Sunday, March 13, 2011

Running the Race

I will admit it.  I have been quite down lately.  Exhausted.  Burned out.  Stressed.  Frustrated.  On any given day lately, I can assure you that I felt at least one - but usually a combination - of these things.  I have felt very little motivation to do much of anything.  We've just concluded a series at church called The DNA of Joy, but my life lately could have been a series called The DNA of Joyless.  I really enjoyed the series and I took a lot out of it.  But do you ever have moments in your life where most of what's happening is counter to what you're learning and what you're striving for??  That's been me lately.

Time to change.  There will by JOY in my life...but it's going to involve more effort on my part!

Ron has been a very good support for me.  He's always trying to encourage me.  This weekend he finally succeeded in getting me to do something I've been putting off - EXERCISING!  Yes, I have been known to exercise, but let's just say it hasn't been a big part of my life.  He's quick to point out that getting some exercise might help with a lot of those feelings I've been having.  Not to mention the health benefits.

A friend of mine inspired me last year when she did a Couch to 5K (C25K) running program.  It apparently didn't inspire me enough to actually get up off my behind and commit to doing the C25K myself, but that's another story.  However, this same friend (a 30 year old mother of FOUR beautiful kids, the oldest of whom is our God-Daughter) stayed true to her program and ran her first half-marathon this year!  Not only that, but she just ran her second half this month!  WOW!!  So now I'm beyond impressed with her and have taken a look at my life...again...and, with Ron's encouragement, have actually moved beyond considering starting my own C25K program, but actually DID start my own C25K program!!

I've been thinking a lot about our church series about Joy and how my life has seemed anything but joyful lately.  I don't like it.  I don't want to feel joyless.  I want to have joy in my life again.  So much of what I learned involves taking a look at my own actions - I need to motivate myself into the right attitude.  So, I'm working on it.  I'm starting with exercising.  I'm exercising for me.  For my family.  For God.

I wanted to be accountable for my program and see at a glance what my progress is.  Like my friend, I began using for just this purpose.  You can find me HERE.  You can plot your routes on a map and the map will calculate your distance.  You can add your workouts, whether it's walking, running, or another form of exercise.  You track your time, pace, distance, etc. all in one place.  In addition, you can post your workouts to social networking sites.  It's just that sort of post by my friend which helped to get me motivated.  How about this??  Scroll down this very blog and down on the right-hand side, I've added widgets for both Ron and myself so you can see our progress on our daily mile sites!!

My goal right now is feeling better.  I want to feel "normal".  I want to not be so exhausted and burned out all the time.  I want to feel healthier.  My main motivation right now is not to run a half-marathon.  Honestly, I don't know if that will ever be a goal of mine.  You never know, but right now it's not on the radar for me.  Sure, a 5K someday would be nice.  Right now, I'm just trying to pace myself through my little 2.13 mile course.  It is tough.  I have done this course twice now.  It's a brisk 5 minute walk followed by 8 reps of alternating 60 seconds running with 90 seconds brisk walking.  That's enough of a challenge for me right now. I am giving it everything I've got just to make it home!  We'll see how it goes and week 2 will bring.

Yesterday was day 1.  It was very strenuous.  I felt like jello when it was over.  Ron went with me, as did Moira.  She rode her bike ahead of us.  Same thing today.  The difference today was the addition of my iPod.  Let me tell you, that made a HUGE difference.  I created a C25K playlist before heading out today and actually was amazed at the difference.  I was 46 seconds longer today, but I was starting out with sore muscles from yesterday.  I chose a variety of songs from my "Christian" music library in iTunes.  I set it on shuffle and it was actually quite interesting how it played out.  I had a couple songs thrown in that weren't as fast paced, and they actually played when I was entering a walking segment!  It really helped to pace me.  Just as I left the 8th running segment and headed into my 8th walking segment, which became the final walk towards home, I heard Martin Chalk singing "I am free to run....." (the song is called "I am Free").  I smiled.  The whole run/walk today I listened to the music and the words to the songs.  I mouthed the words to the songs as I ran.  I decided I might want to not sing out loud.  I drew strength from the music at times just to get me through those challenging 60 second running segments.  Believe me, they were a challenge.  I had Ron and Moira with me, but I was also in my own little world with my iPod.  I felt like I had an extra little praise and worship session on this beautiful Sunday!

I have a long road ahead on this C25K journey, but I feel a little bit of a victory for just having mustered up the motivation to start the program.  Looking forward to the challenges ahead.  Looking forward to seeing where this C25K journey leads me.

Hebrews 12:1 (New Living Translation)

 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

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