Archive | 3:49 pm

By grace this love springs forth.

24 Feb

The other night in our church small group (what we call care group), our discussion leader asked us 2 questions:

What area in your life is encouraging right now?

What area is discouraging?

As I thought about that, so many encouraging areas came to mind:

I’m encouraged that I’m still running and my legs and lungs feel great.

I’m encouraged that I pray every day, and often more than once a day, because I want to.

I’m encouraged that I’ve finally found a daily routine that works well, and allows me to read the Bible, write my book and train for a marathon.

I’m encouraged that I feel more at home in Colorado than I ever have before – having great friends helps a lot.

But the area I’m most encouraged in?

My marriage. 

And that my friends, is something that makes me want to run around, yelling and screaming and skipping!!

In my last post about marriage, I talked about how Travis and I had taken up going our own ways on weekends. We asked each other, “What are your plans for this weekend?” and both did our own things. After that post, though, things changed. We still ran the same errands on the weekends. But we ran them together.

Yes, it meant things took longer. And that we spent time doing things that weren’t our first pick (grocery shopping for him, Home Depot browsing for me). But we were together. And we were having FUN!

We’ve also been going out on one impromptu date each weekend – which has given us time to talk, laugh and enjoy one another.

And those things have made something else happen.

When Travis comes home from work, instead of giving him a slight head nod and a “Hey beads” while I continue making dinner or changing out of my running clothes, I intentionally stop what I’m doing and go hug and kiss him hello. He’s happier because I’m talking his love language. I’m happier because I actually want to hug and kiss him (which sadly, hasn’t always been the case).

When I talk to him on the phone, I enjoy hearing his voice.

When he smiles and his eyes crinkle, I feel so in love with him.

We laugh over well-timed movie lines and inside jokes.

We watch the dogs frolic from our kitchen window, silently daring them to jump the fence (but stopping them before they do – most of the time).

Travis muses aloud about Roth IRAs and whether or not he should take the new job (he did BTW and today was his last day!). Instead of rolling my eyes, ignoring him, or lamenting that we’ve already talked about this, I listen and offer him my advice…again.

Travis asks me to come look at, or help him with something, and I don’t get frustrated.

Travis wants to buy a ridiculously expensive antelope hunting tag and I don’t demand the same amount of money to spend on myself.

I win a pool table competition and instead of running out to buy a new shirt with my $30, I offer to take Travis out to lunch.

The best part about all of this? 

I did none of it. It all happened organically, by the grace of God. I honestly look at all this and think, How did this happen? I surely did not cause this! This is not MY handiwork!

God did this. He inspired my obedience in one little thing: painting our front door. I hated that door. Oh, how I hated it. I painted it once, 3 coats of painstaking strokes. Only to have it peel off in my hands as I removed the painter’s tape. The door remained white for at least another a month. It took me that long to get over being angry.

Finally, at Travis’ request, I tackled it once again, this time armed with pink primer (closer to the red paint than white). I still remember standing in the hallway next to our kitchen, glaring at the door. I did. not. want. to paint the door again. I was done with it. But out of a desire to serve my husband by helping with a house project, I did it. And I swear, that was a turning point in the way I thought about our marriage.

Things have only gotten better from there. Yes, we still have disagreements and tension from time to time. But it is no longer the door-slamming, fruit-throwing, cuss-word-yelling that our marriage my responses once were (Travis has not resorted to my form of temper tantrums).

Which proves that I, unfortunately, do not have any marriage advice. Because I could not have written this story. God’s ideas are always infinitely better than mine, though often harder to understand. Why did it take me almost 5 years of marriage to get to this place? Why did God bless me with my husband, though I abused him for so long? I don’t know.

But I do know that the best advice for anything is: Get to know God. The real God of the Bible. Jesus, who died for your sins. He is amazing. And He is the only answer you ever need.

That is not just a trite saying. I don’t say that flippantly. I say it with the full force of my being and my heart behind it. I say it as I look back on 5 years of hating the wife I was and wanting to throw in the towel. I believe that God has the power to redeem and glorify any marriage, even ones that have been torn apart by infidelity, loss or deceit. Because this God – He ransomed us from our sins. He has granted us eternal life. Surely He can do ALL things!

Put Him to the test. Ask Him to do amazing things in your marriage. Stay alert to the ways He works in your life. He will stun you.

Though I am dry and barren

By grace this love springs forth

Love for You and Your kingdom

Joy in Your glory Lord 

Tracking Your Training

24 Feb

Everyone has their own preference for tracking their training. Some people keep it all in their heads. Others have complex, color-coded spreadsheets with different columns and rows for every minute aspect of their lives.

I’ve posted what my training plan looks like before but here it is again for your viewing pleasure:

Basically, I take Hal Higdon’s plan, put it into a spreadsheet, rearrange the workouts so that they work for my schedule (I take Wednesday off because we always have care group or ladies’ night), and make it pretty. Pretty simple.

What happens afterward:

I print the plan out and hang it on the inside of my bathroom closet door.

I stash a pencil in my closet and cross off every workout as I do it with a big X across the box.

If I skip a workout, I scribble it out.

I’ve used this system for all of the races I’ve ever done. I like the paper because I can look at it easily when I’m home (and I can look at the electronic version at work); I get to cross off my workout when it’s done (my Type A personality loves that!); and it’s easy for me to keep track if I switch days. If I do Thursday’s workout on Monday, I cross off Thursday. Then when I get to Thursday, I can easily see which workout I have left to do. There are plenty of weeks when I do every workout on the wrong day. But I’m really trying to not do that this time around because I do plan my workouts in this order for a reason.

After my workouts, all of my stats get recorded on

I’ve also used this program since I started training for my first half marathon in 2008. For each workout, I can record the time of day it was, what the weather was like, my effort level, how I felt, and add notes.

I’ve looked into other websites like Running Ahead and Daily Mile but I just really like MapMyRun. And now that it shows you splits from iMapMyRun, AND they’ve added the Gear Tracker back in (so that you can easily track how many miles are on your shoes), I will never leave. I am a person that if I find something that works, I stick with it. I see no need to keep reinventing the wheel.

{Side note: This sometimes is not a good thing. For example, yesterday, when I put on one of my favorite outfits, I looked in the mirror and saw it with “new eyes” – my cords had gotten a hole so I sewed it up with thread that wasn’t quite the right color and the sweater is from junior high so it has a quite a few pills and looks a little ragged. I realized that these might not be considered “work appropriate” but eh, I wore them anyway. It bothers me when perfectly good clothes have to be thrown out or not worn because they get holes in them. Although that probably disqualifies them from the description of “perfectly good.”}

Anyways, I love MapMyRun. The only thing I wish were different is that you could easily choose which Month/Year you want to view. Right now, you have to scroll back using the arrow button, which works but is time-consuming.

And last but not least, my Polar heart rate monitor produces a fun little report for me every Sunday night at midnight of the week’s workouts. It shows how many workouts I did, how long the cumulative time was, and how many calories I burned. Lately, those numbers have been pathetically small and since my chest strap needs to be replaced (which may not happen any time soon, considering it’ll cost me $35), my “calories burned” has been zero. Which makes a tiny bit sad – even though I know I am burning calories with or without my heart rate monitor, I like to see the numbers! Not having a chest strap also means that I can no longer view my heart rate during my runs. So I’ve been running them by feel.

Speaking of which, last night I headed out for my tempo/hill run after work. The dogs are always super hyper when they get to go on a run, especially after being cooped up all day, so they usually pull me along faster than I want to go and I have to keep yanking on them to rein them in. Well yesterday, my legs felt good. I was tempted to rein it in because What if I go out too fast and screw myself later? Then I thought, Negative thoughts be damned. If I feel good, I’m going to run fast.

So I did.

The last half mile was a 9:09 pace! The hill I ran seems so challenging in the moment but when I look at it on a graph like this, it looks like a negligent bump. In reality, it’s a 100 foot gain in .2 miles. So it’s not the worst hill ever but it’s decent. Add some ice and snow to the sidewalks, two impatient dogs that can run fast on ice, and you’ve got a challenging run!

When I got back from that, I took my laptop to the guest bedroom and biked 7 easy miles while watching The Biggest Loser. Meh. That show is just ok. Too much drama for me. I like to see their workouts and what they’re recommended to eat but that’s about it.

My 30 minutes on the bike revealed that my seat problem might not be totally fixed. It’s definitely WAY better but not 100% resolved. But I wasn’t wearing tri or bike shorts (just my running pants) and I was on a trainer (which just like a treadmill, exaggerates every tiny discomfort because it’s all you have to focus on). The real test will be this Sunday – I’m going to wear my tri shorts and go for an hour. Can I do it?

How do you like to log your workouts?

Are you a fan of The Biggest Loser?