Running

New 10k

I’m supposed to run a 10k this weekend.

I say SUPPOSED because it seems like races I have trained for since having The Artist do not often come to fruition due to injury. So I am hoping to run a 10k, 6.2 miles, Saturday.

It’ll be the first race I’ve run in over two years.

I’ve run inside on a treadmill and outside in the hills of our town, in my neighborhood, and around the lake at our parish park. I’ve run solo and with my running partner, in the morning, afternoon, and night – well, okay, maybe not at night. I hate running at night.

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To show you a comparison, this is my mileage from July, August, September, and October.

I haven’t run six miles yet, but I’ve run several five-mile routes. I ran 20 more miles the month of October than I did in September (and, by the way, haven’t lost a pound – but that’s probably because I really, really like my dairy and carbs).

Over the summer, I ran three miles at a time. I really didn’t venture higher in mileage than that. Summer was hard to run. The kids were home with me, and by 2 p.m., my treadmill room, which has little air circulation, was hot. Plus, to be fair, by 2 p.m. during naptime, I was tired. I wanted to take a nap, too. I ran mainly in the mornings, but it was summer. I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to go to work, so why would I do so to run? So silly.

This fall, though, Kyle decided to train for the 10k, too. And I’m a bit competitive in nature. Having him run four and five miles motivated me more, and I decided to train for the same 10k with him. It was hard at times, because for him to run, he has to wake up at 4:40 a.m. (Yes, you read that unholy time correctly.) But if he was waking up at that hour to run outside, I might as well wake up at that time to run inside.

I have always been of the school of thought that you shouldn’t increase your mileage more than 10 percent each week. But I did. Instead of running 12 miles a week, I started running 16 or 17. And, maybe because I started stretching more (though I am in no way consistent), I haven’t had an injury – yet.

And I am so excited about this race. Signing up for this particular race cost $30 – Kyle, whose longest race before now has been a 5k, couldn’t believe it was so expensive. I, on the other hand, couldn’t believe we got such a steal. It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess.

Something about standing with a bib number, feeling the jittery nerves, and hoping that you PR – it just is so exciting. You stand there, ready to race with hundreds of other runners, but, at least for me, we’re running together. I’m not competing with anyone else; my only competition is myself.

And for this particular race, my competition is a new PR. My last 10k PR was 1:08. I am not a super speedy runner by any means, and I was pregnant with The Artist at my last PR. This year, though, my goal is to make it in under an hour. And, if I don’t – well, that just means it’s time to start training for another race.

 

Jesus, Reading, Writing

A thought about prayer journals

Last week, I posted about my goal to attempt to be wiser on my 36th birthday than I was on my 35th. One of the ways to accomplish this is through prayer.

I’ve prayed in a variety of ways – written them down, spoken them, quietly meditated on the words. Back in April 2016, I started a prayer challenge where I prayed 30 minutes a day. It was refreshment for my soul – and, more importantly, those hours in prayer over those weeks helped carry me through when my dad passed away at the end of that month. I wasn’t able to pray for a while after that, but because I had spent so much time in prayer, I still felt connected with God.

Prayer changes lives. I have experienced this in my own life; I have seen it magnified in others. I do not always lead by the best example, but I do experience joy when I am praying to and praising God.

I also like to write things down (who knew, right?). Over the years, I have used a variety of tools to help organize my prayers, but I have stuck to these two because I love the format, the quality, and the heart behind the creators of these two journals. Jonann Byargeon is a close friend who published her prayer journal last year, and Val Woerner is a Louisiana Tech journalism graduate like me (#hbtd). Both of these women have a passion to help others spend time with God.

Let me stop here and add this: you do not need anything to pray with God. Prayer, to me, is like running – there’s no special equipment you need, no certain time you have to do it. When I decide to run, I lace up my shoes and go run. I have some wick sweat shirts, some fancy running shoes, and even some cold weather head gear, but honestly, running is just running. I don’t need a gym, a treadmill, or the snazzy workout gear. I just need a path.

Same goes with prayer – I don’t need anything to spend time with God. I just need God. But I do like these prayer journals. They help me keep organized. They prompt me when I need prompting. They help me remember specific prayer requests.

Valerie’s prayer journal covers the whole year and offers space for answered prayers, burdens, and other various prayer requests. It’s big enough to write in but small enough to fit inside my purse. I have used variations of her prayer journal for years. In addition, she has other items that you may be interested in, including a family legacy journal, a men’s journal and kid’s journal, and journals for pregnancy and adoption.

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Jonann and me with her newly-printed prayer guide

Jonann’s prayer guide is a more cost-effective option and offers the ability to add or remove pages. It’s easy to flip through and offers suggestions for prayer throughout the week. Jonann was our Sunday school teacher in the late 2000s, and she taught our class to pray using her guide’s outline. It was very helpful then when I didn’t pray more than an evening “thank You for this day” shout out.  It was a way to jump start my prayer life.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 states, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. “

Prayer journals are not necessary – but neither are fancy running shoes. But I do like having them on hand, being able to take them to church or to work, and being able to remember specific prayer requests or look through and see the answered prayers in my life.

Prayer really is a lot like running. A little effort makes a big difference.

 

celebrations, Jesus, Parenting

Preparing our hearts for Thanksgiving

We come to give thanks.

We situate this holiday, Thanksgiving, between gorging ourselves on candy at Halloween and gorging ourselves on spending at Christmas. Perhaps it’s the best place to put it to help us remember to be grateful for what we have. We bless God and thank God for His mercy, His grace, and His steadfast love.

For 22 days, at least this month, we have an opportunity to focus on thankfulness for our blessings.

We started a new tradition – though, with little ones, it’s hard to have traditions – so we started something new this year: thankful leaves. Every day starting Nov. 1, each member of our family has listed something for which to be grateful and thankful on a cut out leaf. It’s sometimes serious, sometimes funny, and sometimes a struggle because, again, we have two children who are silly, young, and, most importantly, impressionable.

Every night, they hear what Mommy and Daddy are grateful for: family, health, friends, reading. We haven’t gotten far yet, but it is only Day 5. We are thankful for each other. We are thankful for the love shared between our two girls. We are thankful for our health, something which has been a struggle for too many years.

Then we ask our 5-year-old what she is thankful for. She’s 5. She knows the Sunday school answers and has already listed them: God, Jesus, my family. But she can’t use the same answer twice, so she has to think a little more. “My sister,” she answers, and we know she means it. Before the crack of dawn, if The Artist is awake, she can’t help herself. She has to go sneak into her baby sister’s room and wake her up to play. She misses her at school – and the feeling is mutual. Before The Artist leaves with her daddy for school, The Engineer yells, “Wait! A hug! A hug!” And they hug and give each other kisses with the promise that, “I’ll see you after school.”

Lastly, it’s The Engineer’s turn. She doesn’t really understand what’s going on. She doesn’t understand the concept of “thankfulness,” so we ask her, “What are you happy for?” And then we giggle, because her answers are so truthful and so simple. The first day, she held up a Paw Patrol chicken nugget and said, “Paw ‘trol!” because she was thankful for those bone-shaped chicken nuggets. The next day, she answered the name of a friend.

We all are thankful for someone or something. We all will get wrapped up in the pretty, glittery Christmastime – as we should. Christmas is its own special, miraculous holiday that deserves splendor and glory to God.

But Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving is still warm, still fall, still crunchy leaves and all things pumpkin. Oh, how it blesses us to give thanks to the Lord! It’s a reminder all the time to see the beauty in God’s creation as the leaves fall and swirl around us, revealing bare trees and chilly winds as the colors of red, orange, brown, and purple gently rain down from the sky.

And, as The Artist stated on the first day, she is quite thankful to catch the falling leaves.

celebrations

Withdrawal

My kids will wake up this morning with Halloween withdrawal.

It first occurred with The Artist when she was 2 ½. For a week, she’d been allowed to wear costumes to school, to the library, to the store. She’d eaten mounds of candy, gone trick-or-treating downtown and in our neighborhood. It was a great year.

Then Nov. 1 occurred. And instead of getting to wear her Cinderella dress (again), she had to wear regular clothes, including – gasp – pants.

Tears ensued. She undressed herself twice that morning, and Kyle had to calm her down and explain to her that Halloween was officially over.

This has been The Engineer’s first Halloween to really experience all of the activities. She has been so adorable trick-or-treating because she says, “Treat or treat!” as she holds out her jack-o-lantern candy pail and then yells, “THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!” like she can’t believe she just got free candy again.

Somehow, we have been trick or treating not once, not twice, NOT EVEN THREE times, but FOUR times. FOUR.

I blame it on the weather.

So I spontaneously took the girls Saturday to Farmers Market to trick or treat. It was quick, small, and precious. Got The Engineer some TorTing practice. Get her ready for the big leagues come next week.

Then we find out Sunday that it’s supposed to rain Wednesday. Not just rain, but storm. Hard.

Our town hosts downtown trick or treating every year right before Halloween, and this time it fell on a Monday. So, sure. Let’s do that. Why not? We did, and by this point we have way too much candy and my kids are Olympic-class TorT professionals.

halloween
Just science tricks at a booth held by a chemistry organization from campus.

Then my neighbor texts, saying that since it’s supposed to rain Wednesday, she and another neighbor are taking their kids to a nearby neighborhood to trick or treat. Would we like to join?

Well, of course.

And the kids had a blast – the neighborhood had houses close together, everyone was walking comfortably on the streets, and we were finished within 30 minutes. Perfect.

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And then it cleared up for Wednesday.

Well, great.

Four trick or treats over the past five days has worn this mama out – and the kids out, too. But those costumes got some good wear, and we all made sweet holiday memories.

And we have candy store piled until next year.