Busiest Season Of My Life

The Christmas season has come and gone and of course I now reflect on all that took place in the past year and look forward to all that I can only dream of taking place in the new year.

With all honesty I feel I have walked through one of the busiest seasons in my life and having a little vacation over the holidays has caused me to take pause and realize that I needed a break. The two days in a row of taking a three hour nap was my first clue in realizing I was running (no pun intended) on empty.

Over the last year I tried desperately to keep up with my blog and the blogs of my friends. I failed. I love to write but the energy it took to get words on “paper” escaped me on a daily basis. I didn’t even have the energy to read my friends blogs. I  guess I could blame it on working full time, all the running I did, and the class I took through my job. I also failed at returning emails in a timely manner. But I am going to blame it on my poor time management skills. Don’t worry, I am going to get better at that.

Instead of focusing on all that I failed at this past year I wanted to focus more of this post on all the things I DID accomplish this year! I started a new job and really enjoy working for the organization I work for. I had a lot to learn so most days I went home tired from expending so much mental energy. I continued to coach the 5k running group through Run For Your Life until the summer and met a lot of wonderful people. I absolutely love coaching. I ran two half marathons in the spring and even had my best time on the first one! I also completed my first marathon in the fall! This consumed a great deal of my time. I had no idea how much time I would spend running. It was worth it and I’m pretty sure you have figured out that I enjoy running. 🙂

I have completed a college level course through my work called, Beyond Suffering. That was very time consuming. I haven’t done much recreational reading because I did a lot of reading and writing for that class. It was intense but well worth taking. I am looking into taking one class at a time and finish out my degree in the next couple of years. That may take a couple months to get set up in 2014.

I went to my first blogging conference in October and had a wonderful time. I learned a lot and connected with many writers and photographers while there. I do hope I can go back to the Allume conference.

As I look back at all that I accomplished and some of the things I failed at, there is one constant through out it all… my faith. I have relied heavily on my faith this year and prayed many times that the Lord would sustain me and bring me through the struggles and triumphs that 2013 brought and HE did!

I look forward to 2014 with all the new challenges that will come.

Let me know one thing you accomplished this year and what you look forward to in 2014.

I’m A Marathoner

WOW…26.2 miles have been run, the medal is in hand and the soreness abounds.

I couldn’t sleep the night before the race and to be honest it didn’t even seem real that I was going to run a marathon. I’ve been training for months putting in early mornings and long hours for this. Yet, it still felt like a dream. Even today, one day after the marathon it still feels a bit like a dream. Then I try to walk normally and I realize it was not a dream. 🙂

I knew what I was getting into but I had no idea how each mile would be run and what obstacles I would have to overcome.

At the beginning of the race I could not find any of my group to run with. I really wanted to stick with my friend, Rene, because she would keep me at a good pace and we would have a lot of fun out on the course together. Once I got up to the starting line (16 min after the race started) I spotted my friend, Mendy, and we ran the first four miles together. We passed so many people out on the streets cheering, playing music and having a great time. I saw lots of signs that were very entertaining. Here’s a few that made me laugh: “You can do this random stranger”, “May the course be with you”, “This is the worst parade ever” and “Please hurry my arms are really tired”!

It was in those first four miles that I knew I would not find Rene and I made the decision to run my own race. I did my best to keep a slow and steady pace. I had 26.2 miles to run; I did not need to get caught up in passing as many people as possible. So I kept coaching myself to slow down and take it easy. By mile 13 I was feeling really strong and increased my speed a little bit. I slowed it back down around mile 16 knowing I still had 10 more miles to go. One of the things that encouraged me throughout the race were the shirts and signs that all had Philippians 4:13 written out.

By mile 20 I had hit a wall. A major wall. Even in all my half marathons I had never hit a wall like this before. My legs were burning and tired and I really wanted to start walking. But I didn’t, I kept going, pushing through the burn and the pain and mentally encouraging myself to keep going. I had to press on. I had a goal and that goal was to finish this race and finish well.

Mile 24 came and I started to feel nauseous. I slowed down and even walked for a minute to make sure I was not going to throw up on the course. That would not happen. I was even more determined to finish. I saw my friend, Mendy, right at the beginning of mile 25 yelling and encouraging me to finish strong. She was much needed encouragement. The rest of mile 25 was upon me and things really started to crumble. The nausea came back with a vengeance and I started to go to the side to throw up. Again, I didn’t throw up. I kept thinking “I’m less than a mile away from the finish line, I CAN do this.” I started to go very slow, almost a walk and then I saw the finish line. I was going to finish!

Despite the nausea, the soreness and the tiredness I felt at that moment, I was going to finish my first marathon! I started to get very emotional and could not hold back the tears for over an hour after my finish. I had accomplished a huge goal and I wanted to soak it in. After crossing the finish line I thought I was going to throw up, again! I tried to get out of the fray going on around me but it took me a while to wind my way through the photos and volunteers making sure I had water.

I finally found my mom through the crowd of people and wandered with her to a park bench. I think I was in shock that I actually finished a marathon. I was exhausted.

I’m so glad I started running four years ago and that I found the running group that I’m a part of! I would not be where I am today with my running without the group that I run with. God knew what he was doing when he orchestrated this part of my life. Through many early mornings, injuries, friendships made and a genuine running family, I have seen God prove faithful to me and my faith has grown deeper through this journey of running.

Thank you all for your encouragement! I am one blessed young lady!

 

Allume Headshots and My Marathon

I found out earlier today that the head shots I took at the Allume Conference were up. I couldn’t wait to see how my they turned out. I decided to post a few that I love and see which one you all like best. 🙂

First, I want to let you all know I LOVED the Allume Conference. It was a breath of fresh air in the midst of what seems to be the busiest season of my life. Even though I left exhausted and mentally worn out, I also left refreshed in spirit. I made so many new friends and am looking forward to connecting you with as many of them as possible.

Second, I run my first full marathon this Saturday in Savannah!!! I am very much excited but also nervous as well. AH I’m running 26.2 miles!!! I’ve trained for this and feel as prepared as I can be for this challenge. I am also excited that I get to run this race with a lot of wonderful running friends. If you think about it, please pray for me, my parents (who are running the half) and all my running friends starting now and through Saturday morning. Thanks!

So here are four of the head shots:

Photo 1

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 4

Now it’s time to vote! Which photo do you like best? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Allume, Marathon and School

In three weeks I will be heading to the Allume conference with my friend, Amy! I am very excited about going and learning as much as I can about the blogging world. I’m praying I will be able to really enjoy my time and not worry about everything else taking place in the next month.

I’m on a count down: Five weeks from today I will have completed my first marathon! I am running the Savannah Rock and Roll marathon and my parents are running the half marathon. I love that I will not be running this race alone. I have a lot of running friends from Charlotte that will be running it with me! Yes, we are all different paces but it will be wonderful to have them there.

In the midst of those things I am taking a college level course through the organization I work for. It is called Beyond Suffering: A Christian View on Disability Ministry. I am really enjoying the class and am learning so much more than I expected. It is tough and challenging and I now want to go back to school to finish my degree.  🙂

To be honest this is the first time I’ve had a moment to blog in several weeks. I’m a little bit overwhelmed with all that is taking place. My friend, Amy, joked with me earlier about reading something in my spare time. We both laughed because I don’t have much spare time to do any extra reading. Oh how I wish I did!  My email has been neglected and will be neglected (unless it is urgent) for at least another few days. I’m hoping to be caught up on that this week.

All that to say… I have a lot going on and I am grateful for all these wonderful opportunities!

Faith and Running

Last night a friend of mine sent me a devotional that related how the Christian faith is much like running an endurance race. When I first started running I knew there was something more for me than “just running”. I was learning, growing and experiencing this new found love of running in a much different way than I had expected. I see how my walk with the Lord (my faith in Jesus) is like running a race. When I am in training mode, I have days where I just want to give up. In my walk with the Lord, there are days I want to throw in the towel and ask “is this really worth it”? It is worth it! 

Every single moment is worth it. Let that sink in.

The hard days are what make getting to the finish line that much sweeter. I know once I cross that finish line that I did not give up, I did not quit. I press on and see each new goal as a way to accomplish something great. I run hills that seem to go on forever and with each footstep I sometimes feel that cement has been poured into my shoes but once I reach the top, I rejoice at pushing through that difficult climb. Then comes the down hill portion, that wonderful time of recovery. I’m happier at that point in the run. But I know another hill comes up shortly and the routine continues. And just like that I am reminded of the problems I face. The hills I must climb each day, spiritually speaking, can be short and less painful or they can be long and arduous reminding me that I am not yet at the top. I haven’t finished the run.

I need to press on.  

I am then reminded of Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” NIV (Via Biblegateway.com) 

My faith and running go hand in hand. I understand my faith in a deeper way than I had before I started running. I am truly thankful. I love what the writer, Paul, says in Philippians. I haven’t arrived yet, but I press on. I continue to train (read my Bible, pray, serve and love others) daily with my faith just like I do with my running (running the hills, long mileage and sprints) to one day reach the final goal. 

What inspires you to deepen your faith?