Tag Archives: blessing

Week 11 Training: 4/30 – 5/6

8 May

I guess I spoke too soon when I said that I hadn’t missed a training run. Because now I have.

It started off with shaving a mile off two of my mid-week runs last week. And then last night, I totally blew off both my run and the cross-training I was going to do in lieu of my run. But it was for a good reason – we got new couches! Our friends sold their house to travel the country as a traveling nurse (the wife) in an RV so they gave us their couches. The evening was spent rearranging furniture. I’ll post pics soon. We like the new setup a lot (and are praying that the dogs don’t destroy the couches like they did last time).

Anyway, here’s last week’s training rundown:

Monday: 3.04 mile easy run (35:56; 11:49/mile); 45 minutes easy yoga

This was supposed to be a 4 mile run.

Tuesday: 8 mile run w/5 x 800 (1:37:45; 10:51/mile)

800s: 5:04, 5:08, 4:54, 4:40, 4:34. The first couple of 800s were done at a comfortably fast pace. The last couple, I was really pushing it. The rest of the run was at an 11 min pace.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 2.5 mile easy run (31:15; 12:18/mile)

This was supposed to be a 4 mile run.

Friday: 16 mile long run (3:14:18; 12:08/mile)

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 45 minute walk with pooches

………………………..

This training week really tested my mental resolve to run a marathon. This was the first week when I actually doubted my ability to do this. That run on Friday, and specifically Mile 2, really freaked me out. “What if I can’t run this marathon? Maybe my body just can’t handle this. What if I’m tired for the rest of my training plan? What if my legs feel like this until the race?”

Obviously, I’m not giving up and I’m taking practical action to get my legs rested up. But I’ve felt God challenging me.

It started the Saturday I ran 15 miles – when I stopped at the gas station between my warmup and the half marathon course, the gas station guy asked me, “Do you run happy?” At first, I was really confused. Then I realized I was wearing my Brooks running shirt that said Run Happy. I laughed a bit, said “Yeah I do,” and left.

But his comment stuck with me. On my warmup, I had been thinking about how tired my legs felt and how I didn’t know if I could run 13 more miles. “I don’t know if I can do this.” That phrase sounded like something I’ve said about the Christian life. “I don’t know if I can do this.” I’ve discovered that the remedy to that is to depend on God – because guess what? I’m not expected to be able to do it. God wants me to admit my need and look to Him for strength and sufficiency, not within myself. Why would running be any different?

And that’s where I get hung up. For some reason, I have a really hard time believing that God cares about running. It’s the same way I had felt about my eating habits – my struggle seemed so trivial, so vain. Why would God want to be involved? How could I ask His blessing and help with something that is clearly my own undertaking or doing?

I often think about the quote from Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire: “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Well, God didn’t make me fast but He did give me a love for endurance sports. When running doesn’t suck, I really do love it. So why wouldn’t God care about it?

It’s my own mental block so I won’t go any further into my own struggle. I believe that the truth (whether I can truly buy it or not) is that God cares about everything we care about. There’s nothing too trivial or menial or vain to Him. And He wants to be involved in every single aspect of our lives, whether that is running or reading or cleaning our house or working at our job. Especially when it’s something that I spend so much time doing, thinking about and writing about. I want to involve God in my running, despite all of my objections about why He shouldn’t want to or why it’s “not worthy” of being prayed for.

So I’m praying for it. I’m acting in light of what I objectively know to be truth, regardless of how I feel subjectively. I see that training for a marathon can be an opportunity for my faith to grow. Instead of entertaining “What if’s?” about my ability and race conditions, I can run to God in faith. Faith that He will sustain me to race day. Faith that no matter what happens, God is ultimately the one in charge and is actively working everything together for my good. Faith to remember that running doesn’t define me – it’s something I do but it’s not who I am. 

I’m also praying for the grace to be thankful. That’s what was so convicting about the gas station guy’s comment – Do I run happy? Well, actually, no I don’t. Most of the time when I’m out running, I’m complaining and whining (to myself) about this ache and that twinge, my slow pace, the bug swarms, the d@mn traffic, the stupid gits in my way, etc. etc.

There’s a verse in 1 Timothy that reads:

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4-5 ESV)

Thanksgiving is the key to receiving things in faith. So my desire above all, more than a fast pace or race goals or a perfect training plan, is that my running – and life – would reflect how grateful and thankful I am to God for His provision. It’s His blessing that I have the time, energy, resources and desire to be out there, pushing my physical body to its limits. It’s His blessing that I haven’t gotten injured or sick. His blessing that I get to run my first marathon in Alaska, of all places.

Circumstances don’t create joy or rob us of it. It’s our perspective that does.

My wonderful husband

20 Aug

Marriage is like life. There are times when everything is falling apart around you and you feel like you can’t take even just one more step or your entire life might implode. Then there are times when everything is going right. You feel at peace with the world, you enjoy little things that you usually don’t notice, and you feel like your life is better than you deserve.

Right now, I’m in one of those happy times with Travis. Marriage hasn’t always been coming-up-roses. There have been hard times when I wondered WHY is marriage so HARD? There have been times when I really couldn’t handle being in the same room as the man I married. There have been countless times when I have broken down in a fit of sobs because I so fail to be the wife I want to be.

And while I still have not attained to being the wife I want to be, I have to praise the Lord for what our marriage is. Travis has been so amazing to me in the past couple of months that I am just in awe of the man I married. He cooks me dinner when I get home utterly exhausted from a long work trip. He buys me flowers just because he knows I like them. He cleans the house and does laundry when I don’t have the time. He tells me he loves me and that I’m a wonderful wife (even if I don’t *quite* believe that last part). He supports my interests and hobbies. He doesn’t get mad when I cook tofu for dinner instead of steak.

In short, he is just absolutely incredible.

When Travis and I first started dating, I remember feeling amazed at who Travis was. How he treated me with respect and love, how he went out of his way to make me feel special, how his character remained solid even in the face of temptation and badgering. I felt so blessed by God because Travis truly was everything I had wanted in a man – so much so that I really hadn’t thought a man like Travis even existed. But he did.

But despite it being Travis doing all the sweet, thoughtful things for me, I know that our marriage is God’s work. It is God who has been our hope during the hard times, softened our hearts when we wanted so much to be spiteful, kept our commitment to one another firm when it seemed like we were so at odds, given us love for one another when our hearts felt dry and barren. God has given us so much and I can honestly say that I don’t know how couples make it in marriage without God. And not just believing that God exists but calling upon His strength and wellsprings of love day after day, week after week.

Because of God’s grace, I am committed to Travis until death do us part. I am committed to supporting and loving him, to encouraging and respecting him, for our entire lives together. But when I feel so in love with Travis like I do now, when his smile gives me butterflies, his touch comforts me, and his thoughtfulness melts my heart, I feel God pouring so much of His grace into my lap that it is overflowing and covering the floor. I feel God’s work in my life, creating these emotions that my stone-hearted person of flesh doesn’t have naturally. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve Travis. I don’t deserve redemption or eternal life. But that’s the kind of God we have – the kind who gives and gives and gives and doesn’t expect anything back. The kind who gives the most at the times when we are the least deserving.

Before Travis and I were engaged, I struggled a lot with believing that God could bless me through a man. My only experience with guys had been heartbreak and disappointment. But God has proven over and over that He can indeed bless me through whatever means He wants – and I praise Him that He has chosen one of those ways to be my husband.