Sunday, June 29, 2014

Going Out Too Fast

Col 1:10 "And we pray this in order than you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way:  bearing fruit in every good work and growing the knowledge of God."

I want to know my Heavenly Father, and it is the desire of my heart to please Him.  My struggle will always be the desire to please myself, though.  I want to do things my own way and on my own time.  This is so natural for me, that I don't even realize that I do it.  What is amazing about following Christ, though, is that He gives us a new nature.  We are children of God, and when we "walk in His spirit", we can lay aside our ways and follow a new path.  This path leads to life.  How do I know this?  Because I have, at times in my life, laid it ALL on the line to follow His righteousness, sacrificing goals and ambitions for what seemed like nothing at all to find blessing and abundance down the road.  An example would by my sweet family.  Sometimes it's hard to follow righteousness.  But, God promises in 2 Peter that He has given us EVERYTHING we need for a life of Godliness through His divine power.

Running is OFTEN used in the Bible to represent the Christian life.  As I train for my marathon, I really want to reflect on the similarities of training for a race and training for Godliness.  I hope to share these reflections along the way.  The first that I thought of this week, is "Going out too fast in a race or a run."  We have all done that.  Gotten so caught up in the excitement of wanting a PR run or just the environment of the race that we don't listen to our bodies.  We don't use the knowledge we have to pace ourselves.  We get a little "puffed up" and think we are capable of so much more what our preparation has provided us.  At the end, we hit the wall, maybe even quit.  Certainly, we do not finish strong and maybe not at all.

“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24)

As I seek to grow in my relationship with Jesus, I often find myself going out too fast, going in my own strength, not thinking about the entire race, not thinking about what I will need to get me through to the end.  Oh, the days I have skipped reading His word, neglected prayer and then expected to walk in His holiness with my kids or to be patient when someone is unkind.  It's like going out for a run without eating or drinking before hand.  Sometimes I will get my emotional high at church, think how I am going to do things differently the coming week.  I go out too fast, only to hit the wall by Wednesday and barely make it to the weekend.  To finish and maintain this spiritual race, we need to listen for the Holy Spirit (like listening to our bodies when we run), we need to fuel during the run (prayer and His word), we need pace ourselves (apply the knowledge He has given us to our daily lives), AND we need not compare ourselves to the other runners around us (each relationship with Christ is unique).

May I continue to run THIS race, not give up, and complete the task the LORD Jesus has given me.

My marathon training has OFFICIALLY started today.  I know I mentioned that I was doing the "Run Less Run Faster" plan, but I tried it out this week, and I don't think my body can handle so many demanding workouts every week.  So, plan B is tried and true, Hal Higdon.  I am doing a combination plan.  I am using the Advanced 1 plan so I can continue to do my speed and tempo runs, but I am doing the Novice 2 for the long run portions.  I think I will have two twenty milers this training cycle.  I have every run scheduled!  So not like me. :)  Very excited though.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Run THIS Race: My First Marathon

I finally talked myself into running a marathon!  I have been going back and forth with this notion for the last few years, and I finally feel ready physically AND most importantly mentally.   I think it is funny that I am came to this decision as the last few months I have really tried to stop obsessing so much about running and races and running blogs.  I was eating, sleeping, living on running.  I felt distracted when I was with my kids and husband.  I felt really convicted about it, so I stopped reading running blogs or anything at all related to running.  I stayed off the internet and social media sites.  I even gave up TV for a week to just allow God to refocus my mind.  AND He did.   He is so good like that.  Running is a gift from Him, but nothing should be put before Him or my family.  It's amazing how easily we can lose sight of that.

So, how did I come to the conclusion to run a marathon?  Really, it was from a patient of mine.  A 53 year old male who I had the privilege to care for last month.  He was diagnosed with advanced paratid cancer with mets to the spine.  I took care of him and transferred him to rehab with the intention of hospice.  I remember asking him about his family, if he had grandchildren and he looked at me and said, "That is why I have to fight this, so I can see them some day."  He had 3 girls all under the age of 21.  Last Wednesday, when I got to work, I saw that he was back in the hospital and on my patient list.  It was not looking good.  The doctor had told him he had hours left, maybe days.  When I went into his room, he was alert, talking on his cell phone and asking questions about his care.  Within hours, he was non-responsive.  The family was brought in.  His daughters were by his side in tears.  He woke up for a few moments and responded to them.  "Daddy, can you hear us?"  "Daddy we love you so much."  He acknowledged them.  I started a morphine drip to ease his breathing.  Within a few more hours, he was gone.  I walked out of his room to officially tell the family of his passing, and everyone just broke down weeping.  We were all heartbroken.  I have never seen someone go that fast.  It made me think about how SHORT our time on this earth really is.  I got home that night, and cried.

Over the next few days, I thought more and more about my life.  I feel like I am always looking ahead and maybe missing out on the NOW.  I want to be 100% with my kids.  I want to 100% with my husband.  With running I want to be 100% but at the right time.  I just felt like marathon time is now or never.  I have wanted to do this for a long time.  My husband and I talked about it, and I am registered to run the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon.  I officially start training in 1 week.  I am using the Run Less Run Faster Boston Qualifying training plan.  Do I really expect to qualify for Boston my first marathon?  I don't know, but I am going to try and do my best.  THAT is what matters more than my race time.  I am using this training plan, because it seems more manageable with my family.

This race is so much more than 26.2 miles.  It is a mini reflection of running the race of life.  Every moment is a gift from our Heavenly Father, even the most challenging and difficult ones.  I am learning and striving to be present in each and every one of them.