You are defined in life by the way you respond to defeat.

Do you ever reach a point where you don’t want to pick yourself up, and try again? How tempting is it to just pause for a moment…..and think, if only? If only I didn’t have to go on. If only I didn’t have to face that fear again. If only I didn’t have to face that hurt again. If only…

That mental struggle, when facing life’s challenges and disappointments, is one of the reasons I love physical challenges. And one of the reasons I love this video I found on YouTube:

Last Saturday I ran sixteen miles, in rain. That is the farthest I have ever gone. And I learned that running in a steady rain for three and a half hours can feel very different from running a rainy 5k. By the time I had gone four miles, my shoes had become sponges. Long before I was done, every part of me was drenched. Because of the weather, I unintentionally tensed my muscles the entire way. I always leave an extra mile at the end of my long runs, to cool down with a walk. As soon as I started walking, pain shot through my entire body. It felt like metal rods were going straight through my legs from every direction. And I was very cold. I hate to admit it, but I whimpered home.

Now why do I love physical challenges? Two reasons.

First, the physical challenge reminds me if I can make it through, I can make it through challenges in other areas of my life. It reminds me we are much more flexible and stronger than we think we are. Second, persevering through physical challenges toughens me up for future situations or events, like races. It enables me to feel better as I attack those future challenges. The same applies to other areas of life. If we grow through life’s challenges and disappointments, we can better handle what life will throw at us in the future.

I attribute persevering through difficulties, in both running and life, to a relationship with God. I know if he was not in my life, I would not have gone on.

Good vs. Crappy Runs

Just crossed the finish line of my 2nd 1/2 Marathon

I mentioned in Here We Go Again… that I was going to be training for a marathon. First off let me say, I haven’t backed out yet! Before starting, I was nervous about running three days in a row (I am using the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training schedule). I wondered if I would get shin splints right away, never recover, and have to back out of the race. Some of you may think it extreme that I already had that fear. But my running had been pretty sporadic, and I’ve known a number of people who have done just that.

So far, so good.

Today was not my best time, but it felt glorious! It’s always good to have those runs that feel just perfect.

Yesterday I had the crappiest run yet. Felt awful. Of course, it didn’t help that I ran during a hot part of the day… But during that run, I reminded myself we have to have the crappy runs to realize how great the good runs really are.

And tonight, I realized that perspective is similar to a view we should have about life.

We don’t like going through the crappy parts of life–the other day I just wanted to curl up in a corner. But if we didn’t have those crappy parts, we wouldn’t realize how priceless the good parts are.

May I always, in a way, be thankful for the crappy times of life. I am definitely thankful for the lessons I learn through running!

Here We Go Again…

My Second 1/2 Marathon

In December I posted about beginning training for my first marathon:  Marathon Training:  The Beginning

That didn’t work out.

Unfortunately, I got really sick for over a week. And right after that, we moved to another city and I started job-hunting. No time for running, let alone marathon training.

But it’s still on my list of things I want to accomplish in 2012. So guess what…. I’m going to attempt once again to train for a marathon. Here’s hoping I’ll actually accomplish it this time!

Downside to living in a new city:  I don’t have my regular, trusted running partner to go the distance with. Oh well. I’m a fighter! And I can do it!

I received several good tips on my last post. But I will appreciate any more tips you runners out there might have!

Thanks!!

 

Greatness at 5:30 A.M.?

When Is the Time for Greatness?

I had it made as a runner. I lived in a town small enough you could run anywhere, any time, and be safe. I had a consistent running partner who was very encouraging. I would get home from work, throw on my running gear, and head out the door, covering anywhere from three to seven miles. More if we were training for a half marathon. I loved running for the challenge (as I talked about in Marathon Training:  The Beginning) and the endorphins. It made me healthier, made me feel better, and made me sleep better.

Now….it’s different.

Now we live in a big city where it’s not a good idea to go running certain places or certain times, at least not by myself. My husband has been kind enough to join me, even though he doesn’t like running (I think he does it because he loves me and knows it’s good for him). We run one mile, twice, during the week. I try to cover more than two miles on the weekend. I know, being in a transitional stage of life makes it harder to find time for running. I miss it.

There is one thing I have learned from this alteration in my running-side of life:

When we want something to remain in our lives badly enough, we’ll surprise ourselves with how we make it work.

I am not a morning person. And I always declared I could never get up early on a regular basis to run. Until now.

I don’t like getting up at 5:30 a.m. My husband likes it even less. BUT we still do it. To run. There is absolutely no other time we could run. Do I think it’s worth it? Yes.

How many times in life are we put in a position where we have to make something work? If it’s worth enough to us, we do just that… Make it work. Many times we don’t push ourselves the way we could, because we don’t have to. Why do we have to wait until the “have to” point? Just imagine what could happen if we push ourselves before reaching that point… What greatness could be accomplished!?

Marathon Training: The Beginning

This past Tuesday was the first day of my newest challenge:  marathon training.

I started running March 2010, and ran my first half marathon the following August. This will be my first marathon.

First 1/2 Marathon

In 2010 I became addicted to running because it physically embodied running away from my problems. Outside of commitments I did nothing else, but run….away. I even prioritized it ahead of spending time with my husband. My husband called me out on it, and I attempted to balance my life.

Those problems are still there. But I no longer run from them. Running for me has transformed. It has become the physical embodiment of overcoming the obstacles. Instead of escaping, now when I run, I feel like I’m meeting challenges head-on. Which enables me to believe that I can overcome challenges in other areas. God has used running to illustrate transformation in my life. I was reminded of all this when I read Chris LoCurto’s Blog entry Why You Can’t Stay Focused On The Past.

Marathon training can take up a lot of time. That’s one reason I picked an easier guide that doesn’t require as much distance:  Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training Guide, Novice 1

Hopefully, besides reaching a goal and enjoying the endorphin highs, I will also be able to keep my life balanced…and not drive my husband crazy!

If anyone has marathon experience, tips are appreciated!

My Inspiration Fix: Quotes

Thanksgiving Day 5k

Pursuing a dream can inspire others. But sometimes we pursuers need inspiration too. Discovering quotes is one of the ways I get my inspiration fix. Below are three from Runner’s World :

“Dream big, but allow yourself the opportunity to start small, and have your share of struggles in the beginning. The world’s great composers weren’t writing symphonies the day they first sat at a piano.”  —Kevin O’Rourke, Marathoner

I have to remind myself that starting small and having struggles should be expected, and can be a good thing. Greatness does not happen overnight. And struggles are what make us stronger, if we let them.

“There will never be a day when we won’t need dedication, discipline, energy, and the feeling that we can change things for the better.”  —George Sheehan

Completely agree with Sheehan! I believe dedication and discipline are key aspects to pursuing a dream–see Dedication, Discipline, & A Little Loopy

“In the end I have to hold myself accountable. It is my career and my responsibility to do what I need to do to be the best I can be. I had to make a change if I really wanted to reach the goals I had set for myself. I had to get out of being comfortable and get into a situation that was going to really push me.”  —Kara Goucher on joining the Oregon Track Club Elite group

Taking responsibility and not prioritizing comfort are two things people tend to shy away from. Goucher reminds us that the path to achieving greatness goes against the norm.

And strangely enough, these things inspire me….

What inspires you?