This last week I’ve had a hard time getting out the door by 5:00 to run. The cold weather is anything but motivating. In fact, last week I only ran once.

Last night I was determined to set myself up for success for this morning’s run. I pre-programmed my coffee pot to start brewing at 4:30, laid my warmest running clothes out, along with my favorite socks and shoes. When my alarm went off this morning I knew I had no excuse. I got up, got dressed, had my coffee and instantly felt like a new person (I might rely on coffee a little too much). I drove to Flo’s house, where we usually start our run, and was greeted by the rest of our group. Seeing them dressed in their running gear, ready to go, always energizes me and gets me in the mood to run. A friend that I run with four days a week gave everyone the cutest, most ingenious Christmas present ever. I had to take a picture of it to remember to make them for friends next year.

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Gel packs wrapped in a hankerchief! Such a clever gift for a runner.

Ok, at this point I was glad I got up. I have a great crew that I run with; they inspire me and get me presents. Wait, that’s not the right thing to say, is it?

But really, I do have a great crew. This morning we ran a 5k, which is my least favorite distance to run because I don’t enjoy running fast. I got off to a good start, but had trouble with congestion and ended up falling behind. The same friend that gave out Christmas presents stayed behind with me and helped me finish this morning’s run.

All of this gets me thinking about the season and the love Christ has for us; agape love. Sacrificial love. Typically this time of year I’m so busy thinking about shopping, cooking and making the holiday perfect that I forget the true meaning of Christmas. That we’re to step back and reflect on the love God has for us, so much love that He came down from heaven to save us all. And to do that He made the ultimate sacrifice, to die so that we may live.

Of course, He is alive and today we are called to live sacrificially, as He did. We can do that in our day to day lives. We can do that on our morning runs. We can do that in the toy store, the grocery store, around the fireplace or around the Christmas tree.

Sometimes a bad run can humble you and bring you to the place you need to be spiritually. It certainly did for me. Christmas is more than presenls, candy, stockings and reindeer. It’s Jesus.

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Upping the Mileage (and what it feels like to be beat by a 71 year old runner)

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that during my marathon training this time around I have a goal other than to “just finish.”  In January I had zero thoughts of a time goal, I just wanted to get through the race in one piece. I took my time and had fun; it was Disney World! It ended up taking me (don’t laugh) 6 hours and 20 minutes. This time around I have a goal in finishing under 6 hours. That sounds impossible considering most people struggle to take just 2-3 minutes off of their marathon times, but at Disney I spent 20 minutes waiting in line for the bathroom several times. My time was slowed way down because I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t push myself because I didn’t know if my body could actually do it. This time around I have a better grasp on bathroom breaks, water breaks, nutrition breaks. etc. and find every minute to be valuable.

This week my training is getting serious. I am to the point in my training where I need to start logging approximately 30 miles a week, and I’m almost there.

My training this week will be as follows:

  • Monday: 4 Miles
  • Tuesday: 5 Miles
  • Wednesday: 3 Miles/Cross Train (weights)
  • Thursday: 4 miles
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 9 Miles
  • Sunday: Rest/Cross Train (cycling)

My marathon training last year looked something like this:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Run 45 minutes- 1 hour
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Run 45 minutes- 1 hour
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Long Run (eventually working up to 20 miles)
  • Sunday: Weights

Looking back, I really wasn’t running enough last year. Even now I’m still building up my endurance; I would eventually like to be able to run about 50 miles per week. Little by little I will get there.

This weekend I was really encouraged and inspired by a woman that I run with. She is 71 years old and can outrun just about anyone I know. She’s been running for 40 years and is simply one of the best. She wasn’t naturally a great runner, she worked hard to become one. It’s very humbling to run with a 71 year old woman (when I myself am not yet 25) and have her smoke you. It’s not just humbling, it’s incredibly inspiring. And with that  a thought hit me, “I am young. I am capable. I can push myself harder and I can be great.”

With proper nutrition and dedicated training, I know I will become better. My 71 year old running partner gave me some wisdom this morning: “It’s not the pounds that get heavier, it’s the years.” I have a few more good years in me, and I’m going to put them to good use. I want to wake up at 71 years old and be able to outlast a bunch of 20-some year old runners myself.

 

 

Just Keep Running

Sometimes after a big race it’s hard to get back in the swing of training. This has been me for the last two months. I’ve been stuck running 3-4 miles 3x a week and not pushing myself to go any further. After the marathon, I experienced a sort of runner’s depression. I’m a newbie, it was my first big race and I wasn’t sure how to get back into the swing of training after completing such a big goal of mine. My body was tired, and my head wasn’t in the game. 

Yesterday I watched a documentary on the Badwater Ultramarathon, and of course it flipped that little switch in the back of my mind that made me crave more (not that that is something I’ll be attempting any time soon). I realized that to keep on trucking I need to continue to sign up for races. Races make me train, they give me a goal. I’m still waiting for the day when I’ll wake up and go run 25 miles just for the sake of running, but sadly that day hasn’t arrived yet. 

Next up on my list is the Williams Lake 10k Trail Challenge next month. This will be a fun race and my first ever trail run which I am SO looking forward to! 

Just have to keep moving. Complacency is no state to live in. Bigger challenges stretch my faith, I want to rely on Him more.