Monday, December 26

The Heart of the Competitor

The Christian school my son attends has an amazing football team. He played football this year and grew both as a young man and competitor. The team made it into the state playoffs and finished the season as district champs for the 3rd year in a row. I learned a lot about competing watching this team and the coaches. The coaching philosophy is not the norm. Its foundation is the Word of God. The philosophy is to teach players to play football or for that fact any sport from the aspect of worship. Not self worship but Christ centered worship. What I saw from shifting the focus off of self-exaltation to Christ exaltation was something that changed the way I looked at competing forever. You would think the temptation would be for the players to become complacent about wins or losses, I mean after all it's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game right? Not at all. Actually the standard was perfection, not that we can attain to it, but that is however Christ standard. They were driven by a greater cause, they became competitors in the truest sense of the word. Not being driven or lead by the score on the board or by personal success or even failure. These young men were competitors from the inside out. It was interesting to watch the ebb and flow of emotions and drive of some of the other teams they played based on the score board. A true competitor is not someone who competes for a number on a board or for a prize but rather they compete because that's what they are. Competitors. Warriors. Fighters. (Below are the nine core values used on the team)
1. Called to Love
2. Relationship Driven
3. Servant Leadership
4. Humility - Be the First to Give All
5. Live Lives of Sacrifice
6. Success is measured in how we “Close the Gap.”
7. Persevering with Eternal Perspective
8. Live with Passion
9. Love to Lose
I learned a lot about myself watching this team...I learned that although PR's are great and there's nothing wrong with striving for certain goals, pace, distance, etc...even if I achieve every goal, that's doesn't necessarily make me a competitor. It's also not the same as being competitive. Which I am not. I really find no joy in smoking someone on a race course. Don't get me wrong I love the exhilaration of crossing the finish line having accomplished my dreams, but being competitive and being a competitor at least in the sense I am speaking are different. It's in a sense a heart attitude. It's playing or running from the heart, for a cause that goes beyond ourselves, but is at the same time every bit of who we are. It's playing or running with an expression of worship.That's how I want to run with the heart of a true competitor!
As the New Year is approaching I look at my goals from the eyes of a competitor. Yes, I want that sub 2hr. half marathon, yes, I want the experience of crossing the finish line of my first marathon! I will make similar goals as last year with mileage totals and pace goals but this year will have at the heart of it;
  • Colossians 3:17—“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

  • Colossians 3:23-24—“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

  • Pressing on...
    (the nine values listed above all have bible verses with them if you are interested in the complete list let me know and I can e-mail it to you)

    Saturday, December 17

    If You Give a Mom a Marathon

    Below is a fun article I found while looking at the Wounded Warriors Half in Dallas. It appeared in Sports Day DFW and was written by Gabriella McCord. Too cute not to read.

    This may be my last post until after Christmas (we will see). So just in case, I want to wish you all a very blessed and merry Christmas.

           If You Give a Mom a Marathon

    If you give a mom a marathon, she's going write it down in her calendar and tape a training schedule to the refrigerator. She will probably get up ridiculously early to log miles, which means she'll be lurking on facebook while the rest of the world sleeps, all amped-up on coffee, looking to chat with anyone else who might be up at that hour: other runners.

    If you give a mom a marathon, she will bring home little packets of gu and stash them in her purse, her car, and her gym bag...she might leave one on the bathroom counter where one of her kids will regretfully think it's a shampoo sample.

    If you give a mom a marathon, she will meet other people training for the marathon and bond with them, which will make her feel happy. (Someone "understands" her!) And that will cause her want to bake cookies - the kind with frosting and sprinkles. Her kids will love that, especially since they won't have to share with her, since she's training for a marathon.

    If you give a mom a marathon, she will run - a lot - maybe more than she's ever run before. That will generate endorphins, extra energy and excitement, which will invariably cause her to hug her family more - even the dog - to the point of being told, "Please stop, you're hurting me".

    If you give a mom a marathon, and the weather is bad, or she misses a run for some other reason, she will exude the behavior of a rabid, caged animal. It is safest to complement her most recently-prepared meal, offer her chocolate, and back away slowly. She will, of course, resume her state of running-induced euphoria once the training has resumed and she begins receiving ample doses of the highly-addictive "runner's high".

    If you give a mom a marathon, she will reach for something bigger than herself. It will, at first, scare her, then fill her with excitement, courage, strength, and dignity. She will hang her heart on this dream through months of training, envisioning, as she folds laundry and scrubs toilets, the moment of her crossing the finish line, confident and proud. She will love that moment long after it has passed.

    If you give a mom a marathon, that feeling of love, that savory taste of accomplishment, satisfaction and validation - that love will launch her heart in a new direction. It will propel her and compel her, beckoning to her in the secrets of her soul. It will make her put a 26.2 sticker on her car.

    If you give a mom a marathon, it will make her fearless in the face of once-frightening situations. It will make her ready for anything life throws her. It will make her sign up for another

    Monday, December 12

    Week 2 Beach Ball Abs

    I have to confess I am not a fan of core training. Even as a young girl flat abs were not part of my figure. At my thinnest weight a two-pack was about as close as I could get. I have what you might call beach ball abs. No, no, I'm not being critical...I have accepted my round tummy and have become very good at sucking it in just as someone snaps a picture. When I was pregnant with my first child I gained around 26lbs. really not that much but it was ALL tummy. Complete strangers would stop me on the street and ask me if I was having twins-I kid you not! And yes, I have had the dreaded question "when is the baby due" and I was NOT pregnant!!!

    When we first moved to Texas I didn't like to drive over the high bridges. As I white- knuckled the steering wheel I would repeat over and over "I hate high-bridges" After a while I started to think this is not helping me, so instead I started saying "I love high bridges" It didn't change the way I feel about them but it seemed to make them less terrifying. So this is the way I'm going to approach Ab exercises;
    "I love core training, I love core training"

    The hardest part of core training will be timing. When do you do your core training? Before or after your run? Do you do it 2, 3 or 5 times a week? Do you have a list you follow or DVD?


    Friday, December 9

    Week 1 (Recap) Baby Steps

    It has been a great week of running! For the most part I accomplished my two goals; consistent running and quality running. Tuesday was a fail day because I let the weather drive my schedule. I put off my morning run waiting for it to "warm-up" uhhh, it never did. It was in the 30's most mornings this week. I decided to forgo doubles as it was too cold. Here's my week in a nut shell:
    Mon. 3 m. @ steady pace
    Tue. off-not planned fail :(
    Wens. 4 m. one word brrrrrr!
    Thurs. 4 m. brrrr again
    Fri. 4 m.
    Sat. Tomorrow the plan is 4 m @ steady pace.
    All my runs this week I tried to keep a good pace and good form. I also ran some of these runs with Shadow. He's a good running buddy. I had some VERY minor foot pain around Thurs. but on Fri's run my foot felt fine. It's a slow process back but I'm happy to be finishing a week of running without having to take off to rest my foot. Baby steps but progress none the less!

    Monday, December 5

    Week 1 Taking Flight

    Happy Monday everyone. Week 1 of my training program begins with great excitement about the possibilities ahead. Right now my primary focus needs to be toward re-build my weekly mileage. I plan to do that with, first, getting in consecutive days of running (something that has been very difficult the past 5 months). Re- building my mileage will come through extending my daily runs and doing double runs. I can tell my aerobic endurance (or VO2) has gone way down from where it was 5 months ago. I am thankful for cooler months ahead as it would be so tough to handle gasping for air in Texas heat y'all. Second I plan to work on quality of running during this re-building phase. Being alert to form as well as trying to keep at a reasonable pace.

    I am continuing to watch my calories and work on loosing this weight. I'm starting my week -4 lbs already! I know a lot of people who try to loose weight through running and don't. I have been one of those people and it can be so frustrating. I think in most cases its a issue of balancing enough calorie reduction while keeping fueled enough to have quality runs. Also I know of others who want to loose weight first then start running after the weight is off. I understand this thinking as it is HAWRD (that's Texas talk y'all) to carry those extra pounds around let alone run with them. But I think just the opposite-if you can handle running at a heavier weight, that will only work in your favor as your heart, lungs, and legs will become stronger through the increased work load. As the weight begins to drop, then that extra strength gained will benefit you in speed and endurance. I don't claim to know anything scientifically but it makes sense to me. I will share more specifics about my diet in future post.

    In the meantime I have a question about how you track your mileage. Before my fall I was using a Face Book app to track my mileage. This was convenient but I often thought it could be viewed as prideful. I tried Daily Mile and thought it was okay, maybe I just need to give it another try. I also thought about downloading an app on my cell. So my question is what app. do you use if any to track your miles? If you want to see some super tecky running charts then you need to check out Raina. Besides being in awe of her as a runner she uses super cool charts to track her running.

    I hope you have a great week of running - pressing-on


    Saturday, December 3

    Wind Beneath My Wings

    I found this quote recently "The captive bird that sits on its perch and sings, is wiser than the bird that flies against the wires of the cage, and tries to get out, only bruising its wings in its unavailing efforts." Since my fall in July I have felt somewhat like a captive I look back over the past few months I hope that I found contentment as I waited to be freed from the uncertainty of my future in running. There were days to be sure that I banged against the wires of the cage but hopefully in those months I managed to sing a little also.
    Here is the update and good news on the knee. After a really hard fall in July I had to take off about 4 weeks from running while my wound and knee recovered. When I returned to running I had some expected knee discomfort but what I didn't expect was this mystery pain in the ball of my foot. I assumed the two were related since it was the same leg. Over the next few weeks as I continued running the knee pain became less and the foot pain much worse. After a month or so and no relief from the pain I went into my regular doctor but didn't get much answers on my foot. I continued to try and run building up to 4 miles, but the foot pain was getting awful. So much so that I would limp while walking and the pain was chronic. I couldn't run more than 3 days without experiencing a lot of pain and needing to take Ibuprofen as well as a few days off. By now it had been almost 3 months since my fall and I was starting to feel a great deal of discouragement. My mom came for a visit in early October and as best as I tried to hide my discouragement she saw it. Her concern was not going to be brushed under the rug either. While she was here I took off from running and steadily the pain decreased confirming my fears that running was causing the pain. It was while she was here that I made an appointment with the sport doctor. Problem was I couldn't get in for a month. After she left I continued my quest to try to get back to a normal running schedule and continued to deal with the pain. In early November (after my last post) something changed...the pain just disappeared!!! I went out for a run and I had no pain, none, my foot felt normal! I almost started crying right there on the running trail. I was free...the cage door had been opened and I was soaring!!! The pain did return a little after that but not at the level it had been. Most of all I started to have days where there was no pain at all. It went from chronic pain everyday to off and was a gift straight from the Fathers hand!!! Also around this same time I had the idea to try a lower heel running shoe and after some research ordered the Saucony Triumphs-I LOVE these shoes!!! Since the lower heel promoted a more midfoot landing I noticed an immediate change in the pain level when it was there!! I truly give God the credit for the idea to try a lower profile shoe. "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him"
    Finally my appointment arrived this week with the sports doc although, I wasn't sure how it would go since I had at this point been experiencing little to no pain most days. When the doc pulled up the x-ray of my foot I don't know why but I just burst forth in praise of Gods handy-work. Seeing this amazing creation I was in awe. The sport doc did a great exam of my knee and foot and basically diagnosed me with Metatarsalgia. For me this was great news. Something that can be managed with a little pad in my shoe if I need it.
    Today I sit here completely pain free. I ran a double yesterday for total of 5 mile. I ran 3 this morning and will probably do another double today:) I am so excited to be able to get back to some real training.
    Since not being able to run much over the past 5 months (wow it's been that long) I have put on a few pounds. This is not good as I already had a few to loose. I started Monday making some changes to my diet and have already dropped 3lbs this week!
    To God alone belongs the praise for the changes that have occurred. His mercies ARE new every morning. Might I be more faithful to sing from the cage. I will update my progress on my weight loss and many more things in the coming weeks. Thanks for stopping by!

    I have wind beneath my wings!!!