5 Ideas Generated By Running A Half Marathon

On Sunday I completed my fourth half marathon. Wow, it’s hard to believe that’s true since “I’m not a runner.” I don’t run to compete; typically I finish about mid-pack for my age and gender. I don’t run to break records; though I was close to a personal record yesterday.  :)

I simply run to think, pray, listen and learn- mostly more about my Creator. All the other benefits are great, but God always gives me ideas when I run.

And here are the 5 ideas generated from yesterday’s half.

1. At the race start and for the first mile, many runners shed their outer layers.  It’s kind of humorous to watch all the clothes getting flung into the air over the crowd to the sides of the race corrals.  Pants, jackets, gloves…. What would be awesome is if churches would come and collect the clothing for homeless shelters. Or there was a ministry called “Race Scraps for Jesus.” A little crazy, but seriously! Wouldn’t it be cool?

2. One of my favorite races, the Nashville Music City Half, sports lives bands every few miles. Around mile 6 on Sunday in St. Louis, I prayed for a worship band. Just before mile 8, my prayer was answered. Interesting how God knew what I needed even before I did.  The name of Jesus holds so much strength.  My light bulb moment regarding this:

Christian music needs more songs with the name of Jesus and I need to revisit the ones that include His name.

3. At one point on a long uphill, I stopped running and started walking.  Someone yelled to me: Don’t let the hill stop you! Ok, so I wasn’t really encouraged by this shout.  I wasn’t letting the hill STOP me; I just needed a short reprieve. As my husband said, “That’s pretty easy to say when you are sitting on the sidelines with a warm cup of coffee in your hand,” watching the sun rise and “cheering” runners as a sidebar.  And the idea formed:

All encouragement is not created equal.

4. St. Louis has quite the combination of old and new buildings downtown.  When looking around at the architecture, I viewed interesting details and combinations of classic and modern styles, creating an eclectic, but exciting effect. My thoughts: Old ideas don’t always need dropped.  Their structures are strong; the foundations secure.  But resurfacing them adds spark and relevance.

5. Finish lines should be a place of rejoicing! I typically just run across smiling.  But this time, something came over me and I felt completely out of character.  I literally leaped across the finish line- and it felt good.  But as I crossed, I overheard someone  on the sideline say “That was weird.” And the fact was reiterated to me that not everyone will rejoice when I rejoice.

Rejoice with others whether or not you comprehend their journey or their victory.

I leave you with the great line of Forrest Gump:

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Have you ever had a time when someone didn’t understand your joy?  How did you respond?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

 

5 Tips on Running When You Have Children

“How do you do find time to train for races?”

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My husband and I are training for a half marathon and this question has been asked of us so frequently over the years that I thought I’d give you a few pointers today. Not that I’m a pro, by any means, but the logistics of having a busy household and committing to staying fit can be a bit tricky.

1. Agree to support each other.

Whenever and whatever it takes.  If your spouse is not running, be sure he/she is on board with your decision.  Not just on board, but cheering you on! :)

2. Accept childcare assistance.

For me, when I can run without my children, it’s a treat. I’m blessed to have a college age daughter who, when she is at home, will stay in the afternoons while the two youngest nap and the other children are in school.  Maybe you can exchange running times with a neighbor?  When my husband and I both need to run in the evenings, we exchange running time and “holding the fort” time.

3. Adjust as needed.

Keep the mile schedule if possible, but be willing to change your strategy for the day. Sometimes running on the treadmill while the kids play in the basement under my watchful eye is the best I can do for the day. If you know that one day of the week is going to be more flexible than another, run the longer mileage runs on the flex days. Click here to find the schedule I originally used to begin training for races.

4. Add your children!

This summer, my 10 yr. old son ran with Daddy in a 5 K while my 8 yr. old girlie ran with me. Running builds character and increases confidence in children!  My daughter placed first in her division- a very cool moment for all of us.

5. Appreciate whatever you can do.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t think the situation is most ideal.

Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.  Heb. 12:1

If you wait for the time to be perfect, you’ll never run.

I’d love to hear either your dilemmas OR tips for running with children.  Can you leave them in the comments?

 

Setting the Pace

setting the pace

I ran today. 8 miles. Well, it was supposed to be 8, but something happened. At 3.5 miles, the watch lost power.

My poor husband frequently hears how I wish I were faster and “I wish I could do that.”

With no watch, I was forced to estimate my miles, which wasn’t a problem, but the more difficult side of going without the watch was….my pace.

For some reason, my body just doesn’t stay in an even running pace unless I stay very forcefully on task.  This means glancing down at my watch every few minutes to make sure I haven’t slowed down past my goal marks.  Pace is everything- if you want to win.  Or reach your goal.

But today God was teaching me a different lesson.  One I’ve heard before, but have always had difficulty comprehending and enjoying.

When you consume yourself with the pace, you often miss the lessons of the race.

In other words, when I get so entranced with how fast or how slow or just right that I’m running, I miss out on the beauty of the journey.

 Too much focus on reaching the destination and not enough enjoyment of the present.

This lesson relates to other areas in my life, as the blog is growing and I find myself spending too much time looking at numbers.  Twitter followers, facebook likes, pins on pinterest, etc.  I really believe God is teaching me that I don’t need to achieve goals at breakneck speed.  Gradual growth is better than sudden explosions.  Oh, it’s great to have a spurt every now and then.  As long as the increase is given by God and the glory for the increase is given to Him. I don’t want the spotlight to be on me.

My heart’s cry is to point others to Jesus. When I get caught up in the pace, then I lose the focal point of reaching and helping others for Christ.  As my awesome friend, Karen Ehman, says, “Don’t take on more than you can pray for.”

So I run to pray and I pray that I can run the full race…

At.His.Pace.