HOW'S IT GOING: by jodi stilp
My seven-year-old daughter Alli has a hard time staying focused. She’ll head up to her room after breakfast intent on completing her get-ready-for-school routine. Before she goes upstairs, we run down the list of what she needs to accomplish: brush teeth, make bed, shower, get dressed, fix hair, read Bible. Most mornings she wants to be first in line at the bus stop, but other mornings she allows herself to get distracted. It’s not that she wants to be late. There are just too many other things, like doodling on a piece of notebook paper or spinning in circles in her bedroom, that are more appealing. She often loses sight of the goal – to catch the bus so she can go to school. Every five minutes, I holler up the stairs, “Alli, how’s it going? The bus will be coming in ten minutes. Have you finished your first task? The bus is coming in nine minutes. How’s it going?” We play this game every school morning and even with my help, she often has to run to catch the bus.
I have perfected the art of Professional Nagger, otherwise known as Mom, and thought I’d put these skills to use by checking in with you as well. How is your training going? The race is coming in forty-seven days. Are you staying focused on consistent training or are the distractions calling you?
I put together a checklist of things to accomplish.
- Register for the race. If you still need to do this, go to http://www.runwithpaula.com/helvetia-half, click on the blue box with the white star that says, “Register Now” and follow the prompts. Interest in this event is growing exponentially and there is talk that it might start selling out. Wouldn’t you be disappointed if you trained for twelve weeks for an event but didn’t get a spot in the race?
- Let the Not Your Own team know who you are. Go to http://www.hespeaksinthesilence.com/category/not-your-own/ and scroll down past the blue box on the right hand side. Under the countdown clock is a “Join Us” heading. Click on the link, follow the prompts, and let us know we have a new team member.
- Check out the Not Your Own Facebook page. One of the biggest questions we’ve been getting is, “How do I get connected to other women who are training for this event?” Find them at the Not Your Own Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_113751875371574&ap=1. Join the group and use the page to find training partners, glean tidbits of helpful info, and encourage us with your progress.
- Gear up. By now you should have purchased a good pair of running or walking shoes. If you haven’t done this, my guess is that you have sore feet, sore knees, and sore everything. I know it’s hard to shell out $100 for a pair of good shoes, but not purchasing proper gear makes you susceptible to injury and makes exercising more uncomfortable. It is worth the investment to get proper running shoes, a supportive bra (sorry boys), and cute exercise clothes that wick away sweat. You can find inexpensive workout gear at Target or check out my favorite place to buy workout clothes, www.athleta.com. The price point is higher, but the quality is excellent and this store features a wide range of sizes including petites, tall, and plus sizes.
- Stick to your training plan. You should be starting to ramp up the miles on the weekend now. I know it’s tough, but you can do it. Stick to your training plan and don’t skimp on the long runs. Your body needs the slow ramp up of adjusting to the longer distances so it’s not so shocking on race day.
- Plan your course before you exercise. I plot all my training runs on www.mapmyrun.com. It’s a resource I can’t live without. When I chart a weekend long run, I usually choose loops instead of out-and-back routes. Running a loop forces me to run to the farthest point before heading back home and eliminates the mental argument of “I’m so tired, maybe I could just cut a mile or two off by turning around sooner than I planned.” Even when I run shorter distances, I always decide ahead of time how far or how many minutes I’m planning to run, and I don’t allow myself to swerve from that goal.
- Celebrate your victories. A friend of mine runs on a treadmill next to a poster that says, “It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going. You’re still lapping everyone on the couch.” Don’t forget to celebrate each time you get out for a run or walk. Celebrate the days you run fast and furious. Celebrate the days you fight for each step. Celebrate because you are really doing this. WHOO HOO!!!!
At the end of I Corinthians 9 Paul reminds us that in a race, all the runners run, but only one gets the prize. He says, “Run in such a way as if to win. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly.”
I can’t help but think of Alli and her quest to make it to the bus each morning. When she’s focused, she stays on task and revels in being first in line at the bus stop. When she’s running aimlessly through her morning, you’ll find her sprinting down the street, wet hair flying behind her, carrying her shoes in one hand and her breakfast in the other. It’s not a pretty sight.
Girls, this race has forced you to enter into strict training and you’re doing such a great job persevering through it. Life is one big distraction and I know you’re all getting tired. My prayer is that the discipline you are learning from physically training to complete this race will transfer over into your spiritual walk with Jesus. Don’t run or walk aimlessly. Stay focused and run to win. You can do it!
Persevering with you,
We asked you to send us your stories about why you’re running and what you’re learning as you train your body and your mind that you are Not Your Own.
Elizabeth Traub told us her story. “I used to be a runner – fit and healthy with a closet full of lovely, small clothes. Seven years later, those clothes still hang all crisp and ready in my closet. The problem? I’m a midlife mom of young ones. Finding time to run, then doing it and realizing I am no longer the athlete I once was has been tough. I started slow, or so I thought, and then had to slow down even more.
It is very hard to accept the simple fact that I am way out of shape and overweight. For most of my life I could commit three weeks to running and drop any extra weight. Extra weight was 5-10 pounds, not 30-40 pounds. Ouch! Did I really just type those digits? I did and it is my reality.
I signed up to be a part of Not Your Own and I am scared to death. If you are a Solid Rock woman who needs help getting moving, know that you are not alone. I am right there with you, still telling myself daily that this is the day I will do something. I want to be the healthy person God wants me to be. I really need to stay in shape to keep up with my boys. I am looking forward to this race and plan on running it. So join me.”
Angela said, “I joined the Not Your Own group with the goal of finishing the half-marathon. I also wanted to train alongside such encouraging and inspiring women. I realize there is a lot to learn through this and God is teaching me a lot through this process. So far, I’m not a runner. I struggle with my weight and I’m out of shape. My goal is to cross the finish line, but I know that God has so much more for me. If I give Him an inch, He’ll take a mile. If I give Him everything, He’ll take me the whole way. I’m learning to ‘lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.’ (Hebrews 12:1)”
Carissa told us her journey of becoming a runner. “I ran my first marathon last year. I said I would never run one. I’ve always battled stomach problems when it comes to running and I had little time to train with three home-schooled sons (5 yrs, 3 yrs, and baby) at home and very few by-myself-moments.
I started running again in the fall of 2009 after my last pregnancy. I immediately realized that I had remained a runner in my mind, but my body was another story. Even though I was discouraged, I kept at it and trained for a half-marathon in the summer of 2010. I loved getting back in shape and becoming strong and athletic. I also loved the energy running gave me, the time with the Lord, and having an outlet and identity outside my role of wife and mother.
After I ran my half-marathon, I signed up for the Portland Marathon on 10-10-10. I prayed for a running partner to get through the long training runs with support and God answered by bringing Jodi Stilp and I together. God helped me stay injury-free as I trained and provided prayer and encouragement from family and friends, energy after each long run, and help with my kids. Bit by bit, I found myself reaching goals that seemed intimidating if not impossible.
The day of the marathon we headed out in the dark rainy weather. It rained on us the whole time but in spite of the dreary weather, we still had fun. We celebrated as the miles passed and kept our pace strong. Around mile fifteen Jodi and I got separated. I needed to slow down to make the climb up St. John’s bridge. Boy did I pray through those next eleven miles. It was really tough, but the less I thought about myself and the more I fixed my eyes upon the Lord the better (or shall we say less miserable) I felt. At the finish line Jodi and I met back up, soaked and exhausted, but we celebrated our run and her qualifying for Boston.
I don’t know how long I’ll be able to be a distance runner or whether I’ll surprise myself with some other athletic pursuit, but what is most important is I love being Not My Own.”