Spontaneous Relaxation

StarbucksSometimes having a spontaneous change in plans is a good thing!

After arriving home from work, I was so down in the dumps. All my stress over the past few weeks had caught up with me. I sat in front of the computer screen with my head in my hands.

My husband proclaimed he didn’t think it was a good idea for me to work on the computer right after getting home from work. And yes, I was actually working on something; not just surfing the net, playing a game, or Facebooking.

He suggested a change of plans. Instead of running the distance we were supposed to tonight, we ran a fast mile. And instead of working on things at home, we got out of the house and relaxed at Starbucks.

Sure, there were a number of things we could have been working on at home. But every once in a while we need to be able to step back, recognize what in reality has to be done, and drop everything else. Take a break.

I know now that I needed one. I feel so much better. So why don’t you, go take a break?

Wipeout!

Today was a first for me: Wiping out while running.

I started running March 15, 2010. I’ve ran in blizzards, pouring rain, 30 mph gusts of wind, lightening (wouldn’t recommend it),100* weather, and on ice covered roads. I trained for and completed my first marathon last fall. And never fell. Until now.

I have a running buddy for short runs, ranging from one to four miles. My dog. She’s a very good running partner. If I need her to pay more attention to me, all I need to do is give one click with my tongue. We have passed many animals on our runs, most frequently other dogs. And things have always been fine. But today was different.

You would think I would fall on a day with any of the weather conditions above, or on a long run. But today was a perfect running day–sunny and 60*–and we were only doing a mile. We hit the halfway point, and were headed home. We were making decent time up a hill when I saw a guy with his dog at the top. He stepped off the trail and had his dog sit, waiting for us to pass. I smiled and nodded thanks. Right as we started to pass, his dog lunged at my dog. My dog freaked out and slammed into my legs. Unfortunately the first leg she slammed into was my down-stride. And she proceeded to pass in front of me, keeping my up-stride from ever reaching the ground. My feet flew up behind me, I landed on my hands, and rolled over onto my back. I lay there for a second, the air knocked out of me. My dog bewildered. The guy asking if I was okay, if there was anything he could do, apologizing, saying he didn’t know why his dog did that. I sat up, inspecting myself for injuries. I said I was going to be fine, finally convincing him to slowly move on.

Scratched up a bit...

Scratched up a bit…

I was soaking it all in, getting my bearings. Never falling for over three years, on such a glorious day for a run, why did I have to wipe out? Sometimes that’s just the way things go. Outside forces we can’t control…. on days we least expect it….. Just like other trip-ups in life. We may be going along in life thinking everything’s sunny; nothing will get us down. Then something happens we don’t expect; our feet are knocked out from under us, and we find ourselves staring up from the ground. What are we going to choose to do next?

After discovering one of my knees will be developing a nice bruise, and my hands were nicely torn up, I gave thanks that was all that was damaged. I checked in with my dog to make sure she was okay. She was. I stood, walked to the curb, crossed the street, and started running.

After being knocked down in life, we may not be able to start “running” again right away. But, I have found that when I look to my God, he enables me to get up and move forward. I continued on today. Don’t forget that you can too.

Goal Setting, Self-Discipline & Dreams

I mentioned in an earlier post that I rediscovered my joy of writing fiction. I am more than ready to jump right in!

There are two things I have heard over and over, when it comes to seriously attempting something:  Make your goals very specific, and write them down. So here I go…

I am attempting to finish and publish a novel. And there are four things I have implemented, or plan to:

  • I contacted my former writing accountability partner. We plan to hold each other accountable for our use of time, and any specific goals. I am so excited! Getting feedback from another writer can be a ton of fun.
  • I purchased Michael Hyatt‘s Get Published. This is information I have always wanted to get my hands on! I have mentioned before that we are doing Dave Ramsey‘s baby steps, so this material was purchased with money made from selling our mower.
  • Once I am done training for my marathon, I will use that time to write. Marathon training has definitely upped my self-discipline ability!
  • I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month promotes quantity–50,000 words to be exact–over quality. But it will enable me to get the gist of my story out. I can go back to tweak and research later.

This is going to take a lot of self-discipline! But I figure, when’s a better time to start? Just this evening I told someone there are too many people who never pursue what they’re really passionate about…not enough time, not enough money, too many other things to do, or they spend too much time in front of the TV. If I have the chance to accomplish my dream, I’m going to go for it!

Of course, I haven’t given myself a specific deadline to have the first draft done… Maybe it should be January 1, 2013, considering I will be participating in NaNoWriMo. What do you think?

How have you used self-discipline to pursue your dreams, or to reach a goal?

What Will You Do?

There always have been and always will be obstacles and challenges in life. They surround us. It’s how we react to them that determines where and how far we go.

What’s your breaking point? At what point do you resign yourself to the “inevitable”? What has to happen for you to consider a goal in life not worth it anymore?

Too many people give up way too easily:  It’s too far to drive. I don’t want to give up my daily Starbucks for that financial goal. I don’t have time, I need to relax…in front of the TV. Still, there are fighters!

In fact, I saw a fighter tonight. She was running toward me. Usually I make eye contact with other runners and say “hey”, but she didn’t look my direction. That’s when I noticed she was missing a leg. In place of her leg was a prosthetic. Later, we passed again. This time I said, “Hey, you’re an inspiration!” She replied, “Thank you.”

How many people would have taken up running, without a leg? How many people would have even thought of the possibility? What about areas in our own lives? Things we have no control over…Things we may be missing….Things that make us different… Are we willing to think outside the box? Are we willing to commit the hard work? Are we willing to go a different route? Are we willing to push through the pain?

Are we willing to do what it takes to achieve dreams others label as impossible?

Do what you need to do to achieve your dreams!

What is your Passion?

The last several months I have filled my “spare” time with things I love:  running, learning about leadership, working on nonfiction, spending time with family, friends, and my fur-babies. But something was missing.

I knew it was missing. But just like anything else…the longer I went without, the more I thought I was okay without it. I’m a relatively healthy person:  I exercise regularly, I eat healthier than the average American, I have a wonderful marriage, I’ve managed to get enough sleep. Still, I have repeatedly found myself feeling despondent.

This week my husband told me he knew why I struggled. He said it was because I no longer pursued my passion:  writing fiction. He went on about my imagination, stuff I’ve already written, how I put stories together. He inspired me, just enough, to start working on fiction again. And guess what! I LOVE it! I’ve worked on fiction a few nights this week and I can’t wait to do more!

Lesson learned:  No matter how many things you’re involved in, that you love, you must continue pursuing your passion to be truly happy.

I believe God designed us to have specific passions. And it is through those passions that he can accomplish his greatest work through us!

Writing by Sunset

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.

Rest.

How many times do we desire rest? How often do we rest? How many people take time and prioritize rest?

I know that’s something I struggle with.

I always have something I could be doing….marathon training, writing my blog, working on my two book ideas, learning how to use different programs I want to implement in my projects, doing the research behind ideas I have for church, networking, reading about leadership and small business, budgeting financial goals, and the list could go on. Don’t forget playing with my two fur-babies and maintaining a spectacular marriage!

My husband occasionally has to put his hands on my shoulders and say, stop. (And that’s one of the ways we balance each other out just perfectly!)

I used to fight the idea of rest. I would get all frustrated at myself, that I wasn’t able to cram over a hundred “to do” things in one day. It would stress me out!

Now, I am much more open to the idea. But more likely than not, I’ll just forget I need to stop and take the time.

Rest enables us to be more productive during other hours in the day. Rest lowers stress levels. Rest is good for our minds, bodies, souls, and relationships.

That’s one of the reasons I don’t listen to music most of the time while running, even during that 15 miler I did the other day. Silence, other than cars passing and the occasional animal, helps my brain to relax. I also use it as an opportunity to talk with God.

The other day my husband was bemoaning the fact that it felt like our weeknights were nonexistent, and weekends……what are weekends again? So tonight, I insisted on preparing supper so he could have some time to just sit and read. Rest is important.

I have learned the hard way a couple times. My body took on flu symptoms and literally forced me to crash. It was not the flu. I don’t want to ever experience that again. And I hope you never will.

So…..How ’bout you go rest.

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!!