Monday, April 13, 2009

Redeemed

I had so many thoughts during my too very different runs this Easter weekend. The details and responsibilities of my life often crowd my thoughts and deter any serious or perhaps lengthy contemplation. Often running time is that time for me- time to consider the big picture, time to pray, and time to plan. However, it pretty easy for my mind to wander back to the concerns themselves and to get stuck on an issue or two. In order to assist my need for a soul-refreshment as well, I've been 'redeeming' my running time by listening to sermons or bible teaching. This was particularly helpful this weekend as I truly wanted to participate in the remembrance of Christ's death and the celebration of His resurrection.

So, the teaching I listened to on Saturday's longer run and on Sunday's short run was on 1st Peter in a series by Mark Driscoll. It was about trial and rejoicing in trial because there is nothing more valuable to us than our faith... our faith which is 'imperishable, undefiled..'. The reason we can rejoice and glory in our grief (that comes from trials in life) is because we know that our faith is being refined and strengthened and that it will produce wonderful things for us in heaven when we are finally home with our Lord Jesus. It isn't that the trials don't and shouldn't hurt, it is that the end result is glorious.

I've always found myself recognizing things around me as symbolic of my relationship with God and with spiritual truths. The runs weren't fun this weekend- not physically. I allowed myself to take walk breaks every 10 minutes on the long run and though I pushed my speed a little on my shorter run, I still gasped for a few breaks in those 30 minutes. I thought as I finished my run on Sunday that even though this process of getting back into shape is fairly uncomfortable... that the end result is worth the pain and trouble.. how much more should I embrace those things in my life that can produce spiritual maturity?

I'm exceedingly thankful for the redemption offered to me through Christ Jesus and thankful for redeemed running time this weekend.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Eagerly Easing Back On The Road

It has been a long time since I had the time and mental energy to write anything other than the work related pieces or household management lists. Quite a lot has happened since my last post and not much of it included running. This second pregnancy was not one that allowed me to run through the whole nine months. In fact, I could barely walk without great discomfort. However, the relief after delivery was so great that I've been running since my second son was about 2 weeks old.

At this point, we have been enjoying boy #2 for nearly 2 months now. We've received all the knowing smiles and nods regarding the challenge of: The Adjustment. That is, all parents who have experienced or are experiencing the addition of a second child know that this is so much more than a few sleepless nights again. There is the first child who must suddenly share the attention of the parents as well as submit to a temporarily different schedule.

While this is a great adjustment, dealing with the needs of the new baby seems somewhat easy in comparison. Perhaps this is due in part to the fact that I am more comfortable as a mother. I've had a little experience now with this age and stage. The challenge, the real challenge, is parenting my 1st son with love, patience and wisdom. I have wanted to refrain from using the 'terrible two's' as a label for my son, and now I understand why... He had yet to arrive at the unnerving stage.

Admittedly, I have even less time for running or any personal activity. However, rather than resent this adjustment, I have been enjoying the time I do get out and relaxing my goal-orientation a bit as I know this body now has twice the load to bear during the day and eventually I will have two little boys out running with me.

I think this is the key for maintaining committment to a personal activity or hobby or fitness routine in motherhood: flexibility and confidence.
Flexibility: adjust goals to match the opportunity. Planning an hour run at 5 in the morning after dealing with restless sleep or midnight feedings might need to adjust to a 30 minute workout, especially if you are counting on your spouse to care for the children.
Confidence: expect to succeed. Know that success isn't achieving the same goals one set prior to motherhood and that just as you battled challenges before motherhood, you can battle and be victorious in motherhood

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Captured by the glory

I've been meeting a friend for a my early morning, sunrise, runs, so I am often focused on our exchange and perhaps less inclined to consider the morning around me. We do, however, always notice it. That is one of the beautiful joys of running- we engage nature. We are enveloped in the air- damp or dry, heavy or light, hot or cold, breezy or still. We are also graced with light, the brightness of it varying by the time of year or by the clouds. Of course we usually only note the extremes, and just as in life, the comfortable lulls us into a bit of sensory dullness.



This morning was perfect, but slow steps matched that dullness of an unawakened mind and unawakened senses. I had hardly started my watch when I finally looked around and noticed the sky and location of the sun. It was simply captivating. My eyes saw glory and it woke me up. There wasn't much to say at such a sight but to praise the Creator and to wonder at the gift of such beauty. There wasn't much to do, but to match my steps to excitement of the glory and run just a little lighter. I just wish I could have shared the sight with Leo and showed him that the God who made the clouds he was wondering about yesterday... also makes such glory at the very early moments of the day. Sometime soon we'll share such a moment and his senses will be captured as well.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Going Backwards

Leo has just recently become interested in doing things backwards and upside down. While hiking in the Smokey Mountains, he decided he wanted to walk backwards up the hill and now his little potato head and friends all have their faces on, upside down.

So, since the weather took a fall-ish turn this morning, Leo and I headed out for a run with the park as our end goal. Unfortunately, the sun had not risen far enough for his stroller sunshade to protect his eyes. The sunglasses weren't pleasing this toddler either, so....... I turned the stroller around and pulled him (I still ran forwards) backwards. He was delighted.

I smiled to myself as we passed folks along the way who probably didn't understand the reason for this backwards way of 'pushing' a stroller. Sometimes though, doing things backwards is fun and provides a different experience that may not seem important to me or other onlookers. We still moved forward (albeit little more slowly) going backwards. Speed isn't everything, every time.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Football Season.... brings a lot of people together....and moves a few apart

Football Camp began just a few days ago and I am still adjusting. For fans, football camp hardly affects their time nor does it really begin to draw them into the game quite yet. However, not only are the players and coaches in an intense few weeks of training and meetings and practice, but those of us attached to a coach are in a shocking 'training' session as well. All of the sudden, our coaches (husbands and daddies) are gone from early mornings to nearly the middle of the night. Yesterday our only chance for some Daddy time for our toddler was sitting in the back of his office while he watched film and studied with his position players. He was pretty satisfied with a few minutes of racing Daddy up and down the long halls before we left.

No matter what it is, whether it is family time, personal time, or workout time- if it is limited, it either becomes treasured or it is discarded as 'impossible'. As the football season starts, I think it is somewhat of a gift to have this built-in reminder to cherish time and to find ways to keep priorities straight under tight constraints. Little things, little habits, little disciplines in the area of time management add up to big things and big successes.

This morning I had a long list of things to do in about 60 minutes- the time that my 'coach' had at home. I had to choose between running or doing a workout, reading my Bible in quiet, making a hot breakfast for the boys to share together, and a few other things. I simply couldn't do everything. Sometimes, we cannot fit in all of our 'priorities' in one day, and that is the time to revisit how those priorities rank next to each other and choose the most important for that moment.

Today will have to be a 'strength' training day sometime during a lull in Leo's need for attention- perhaps around nap time. It is pretty easy for me to skip this, but I am reminded today... little things add up to big things and choosing to spend at least 20 minutes exercising will give me a boost in energy and give me strength for the next day.

Time, or the lack of it, isn't an excuse... it is an opportunity.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Mountain Roads



Just recently we met up with family for a few days in the mountains. My siblings and their spouses are pretty active, and when we get together, we enjoy hiking and running and any outdoor activity we can manage. We found a lovely cabin situated on a mountainside, surrounded by a whole village of cabins and chalets. Since we were traveling with our toddler and my brother's infant, our adventures were adjusted to meet their needs, not to mention the need for caution during pregnancy.


Running up and down hills like the ones available to us outside the cabin was a challenge. I simply could not run up every hill, and my actual running time was about 1/2 of what it is at home. At first I doubted whether I would be able to run at all, but even with all the walk breaks, I got a great workout and most importantly, really enjoyed the change in terrain and scenery. Running along a mountain road gives any city runner a new challenge, works muscles in different ways, and allows for mental break from the daily routines into which we tend to settle.


Since most of my running is done solo, it was wonderful to share the road with my sister-in-law. We enjoyed examining the many different cabins and chalets along the way, and then there was also the added excitement of bears lurking nearby--she actually spotted one on a run. The largest animal we usually prepare for are dogs that are affected my pepper spray. The boys informed us that the bears would require a little more deterrent than the everyday grade of protection I carry.


So, running on mountain roads can appear extremely intimidating, but the rewards of a different workout are great. Just proceed with great caution. There might be bears lurking around a corner.





Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summer Delights

There is nothing better than a laughing, happy child, and summer time offers so many wonderful opportunities for delighting our nearly two year old. From chasing bubbles, to playing in our pool, to running through sprinkler's and fountains, Leo has found sheer pleasure in the most simple things.

video video

As far as I can tell, Leo is running and enjoying every second of it. In fact, one of his favorite games is to 'race'.

So, what happens between the time when running is a playful childhood 'sport' and the time when somewhere in adulthood running becomes 'work' and not a fun game anymore? I'll admit, there are days when running feels like work and something I do because I know it is good for me and will improve my state of mind. However, very few of us can force ourselves to do something we truly dislike for decades.

Maybe all of us runners find something in running that does remind us a little of the delight we found in racing, chasing, and running through sprinklers. If I have a choice, I'll always run for 'fun'.