Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Where do you find your self-worth?

One of my favorite running blogs is Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal. After reading her latest post,
A Runner's Body, I realize how my story is similar to hers.

I encourage you to read her blog, especially if you are a female runner. She has a lot of great insight. She talks about how she lost 30 pounds when she started running and what a challenge it was to gain the weight back until she was healthy again. I love the last line of her most recent post:
            In plain clothing I don’t get told I look like a runner anymore but I don’t care: a. cause I am a runner and b. because I no longer define my self-worth by what I look like.

I want to be able to say that I do not define my self-worth by what I look like. It is something that I still struggle with. Here is an example:

About three years ago, when I was in the best shape of my life (also at my lowest weight), people who didn't know me would ask if I was a runner, even when I was "in plain clothing" as Dorothy put it. One time in particular stands out in my mind when a person I had never met before asked if I was a runner. Am I a runner? This was a hard question to answer. Many thoughts ran through my head as I thought about what to answer. My first thought was, I must look fit, and that made me proud. After all, I had worked for my body, right? This thought didn't last long as the second thought plowed through- Does he think I'm too skinny? Is he going to suggest I stop running so much? Of course, I don't think this was what he meant at all. He was simply trying to make conversation and maybe give me a complement. The final thought that went through my head was, no, I'm not a runner because I'm not fast. This was the dumbest thought of all. I was faster than I had ever been, but I was still not satisfied. So many other girls were running several minutes faster than me, and I always felt like I was running at the back of the pack. The truth is, I improved dramatically in the three years I ran in college, and now I would do anything to run the times I was running back then.

So all those thoughts went through my head in about a millisecond and all I answered was, "Yes." I tell that story to show how concerned I was with how other people viewed me. I didn't want to be too skinny or too fat in the eyes of the world. At this time in my life, I was very concerned with my body and what I looked like. I was also beginning to find my identity in running. I wanted people to see me as a runner, and I wanted to get faster. These two goals influenced almost everything that I did.

Skip ahead three years. I am now 30 pounds heavier, and I agree with Dorothy, that it was one of the hardest things to do, much harder than losing the weight. I no longer get asked if I'm a runner, but unlike Dorothy, I do care. I wish I didn't, and it is something I'm working on because my identity is not in running or what I look like. I know many girls struggle with body image and self-confidence. It is a battle that we face, but we must remember that we are made in the image of God and He made us who He wants us to be. Our job is to keep our bodies healthy, so we can glorify Him to the best of our ability. This will look different for every person. I encourage you to find out how you can do that by looking to Christ, instead of looking at the world.

The pic on top is when I went back to North Greenville after spending a year at home and gaining back the 25 pounds I had lost. The pic on the bottom was a year and half earlier.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ibuprofen and Earbuds

This is a picture of the trail that I ran this morning. I did not take this picture because I was not up early enough to see the sunrise. I decided to sleep in a little this morning and endure the heat for my long run of the week- I wanted to get in 6 miles. I started at 9:30 and it was probably already in the 80s. For some reason my legs, hips, and neck were sore. I don't know if it was because I had run every day this week or something I did at the gym. Anyway, I really wanted to get in my 6 miles so I took some Ibuprofen (something I NEVER do before a run). I don't know why I'm against taking ibuprofen before a run. I guess I think if something hurts so much that I can't push through it, then I shouldn't be running. I made an exception today though and reasoned that it also might help me mentally- that I might think I'm in less pain. Whether it was mental or the meds actually worked, I was able to get through the 6 miles without stopping. I stuck my earbuds in and tried to forget how hot it was. I know 6 miles isn't a very long run at all for many runners, but I hadn't done a long run for a while because of being sick and doing a race last Saturday. So it was a tough run.

Last week I ran a 5k at the same trail that I did my long run. I had been sick all week but I had already signed up so I went ahead and ran it. There were a lot of people and the atmosphere was great! It wasn't my best run, but I was happy with it after not running for several days. And I got a cool medal:

I love running races, especially here because I'm able to meet some people outside of MCA and Redeemer. I'm also able to get a feel for what the running community of the Valley is like. They can't compare to the running friends I had back in Tennessee, but I hope to get into a good group around here.

Another South Texas Sunset

I've taken so many pics of sunsets and sunrises here. They are just so beautiful and all I can think of is how majestic and creative God is. I feel so small when I think about all of creation and all the glorious wonders He has made for us to enjoy and to proclaim His name. The sunrises and sunsets are just a small reminder of that.

I've been really happy here the past month. Nothing different has happened. I've just been able to get into a rhythm and I love it. Of course there are hard days like when my day starts at 6:30 am and doesn't end until 9:30 pm because of bball games. Speaking of bball...our boys team just won District Championships. They have a play-off game on Tuesday and I think they have a good chance of winning. They are a talented and hard-working group.

Besides basketball, I've started a running group in the morning for students who want to come. We weren't able to have track this year because it conflicted with our Fine Arts Banquet. But I knew several students wanted to run so I'm giving them that opportunity. I just wish we had some different routes we could run, as there are not many options where the school is located.

We've been having some problems with our electricity here at the staff house where I live. Last weekend we went without power- from Friday morning until Monday night. It was kind of like we were camping lol. The good part was we still had hot water and AC- a huge blessing!
I'm also loving the weather now. It is usually in the 80s. Every day is like a summer day that's not too hot. It's nice to be able to run and not have to bundle up.

There has been quite a bit of sickness going around lately. I got it and it was terrible. It took me about a week to fully recover, but I'm back to normal now and very thankful!
I've been running local races about every other weekend. If you are more interested in hearing about my running adventures you can read my next post.

Thank you for all who are praying and supporting me! God is doing something great here and I'm so excited to be a part of it (I'm sure I've said that before), The other day a student was saved! Praise God! I was so happy for her and I pray that every student can have a relationship with Christ! Blessings to you all.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ramblings about Running

I wanted to write a post just about running, some will find it interesting and some of you, not so I'm sorry if this completely bores you. Running has been my main hobby lately. I wouldn't say I've been running a lot as in putting in many miles in one week, but I have been running consistently. Every day after school, I'm able to go to a nearby park and run 3 miles. I enjoy this time listening to my music and thinking about whatever while also pushing my body. I've been getting faster just by running 3 miles every day, which I REALLY want to get faster so I'm pretty excited about this. I was also able to do 7 miles on Saturday at a new location. It was 30 degrees and windy which is very unusual weather for the valley, so the park was deserted. It was a great feeling having the whole place to myself, and it was also nice to go somewhere different.
I've also been reading a lot about running. I probably spend as much time reading about it than I do actually running. I just finished a book by Suzy Favor Hamilton. I'm not going to recommend the book because if books had ratings it would be rated R. Suzy was an Olympic runner who later came to live a double life as a Vegas call-girl. It was definitely an interesting read but gave a little too much detail. I've currently been reading Running Man, by Charlie Engle. If you are an ultramarathoner, I'm sure you know who he is. He was a drug and alcohol addict who started doing endurance sports and even ran across the entire Sahara dessert. It just amazes me how much pain someone can go through and still continue running. I've also been reading several running blogs. MilePosts is my favorite and if you are a female runner, I would definitely say to check it out! I've also started the book, How Bad Do You Want It, where Matt Fitzgerald looks into the psychological aspects of running. I'm not sure I agree with most of it, but maybe when I finish I have more to say on this book. Lastly, I just watched the Prefontaine movie. I love watching movies about runners.
Ok. So after writing that, I realize I sound obsessed and I probably am. I enjoy running and love learning about running. However, there is a point at which it becomes an idol. I don't want it to come to this point. I don't want it to come before God or before others- I pray that it hasn't already done so. One of the cool things about the writer of MilePosts is she is a Christian. She talks about how she prays during her long runs. I want to be able to do that. I want running to bring me closer to God instead of farther way. Usually I'm just thinking about how much it hurts, how I should be going faster, or what I want to eat afterward. It is very hard for me to pray while I run.
I've come to accept the fact that I was not born a natural runner. It doesn't come easy to me at all, and I am not built like a runner. I want to be able to run long and fast, but I feel that I can't. I probably put in a solid 20-25 miles per week on a good week. This is NOTHING compared to other runners, but I have to remember not to compare myself to others. It's my body, my run, my race. I want to see how fast I can get my 5k time- right now I'm making small goals and am shooting for 26:06. But I eventually would love to be in the 24s.
I'm not interested in running marathons. Maybe half-marathons or 10ks. I just want to run faster, not necessarily farther.
Ok I think I'm done rambling about running. Hope I didn't bore you too much!