Just call me crazy….I do!

I am a runner. 
(Took me a long time to be able to say that.)
I write about it, I talk about it, I probably dream about it.  

These past 8 months have been miserably long as a foot injury has prevented me from running as I would like.  Running is my stress relief and without that I feel a little crazy.

This fall I started working with a chiropractor to help me with my foot issue.  Much of it I can blame on genetics and just the way my feet are made.  With a little help and some stretching and exercises, I am slowly getting back to normal. (That’s relative at this point.)

Thankfully today, I was able to run 11 miles.  It was warm and beautiful outside this morning, with the shining sun and the cool breeze.  A perfect spring day for a light jog.

Except I wasn’t just lightly jogging, I was running 11 miles. 

[The prideful part of me wants to wear a t-shirt for every other jogger that says “I am running 11 miles, you should clap for me.” Yeah….probably shouldn’t.]

Yesterday, I was telling my students that I had this long run to do today, and they look at me like I am crazy.  They even said, “Girl, that’s crazy, no way I’m ever gonna do that.” (I get that a lot from them. My random singing and dancing doesn’t help that either.)

I started describing to them why I do it and what it is like to run that much.  And then today as I was running I started reflecting on my thoughts every mile or so.  I thought I would share it, maybe you relate or maybe you just think I am crazy.
 Thoughts on every mile I ran today:
Mile 1: “Oh, it is a beautiful morning for a run. I am so ready for this.”
Mile 2: “Breathe, you have a long way to go. 9 more miles.”
Mile 3: “I am feeling pretty good, I am glad I ate all that food yesterday. ” “I am so thankful I have legs to run.”
Mile 4: ” 2 miles from the turn around point. Do I smell waffles?”
Mile 5: “I definitely should have eaten more yesterday.”
Mile 6: “I need energy beans and more water.”
Mile 7: “One foot in front of the other.” (Looks towards people sitting at a restaurant.) “Curse you smart people who don’t run.”
Mile 8: “Am I done yet….”
Mile 9: I begin to question all my life choices that have lead to this point.
Mile 10:  “I am strong, I am an athlete.” (Insert Kelly Clarkson song here.)
Mile 11: “Death, this is what you feel like. Are my insides going to fall out? I can’t do it, not one more step. I am really going to die.”

When I am finished: “Oh my gosh, I did it! What can I eat now!”  (Insert Endorphins here.)

Training like this definitely takes a toll, but what I feel at the end is definitely worth it.  The fact that I can eat pancakes and reward myself with an almond milk latte makes that run worth it. 

Running also reminds me that sometimes the process is painful and frustrating and confusing, but the end results are worth the struggle and the fight.  I do enjoy the running part a bit too. 

What about you, do you run or have something that might be thought as crazy, but you love the end results? Or do you think I am just crazy?

Rest

 In these last couple of months it has becoming painfully apparent, is that I am not very practiced in resting. 
I am very good at being busy, 
at saying yes to things, 
filling my schedule to the max,
 and just to keeping running.

Today is the first day of Spring Break and I am under the weather (that is a weird idiom for sick….), and I am laying on my couch. I don’t have much energy to do anything, and I don’t really have anywhere to be.

AND I feel guilty.

I should be doing something, like my laundry, like cleaning my room, writing, and maybe even homework.  I have been given this time, I should really use for productive things, right?

Recently, I have been sick and injured. Sadly, I pride myself on having a pretty great immune system, however, I am realizing that lack of sleep and my busy lifestyle is catching up with me.  During one of the bouts of sickness, I told a friend that I felt bad that I wasted a whole day and wasn’t very productive.

She promptly told me that life…. wasn’t all about being productive.  

This wasn’t the first person to tell me to rest.  My family, my friends, my trainer tell me continually to get more sleep.  Every article I read about stress and anxiety, it talks about the need for a proper amount of sleep. I was also reminded by one of my favorite bloggers, Ruth, who talks about glorifying busyness.

Somehow in my mind, I think that if I push through, if I use these 2 extra hours tonight, I will cross off more on my to do list.  I think that I can stay up later to write this paper or grade these papers.

What really happens is this: I spend 1.5 hours watching TV, or eating, or browsing the internet.

Seriously, I don’t really have the brain power at 9pm to do any work, I just think I do.  Those extra hours that I think I need to stay up are actually wasted rest hours because I think I can use them to be productive. 

Even more so, with a foot injury, I continue sometimes to push through, even though I should really stop and let my foot rest.  I think that I am just being a wimp or weak.  I am just injuring myself further and making my recovery much longer. 

Welp, it seems that I am actually not excelling at resting or being productive.

Machines only run when there is gas in the tank.  So what I really need to learn first is to rest well, to fill my tank, to use my rest time wisely, then….I can actually be more productive and fruitful with my life.

Yes, the Lord is concerned with our fruitfulness, but he has created us to need sleep.  We need rest to remind us that we cannot do it all, we cannot alone do everything ourselves.

We need rest as a reminder of our dependence.  
Our dependence on the one who gives rest, energy, and strength.  
As I have 5 more days of Spring Break ahead of me, I am going to work on resting and filling my tank, reminding myself of who I am actually dependent on.
How do you feel you are doing at resting? When do you feel the most spiritual or physically rested?

When They Come Back

This past month has been rough, with school beginning and with my grad classes starting.  I also moved, to a house, with new people.  I have been overwhelmed and stressed out a lot. 

However, I am not going to list all the things that stress me out. 

Instead I am going to tell you all the great things that happened this week.  Some of which I had control over, some I did not.

#1. I ran more than 3 miles and survived.  I have been injured and was really worried about finishing this race.  However, my sister, bro-in-law, and a friend came in town to run and it was a lot of fun.  A friend from work also ran with us. (Actually, she finished sooner, but I still consider her a part of the group. 

#2 My students began reading for their literature circles.  There is nothing like busy students to warm a teacher’s heart.  One kid even spotted a metaphor on his own and asked if he should write it in his notes! YES YOU CAN DO THAT!! 🙂

#3 I was able to workout this week without pain in my feet or shins!  Praise the LORD!!

#4 I finished my homework early! After spending 2 evenings working in a coffeeshop and catching up on things, I finally was able to get something done ahead of time.)

#5 Library day! Nothing like a day where students are free to sit comfortably and read in the library to make my heart happy! (We also gave a quiz, and they did great!)

#6 I spent an afternoon this week with 2 students who have been struggling in my class and I was able to help them get ahead and understand some concepts they didn’t get before!! I MADE A DIFFERENCE!!

#7 I spent an evening at home listening to it rain and relaxing and ……wait for it…..went to bed EARLY! 
So amazing how much better you feel when you get more than 6 hours of sleep.  I actually woke up before my alarm 2 mornings in a row!

And finally….#8
I was actually going to leave school earlier than usual on Friday and 3 of my former students stopped by.  Best reason to stay late ever!

They were from my very first group of students. 
They are juniors.
One is starring in the musical at the High School.  She was one of my faithful drama club members.  SHE IS THE STAR….I can’t wait to be in the audience for that.
One is a cheerleader and taking dance.  She is wanting to dance with Kansas City Ballet. 
One is a cross country runner.
They are taking Advanced English, Calculus, Chemistry.
They have part time jobs. 
They drive!!! 
They are talking about college. (of course they are thinking about K-State)

My heart just exploded talking with them.  They dished about who has turned out cooler than they ever thought.  They talked about the couples.  They talked all about their struggles.

They are just so beautiful.  🙂

I am SO excited for them and their lives ahead of them. 
I am so excited to see the amazing women they will turn out to be. 

I walked away so encouraged and hopeful, not only for them, but for my current students.  It isn’t always easy to see their future, it isn’t always easy to see past the moment in 7th grade. Maybe someday something I teach or share with my current group will point them in the same direction as these girls are headed!

I cannot tell you….how much I needed that 45 minutes with them.  God is so good to me, to provide me the encouragement just when I need it the most. 

What good things happened in your week? When was a time when you received some much needed encouragement?

I ran today

Today, I ran for those who couldn’t finish a race that they trained hard for.

I ran for those that finished only to met with terror and tragedy.

I ran for those moms, dads, friends, co-workers, loved ones, and even children that come out to cheer us on, make signs, hold water, and act like fools to get our attention.

But also, I ran for those that train and discipline and sacrifice to push their bodies and minds past their own and others limitations.
 
I ran against the fear and anger that limit us, trap us and paralyze us. 

I ran against the voice that says I will never reach my goal or accomplish anything.

I ran against the voice that says it doesn’t matter if I run or not.

I ran against the voice that calls me ugly and gross.

I ran against the laziness and exhaustion.

I ran because I watched 7th graders conquer their stage fright and sing loud.

I ran because it was a bad day/week.

I ran because I had too much chocolate and it didn’t really make me feel better.

I ran because I don’t own a punching bag.

I ran because I didn’t want to talk about it.

I ran because God put air in my lungs and gave legs that work.

I ran because I can.

I ran today and I will run tomorrow and the next and the next.

It Was Worth It!

Yesterday, I got up early and ran 13.1 miles….again. I did this last fall and it was a HUGE accomplishment for me, the girl who faked sick to get out of running the mile in 7th grade.

I chose to do it again.
I must have forgotten the long hours of training, the aches and pains that is causes.
…. how early you have to get up to be there.
…. that at mile 8 you just want to sit down.
…. how painful those last couple of inclines are.
…. how badly my toes hurt.
….. the stomach ache is afterwards.

Or….
I must have realized that it was all worth it.
Worth that feeling of raising your hands in the air and crossing the finishline!
Worth knowing that you did something hard and challenging before 10am on a Saturday Morning.
Worth that hug that my Dad gave me when I finished.
Worth the GIANT running medal that I received.
Worth the 3 pints of chocolate milk that I got to drink afterwards!

Everyday I tell my students that the hard work they do now pays off later in life. I tell them that doing homework and sacrificing time will be worth it. I tell them that grammar homework will help them down the road.

This was how I lived it out for them.

I ran 13.1 miles…..and pushed myself to run faster and harder than any other time I have run. I challenged myself so that my words to them carry weight.

This is me now….
a crazy person who runs 13.1 miles and loving it!

My sister ran too! She was always the athlete, so it feels pretty good to be able to hold my own against her!
(Don’t mind my crazy eyes in this picture, I don’t know what was going through my head. All my blood was focused on keeping me upright.)

When is the end result worth it for you? What areas in your life do you need to challenge yourself? Ideas for my next challenge?

I think I have become a runner….


Yesterday, I went out for an 8 mile run at 10:30 in the morning. It was pretty cloudy and cold, just the way I like it for running outside. I looked at the weather and saw that we were expecting rain, but I thought I would have enough time before it started.

I was wrong. Just as I was going into my last mile it started to sprinkle and soon it was raining pretty hard. Instead of stopping and find a place to wait it out. I kept going. Invigorated by this surreal moment, I smiled and kept going.

I thought about all the times I had passed people running in the rain and thought they were crazy.
I thought about the times I had used rain as an excuse not to work out.
I thought about insane I probably looked smiling and running.

That was my favorite run so far in my training….

….because I think….
….just maybe…
…I have become a runner.

I describe myself as many things, teacher, artist, sister, friend, coffeelover, booknerd, tv addict, but never have I used the term runner to describe myself.

It is a surreal thing for me, as someone who hated running a year and half ago, as someone who hated PE in school, and stood in the middle of the field while playing ultimate frisbee, and always vetoed the suggested of physical exercise as an option to do with friends.

So when someone suggests that people can’t change, I tell them my story about what I once was and what I am now.

I am now a runner.

What are you? What do you want to become? Is there something you think you will never be? What do you see as impossible in your life?