The journey...

Life is in the journey, not the destination, so do what you can and take it one day at a time. Go slow, do it right, and make your changes permanent — then help out others who are where you were.

~Jillian Michaels

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

RACE DAY: "Bib Number"

Bib Number for my FIRST 10k!!!

"The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have done it." -Francois Voltaire
I'm beginning to acquire a bit of an addiction for these roadraces. There is something about the atmosphere of an OFFICIAL, CHIP-TIMED, MARKED OUT race course that gets the adrenaline pumping and drives runners to play their A-game! There is something about waking up at an ungodly time in the morning to fuel with water, bread and peanut butter (which I don't like) as well as stretching for the BIG EVENT that makes that early start worthwhile. I can't describe the feeling of putting on compression pants that at one time you thought you'd never be caught DEAD in, followed by lacing up a good pair of running shoes (I'm not talking about a cheap pair from Payless Shoesource either! No, you pay a pretty penny for this high class form of transportation that is powered by none other than YOU). It's normally a bit chilly, but that doesn't seem to effect you much as nerves are running high which I'm sure increases the blood flow. Everyone is stretching, some are running BEFORE the run (not me) in order to warm up, others are removing layers to strip down to what resembles a babies shorts (that's about how long they are) and little tanks.

I encourage you, if you haven't yet, sign-up for a ROADRACE.

If you are like me, you go to "packet pickup" a day or two prior to the race as you don't need anything else to distract you from your mental preparation on race day. I mean, what if the line is too long and you can't make it to the start line? What if their fingers begin to scan the page, looking intently for your name, but it's no where to be found because there was some glitch in the system and your registration didn't transfer properly? That is the LAST thing you want to happen at the very LAST minute.

In this packet that you've picked up there are typically solicitations for various other upcoming races in the area, you know, these people are pushers and all knowing that most race runners quickly become addicted to this "roadrace high." There are two things that matter most in this packet though:

1. Your timing chip (to be laced to your shoe to track your official start/finish time)


The second one is what I'm going to talk a bit about. Ah, the BIB NUMBER. Call me crazy, but one of the most exciting parts about the entire experience for me is this "BIB NUMBER" (apart from actually FINISHING the race). Why? I love securely fastening my BIB NUMBER to the front of my shirt on race day because of it's symbolism. This "number" is what sets me apart from those who are just in the crowd cheering, and those who RUN. This "number" silently SHOUTS that I'm no longer a spectator; I'm not on the sidelines watching everyone else live their lives while I stand going no where. This "number" labels me as someone who is IN the race, running, BELIEVING in myself and my ability.

Attaching this number floods my mind with so many thoughts and emotions. It reminds me not only of my physical run, but my fight of faith with scriptures like: "I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me." and "Greater is HE that is in me than he that is in the world," the one who tried to steal my life through obesity and how the GOD who lives in me is strengthening me to FIGHT against that work in my life. I remember when I struggled to walk to my car in the parking lot at work and how I used to hate if I had to park further than the first 3 rows at the grocery store because of how far it was from the entrance. I am now a participant IN an official race and I'm perservering. I might not be the fastest runner out there, and by no means do I think I'll be winning an award any day soon, but what means the most to me is:


Now they are giving a 10-minute warning, alerting you that it's time to begin making your way to the starting line to wait for the gun to sound.




You learn a lot through running. You have to be disciplined, self-controlled, you have to listen to your body and fuel properly. So much of that directly correllates with this awesome journey of FAITH. As believers, we are called to be self-controlled and alert in our actions, disciplined in our lives, listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit living in us and we are nourished through reading the word of God, time in prayer and worship. You endure through hardship and pain, things that we all face in life. You keep fighting the good fight of faith through trials and temptations. I'm reminded of this especially during the points of a race where you are so tired that you just want to quit. You are tempted to just stop in the middle of the road and bend over with your hands on your knees to surrender to this uncomfortable and at times painful exhaustion. But through it all, you just keep running!

I still can say without hesitation that I am NOT a fan of running, nope, I'm not one of those girls who claims to love it. But ya know, what I do love is what I learn about life on these runs. Some hard truths, some mental battles, but ALL of them become worth it when I've RUN my race and FINISHED the course marked out for me!

You might think I'm crazy, but I bet some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. For me, it all starts with the "BIB NUMBER."

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

Hebrews 12:1-3

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us RUN with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You were a flower...GREAT GRANDMA!

On Friday, March 25th my Great Grandma passed away peacefully and with family in a hospice home. I'm thankful and Praise God that she knew and had a relationship with Jesus and the peace and comfort that came from having that confidence. I'm thankful to have had a Great Grandma in my life and to have enjoyed that relationship for the 25 years of my life. Great Grandma was 89 and she was ready. One thing that fills my heart with JOY and I will always remember is how the last day she was fully coherent, my Gma said she spent about an hour just talking to God, praying and singing old songs as though He was right there in the room with her. She would tell Him how she was ready and ask Him to help her with the pain and she just didn't want to leave behind her babies, she wanted to know that her children and grandchildren would be taken care of and be alright. I don't really even shed tears over the fact that Great Grandma is gone, because I know she is well now - sin and death are defeated! But I well up with emotion thinking that in the final days of her life, her one remaining concern and anxious thought would be that of a mother for her family. WOW! She had 11 children and I can't even count how many Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren and even some Great Great's that she had, but it just blesses my heart to know that in that state of life, her thought wasn't on fading away, it was that we would be okay. :') The experience of being there with her the final 2 weeks of her life, back and forth from visiting hospice, God used it to teach me so much about life. I understood more of how these bodies we live in really are just temporary homes, we move on though. I understand more of how in this fallen world, we are forced to give so much of our attention to things that never satisfy yet are necessary for life on this earth (like food, water, shelter, clothing, etc), but at the end of life you start thinking in the eternal and those things mean less and less to you and being in the presence of the Lord means more and more. I understood more about death being defeated because in this flesh we daily are at war, but that war is no more when we finish this race of life. In the word it says our life is like a vapor and literally, my Great Grandma lived 89 years, but at the end of life, I'm sure 89 years seems like a blink. She was born, she lived, then she died...all like that. We all do. There are so many things in this world that jock for our attention and some of which we just have to tend to while living "this life," but there is a life to come - PRAISE GOD! The funeral services were beautiful for Great Grandma and I was thankful for the boldness in witness my cousin, Great Uncle and Great Grandma's pastor had in preaching the truth to our family at the funeral. It was GOOD! I think about a flower and how a flower's pollen blows and takes root and produces other beautiful flowers like itself and I started thinking about my Great Grandma like a flower. She loved Jesus. Going to the funeral I could look around and see these precious and sporatic flowers scattered within my family that are growing and blooming to love and serve the Lord. AMAZING! It blessed my heart so much and I was filled with even more hope at the thought that it's not it, there are more flowers in the works, just waiting to bloom and turn their faces to Jesus!

John 12:24

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.