself just wore me out. For every race, I write a Bible verse on my arm to help me keep perspective and Ephesians 3:20 had been on my heart that week.

My energy tank was running low but I knew that God could give me the strength to run my best race - He can do so much more than we dare to ask or hope!
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. EPHESIANS 3:20 NLT
Mile 1 - 7:08
Mile 2 - 7:19
Mile 3 - 7:29
Mile 4 - 7:31
Mile 5 - 7:26

I was feeling good and the miles were passing by quickly now. Just before the next aid station, I took part of my second GU gel.

My stomach wasn't really feeling it but I had to eat it now to prevent running out of gas in the last third of the race. Racing while I'm nursing our youngest has forced me to eat and drink more than I used to while training and racing.

Mile 6 - 7:30
Mile 7 - 7:37
Mile 8 - 7:45


My goal was to maintain sub-8:00/mile. It was tempting to speed up and chase after the runners racing by me but I couldn't maintain a faster pace all the way to the finish. Many of the runners breezing by at that point were relay runners with fresh legs, as the faster half marathoners had already pulled away from the mid-pack, but my mind still wanted to chase.

"Stay in your own lane!" 

This was something Leo and I had talked about earlier this week. While there aren't any "lanes" in long distance running, his words reminded me to run my own race rather than comparing myself to the other runners.

We were talking about spiritual growth rather than running but it applied to both. "Stay in your own lane" means guarding yourself from spiritual pride and comparing our faith walk with someone else's. Because we do this or don't do that doesn't make us "more holy" than someone else and God doesn't "love us better" than someone else. We are saved by grace alone not by anything we say or do.

In both running and our walk with God, we can give our absolute best effort and be satisfied with that. We can experience so much freedom when we choose not to compare ourselves to others!
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. GALATIANS 6:4 NLT
Mile 9 - 7:50
Mile 10 - 7:49
Mile 11 - 7:57
Mile 12 - 7:49
Mile 13 - 7:39
Mile .17 - 7:00

When the race clock was in sight, I had a couple more seconds to finish sub-1:40.

So I sprinted... and thankfully I didn't trip over my own feet because the home stretch was lined with people watching.

As it turned out, I beat the 1:40 mark by 2 seconds. That last kick made all the difference!


The assembly line after the finish was a smooth one lined with pineapple, pretzels, oranges, chocolate milk, and other goodies. I was given my medal and grabbed a water bottle and some licorice before finding a spot to sit down in the grass.

Then this fine looking group made their way over to me (including Grandma, who took the picture):


This was Leo's first time watching me race and it was so special to have him there! Baby W was asleep when I met up with them and E was very distracted by all of the race chaos going on.

The Wild Hog Half Marathon's race "swag" is awesome. The BornFit® long-sleeve zip-up shirt and the FitSocks are my favorite!


Overall, the race went better than what I expected 4 months after W's birth! Leo, the boys and I picked up drive thru sandwiches from Erbert's & Gerbert's and coffee. We headed back to eat, shower and nap time for the kids (and parents!).

The Wild Hog is one of my favorite races and I hope to be back next year. They announced that a full marathon is in the works for next year but I'm eyeing a full marathon for May 2016. We'll see...


What is your favorite half marathon and/or full marathon?

Linking up with the Fit Switch and Jill Conyers. #dishthefit

Friday, September 18, 2015

Celebrate This Place | Five-Minute Friday

Good morning! Welcome to this week's Five-Minute Friday!

What's a "free write"? No editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write!

This week's word:


00:00 START the timer!
______________________

Today we're having a party!

Won't you join me?

Let's kick this party off by praising God for where we've been, where we are and what the future might hold.

Our faith journey is something to celebrate! Looking back on where God has taken us reminds us of His awesome sovereignty, the hope we have in Jesus and the power of our prayers.

Today let's celebrate by reflecting on answers to prayer as reminders of God's faithfulness.

Let us give praise to the Lord for His work in our lives and pray boldly for the future to come. God is capable of so much more than we can imagine!

Think of all the miracles that Jesus did in the Bible - that's OUR God! He hasn't changed. He is still amazing, He loves us and He can handle our bold prayers.

Celebrate by praying boldly today! God has such great things in store for us. 

Now that's a reason to celebrate!
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. EPHESIANS 3:20-21
______________________

05:00 STOP the timer!



Monday, September 14, 2015

Training Week 10: Finding Balance

Whew, this past week was a doozy!

First things first, I'm joining up with the Fit Dish and Faith & Fitness link-ups again this week. Today we're talking plans. We all have them!
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. PROVERBS 16:9 NLT
Proverbs 16:9 is the perfect verse for this week because I had a plan and God had something better planned for me.

"My" plan included the usual to-do list plus another week of half marathon training with higher mileage than the previous week.

God's plan for my week was REST. Almost two weeks ago, I acquired some lovely cold-sinusy-allergy symptoms and, despite all of my efforts to fight them, it had to run its course. As of today, I'm feeling much more like myself!

I'm currently reading through Susie Larson's book <affiliate link>, Balance That Works When Life Doesn't, where she defines balance and breaks it down into three parts.
"Encarta dictionary defines balance this way: A state in which various elements form a satisfying and harmonious whole and nothing is out of proportion or unduly emphasized at the expense of the rest." Susie Larson
Susie then explains that everyone's life involves these three things to some degree:
1. Input (Nourishment)
2. Output (Response)
3. Rest (Replenishment)
This was an "Aha!" moment for me, as I realized how out-of-whack my life has been.

Ever since Baby W was born 3.5 months ago, I have been lacking replenishment (rest) while I expected the same response (rest) from myself. (Though that smiley boy is worth any amount of exhaustion!) I kept pushing myself until finally my body said "Enough! I quit!".

So you know what I did? I rested!


I rested physically by taking a nap with Baby W while toddler E napped. I found rest in my heart knowing that God loves me for who I am, not for what I accomplish. He won't hold my unfinished to-do list against me and He doesn't think I'm lazy because I skipped a few days of exercise!

Susie Larson's book has been teaching me that true balance means being flexible and adaptable with our plans. As Proverbs 16:9 says, we can make our plan but we must allow the Lord to determine our steps.

In some seasons we are able to accomplish more and, in others, we have to cut back on what we do. Sometimes it takes getting sick to remind me that I am NOT super human and I DO need rest. When the boys are both sleeping through the night (some day in the far, far future!), I will have more energy to give! As for now, I just need to do what I can.
"When we live with the constant sense of the ebb and flow of nourishment, response and replenishment we will find balance wherever life finds us." Susie Larson
By Sunday's early morning long run, I was feeling much better and my legs felt fresh. That was my last 2-hour run before the half marathon and I'm thanking God for the extra rest last week!

His plans are always better than my own.


.....

Wild Hog 1/2 Training Week 10


8/31 M - Rest. Sick.

9/1 T - Rest. Still sick but my cough is loosening now.
.
9/2 W - 3.9 easy-effort miles. Did some front planks later.

9/3 H - 5.03 miles, 45:08 @ 8:59/mile avg. The run felt comfortably hard and my lungs seem to be clearing out now! I had a tiny bit of motivation so I did 1 minute of a front plank. That was enough for me :)

9/4 F - Rest. No running but I did some strength training outside. Walking lunges, squats, side lunges, DB presses and flies.

9/5 Sa - Rest. Took another day to rest! Perhaps I'm getting better at listening to my body. The race is coming up soon and I want to be healthy on the starting line.

9/6 Su - Long Run: 14.34 miles, 2:00:52 @ 8:26/mile. Feeling MUCH better! All the rest days this week were worth it. I hope this cold/sinusy/allergy mess is done now!

Total Mileage: 23.27 miles

Do you struggle with making yourself rest?

Linking up with the Fit Switch, Jill Conyers and Faith & Fitness Friday. #dishthefit  #FridayFaithFitness

Friday, September 11, 2015

Some Things Never Change | Five-Minute Friday

There is something I love about this almost-Fall morning. The cool, crisp air makes 42°F feels refreshing, my coffee is still a lukewarm, and it's Five-Minute Friday! Win, win, win!

What's a "free write"? No editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write!

This week's word is:


00:00 START the timer!
______________________

My best friend came over for a visit yesterday and we had a wonderful time catching up, reminiscing and laughing.

Over the past four years, we have changed so much. It seems like nothing is the same.

Marriage, moving away and two kids make it hard to recognize the "me" in the pictures from four years ago.

We used to see each other daily and now it's more of a every-few-months sort of thing. We're older... and I would like to think wiser as well :)

Some things never change.

Months have passed yet our conversation starts off right where the last one ended.

There is never a dull moment. While we both have changed so much, something about our friendship stays the same through it all.

A true friendship that sticks together through all the changing seasons of life is hard to find. It is a treasure and I am so thankful for ours!

Our friendship is a reminder of my relationship with Jesus.

This world is changing - and not for the better.

Yet Jesus is the SAME.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. HEBREWS 13:8
He hasn't changed and He never will. Jesus is our Rock and our Refuge. 

Throughout the turbulence of life, we can count on Jesus to be by our side through it all. He is with us and His promises stand the same yesterday, today and forever!
______________________

05:00 STOP the timer!



Sunday, September 6, 2015

Training Week 9: Purpose in Every Step

Hope you're all having a fine Labor Day weekend!

I'm sharing this Training Week 9 update with the Fit Dish and Faith & Fitness link-ups. Week 9?! Only three more weeks until race day... and the end of September. I hope Fall sticks around for a while. It seems so short while winter seems so very, very long.

Our verses for this week are from 1 Corinthians 9, where Paul is teaching us about our need for self-discipline.
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
When I was thinking back to my college tennis days, I noticed that my coach had a purpose for each practice.

Some practices we focused on serving, others volleying, practice matches, ball machine, sprints, timed miles.

You name it. We arrived at the courts and coach had a plan.

My daily tennis-playing days are long gone but the same concept applies to long-distance running. Each day of running has a purpose! Easy, recovery, long, tempo, speed-work, hill intervals, strength training.

It is possible to run without a purpose, but major growth doesn't happen when you run aimlessly.

When I first started running marathons, I paid little attention to varying my workouts. I threw on the shoes and headed out the door.

While I did cover the miles, without the speed-work, my speed didn't improve and, without the recovery days, my muscles didn't have time to recover. After my last marathon, I was burnt out!

Since learning to run with purpose, I have felt more motivated to hit the workouts and my running has improved so much compared to the plateau I was on before.

As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, our spiritual growth requires training with purpose, just as athletes train for competition.

Opening your Bible every morning is a great starting block - but what's next ? I want to dig deeper!

Tie up your laces and run your life with purpose to win the eternal prize.

How can we run with purpose in our faith?

  • Study God's Word.
    For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. HEBREWS 4:12
  • Do What God's Word Says.
    Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. JAMES 1:22
  • Live with Integrity.
    Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. PROVERBS 10:9
  • Exercise Self-Discipline.
    For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 TIMOTHY 1:7
  • Love God and Others.
    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' MATTHEW 22:37-39


.....

Wild Hog 1/2 Training Week 9


8/31 M - Easy: 4 miles with double jogging stroller, 39:54 @ 9:58.

9/1 T - Speed Intervals: 5.5 miles, 45:00. 5x800m speed intervals with 800m easy/jog in between (9:05/mile). 7:30, 7:30, 7:04, 7:04, 6:40
.
9/2 W - Off. Sore throat and no energy today...

9/3 H - Tempo Run: 4 miles, 32:00 @ 8:00/mile avg + Strength Training. Still not feeling very well.

9/4 F - Off. STILL not feeling well!

9/5 Sa - Long Run: 13.75 miles, 2:00:00 @ 8:44/mile avg.

9/6 Su - 4 miles with my sis-in-law!

Total Mileage:  31.25 miles

How do you live with purpose?

Linking up with the Fit Switch, Jill Conyers and Faith & Fitness Friday. #dishthefit  #FridayFaithFitness

Friday, September 4, 2015

Yes | Five-Minute Friday

Hello there! It's Five-Minute Friday link-up time.

What's a "free write"? No editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write!

This week's word is:


00:00 START the timer!
______________________

Let me tell you a little something about myself.

I am petrified of singing in public.

Singing in church with the congregation is fine, as long as no one hears me, but to actually sing a song in front of someone makes my stomach turn and my palms sweat profusely. I just can't do it!

Yet, I sing all day to my boys. Like, ALL DAY. I didn't grow up listening to Christian music but random songs come to my mind every day and I know it's the Holy Spirit putting them on my heart. He is the only possible explanation because I don't know how I even know these songs!

This week, E and I were singing the "yes, Lord, yes, Lord, yes, yes, Lord" song. That's the only verse I know so we sang it over and over again. He loved it! "Mama, sing yes, Lord!", he would say.

This morning I looked up the rest of the lyrics and the Lord put the verse Psalm 90:14 on my heart as well. Lately, He is saying so much to me about being satisfied in Him and choosing to live in joy.

Here are the official lyrics to "I'm Trading My Sorrows":
I'm trading my sorrow
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

Chorus:
And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning
(View Lyrics Source)

Saying "Yes" to the Lord meant breaking off a bad relationship in my pre-marriage days. It meant going to church by myself in search of a church family. (and meeting my husband there the next year!)

Saying "Yes" to the Lord in my life meant me leaving my career to stay home with our boys and moving to a tiny little town soon after.

Saying "Yes" to the Lord has meant joining in with Bible study groups where I knew only one or two people.

So many opportunities to walk boldly in faith lie in the future and I'm deciding right now to say "Yes" to the Lord; to walk boldly in His will.

Saying "Yes" to the Lord means taking leaps of faith - big or little ones - and trusting in God to guide my steps. Leaving the comfort zone is never easy but God knows what is best for our lives and following Him brings such great joy!

As I look back on many more of the Yes's in my life, I am reminded that God is always faithful. ALWAYS.
Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. PSALM 90:14
______________________

05:00 STOP the timer!