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End is near

During this training schedule, there have been times when it was easy and there were times where it was hard.  Looking back, I believe the hardest part was actually getting started.  This was the roughest.  Now, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It is actually something that I can almost touch.  Since this is the case, things are a bit easier…it does not hurt that the schedule has been easier over the last week either! 

Mulling over this, I can see this as a metaphor for a lot of things in my life.  Starting something big is usually the hardest part.  Once it has started, there are most often some easy and hard times, but once you get to the point where you can see something at the end of the tunnel, there is a burst of energy.  Something shows up which you never thought you had.  This is pretty fundamental, but I love experiencing things like this.

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When I first started training for the marathon, I was doing it alone.  This was for about a month or so.  Then Eddie decided to run with me for a while, and ended up training to do the marathon as well.  At the time, I did not realize it, but having someone there to run with you made all the difference in the world. 

The reason I say this is because Eddie has a messed up knee and can no longer run the full marathon.  For the past month I have been doing the running on my own.  Looking back, I can see what an incredible lift it was having someone run with you.  To have someone there pushing you as you pushed them.  This is not only while you ran, but also to even get out there and train.  I am a pretty self motivated person, however I most certainly need help.

Anyways, I started thinking about this in regards to community.  I believe we need each other (Please do not read that last sentence in a soft voice).  No but really, when you think about it, how many people go and live away from people?  There are communes who still live with people, but they are just more or less away from society.  I read a book a while ago, where the author pointed out that for punishment in prison they put someone away from everyone else.  There are the occasional one or two who go and live in the forest by themselves, but that is more certainly not the norm.  We not only want, but we need community. 

This is the simple yet profound truth about the Trinity.  As Christians, we follow a God who is at the very core, communal.  This communal God, is the God who created us in His image (“His” has no gender, which is whole nother tangent).  And thus, we are at the place we are at now….

Brainal Focus

BrainSo this past weekend I had what was my longest run so far.  This is not only longest run in the training, but it also was once again the longest run I have done in my life.  I feel like I am saying this every couple of weeks actually….wait, that is because I am.  Anyways, this one was 29ks, for us Americans, that is roughly 18 miles.  This one took me just over 2 and a half hours. 

Now the reason I say this is because, have you ever tried doing something other than driving for this long?  I guess I have found that one of the hardest things in the distance of  it all is to keep my mind in a good state.  I can not tell you how hard it is to think about something other than your freaking aching body.  This of course then gets you to think about other things, like stopping.  Anyways, this has been something I have found out about more of the hard way and am needing to be more intentional about what I think about. 

This is where I reckon any readers of this could give me some thoughts…thanks heaps!

Dying to Live

Tomb StoneSo over the last few weeks I have been pondering the act of dying.  Really been thinking about what it means and what it looks like to die to self and experience resurrection from it.  The passage which comes to mind is of course, Luke 9:23: If anyone is to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow  me.  If we sit and meditate on that for a while there are certainly actions which come to mind.  Radical and ordinary, everyday actions which can be lived out now.  Although the ordinary seem to be quite radical when I think about practicing them! 

Here is another thought – think about all of the things which you know of where death brings life.  A little list I have come up with is the following.

  • Food must die before we eat it (or at least this is the healthy way of eating).
  • If you burn/kill the land it will come back more alive.
  • The eco system has death bringing life built into the heart of it – worm, eaten by bird, bird eaten by cat, cat dies and the grandchildren of the original worm eats the dead cat….
  • Stories of people giving their life to save another, somehow brings life into us.
  • Someone doing something sacrificial for us brings life to us (death to self here)
  • For someone to live a new life, their old life must first die.

On and on the list can go, but I thought this was pretty interesting.  Somehow, the gospel is built into the very fabric of so many things – death brings life!!!!

Know Thy SelfOK, so while doing some training yesterday a topic came up that I thought I would muse about a bit on here in a post.  This has to do with knowing yourself.  There are a great deal of things which have gone through my mind while pondering this so I will just go ahead and begin.

Firstly, you end up learning more about your body.  I was stretching after training yesterday and chatting with Eddie, who is running it as well.  While doing so, I learned a couple new stretches and felt some pain I had never had before.  Muscles which have never been stretched before!  There has to be a connection in stretching and being full present.  You can actually start to concentrate on those areas you are stretching and feel the blood rushing to them, the heart beat around it, and the pain tingling throughout.

The other part is knowing your limits.  On the one side, your limits end up changing.  I can tell a massive difference in now only how I feel after running 6ks…I am not near as tired, but also in my perception of running a 6k.  I look at it as not near as hard.  I would have never thought that would cross my mind.  You begin to hear the limits within yourself.  This also comes into play in the battle of the mind.  The other week, when I was running a huge amount, there began a battle of “I can’t do this” becoming prevalent in thoughts….for like 2 or so Ks.  And I was only at the half marathon point.  I was able to finish and felt fine afterwards, but in the midst of it, I was struggling.  The revelation for this came in the form of knowing these thoughts are coming, knowing when they usually come, and having something to counteract them as they come about. 

All the above comes through training not just going out there and trying to do something….there is a connection with so much!

Running on

This past week of running was not near as bad as the previous week.  I actually think that if you were to take away the immense amount of rain, I could even say that this week was one of the best weeks of running.  I believe some of the shorter distances are actually getting easier to run (yes that does sound obvious).  I guess I did not really feel as if it would have, although I thought it would.  Experience has taught me it does work. 

This coming week might end up being a different story though.  I am going to be running the most I have ever run on Sunday.  This being a whopping 26.5 kilometers!  When I write this I am actually thinking of how that should be what is done on the day of the marathon, rather than training.  It better not rain that day!  Not too long of a run today, however it is pouring down rain. 

Anyways, thought I would put a bit of an update on here about what has been going on.  Have a great one!

Incompetent, I am

IncompetenceThere are not that many things which are truly freeing in life.  I have run into quite a number of things which have the impression of being freeing, however, they end up dealing more bondage (or I end up making it more bondage than it should be).  For me, one such thing is coffee.  I love me some!  Especially when I have had a rough morning.  The caffeine gives me energy, it gives me freedom, it gives me open eyes!  However, with all the things it gives, I have become somewhat a slave to it (If you are wondering, the reason I have put “somewhat” is because I am in denial).  If I do not have it then I am miserable with a headache, moody with shortness – both in stature and temprament. 

So this past week I have learned something which gives freedom.  This is the idea of starting my day with the understanding that I will be incompetent today.  Randy shared a bit about his mantra and this was the first part.  I have been chewing on this idea and the more I do the more I recieve from it. 

I am a fallen, I am not perfect, I am in need of grace.  You see, I am one of those people whose toughest critics are themselves.  But when I think about this, I end up practicing grace on myself.  Let me just say, there is Freedom in this action!  The interesting thing about this is that when I have intentionally done this, I end up doing the same with those around me.  Funny how that is…. 

Not sure how, but I want to incorporate this somewhere in my montra!