Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Weighty Issue

It started in November of 2012.  I couldn't eat.  I mean, my world had been upended.  The Mr. had walked away.  I didn't notice it at first.  Those first few pounds rarely are noticed, most especially when you are 80 pounds overweight.  (According to the BMI chart that is.)  By Thanksgiving of that year I noticed that my clothes were fitting just a bit looser. Then I thought, why not?  Why not start exercising? At first I did it for all the wrong reasons.  I thought what if I could loose weight, that would make him change his mind, right?  No.  It didn't.  But I didn't stop trying.  Work out after work out I spent thinking I could win him back by changing the way I look.  I mean that was a reason he ran away in the first place.  Come New Year's I had lost 22 pounds.  Yes, all because of my situation.

In the end it didn't work, but my desire to stay in shape had been formed.  I started to run.  Slowly at first.  I mean I couldn't even run a mile straight without dying.  Ok, that is obviously stretching it a bit, but you know what I mean.  It was hard.  It stunk. I did NOT want to continue, but continue I did.  Each time I could I would run.  Before church, after work, when the Littles went to bed.  Then I started running more and doing the work out videos less.  By March I had decided to run my first 5k, the Mastodon Stomp.  You can read about it here.  I had started with the goal of 30:00 minutes.  To me that was highly aggressive.  I beat that goal.  Then I set another and, well, I won't deny you the journey through that post.

By June of 2013 I had crushed that goal, lost another 25 pounds and was working on improving my per mile time.  I had learned the art of healthy eating, but an injury had set me back.  Well that, and some choices that I made that weren't the best for me, though I didn't see it at the time.  I hit a plateau.  I was going no where and getting there faster.  I started to give up.  I mean, I still had a way to go to get to that size the chart said I needed to be.  However, I lived in the land of mediocrity where my exercising was concerned because, well, I had found "happiness".  It took another kung-fu move to my heart to get me to snap out of my funk and focus on me again.  To focus on the thing that I had found that I loved.

Running.  By this  time I had committed to a half-marathon and training for that needed to start. It did.  I learned a lot about myself.  I found my true passion, distance.  Miles.  Me.  My shoes. The open road.  A treadmill when necessary.  But miles.   And so, I kept going.  Pushing harder and harder.  Learning more and more about what I could do and focusing more and more on my nutrition and the art of the run.  By Thanksgiving of 2013, a year pretty much from the weight loss journey's beginning, I had lost a total of 61 pounds. 

And that is where I am today, in a frustrating yo-yo of weight loss.  I've gained a couple pounds, I've lost a couple more.  I've hit yet another plateau.  It is a goal to lose the final poundage, to get where the charts say I need to be, but for the most part I want to be healthy.  I want to be in a spot where I can successfully run the marathon I am training for.  I don't want to look sickly, I want to look healthy.  It is my main goal.  Mostly, I just want to be happy in my own skin.  I'm almost there.  Almost.  I've come a long way and I'm pleased with what my hard work and determination has done to my appearance, but over all I just want to be healthy.  I want to show my Littles that making wise choices with food and combining that with physical activity can help them achieve goals.  I want to be around to watch them grow and achieve those goals.

So, as I continue on this journey, the one with me, myself, and I, I hope to be an inspiration to someone.  Even if that someone is the person I see in the mirror every morning.  To all of you out there who think it is something  you can't do.  That it is too hard.  I just want you to know, a 15 minute mile and a 7 minute mile are still a mile.  You have no one to beat, but yourself.  You've got this! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

So, I'm Running A Marathon

I'm going to be up front here, people are going to get mightily fed-up with hearing about my marathon.  Me, I can't wait.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm scared senseless.  I mean, the farthest I have ever ran at a given time is just shy of 18 miles.  This is 26.2!  YIKES!  That is a LOT of ground to cover at once.  I have a few goals for myself.  I am not sure if they are considered aggressive or not because I've not ran a race like this before. Regardless, my goals are below:

1) It is important to know that I am not qualifying for Boston.  I do not have a desire to qualify for Boston.  In fact, my biggest goal is to finish the race in an upright position!  So, that is goal number one; to cross the finish line with my own strength.

2) When I ran my first half I kind of had this lofty goal.  Then I was "educated" by others who have ran them before and I kind of adjusted my goal.  Let's just say I learned a lot on that race.  First, you have to know what your true pace is.  You have to know when to pick up that pace.  You have to know exactly when you need to re-energize and when you don't.  So, that is goal number two; to know my pace and my splits and to know when I should increase. 

3) I've always been one to enjoy short races, 5k specifically.  The goal of a 5k is to go as fast as you can for 3.1 miles.  I have always trained that way.  In fact, I had gotten to the point where I could run that race in under 23 minutes.  There is a BIG difference in a 5k and a Marathon.  I'm not Kenyan.  I will not be finishing it is some supersonic speed induced time.  So, that is goal number three; to finish the race in under 5 hours.  Knowing this helps with #2. (Perhaps I should have switched the two around?!)

Yep, there you have it, my goals.  Only 3 of them.  No more, no less.  I'm sure that brings out the novice in me, but at the same time I don't want to ruin the fun of the run by overpowering it with the math and science that goes into it.  Now, I do have a laundry list of questions and concerns.  They include, but are not limited to:

1) Attire. What on Earth am I going to wear?!  Really!  The location of this marathon is in a place where there could quite easily be a foot of snow on the ground or budding trees and the way Mother Nature has been working this winter I am unsure what to expect!  On top of that, do I want to wear my normal running clothes or go out of my norm and get some of those cute stylish things I see all over the Internet.  Yes, this is an epic question.  One I am sure no male running the race has to face.

2) Shoes.  I have recently (as in just a couple days ago) bought a new pair of shoes.  I tried to hold out, but after my 13.1 training run on Saturday my feet let me know on Sunday that it was time. Sadly, Mizuno no longer makes my favorite go-to shoe.  So I bought their newest one.  Yes, they feel different, but come on they have no miles on them (well they do now) and the old ones had over 400!  So, I'm hoping to get these puppies broke in during my training.  Yet, with all the training (another 4 months of it) It will literally be time for a new pair.  Do I get another pair at the half way  mark and start breaking those in?  AHHHHHH....see the science is getting to me!

3) Nutrition and supplements.  Energy gels, potassium pills, water, food.  When to take it?  What to take?  Is there a better option out there?  I am a person who cannot run with anything in my stomach.  Really! I actually get violently ill.  I can hardly run with water in my system.  The sloshing around makes me want to blow chunks at whomever happens to be the unfortunate soul around me.  Oh, it has nothing to do with them, but the sorry fact that I have a finicky tummy.  Gross, I know.  I can run a half no problem with nary a drink and definitely no food, but a full?  It is so overwhelming. I know it sounds simple enough, but for me, not so much.  In fact, I posted this question to one of the running groups I follow on FB and this is the link that I was referenced to.

4) Biology.  Alright, I've already discussed the fact that I wanted to keep the math and science out of it, but there is one thing that scares me to death.  Biology.  You non-runners have absolutely NO CLUE the meaning of this.  Truth of it is quite icky, but there is a reason longer runs have many strategically placed port-a-pits along the course.  No, these are NOT for the spectators.  Have you ever done anything strenuous for countless hours and not had the need for a bio break?  Exactly.  This is a ginormous fear.  What if I'm between those strategically placed eww packed blessings?  See.  I know.  Shake your head if you must, but read this article and you will understand.  My new vocabulary word is Probiotic. 

5) Training.  It stands to reason that the easiest way to train for a race is to run, right?  I mean, that IS what I will be doing for the better part of 5 hours (hopefully), but I don't think that running is the only thing to do.  When should I start?  (Don't worry, I already have!) How often should I train?  Do I have to stick adamantly to a specific schedule?  Can I create my own?  What about the fact there is so much snow and ice out there that I have to train on a treadmill until at least March?  Yes, you understand now, right?  Anyhow, the same running group referred me to this site for a good training program. 

Alright, there you have it.  I'm training for a Marathon.  Perhaps I will remember to write a couple posts along the way, you know to share with you all (those who aren't constantly reminded by my FB feed) how I'm coming along.  Time to get this thing started.  I just have to remember, they are only miles and I'm running it for myself.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Where Could He Be?

She searched and searched and searched and still she couldn't find him.

"Where could he be, Lord?" She asked. "Does he even exist?"

These are the questions that plague her, morning and night.  She is consumed by them really.  She longs to find that person who is to be her forever someone. She reads everything she can, listens to everyone around her, and yet she feels no closer to the answer than when she started.

"Give it time and wait for the Lord." her friends say.
"Become an A+ kind of woman." her pastor says.
"You don't need anyone but yourself." her coworker says.
"Just go out and have fun." others say.

Still the tears soak her pillow daily.  Still the loneliness of her circumstance overwhelms her logical thought.  Still she longs to have that thing that was stolen from her.  Still she is no closer to the healing her heart needs.  She is broken on the inside.  Millions of little pieces that do not even know how to begin putting themselves back together.  Fear of never getting to have the opportunity to share life with another debilitates her.  Knowing that forever isn't in everyone she meets doesn't ease the pain, because there is the uncertainty that there even a man out there for her. 

"Faith and trust are what you need." she read and heard in the past 12 hours.  Faith that your heart's desires are heard and trust that the Lord knows what he is doing.

It isn't that, or is it?  Does she truly trust the Lord in this area?  Does she even know what it would look like if the Lord brought it into her life? 

"It shouldn't feel like work.  It shouldn't have struggle and pain and frustration.  If it was meant to be the details wouldn't break you."  she heard today in an inspirational video.

And that is where she is at.  Lost in the details.  Focusing on the fact that there is pain and strife and longing and wishing and hoping and chasing.  Knowing that second place is the only spot she will ever have and first place isn't reserved for Jesus alone where she is.  She needs to step aside and to let it go.  She needs to release the expectation and want for a future with this person who quite simply cannot give her the one she wants.

So she is back to the searching.  The looking  and the hoping.  The bawling and the emptiness.  She is back to wondering why she isn't good enough, loved enough, perfect enough, wanted enough.  She is back to thinking is life on this earth even worth it, because her broken heart hurts to much to go on one more day. 

Why? Will there ever be someone out there to love me?  The way that I need to be loved?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

When Forgiveness Brings Forth Acceptance

I had an interesting conversation with an old friend today.  You see, I'm still caught on this whole "I am divorced" thing.  I have in a few earlier posts shown great strength and the proof that there is life after divorce, but for the past couple of months I have really struggled.  I mean REALLY struggled. I want to, more than anything, put forth my best face.  I want to prove that I don't need anyone and that I am a strong, independent woman who needs no man.  Truth of it is, I really don't need a man, but I sure do miss being married.  I miss the companionship.  I miss knowing that I am someone that another chose to spend their life side-by-side with.

I hate dating.  It stinks.  It isn't so much the being me part that stinks, it is revealing that part of me to another.  It's kind of like shopping.  Who am I kidding it is a lot like shopping.  I have an insane love of running shoes.  (Perhaps almost as crazy as my love of boots.) I can spend hours scouring running stores and online running sites looking at shoes. There are many, many styles that are visually appealing, but lack the necessary support for my foot.  In the long run, quite literally, they do not hold up.  I end up getting hurt and can't run for a while due to an injury.  Truth of it is, the best shoe for me is one that most people over look.  It is really kind of plain, but man it's like running on air and my feet are totally in heaven.  These are the ones that I get.  Over and over and over. Don't worry, I do have a point.  You should all know this by now.

Back to our conversation, one that was spurred on by what is acceptable communication while dating and what is not.  (I've been told there are no exact rules for this, it is up to the people involved.  JOY! NOT) Which then lead into me blaming my current woes on the ex Mr.  I've come to that.  I hate that I have.  I have come to the point where I blame where I am on the choices that he made.  I know this is wrong.  I know that I should not base my happiness or life on something that was done to me, but there are times when the girl in me comes out and my humanness takes over my rational thinking. Truth of it is, I blame the angst of dating on him.  I mean I wouldn't be faced with it if he hadn't walked away.  My friend, who ALWAYS calls a spade a spade simply told me this:  "You need to forgive him and let it go."

LET IT GO?  WHAT?  I mean that makes it sound like its a balloon and I just have to release it into the air.  It isn't that easy, is it?  My rebuttal, one that I felt was quite profound and well placed.  "I guess forgiving him would mean I have to accept I may never have love again."  My friend laughed at this and told me to give it time to let God work.  Me, in my infinite wisdom walked right into the next bit of the conversation.  I said that I am being reminded that it is going to take a miracle (since I'm getting so old).  To which my friend told me that's good because, "you happen to serve a God of miracles."  So here is the thing - don't get into an argument with a friend that has a DEEP walk with God - you'll lose every time!

Seriously though, a few hours plus a 10 mile run later has given me time to think on this.  You know what?  I do serve a God of miracles.  And, if I am completely honest with myself, I do need to forgive and let go. Not in the least for the ex Mr.'s benefit, but for mine.  Yes, he did steal away a lot of hopes, dreams, and future adventures, but my friend may just have it right.  If my God can raise the dead, help the blind to see, help the lame to walk, turn water into wine, and forgive me, then yes, not only can I forgive the ex Mr., but God can perform the miracle that I am so desperately wanting.

I think the hardest part is that God's timing is NOT the same as ours.  Our life is merely a blip on the map of eternity and God has no urgency in any matter other than us coming to know Him personally.  While I can only see my present and dwell on my past, He can see my entire future.  The one He has mapped out perfectly for me, that is if I leave the choice to Him.  Now, I think to discount my hurt and pain would not be what He wants.  I think what He wants is for me to give it to Him, daily.  Heaven's hourly or even by the minute if need be, because what I'm really needing to accept in all of this is His unfailing love for me

I need to accept more than my present, I need to place trust into the one person who designed my future.  I need to accept that He will not fail me.  He will not let me go.  He wants to perform the miracle that I'm eagerly searching for.

I've got some forgiving to do.

Love, M

Monday, January 6, 2014

Snowed In

I live in that part of the country that received a healthy portion of snow over the past 24 hours.  Then, to add insult to injury, we dropped 40 degrees and the wind has been less than kind. In other words, it has been brutal.  In all, the total effect has resulted in the state (or at least my portion of it) being closed down.  Now, I can tell you that as an adult snow days are not only welcomed, but secretly wished for.  That is, if you have something to do other than dig yourself out of the snow.  When they are bored I usually tell my Littles to "find" something.  I mean, they have just about anything a child could want:  books, coloring books, crayons, tablets, movies (well they have to come to a collective agreement since we only have 1 TV), toys, etc.  Seriously, they should be able to keep busy, right?  Yet, here I am struggling with boredom. 

You see, I've been here, in my home, all alone for 4 days.  This is the weekend the Littles were at their dad's, but the weather has shut the roads down so they got an extra day there.  The point I am trying to make is that all of this "down time" has really impressed upon me the truth of how much we fill our lives with things.  Me included.  Each day I have sought something to fill my time.  Granted the weather helped because I shoveled, quite literally for hours over the past two days, but it was the other times.  I don't watch TV and I found myself sitting there filling time doing that.  I have a lot of books that need read, but I couldn't focus on any of them - I tried.  I read one of my running magazines, well started to.  I ran on the treadmill a couple of times.  I played games on my tablet.  Had several conversations with people via texting and still I am bored.  Still I find that the one thing that I am searching for is not here.

Yesterday church was canceled due to the weather and so Pastor was kind enough to share the message outline on Facebook for us.  At first I was so focused on being sad church was canceled that I really didn't take mind of what he shared.  In fact, it wasn't until today that it made any sense to me.  I think God is pretty awesome that way.  He can show us in ways that are very specific to us just exactly how special his word is.  Pastor's message: Scripture for today - Mark 6:31: "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Now, Pastor has 4 points to this: 1. Come with Me. 2. By yourself. 3. A quiet place. 4. Get some rest.   I am sure he would have taken this a completely different direction, but this is what I gleaned from the passage.

1. Come with Me.  Jesus said Seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened, and ask and you shall receive.  He leaves the choice to us.  He wants us to come with Him.  The Holy Spirit prompts us to follow Him.  He wants us to travel with Him, daily, on this journey called life so that when we get to the end of it we will be at His Father's house.  You know, in these 4 days I didn't spend as much time with Him as I should.  It seems that for me, the easiest time to do so is when I am completely spun.  When my thinking and emotion is so out of sorts that I have to neutralize it with the truth of His word.  Kind of makes me wonder if I could prevent getting there by simply going to Him on a consistent basis.  I know He will never lead me astray. 
2. By yourself.  It isn't that God doesn't want us to have corporate worship (go to church), but He longs for a personal relationship.  He wants to know us individually, intimately.  In fact, that is what He wants us to do with Him - know Him intimately and individually.  Now, I take my Littles to church.  I pray with them and for them.  I have tried to show them what a relationship with God looks like, but I can only show them how one looks like for me.  They are going to have to develop that relationship personally for themselves.  I pray I have done them right.  In the same token, I know that I can not have a "rubbed off" relationship.  Meaning, I am not 'saved' merely because my friends have close walks, my family does, etc.  I have to go to Him myself.  By myself.  I need to give Him MY undivided attention.  He is waiting solely for that.
3. A Quiet Place.  To be honest with you, I love the quiet.  I love when there isn't any sound in the background.  I think that is what I love so much about being in nature - the forest, the mountains, etc.  The quiet.  But, I live in a house with three very LOUD little girls.  I don't get quiet. In fact, we usually have the radio on in the kitchen while we do everything.  There isn't much quiet around here until they go to bed.  Honestly, by that time, I too am ready for bed.  I frequently turn my XM radio off in the van as I'm driving too and from work so that I have time to talk with God.  Some days we have epic talks, others not so much.  I don't think it isn't that He doesn't have a thing to say, but that I crowd out His words with all the thoughts of the things I need to do pushing Him out.  Funny thing is, right now, these past few days, I've had a lot of quiet time.  And  yet I've tried to fill it with "something" to do. 
4. Get some rest.  Jesus said, come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.  Truth of it is, I think it is my burdens that crowd Him out the most.  I sit here and dwell on what I cannot change.  I create in my mind what isn't there and focus on what I think is.  When the truth of it is, God knows what I need more than anything.  He knows the right time in which I  need it.  In fact, He won't honor any of it until that time.  All He is asking is that I merely rest in Him.  That I stop trying on my own and let Him do what He does.  You know, He does kind of have it perfected!

Perhaps I needed to be snowed in to be reminded of what I need the most.  I think in all the busy-ness I've forgotten the most important thing of all, to give time to the one who gave me time.

Enjoy your snow day all...I know I will.

Love, M