Monday, September 24, 2012

Today is my Birthday

 I am 28 years old today.  I am very happy to say that at the age of 28, I feel better than I have ever felt before.  I am strong, healthy and happy.  My birthday really started off yesterday.  My church had a night of worship and prayer.  I sang to Jesus and reflected on the things I have been through in the past couple of years.  My heart was so full of thankfulness.  The past couple of years have been tough and there were days where I didn't know how I would get through the depression.  And here I am, stronger than ever.  I'm gonna be honest, I cried alot during the service, but it was happy tears.  Even in my darkest hours, God was there.  He carried me through those times.  He blessed me with great friends.  Friends that have been there for me during those times.  Friends that encouraged me and prayed for me along the way. I have a very thankful heart. I feel so blessed today.  May I never forget the what He has brought me out of. May my heart always remember and share His power in my life.
This morning when my girls jumped on our bed as they always do, My husband told the girls that it was my birthday, they both sang Happy Birthday to me, then Gracie decided she wanted to sing a running song to me!! LOL it makes me so happy to know that my 3 year old knows my passion for running. I pray that I can inspire my daughters to pursue their dreams in life with  passion, determination and diligence.

On Saturday, I ran 13 miles for the very first time. I ran with Back on my Feet.  I had ran 10 miles the past couple of Saturdays and was anxious to run longer to see how I would do.  We ran a practice course run for the Allstate 13.1.  I felt really good up until the 11th mile.  I was running with a fellow Back on my Feet teammate and he really helped coach me through the last miles.  I even had a little bit of strength at the end to finish strong!! I finished my 13 mile run in 2:25.  I have 2 weeks until the half marathon!! I am very excited to finish my training plan.  I have one more set of interval training and a couple more runs to go until race day. 
So I have some exciting news!! For my birthday I was able to sign up for my very first marathon!!! I chose to run the Country Music Marathon in Nashville Tennessee (Rock-n-Roll Series) on April 27, 2013.  I decided on this marathon because I wanted my first marathon to be fun!! This marathon has live bands along the course, it is followed by a free concert in the evening and  Moms Run this Town have a $10 off discount as well.  I have friends that live there and have opened up their homes to my family so that I can go and train on the course. My friend Kradan will also be able to go and cheer me on.  So I took the leap of faith and signed up!! I was so scared to press the button that confirms payment.  I stared at the page for about an hour, texted my husband to see if he really thought I could do this.  He wrote back with words of encouragement... and CLICK, it was done!! I even took a pic:

I can't explain the excitement I got when I saw this.  I cried tears of joy because it was a moment of God's promise coming to reality!! I WILL run a marathon!!   To be able to know that I am working hard toward this dream that I had in high school is so empowering!! A year ago, I remember talking to my best friend Tasha about wanting to start running again and now here I am doing it!! I know it is going to take dedication to wake up early in the morning for long runs. but I am so ready to do it.  I'm so ready to take on this new chapter of my life.  I have an awesome husband, amazing friends and family who love, support and believe in me. So here is to a new year!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

6 month anniversary... Running strong!!

AHHHHH, Yesterday was one of those sappy, emotional, reflective days for me and I am TOTALLY embracing it!! 6 months, its been 6 months since I took on this challenge from the Lord, I had no idea what would happen, but WOW it has been such a great experience so far!! I had a 4.75 mile run.  I was not in the mood to wake up in the morning and ended up running a little after 10 A.M.  I was in a funk, so I knew that I HAD to listen to some music while running if I wanted to enjoy it at all.  In honor of 6 months of consistent running, I listened to the album Hillsong Live: A Beautiful Exchange.  I took some time to stretch, fiddled with my armband for my very old school mp3 player (I need an ipod shuffle) and started my Garmin. I began to relax and said hello to a couple of neighbors who I see on a daily basis while running.  I focused more on the music than the run for a bit to get in a better place mentally.  The song: Forever Reign started and as I listened to the song, it immediately overwhelmed me.  This song just really describes my journey with the Lord and running: "I'm running to Your arms, I'm running to Your arms, the riches of Your love will always be enough nothing compares to Your embrace, light of the world forever reign."  Have a listen:

I ran thankful, my heart was just so thankful for God's presence in my life and for how He loves me.  I remember when I started running, the first thing I did was tell everyone, share my story, that way I would be accountable.  That way if I did decide to give up, there would be a support system. This really was the best idea I had, because there were in fact times where I was down and out and had amazing friends who helped me emotionally, helped with shoe selections, gave me running tips, picked me up early for runs, etc... While I ran I thought about all who have been encouraging along the way, from close friends, to fellow runners I've randomly met along the way. Thank you!!
6 months ago, I called up my parents and asked them to look into an shoe box I kept with all my track/cross country medals, in there I had saved a newspaper clipping of the results of the 5k I ran in high school, my mother read it out to me and I typed it into my computer.  First goal... run a 5k in 26 mins.  I've ran 3 5k's:  Sope Creek 5k Fun Run (April 38) 30: 20
Hilton Head 5k  (July 4)  27:25
Back on my Feet Meaningful Miles (Aug 25) 26:44
1st Goal: 26 min. 5k accomplished!! 
This definitely changed the thought in my mind that I could never get back to where I used to be, cause in fact, I am exactly where I used to be time wise in high school and the reality is I'm only gonna get better!! :) Of course I'm not the little skinny girl I was in high school but who cares, I'll take it!!
Gracie's First 1k Race
After I finished the race
My second goal was to run a 10k in September. (6 miles for 6 month anniversary) :)  It so happened to fit perfectly with the training plan that I am following.  I was even able to find a local race very near to where I live.  I ran the Y to Y Labor Day 10k on Sept 3. The great thing about this race is that there was a free 1k for the kids, which I absolutely loved!! Since this was my first 10k since high school and I had no time record of what I ran, I decided I would do a practice run and time myself to see where I was. The race started off at  the NE Cobb YMCA and then ended at the McCleskey YMCA.  I had my awesome husband drop me off and there I went. The course description said it was "mostly flat and fast"  and well, I think now that I've ran a couple of races here in Atlanta, it is safe to say that there will ALWAYS be hills!! There were 2 hills on that course that were NOT FUN and a couple of smaller ones as well, but I got it done!! My time for the practice run was 1:04, which was a 10:25 pace.  So I decided I would shoot for 60 minutes or less.  I had a lot of doubt since the course was pretty challenging.  The day of the race, the weather was nice, I was feeling pretty good.  I decided I was going to just enjoy the race and have a good time. I really didn't feel like I could make my goal while running but I kept on pressing on!! There were times in the race where I wanted to start walking especially after the hills, but I didn't, I stayed strong. I told myself positive things, I even at one point had a Yo Gabba Gabba song about Robots in my head which made me smile. Ahh my girls, my beautiful girls and my amazing husband would be at the finish line!! I'm pretty sure I looked like a crazy women at the end of the race, I tried my hardest to have a kick and I felt myself running fast but I'm not too sure my form looked all that great!! :)  I saw the time and ran my heart out!! Whoo hooo!! :) My time was 58:44 and  I placed first in the women's 20-29 age division!!!
2nd Goal: 60 min. or less 10k  accomplished!
We stayed to watch Gracie and Hope run the kids 1k race, it was so cute watching them run!! The awards were given out right after the kids race.
I really didn't think I would place!! So that was an awesome surprise!! :)
When I ran my first 5k in April I placed 1st as well, God is so good!! It's almost like He's telling me I'm on the right track. I was super tired after the race, I had a reward bacon burger for lunch and then slept.  I really can say that I ran hard this time, I felt stronger mentally, I really feel like the revelation from God about the hills I run made me feel very strong while I ran. It  made me feel like I COULD do it, whenever there was a negative thought or an excuse that came up in my head to slow down, I
One very HAPPY mommy
SHOT IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY!! I really am proud of myself.  These past 6 months have really been an amazing journey.  Can you all believe I am about to run a Half Marathon next MONTH!! I am on Week 8 of a 12 week plan and about to start doing longer runs on Saturdays.  I am already looking at Marathon plans.  I am excited to experience what the next 6 months has in store for me. Just because we are older doesn't mean that the dream is dead.  It just means it will take a little more dedication and perseverance.  If anything, I have learned that because I am older I am stronger than I was before and really do feel like I will be a better runner than I was ever in high school. The circumstances in life have made me emotionally and mentally stronger. Thanks to everyone who reads my blogs, we are on this journey together, I pray that whatever path you are on , whatever dream or goal you have in your heart that this may be a testimony to you that IT IS POSSIBLE to ACHIEVE!!