Friday, January 25, 2013

Running my first race!

My journey into running began when I was in the second trimester of being pregnant. Yes, I know you're not suppose to start anything new while pregnant but my doctor and midwife were okay with it. I was only running a mile at first then worked my way up to 1.5-2 miles. It felt great!! It really took all the aches and pains out of being pregnant. I had tried to run before but would always give up after a week or two of running. I tried doing too much too soon and it wore me out. As I began running while pregnant, I gradually worked my way up. I think that was the key for me. Starting small and building on that. Four weeks after giving birth, I began running again. By the end of the first week I was running four miles without stopping! I decided a race would be a fun thing to do! So I signed up for my first race- a 10K (6.2 miles) on St. Pete Beach. The week leading up to the race I was so anxious about making my time. My goal was to do it in under an hour. I had run the distance about four times, so I knew I could do it, but didn't know if I would make my time. So here is how my race went...

Morning of the Race:

Well Jacob decided he was hungry at 2am and 5am last night. He has been sleeping through the night from 9:30pm-7:30am for a whole week now! But of course the night I could use the sleep the little booger keeps waking up! I still feel pretty well rested! I rolled out of bed at 6:30am and got myself ready. I was feeling pretty anxious and decided I would eat a little oatmeal and half a banana. I thought it was light enough that I would feel fine as I was running. I usually only eat a Kashi fruit and nut bar before I run, but I thought since my race was a good two hours away I would be fine. That was a mistake... (I ended up pretty sick to my stomach after the race but at least it was after the race!) 

We pulled into the Sirata on St. Pete Beach at 8am. We had a good 45 minutes before the race. After killing time by taking photos and stretching, I made my way out onto the street with some of the other runners. Everyone else around me seemed to have a running buddy or someone they knew, so I awkwardly stood there pretending my “date” was in the bathroom. It was awkward since I wasn’t sure what to expect because it was my first race. So I did my best to act like I knew what was going on. A lot of the runners around my had on shirts from previous races- “Women’s Half Marathon; Iron Man; Meatless Runner (I think I saw her eating some grass along the way); ...etc” Some of the runners had on some serious gear for their 10K run, all decked out in name brand gear. My shirt was from Target...but it was a pretty pink color and it matched my shoes- so there! Alright so back to the race...

The weather was perfect, 60 degrees. A little chilly at first but I decided to not wear my jacket which was a good choice. I turned on my music, pulled up my Nike running app, set it for the 10K and waited for the race to begin. I made some small chat with a nice fellow next to me as we waited for the start. That was the last I ever saw him too, he was either super fast or super slow. Before I knew it the people in front of me began to run. I didn’t hear anyone signal to start but I went with the crowd! 

I ran in between some people and made my way to the side of the road. This way others could pass me and I could pass them easily. I paced myself and remembered to not go too fast at the beginning of the run. My throat was really dry as we began and I had to go potty (nerves I think haha). I thought mile one and two would feel like a cake walk and I would push myself to get through miles 3 and 4 then I would be golden for miles 5 and 6. Finally, I hit mile one and my time was 8:21, my fastest mile ever. Oops, so much for pacing myself. So I thought I had slowed down some to pace myself but by mile two my time was 8:45. Okay now to get to mile three, I can do this! And what was before me but a group of angels passing out water! I grabbed a cup and tried to drink it while still running. Bad idea. I was almost choking and decided to slow down a minute to get a sip of water down my throat. One sip successfully down, and off I went. I thanked the Lord for my water and then passed the three mile mark. At the 5K mark my time was 27:37, my fastest 5K to date also. My goal was to get to the 4 mile mark, I knew once I got there the last two miles would be great! Another water stop, so I walked for 20 seconds to drink and then off I went. I felt pretty good, my legs were going in a groove, my breathing was in a rhythm- I was going places! Running to the five mile mark, I started feeling pretty tired. 

To play a mean trick on all of us runners, we had to run past the start line an additional half a mile and turn around and come back through the finish line. (So just when you think you’re done you have another 1.21 miles to go.) It was kinda weird at the five mile mark everyone is there cheering you on like you’ve finished the race. But I tried to soak up the encouragement and use it as motivation. As I was running one way, I kept looking at all the other runners who were running the other way on their way back to the finish line.  Oh how I wanted to be on that side of the road with them! The last mile was a killer. I kept looking and searching for the turn around point but it seemed endless. Would I ever be on my way back to the finish line?!! So I decided to walk for about 30 seconds. My time was good enough that I had a little cushion to walk. I felt better when I saw some macho guy also walking for a few seconds. Okay back to running, and there it was the turn around point!! The hallelujah chorus went off in my head at that moment. Then I kept making little goal marks for myself to get to. I heard the sweetest words from my Nike running app, “You’re almost there, keep it up!” Which means only .21 miles to go! So I pushed myself to pick up the pace. I hit the 10K according to my GPS about .25 of a mile before the actual finish line. My time was 57:44, my fastest 10K to date! A little bit further to go, I can do it! I sprinted towards the finish line to victory! I did it!! A total of 6.44 miles in 59:22!! 

My accomplishments for the day: Ran my fastest mile 8:21, fastest 5K 27:37, fastest 10K 57:44- and barely broke a sweat, thanks to the nice weather

Me with my favorite guys! 

I came in 103 out of 272 women runners! And 6th out of 15 in my age division. Not too bad for my first race!

"My mom is fater than your mom" It was suppose to read "My mom is faster than your mom" but Jacob decided to change that. 
My favorite part was seeing my husband all proud of me at the finish line and being able to kiss my little boy! After the race though I was exhausted!! But Oh what a great day!! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Before it's too late...

As I was out on my morning run, my mind reflected on all that God has done in my life this past year. What an incredible life changing year this has been. Who knew becoming parents to the most adorable little boy would be the highlight of 2012 for us! That little 7 pounds 7 ounces that was placed in my arms on October 31, has changed my life in the best way possible. I would do anything for my son! I would give my life for him in a second without thinking twice. Unconditional love, I believe is what they call that. As a parent, I desire God's best for his life and well being. I never knew my heart could hold such love. I believe I now know a small portion of God's love for His children.

Our finite minds will never know just how much our heavenly Father cares for us. I believe if we did, we would all be much more motivated to give our lives completely to Him. How could One give His only Son to such a wicked world. A world that was created by Him and for Him. I wonder how God could create a beautiful perfect world knowing that one day it would become filled with wickedness. God knew that His very creations would reject Him and yet He still created mankind. (If I were God, I think I would have left mankind out of the equation! What heartache that would have saved Him!) But God still gave each of us life and a chance to choose Him.

As Christmas has come and gone, may we not soon forget the true meaning of it all. God knew that mankind needed a Savior. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Romans 5:12 Sin had entered into this world. The punishment for our sin is "death" not physical death but a spiritual death- separation from God. "For the wages of sin is death..." Romans 3:23a God can not let sin enter into heaven because heaven is a perfect place. God knew that a perfect spotless sacrifice was required. "...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 3:23b That gift is the very reason we celebrate Christmas, Jesus Christ. The Bible says that eternal life is through  Jesus Christ our Lord. We can not obtain eternal life through our own good works or through church or through the priest but only through Christ. We are imperfect and nothing we do can take away our sins. That is why we need a Savior to save us from an eternity separated from God. (Insert God's unconditional love for us yet again.)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 

A very "familiar" verse to most of the world, but do those who read the reference "John 3:16" really know the truth behind it? I would hope so. Maybe they do but they choose to reject its meaning. They think if they choose to ignore the truth of God's Word that they will be fine. To many the story of Christ birth, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection is nothing more than a nice story or a fable. However, rejecting the truth won't change it. Truth remains true whether you believe it or not. There will come a time when Christ will return to this earth to call His children home. There will be a judgment day where we will give an account for our sins and our life.

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10

God's gift of salvation and eternal life in heaven is simple. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:9,10,13

First acknowledge your sinful condition and need of a Savior. Next, confess your sins to God and repent. To repent means to turn from your old way of living and to put on a life lived for Christ. Believe  in all that He did for you on the cross of calvary. Put your faith fully and completely in Christ alone to save you. Simply call upon Christ to save you.  

What do you have to lose? Nothing in comparison to what you will gain- eternal life, hope, peace, true joy... Won't you accept His free gift of salvation before it's too late?

May those of us who know Christ as our Lord and Savior live each day for Him. Before it's too late, may we go and make sure thy friend. Our life is but a vapor that appeareth for a little time then vanisheth away. 

It is for this reason we are going to Russia. To spread the gospel of Christ to those who have not heard and give them a chance to accept or reject Christ. Won't you pray with us that God would prepare the hearts of the Russians even now before it's too late.

From the heart,