Faith · Fitness · Perspective

Psalm 19 with a Sprinkle of Science

Do you ever feel like you are just missing the point? Like with the current excitement over fanny packs and high-waisted jeans (which I experienced the first time a few decades ago), some things just leave me clueless.

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Yep, that’s me! The last few weeks have been a quest to “get it.” Once you realize you are missing something, you want to find it.

With my husband gone for a trip and then the transition time back into normal rhythm, I slipped out of my habits. I stopped running because where was the time? I stopped doing my devotional in the morning because I wasn’t getting more than a few hours of sleep. My stress level was thru the roof. My kids were fighting constantly. Sugar and bread cravings were all I could think about at meal times.

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Appreciate what’s around me? Struggling to…

Pay attention to the people and places I went? Just enough to keep us all alive…

In the words of Nemo, I was trying to “just keep swimming.”

That is not what this life is about! Sometimes, well… most of the time, God puts something in front of me like that rumble strip on the sides of the highway. The one that signals “CAUTION” and to make a correction. (side note- it is also good at distracting screaming babies on long car trips – not sure how we would have ever made it to Austin, TX with a very angry 5 month old without that rumble strip)

The first day of May, I set a goal of 90 miles of running this month (max 10/90 on bike). I’ve run basically every day. Running is part of my worship. It is impossible to not appreciate nature and all of Creation when running outdoors. It is extremely hard to demean yourself on the treadmill if you are aware how all the intricate cells in your body are working together to make that happen.

Monday, I picked my devotion time back up as well. Psalm 18. Psalm 19 Tuesday. Talk about a swift swoop into my world!

Psalm 19 (NIV).

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 
3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 
6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. 

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 
8The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 
9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. 
10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. 
11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 
12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Verses 1-6 refer to the beauty of creation, created by God in intricate interwoven detail. “Verse 3 – they have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.” It doesn’t have to be! Beauty and majesty speaks for itself. There are no words in any human language that does it justice. “Yet their voice goes out to all the earth, their words to the ends of the world…”

How sad that I was so wrapped up in man-made chaos, that I completely missed all the miraculous things going on around me!

As a lover of science, I understand the desire to know all the inner workings. I want to know too! But much like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, I have to pick which part I’m sure of to make calculations. I choose God and will leave the other part to be less certain. In doing so, I’m able to enjoy and appreciate life around me with both my faith and my questioning, scientific mind.

In doing the study commentary on verses 7-13 this morning, I realized that I had completely misunderstood much of the intent of the Bible!

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In my naivety, I’ve thought that many of the teachings were extremely limiting and harsh. What about my self-expression? my self-interests? my hopes, wishes and dreams?

Notice a trend here? Consider MY ears opened this morning.

Back to basic science – Newton – Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Why do I think MY actions, hopes, dreams, expressions, and interests won’t have a ripple effect on others? #selfish

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The harder I push against God’s guidance, the harder or more awry life goes for me and those around me. Our world is doing its darndest to muddle things up. Again *raises hand*, guilty… Those guiding principles are not there to punish us, but to walk us towards a deeper joy, the kind only possible when you’ve made humble peace in your soul. Consider this me working towards being wise.

Verses 11 to 13. Who hasn’t told a child “Don’t touch that! It’ll burn your hand!” Then the seeking fingers touch it, burn, and tears ensue. *raises hand* Who has been that child thinking that he/she knew what was best? *raises hand*

These lines illustrate how God is trying, so so hard, to guide us away from troubles. It is frequently MY choice which path I choose – walking away without blemish or needing a salve and a bandage.

Hidden faults. We all have them. A very difficult step in maturing is recognizing those faults and rectifying them. I’m feeling fairly confident that I’ll never master all of mine. Thank goodness for the grace, forgiveness, and mercy of my husband, family, friends, and the One who made it all possible with His sacrifice!

Willful sins? I think by this, my study means vices and things we do on purpose. What is your vice? Put simply, I like my pants to fit, so fitness is probably one of mine. Pride seeps into fitness like sweat into a t-shirt after a good workout.

About a month ago, I ran a little over 10K for a team half marathon event that benefitted local scholarships. I struggled physically and thus was not happy with my time. I completely missed a chance to be thankful that my body will move how I want it to. With MS, this is not something to overlook! Alas, my pride got in the way. To exercise with the desire to only be proud of myself or for the attention of others is willful.

After this eye and heart-opening study, I can honestly say I’ve hit the rumble strip. This is my modern day application of Psalm 19. I appreciate the wake up.

Health · Perspective

A Running Update About Running

I haven’t updated much lately about my runs. There’s a good reason for that… I haven’t been running.

I came down with a nasty, nasty, nasty virus the day I finished my 40 mile December. That’s right, just one nasty wasn’t enough emphasis. After fighting it at home for a few days, it landed me in the hospital on fluids and zofran for 2 days. Bless the person who invented IV fluids. I received about 6 bags before they unhooked me and sent me home.

That virus knocked me back hard. It fired up my immune system, therefore making my nervous system angry too. I tingled on my arms, legs, and back for two weeks. I was fatigued. I was drinking broth and struggling with solids. And now, I’m finally back at it. I’m working on gaining back some of the weight I lost. I couldn’t keep my running pants up at the sick weight. Not cool.

I went for my first run in almost three weeks yesterday. I parked the car by the grade school so I could cover my day of carpool and ran from there. I ran up the street to the track and knocked out a mile. Then I turned around and hustled back to get my crew of 1st graders. I seriously felt like this: 

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Did I pull that move out once or twice as I chugged it down the street? Maybe. I’ve been caught dancing on a treadmill. It happens.

Running that 1.6mi route sparked my mind to start thinking again of spring running goals. Do I try to train for another half or do I stick to 10K’s and work for a half this fall? I’m just not sure. 

My running thoughts on running…

1) Start easy with pace andl2sqc3popzkj5r8sq distance.
2) Visit with Neurologist about touchy immune and nervous system.
3) Set Spring running goals.
4) Refresh music playlist.
5) Go do it.

 

Much love — Jen

Family · Fitness · Health · Perspective

Tingles

Did I Push Too Hard?

That is the question I was asking myself as I laid with my 4yr old at bedtime last night. We finished prayers. She talked about Lola the dog and Aspen her daycare friend. She answered my daily request of “what was the best part of your day?” And then we laid there and held hands while her favorite lullabies played softly.

I cherish this time of night with my littles. My husband and I trade-off nights with each child. Sometimes it is a quick 5 minute tuck-in with prayers, but tonight was 45 minutes of laying still and cuddling. And there is nothing wrong with that for so many personal reasons. Those reasons I’ll discuss in another entry.

While I laid there patiently waiting for her to settle down and fall asleep, I thought over the past two days. I am pushing for a 40-mile December. To some, that might not seem like much. Only running 40 miles in a month. Many in my online running group have big, amazing goals like 100+ miles or are headed for a 3000 mile year. To others like my non-running husband that seems like a ridiculously large amount.

To me: Attainable but it would require finding time whenever possible to squeeze in a few miles. Time would be a much bigger challenge than distance.

So I did. Sometimes in only 10-15 minute increments. Running into the Wellness Center or down the road for however long I could snip a quick moment out of the day (with childcare). Looking at the calendar, it’s easy to see when school was still in session: homework, carpool, work, meetings, appointments, feeding my crew… and not much running.

I’m sitting today at 37.2/40. I’m feeling confident I can get the last 2.8miles today.

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However, it may be slower than the past few days. Just speculating, but I think I made my neck lesion mad.

Wednesday I knocked out a pace that I haven’t managed before. I ran my 5K in approximately 24 minutes. As I finished up mile 3, my legs started to get wonky and did not want to stride correctly. It was a strange phenomenon I’ve never experienced before.

Thursday, I ran intervals for mile 1. I warmed up from 6.0-6.5. I revved the treadmill up to 8.2. I needed a quick trip to the bathroom following mile 1 so I jogged to the locker room. 

I’ve had the “tingles” in my legs before when running, but never quite like this. It wasn’t painful, but tingles on the outside of my thighs, and on the inside and outside of my knees when I sat down. When I stood up they were gone.

My spine felt good – no L’hermitte’s. Hips good. No issues in my legs upon washing my hands and walking back to the treadmill. I ran another mile at 7.0 revving up to 9.2.

But in the quiet of my daughter’s bedtime, I have to ask myself – Did I push too hard? Is this normal for anyone else?

For years, I assumed that the strange things that my body did were just normal quirks. No pain, so not a big deal. Just an occasional muscle jerk here or a double clutch on my left foot when doing Zumba. It wasn’t until the numbness of my actual “event” (which I thought was exercise induced by bad form with a kettlebell) that my medical professional and I were led to say “what is going on in this otherwise healthy person?”

Pretty sure my neuro (who I’ll see in February for a 6m check) would say “Hmmm… Jen, use some common sense here.”

Common sense – Looking at, working out with, or having a conversation with me would lead a person with common sense to say ‘she’s perfectly healthy!’ But looks are deceiving, which I was reminded about by the presence of my tingles.

Looks like I’ll be finishing up my last 2.8 a little slower than I’d planned. I can’t express how thankful I am to be able to run or even hop or walk those last miles toward my goal. Those tingles gave me something to think deeply about and brought about a whole new depth of gratitude for simple mobility.

Don’t take anything in life for granted.


Much love to you as we close out 2016! — Jen

 

Fitness · Health

Socks for Christmas

What is the big deal about asking for practical things for Christmas? My list this year included foaming hand soap for the kitchen, a new knife set to replace our 11yr old dull, well used wedding gift set, and socks. I get poopoo’d for asking for simple things like this, but usually end up with what I ask for. Apparently, it isn’t ‘fun’ to buy practical items?!

I’ve asked for socks for Christmas for the last 3 years. Not just any socks though, running socks. If you run distance and haven’t tried a specialized running sock, I highly recommend you invest in a pair or ask for a pair for Christmas or your birthday!

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Crazy Compression Socks that I purchased.

Brands: I like Balega (made in South Africa) and Crazy Compression (pictured here -made in NC, USA). I’ve also heard positive reviews of Feetures and Bombas, but I’ve never tried them. Upon researching the companies (because that is something that I do), I found that Feetures is a family owned company in North Carolina. Owning a small business with my husband, I try to support businesses like this. Bombas are made in China, but do a 1 to 1 donation in the USA with homeless shelters. For each pair of socks sold, they donate a pair to a homeless shelter. This gets snaps in my book.

Cost: They run $10-30 a pair depending on the brand and what sale codes you can find. Thus, they usually go in my “gift” category instead of in the “necessity” category. I did splurge on two pairs of compression socks this year. I didn’t own any, but thought it would help with muscle recovery after long runs. Good news! Crazy Compression has a 30% off sale right now with code: “fun30”

Why Invest in Running Socks?  My philosophy on investing in good running socks lies in keeping the condition of my feet at a tip-top level for running. I’ll never be a foot model. My husband swears I have “hippie feet” from spending my summers barefoot. My feet aren’t pretty, but are completely functional for distance running. Dedicated runners get blisters, lose toenails, and can sometimes have gnarly looking feet. Running socks help with the hot spots and blisters. Getting fitted for the right running shoe for your feet plays a large part with the black and missing toenails.

My Next Run:  I tend to call the 5K, 10K, and half marathons “runs” instead of races. The word race implies that I’m trying to medal. Most half marathons do present you with a medal at the end for completion, but I’m talking about placing in the top 1-2-3. I’ll likely not be able to do that and honestly, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t run for accolades or public praise.

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I’m toying with the idea of signing up for 1 of 3 local half marathons. I haven’t chosen one yet. One is in March – Rural Route 13.1, the next in April- Wicked Half, and the final option is in May- Bill Snyder Half. Every year, I think I’ll sign up for the run in March, but then I don’t. Last year it rained for that whole event. The run in April is a good option, but I’ve heard it is a fast course. I’m not sure that even with the addition of interval training for speed that I would be happy doing a “fast course.” The final run is in May. That is as late in the spring/ early summer as I will run due to the heat in the Midwest and my body. Heat and MS do not mix. Depending on which I choose, I’ll have to start a training plan. Hmmm….

Any way around it, I’ll be needing some Christmas socks!

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Creativity · Family · Fitness

Hiatus

I realize I have been on quite a writing hiatus. Family, holidays, our business’s busy season and then…. Hello, It’s March!

It is now the season of Lent. I’ve been quite conflicted, frustrated, and sharp. Not to mention… highly judged. I’m not sure if I’m feeling judged because my heart is convicted about something or just flat out judged by other people. Either way, I’m examining my life to figure it out.

I write fantastic articles in my mind in the middle of the night or early morning when I can’t sleep. This morning was no different. If the feeling persists, I’ll put it all in writing. The problem with my thoughts flowing freely in the wee hours is that my body protests. Thus, no amazing novels from me.

I have signed up for two more half marathons: one at the end of April, and one at the end of May. I’m back up to 6.1miles. More running this week. I’m more at ease when I’m running. I’m more thankful when I’m running. I’m a better person for my family, job, friends, and community when I’m running regularly. As my husband implies with his support, I am able to “run the crazy” out and be an over-achiever with my mileage. 🙂

Oh, and to add to our happy, crazy life- M (2.5 yrs old) is potty training- again. This has been the longest process to date. Yes, she is ready. We’ve gone 4 days without any accidents (multiple times) then she just decides she doesn’t want to do it anymore. This results in tedious floor scrubbing. I refuse to be cross with her or negative in this process. We are down to a battle of wills and I’m not afraid to use Skittles to my advantage!

And now my moment is over for now. Back to the piles on my desk and phone calls to return.

With Love – J

Faith · Family · Fitness · Health

13.1 miles. Ran it.

We did it!!!! 13.1 miles!!!

2014 Go Girl Run Half Marathon - Overland Park, KS
2014 Go Girl Run Half Marathon – Overland Park, KS
The run was awesome. We ran the first 8 at a 12:40 average pace. It was so easy that we literally held a conversation 95% of the time. There were people cheering for us frequently along the route with encouraging signs and smiling faces from the start line all the way to the finish. By mile 8, I could feel it in my legs that I really needed to run my own pace. My friend told me to go on ahead, she would finish in her time.
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It was so freeing and really enjoyable to just stretch out my legs and go. I cheered loudly for myself at each mile marker and no one thought I was being silly. I honestly wouldn’t have cared if they did.
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My husband saw me off, caught me again around 9 miles, and then was waiting at the finish line for me. He was SO supportive and has been this whole time. He really trusts me that I will slow down and read my body accordingly just as the doctor told me to do. I averaged 10:40 min/mile for the last 5 miles.
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I’m not fatigued from this event at all. Took a bit for my tummy to handle food, but a few smoothies after the race helped that. I woke up feeling great today, minus a few sore toes. That is all because of the 3.5 months of training I did for it. I built up slowly. I would never recommend waking up and trying to run 13 miles. I started with a goal of running 2 miles without stopping.
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My dad asked me WHY I wanted to do this run. I knew my body was capable of this with the proper gradual training and overall, my physical and mental health benefited from the training and goal. I did this for me. I am being faced with a disease that is new to me and new to them. I am not sure what the path will be. It could be negligible. I will do everything in my power to make any “hiccups” as smooth as possible. The best way to keep this machine moving is to make sure I’m keeping all the parts moving and greased. 🙂 You will all have to learn to trust me on this.
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My motto from day 1 of this has been: “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.” — Philippians 4:13
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Love to you — J
Fitness · Health

Thoughts from a Rural Runner

I ran my last long run before doing a half marathon (13.1 miles). I made it 10.5miles this morning. It took me 2:00.27 and that included having to walk for a quarter of a mile or so because my insurance/specialty pharmacy called. After being on hold with them and the drug company’s support team for a total of at least 4 hours of my life the past 2 days, I felt that I had to take the call.

Please keep in mind that I live in VERY rural America. I run dirt roads, gravel roads, and some county highways. For 90% of my run, it is just me and the grasshoppers. Deer, raccoon, skunk, and cattle are occasionally on the side of the road. Most of my paths are traveled more frequently by tractors pulling implements than a car or truck.

Here are my observations after my first 10+ mile run. And they are brutally honest…

1) Bad underwear aren’t just bad the first mile…

2) Shorts are a poor choice if your thighs touch, even just a little bit…

3) Eat like it’s Thanksgiving the day before the race or a long run. Glad I shoved a few Gu gels in my armband…

4) I need a water source every mile, or at least every other mile. A drink a mile 2 and mile 8 is not enough…

and last but not least:

5) You can count on someone else being smack dab in the middle of nowhere with you, pulling over the hill, EXACTLY when you have to stop and rearrange previously mentioned terrible choice of underwear with your hand down the back of your shorts. And thus ends my embarrassment for the day.

All things considered, I’m going to rock this half marathon – in running tights, with water, and more food the night before. 🙂

Happy Friday! Blessings to you on your daily journey.

My route this morning.
Rural Running