Friday, August 10, 2012

One Mighty Step at a Time...

It has been 5 months since I have consistently started running.  I was talking to a very close friend of mine and he said, "It must have been easy for you, since you ran in high school."  My response was, "Actually my friend, it made it HARDER!"! See, you have to understand, in high school, I was super skinny and ran really well. After having 2 babies in a row, overeating because of depression and feeling hopeless, when I dressed up to go on a run, I compared myself to that young runner I used to be, it would leave me feeling defeated.  It mostly made me wanna give up because I didn't see myself ever getting to that place physically again.  I had always had the desire to start running again after I had Hope but I had NO IDEA where to start.  I goggled info, read running discussion boards, looked at different plans, bought books, magazines, etc.  I even convinced my  sweet husband to buy me a Garmin watch for Mother's Day last year so I was able to track and see what I was doing.  I love my watch, and I really feel like it has been very motivating to have something to look back at and see how far I have come.  When I had just gotten it, recording my runs was hard and made me feel discouraged because of the comparison.  I decided I would share my Garmin history so here it is:

May 11, 2011- 1.27 miles in 21:43 (pace 17:10/mi.)
May 19, 2011- 1.88 miles in 25:47 (pace 13:42/mi)
May 24, 2011- .61 miles in 7:55  (pace 12:59)
May 25, 2011- 2.07 miles in 28:17 (pace 13:41)
July 24, 2011 1.61 miles 32:44 (pace 20:23)

That's it....then there is nothing on my Garmin up until March 5 2012.

I tried to run, I tried really hard but I kept on comparing myself to the runner I was before, because of that I gave up, I had decided that there really was no way that I could be fast again, that I could never amount to the runner I once was, so I put up my Garmin nicely in its box and into my dresser.

-So my number one piece of advice to any of you who may want to start running is:  
DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF to ANYONE (Even if it is a memory of yourself!!)
 Remember that this will be your individual journey with the Lord, invite Him into every run you start, He will reveal Himself. Believe it!!

-Start of slow and know that it will take time but if you continue to do it, there WILL BE improvement!!
Even if it is just a small jog/walk down your street, dominate that street and then when you feel stronger make the course longer and dominate that one!! :)

In May of 2011, I had attempted to start running again, I was excited, I was positive but my eyes were set on where I had used to be instead of where God wanted me to be in the present. Starting over again is a very humbling experience, it's hard emotionally, but when we fix our eyes on the Lord, He will give us enough strength to get each run done.  I can't completely tell you why I gave up, maybe pride, maybe depression, my cigarette habit...I do know that God wanted me to let that memory fade, He wanted to start something NEW in me.

-You have to be WILLING BODY, MIND, SPIRIT and SOUL!!! You have to decide and make a choice in your mind and heart that you are ready to take on this journey. In your heart of hearts you have to agree with all your being that YOU WILL PUT IN THE WORK!!  No one can make you do the runs, that's when you see what you are made of!!

As I look back, when I gave up last year after a couple of runs, the dream did not disapear!!! Just because I had given up, did not mean that God had given up on me and because He placed that desire in my heart, it never went away! Instead, it got stronger and more evident in my mind.  I still continued to read books on running, watch documentaries, look up races on You tube, etc...  I had no idea at the time that the Lord was getting my heart and mind ready.  ISN'T HE AWESOME!!! At that time in my life, I literally did nothing but sit on my couch, of course, I took care of my girls, but I really did feel "stuck" physically.  Every now and then I would open up my dresser and look at my garmin, which brought feelings that made me sick to my stomach. 

-After making the decision, it is important that you tell people, even if it makes it scary, it also makes you accountable.  Set a goal and have reason.   Run for something that is dear to you!!!

When God met me on my treadmill, I had to give Him my cigarette smoking.  I run for my girls, so that they can see mommy strong, healthy and happy!! But I also run for my babies in heaven.  For me, there is just something about running that makes me feel closer to heaven.  I can express feelings I have no other way of expressing through running and God always meets me there.  I really feel like running is my form of worship to the Lord.

- Don't second guess yourself!!!  You can do!!

I didn't write this in my first blog but I thought I would share.  After I had that experience with the Lord on my treadmill (which was in February) It took me about a little less than a month to really stop smoking and start running.  It was almost like I was second guessing my ability and His promise towards me.  One day, I stopped by the gas station and went up to the cashier, I asked for a pack of cigarettes and to my surprise, in a gentle, quiet, calm voice, the cashier asked, "Why do you need these?"  Instantly I felt my face turn red, I was shocked, embarrassed and I promised the cashier it was my last pack. He had no words for me, just a look, not a judging look, but more of a concerned look and I walked away. When I went into my car, I couldn't believe what had just happened. I cried my eyes out, I asked God to forgive me, I immediately felt His love for me, no anger, just love. Thank you Lord for your patience towards me.  I then knew that it was time, that I HAD to do this, I knew that He had put this desire in my heart and I had to fulfill it. Glory to God!



-Be prepared for an uncomfortable journey and have a support group!!  The first day I ran I had decided my goal would be to be able to run 3 miles without stopping.  That is all I focused on.  I think the route I started with was about 2 and a half miles.  The run was terrible!! My lungs hurt, I had to stop and walk within the first mile and I could barely breathe, BUT the feeling of running and getting it done was better than any cigarette I had ever smoked!! I expressed my dreams with my husband and a few friends so that when it does and did get tough I will have others to lean on.


-Set a Goal and Share it-  This was the hard one for me  I decided I would try to run a 5k in the end of April.  I looked online and found the closest 5k race to my house (that way I could practice running the course)  Signing up for a race will definitely keep you accountable.   Not to mention the feeling of accomplishing the goal will just make you feel stronger!! I can't tell you how awesome it was to finish that race.

I placed first in my age division!! My first 5k race since high school!!
















- Track your improvements-  Like I had mentioned before, having the ability through my Garmin has been great.  I am able to look at where I am at and also see my improvment.  There are many apps that do the exact same thing and websites as well.  A website that have helped me stay on track in the beginning was www.sparkpeople.com/ (this website helps track your food intake, exercise, etc and its free!! VERY HELPFUL!! Some running apps: www.runkeeper.com, www.mapmyrun.com,  There are also plans that you can download onto your phone that you can use while running such as: couch to 5k run/walk program, etc. (If you would like more info or need help selecting a plan, I am MORE THAN WILLING to HELP!!)

Looking back and reflecting is something I try to do every month.  I don't ever want to forget the journey, the steps it took, the feelings, the breakthrough and most importantly, the Faithful, loving God who sees in me something bigger than I could ever imagine.  Time and time again, He shows His faithfulness to me. The more I open up my heart to Him and reject the lies, the more joy I receive. He replaces my FEAR with FAITH.


All you need to do is take a tiny step toward your goal, whatever it may be, the fact is that even if your moving slow, you are still moving foward, those small steps will turn into bigger stronger steps, they will eventually turn into a beautiful testimony that you can share with others.  
Start today, stop dreaming and start doing, discover the strength the Lord has placed in YOU!! 





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