Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31...

Strike up the hallelujah chorus!!! Praise God! The 18-miler this morning went SO well! There was no pain in either my knee or my shin, and Jackie and I cranked it out with a slow, but steady 8:20 average pace. The sun was shining; there was almost no wind. It was cold, cold to start, but by the end of the run, we were warm and toasty under the Sunday sunshine. What a glorious day!!

I tell you what. . . Sometimes I think that God allows pain in my body in order to put me on HIS time schedule. haha! Of course, there are many more reasons than that (let's say my level of faith and my attitude), but if I had run on Saturday, I would have been remissed. A--I would have missed out on Jackie's company for 2.5 hours. B--I would have been way colder. C--I would have been WAY stressed because of the move that was happening that day. (By the way, a HUGE shout out to my moving crew. They were AMAZING!! Best moving experience ever! I was SO stinkin' blessed. Thank you ALL!!)

Anyway...What was I saying?

Oh, yes! Okay, God allows pain to put me on His schedule. I don't always like it. In fact, I rarely do. But that's part of learning to surrender every day to Him. That's part of learning to trust Him fully. Saying, "Lord, today is Yours. Your will be done; not mine." That's especially hard for me when it comes to training. I'm on a schedule that is pretty specific. Each day I am to follow a set plan that is designed to get me in physical shape to run 26.2 miles and finish with a fast time and a smile. If I don't do the runs, then that doesn't happen.

Here's the kicker. I think in the back of my head, God doesn't understand running. Yes, He's God, but he's no Hal Higdon or Bart Yasso. Does He really know how to line up training runs so that they are the most productive? Does He really understand the specifics of a speed workout?

haha! I honestly am having a revelation here. I am realizing right now that I don't believe God knows a thing about it. That's hilarious! What a lie I've believed, and I hadn't even known it! :)

Who designed the human body??? Do I not believe that He knows exactly how it works and how it functions at its best? That's ridiculous.

"Thank You, Lord, for exposing the lie that I've believed that You aren't in the 'know' about running. Forgive me, Lord, for my hideous and ridiculous pride. Forgive me when I trust in human wisdom over Yours. You are the creator of my body. You are the designer and the ultimate trainer and coach. You know it better than I do, that's for sure. You know my capability, because You designed me. I ask YOU to take over the training plan fully. May I always trust You above it. Yes, I will follow it, but I will trust You more. Thank You for being gracious with me, Lord. I commit this all to You! Help me to trust You more fully in everything, not just running. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

Okay, I'm off to go unpack some more...and do laundry...and break down boxes...and organize my kitchen...and set up my bathroom. hahaha! Happy Sunday, everyone!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30...

"Houston, we have a problem."

Well, okay. In God's eternal and gracious perspective, this isn't a problem. It's an opportunity to learn. So, let's learn.

I'm taking an unscheduled maintenance day. It's good, and it doesn't hurt the training plan at all because I was due for an off day. I was just hoping that it would be tomorrow instead of today. But this way, I'll get to run with Jackie again tomorrow.

Anyway, here's the scoop. After yesterday's enlightenment and great Abraham/Isaac situation, I realized that I was probably being prideful. Um, Jill. . . When your body talks like that, LISTEN. Yes, I believe God was proud of me for getting on the elliptical. When I experienced the peace that came with that decision, I assumed it was a green light to go back my own way. It probably wasn't. I probably should have stayed on the elliptical and stayed in the center of where God was proud of me. Duh.

But the run was so great yesterday! What was wrong with it? Just simply the fact that for the rest of the day, my knee was totally jacked up. That's what. All day yesterday, that stabbing, random pain was making it difficult to walk. AND I can feel my anterior tibial tendon on my right leg acting up, too. It's like I'm falling apart!

I'm not ashamed to admit that I broke down with God last night. There is so much invested in this training program. There's purpose! Why would He allow this? Am I not doing His will? God, what's going on? This isn't right! It's not fair! I'm doing YOUR work! Why are You allowing me to be injured?

To those questions I don't know the answer. But what I do know is that the attitude is a problem. Ask not "Why" but "What." Lord, what are You doing here and how can I learn from it and serve You through it? You've allowed this to happen, so I ask You to teach me things in this trial and to help me bring You glory through it. I don't know what's going to happen, but I know that this isn't about me. It's about You. May Your name be praised.

This morning, I believe there was a bit of a mini miracle. I'm moving, right? Well, in my stack of boxes, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, the shoe box to my old pair of shoes (the black and muddy Sauconys). While I'd been told that they were 8.5s, the box, curiously was labeled 9.5. Interesting...So, I went back to the muddy Sauconys and looked at the label on the inside. While most of it was worn away, sure enough, it was labeled 9.5. Why is this significant? Because when I'd purchased my new pair, I'd wanted the EXACT same shoe that I'd been running in. So, even though the 8.5s I tried on were way too tight, I thought they were the exact same shoe and that my feet were just swollen.

Um, no. They are one full size too small.

Why is that significant? Because that will SCREW you UP! I've been running HARD all week in poor footwear! It was an honest mistake. Totally honest mistake! My desire had been pure and smart, training-wise. Get the SAME shoe and don't mess with what's working! But it had been foiled by a little miscommunication and my own lack of attention to detail.

So, what's going to happen now? For starters, I'm going to run in my old shoes tomorrow. Provided my knee and right shin are feeling okay. Then, I'm going to go back to the shoe store and beg for mercy. If they don't take the new ones back, then I will learn a lesson the hard way and buy the right shoe.

Prayer warriors, I ask you to pray. Pray for healing, for starters. I need God's hand to touch my knee and shin and repair the damage that was done this week.

Second, please pray that I would be guided in wisdom and react better to snags and challenges as they come up this spring. May my attitude bring Him glory. It. Is. Not. About. Me.

Thanks, friends.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29...

Good morning, friends!

I had a little bit of a scare this morning. As I was walking to the workout room (one last run beside Norman before I move), I felt a familiar twinge in my left knee. NOOOOOO! hahaha! :) Of course I started praying for God's grace and strength and healing over it. I admittedly have a remaining fear about that knee. I'm constantly battling the "okay, when's the bottom going to drop out and I get injured" mentality. It's a daily challenge to trust the Lord and find the balance of walking in faith and confidence that He will sustain me, and also having the ability to hold it loosely enough to where if He wants to take it away, I'm still at peace. Tough line to walk.

Anyway, so I had this mini battle on the 2-minute walk about whether or not to use the elliptial machine instead of running. Just to be on the safe side. Candid honesty: I HATE the elliptical machine. After months and months of it in rehab/recovery last year, I would honestly rather jump out of a moving vehicle than be strapped to one of those for a workout.

But what's more important here? One day on the elliptical machine to save the whole training? One day on the elliptical machine to protect my knee for tomorrow's 18-miler? I think that's fair.

So, I decided to opt for wisdom.

As I climbed onto the elliptical machine, I felt a peace. Kind of like a "You have chosen wisely" voice went off in my head. I don't want to sound prideful, but I kind of felt like the Lord was giving me a little pat on the back and saying, "I'm proud of you, Jill."

Know what happened next? It was a total small-scale Abraham/Isaac thing. After 1 minute on the elliptical, I felt the leading back to the treadmill. I GLADLY hopped off, bounced over to the treadmill and started her up. :) The run was great. :) No pain and an easy 8:17 average paced recovery run.

Thank You, Lord. I'm reeeeeeeeeeally grateful that You allowed me the run today. Please continue to guide me (and all of us) in Your wisdom. Help us to deny ourselves and follow You in all things, trusting that Your plan is better than our own. Proverbs 3:5-6.

Prayer requests:
-For the knee, obviously.
-For the first 18-miler of the season tomorrow and where to do it. (Outside might be too cold. And treadmills are great, but really tough for long runs.)
-For the ability to run well EARLY tomorrow before my big move.
-For our troops and their protection and spiritual growth.
-For our military chaplains and their protection and wisdom.
-For Military Ministry! :)

Ciao, friends!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28...

When I woke up this morning, I really didn't have my decision made on whether or not I would do my tempo run inside or outside. In fact, I really had prayed about it and wasn't getting clear direction either way. It was almost one of those situations where I felt like God was saying, "Choose."


I checked the weather. 22 degrees with an 11-mph wind. "Not too bad! I think I'll head outside!" The thought of running in actual scenery was pretty exciting.

Well, the run didn't start out so well. The cold wasn't so bad, but the wind was a lot stronger than the 'net said it was. My first mile was just brutal, running into an icy headwind.

Mentally, I was wrestling with whether or not I made the wrong desicion in going outside. "Lord, did I not hear You right? Should I have gone to the treadmill? This is so hard! It would have been so much easier inside. My times would have been guaranteed, and I wouldn't be fighting this awful wind. Did I make the wrong choice?"

Over the course of the next couple of miles, I got a great lesson. It was okay that the run was hard! It was okay that it wasn't easy. Yes, the treadmill would have been a much easier choice for the day. But did that make it the right choice? Not necessarily. Sometimes it's good to be put to the test. Sometimes it's good just to fight through a tough situation. As the old addage goes, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

I think that if there was anywhere in Scripture that said the Christian life was full of easy tasks and chores, we all would have found it by now. We'd be claiming it daily and enjoying a life of bon bons and bubble baths. But that's not how we grow. We grow when we are challenged and make it through tough situations. There's nowhere that says following Christ is easy, but there sure are plenty of verses about perseverance. For example, James 1:4 says, "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Here's the thing. Did I make the wrong choice in going outside? Absolutely not. What I did was choose the path of MORE resistance. And that is perfectly okay. In fact, I'm stronger today for it. Thank You, Lord, for sustaining me and giving me the endurance and perseverance that was needed for the HARD work this morning. Your name be praised!

P.S. Average pace for the total 9 miles was 7:37. With my 8:20 warm-up mile, my times were still spot-on. :) That's just a big, ol' blessing.



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27...

Ah, what a great, easy run. A nice, steady 6-miles on the treadmill at an 8:10 average to recover from the beating my legs took yesterday. Thank You, Lord!

I tell you what. . . Learning to take recovery runs is hard for me. While I feel great right now, the fact that my workout wasn't as intense as it could have been makes me feel like I'm getting weaker. Isn't that funny?

When I woke up this morning, I was dragging. Bad. I could really feel the speedwork from yesterday weighing down my legs. Just getting to the treadmill this morning at all was a good workout. haha! But it did show that I needed an easy run to recover. Just a time of working out the legs and putting in a few miles. And that's exactly what happened. It was physically fabulous! And I feel refreshed! It's awesome!

Now, mentally, this is where I have to continue learning to take those thoughts captive...Mentally, I am battling, "You barely worked out! You're going to lose fitness. You could have gone faster and dropped your times even more!" hahaha! LIES! I call you out! True, I could have gone faster. But, my body would have been tired for tomorrow's tempo run AND I would be worn out mentally for tomorrow as well.

It's about delayed gratification today. Yes, my little competitive personality wants to always go faster and harder, but wisdom says no. And truth trumps lie in this case. Thank You, Father for wisdom and recovery today.

(P.S. I think there's a pretty great life-application lesson in here for all of us about going, going, going and not ever taking breaks. Think about it...) :)


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26...

This is funny. I wrote a looong, in-depth blog over lunch about today’s run and the spiritual lesson that came with it, and when I went to post it, I got one of those awesome broken link screens. Translation: “All of your work has just been deleted, and you must start over. Sincerely, the Internet. (evil laugh)”

Haha! Oh, well. I think I’ll just take a few moments in light of that and praise God for another amazing, amazing, humbling run. Nine hard miles of speedwork early in the morning:

1-mile warm-up
2 miles of 7:47 pace
1 mile of 6:53
Half mile recovery (8:13)
2 miles of 7:30 pace
1 mile of 6:47
Half mile recovery (8:00)
1 mile of sub-seven progression (6:47 down to 6:23)

YEE HAW!!! J There is absolutely NOTHING like finishing a workout like that. Especially when you’ve fought such intense fear leading up to it. I realized today just how much I really have to learn to take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. I was so full of pre-run anxiety about being able to hit times and run well that I was literally shaking when I entered the workout room. I had to stop and verbally say, “Take your thoughts captive, Jill. God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

There’s no excuse for letting anxiety run rampant in my mind. It’s all lies. It’s all deceit from the enemy. God is faithful. His word says that He gives strength to the weary. He gives us energy when we need it. He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory. And over and over He says DO NOT FEAR.

Today, I confess my fears and ask for righteousness, peace and joy! That which is made so available to me by an all-powerful God.

“Lord, increase my faith. Teach me to take my thoughts captive and to rebuke the lies that are whispered in my ear. You are stronger than anything that comes my way—be it 5:00 a.m. speedwork or something really and actually dramatic. Thank You for being my strength and for fueling me when I don’t deserve it. May I become a testament of Your peace and confidence. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Ciao, friends!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25...

Praise the Lord for His intervention! :) Even more evidence that He has this all under control happened this morning as I headed for the treadmill. Let me explain...

Yesterday, I went in to buy new running shoes. Yee haw!! It's ALWAYS a great day when you get new shoes. Your feet feel like they are being pampered with new cushion that you'd left behind 400 miles ago in the old ones. SO good!

But it was so weird yesterday. I went to the running store to buy my standard shoe. It never changes. I always get the Saucony Ride size 8.5. But this time, I went in, tried them on, and they were a bit too small. What? What's going on?

Now, this creates a dilemma. For runners mid-training, you do NOT want to mess with your footwear. If something is working, you don't mess it up, especially when it comes to the feet. Those can create SO many injuries. Or they can carry you through the best training. But when your feet are hitting the ground in them so many times over and over, a lot rides on those little guys.

So, the fact that my shoe wasn't guaranteed, really threw me off. I tried on the size 9s, but they were a little big. But the 8.5s were just a bit snug. What do I do?

Well, I decided to stick with the 8.5s and try them out. BUT, I could only return them if I ran indoors. They won't take them back if you run on them outside. So, it wasn't even an option that I'd run outside today. I had to try my new kicks out on the treadmill.

Hallelujah! :) When I stepped outside to head to the gym, I was BLASTED by a strong gust of wind and some piercing ice/snow junk. Attempting to run in that would have been absolute torture. But I never would even have considered the treadmill if I hadn't have had the shoe dilemma.

Lesson for the day: God is faithful and awesome and in control.

Oh, and by the way, I think I'll keep the 8.5s. I might lose the pinky toenail on my right foot, but they did well this morning. :)

Prayer requests:
-Slight ache in the arch of my right foot. Pray against plantar fascitis.
-Continued strength and grace on my left knee.
-For our awesome and amazing troops out there battling through way more challenging circumstances than marathons.
-For Military Ministry and God's favor over them!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24...

What a GORGEOUS morning for a run! The only weather factor was the wind. But who cared when the sun was finally shining? :) Jackie and I hit the trail for an awesome, easy-paced 8:20/avg. 15-miler. And after not seeing her for two weeks, we had tons to catch up on, and that always makes the miles fly by. It felt like no time at all! Though, I'm pretty sure I wrecked my shoes beyond repair. haha! We had to splash through quite a few mud puddles, and any space that used to be white on my Sauconys is now black or brown. :) Que sera sera.

The quote for the day comes from a song we sang at church this morning. "If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking." Woah. I know I've sung that before, but I don't think I've ever noticed it before, or really thought about it at least.

Have you ever thought about the enormity of God's grace? For me, it's a totally overwhelming thought. And I don't know if I've ever heard a better word picture for it than in that lyric. His grace is so wide and deep that if we were to be dropped in the middle of it, we'd be completely absorbed. Kind of like an 800-person Kansas farm town dotted on a map of the world. (Hey, Canton!)

But that word picture isn't true. Not even close. As vast as that is, God's grace is so much bigger than an ocean. Isn't that NUTS? As much grace as I experience every day as I train and run. As much as I know His grace covers my knee, my schedule, my mind, my every step...those are just bubbles in His ginormous grace pool.

It makes me think about every anxious thought I have before I go to bed the night before a long or tough run. "Will I make it? Will I have enough energy? What if I don't get enough sleep? What if I don't hit my times?" Jill, do you hear yourself? Stop putting it all on YOU! This is about God! HE is the One who supplies every need and every ounce of energy. Your body is HIS! This training is HIS! And it is HIS ocean of grace that will see it through.

Awesome. :)


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23...

Today's run was pre-empted by the Holy Spirit. And I don't mind at all! :) I woke up with a sense of rearranging my plans and moving my long run to tomorrow morning so I could run with Jackie. I tell you what...the long runs sure seem a lot shorter when they are run with a buddy. I can't wait! We're going out for 13-15 at 7:30. Praise the Lord for supplying me with a teammate! Pray for us as we run tomorrow morning--for strength, health, joy and protection...And good weather. ;)

Yesterday afternoon, I opened the Military Ministry newsletter to catch up on what the troops were doing in Haiti. Lo and behold! I scrolled to the bottom of the e-mail and saw my own little face grinning back at me! YEE HAW!!! :) We're officially on the board!! :) The newsletter contained a small piece about this initiative and my running for MM at Boston to raise funds. Then, they attached a link to a Web site that they'd created for me. Yesssssssss! :) I'm so fired up about getting this going! After being in training for just over three weeks, I'm broken in and ready to rock. Now, it's time to start putting together the pieces of the bigger puzzle: Racing for our troops.

Before I post the web site that they've created, I want to talk to Miss Brenda to make sure that everything is a "go." But you can be sure I'll be posting it soon. It's time to take this to the streets and raise some much-needed $$$ for a most-awesome cause! Let's get ready to bless our troops with the love of Jesus! The only love that can heal all wounds and mend every broken place in our hearts--whether they're caused by war or peace.

I want to share one quick link to a video that might just stir in your heart. It certainly did me. It's the testimony of Robert and Amy Nuttall. This brave man went from "PTSD to Pastor." You will be moved.

And this is why I run.

Bless you all!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22...

Another slower recovery run today. Seven miles with an 8:20ish pace. It felt good. Not great, but really good. And the time spent with the Lord was priceless. No music today. Just prayer and a good message from Chip Ingram about creating lasting change in our lives.

I gotta give a shout-out to my friend D, who has inspired me today. We'd all agree that life is busy. But I think moms of toddlers and babies get to take the cake on that one. And not only is Dana chasing around one of the most wonderfully energetic toddlers in the world, she's also providing for the needs of a 5-month-old. That means, that she's up in the middle of the night several times before spending a full day of mommy duties. PLUS, she's the wife to an amazing military man. She knows that her first calling is to be his helpmate.

This week, D made the decision to take on her first half marathon. What does that mean? It means training, that's what it means! A.k.a: time, commitment and discipline.

But today, even after being up at 2:00 a.m. with a baby, she set her alarm and got up first-thing to put in a few miles on the treadmill. D, I'm SO proud of you! I thought my legs were tired after my "short" 7-hour night. You've inspired me today to keep being disciplined and keep going, even when it's hard. And, for all of my marathon mamas out there (AMac, you KNOW this scenario and have inspired me for three years), I salute you!

Prayer requests for the day:

-That the slight ache in my left knee wouldn't materialize into an injury.

-For the long run tomorrow morning in forecasted rain.

-For our amazing military men and women--for God's protection over them and His love to be administered to them.

-For Military Ministry and their awesome outreach!

Thanks, friends! Ciao for today!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21...

Ah...Kefir smootie and an ice bag. There's no better way to recover from a 10-mile tempo run. :) A very cool 7:27 average pace today on my favorite trail. :)

The 10-mile tempo run has GOT to be my all-time favorite workout. It feels absolutely amazing to find that point of pushing yourself just a little faster than is comfortable for a long distance. You feel so powerful! When that stride is measured and rhythmic. You have to consciously think about pushing yourself the whole time, but you're not consumed by fatigue or out of breath. You just flat-out feel powerful.

Honestly, I think that's one enjoyable secret that all Christian runners get to be in on. When we challenge our bodies like that, we get to experience God's physical strength in an absolutely powerful and astounding way. Man, when He shows up in your body like that, there's nothing you can say, but "Hallelujah!" Sure, other runners get to experience the same power, but when they do, they think that they've accomplished something in their own strength. Unfortunately, that empty pride gets them nowhere. Trust me...I know what that's like. Even as a Christian, I get that confused sometimes and think I'm the source of my own power.

Pride is a killer. I've been really thinking about that verse I shared yesterday about being bought at a price. God paid for us with the blood of His Son. He redeemed us. He traded His Son's life for us. He died so that we could live. While that alone should be enough to drive us to humble and grateful tears, it's not the end of the story. He then keeps walking with us through life, blessing us, guiding us, protecting us, providing for us and working "all things" for our good (Romans 8:28).

God is great, and I'm humbled by His grace and love. That's the overall message for today. Thank You, Lord!

Prayer requests for anyone who is following along and wants to pray for this endeavor:

1. For our troops to be blessed with the love of Jesus and protected in battle and training.

2. For Military Ministry.

3. For me to be able to put on 5 pounds despite the mileage increase; wisdom for what to put in my body.

4. Continued protection over my IT band and back (small ache).

Thanks so much, team! Ciao for today!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 20...

Today was a sloooooooow recovery run. After my speed work yesterday, my legs were absolutely toast this morning. I also think it had to do with the fact that I've been on California time since I got back and haven't been getting the 8 hours of sleep I need at night. I haven't had a solid 8 in probably five or six days. And I know that has piled up. Tonight, that will be a priority! It's amazing how sleep affects this whole thing!

HUGE praise today! Through a Google search for sports nutritionists in the KC area, I came across a Web site for a marvelous woman in Overland Park who works specifically with marathon runners and triathletes on this kind of thing. I shot her a brief e-mail this morning, and much to my delight (and surprise), she actually called me shortly after! Just so happened that she was doing e-mail catch up this morning and was making calls. She was so encouraging even in just our brief conversation, and I know that she really knows what she's doing. I'm excited for our appointment the first week of February and know that God will give me wisdom through her!

When thinking about the nutrition factor, I had a bit of a "pride moment" yesterday. I found myself thinking, "I don't need a nutritionist. I can figure this out on my own. How hard is it to eat more? I am smart enough." WOAH. That's dangerous ground. Proverbs says over and over that wisdom is worth more than almost anything. On the flipside, pride is a SEVERE downfall. Maybe I am smart enough to manage my nutrition on my own, but I'm sure not acting like it. If I was, my weight wouldn't have dropped below the safety line.

I told a friend of mine about my prideful little thought, and she was so great to shoot me straight with biblical truth. "Jill, you are NOT your own. You were bought at a price," she said. Amen! I believe that verse is attached to several others that talk about honoring God with your body. Let me check...

Yep! It's 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

"Lord, forgive me for dishonoring You with my body. Forgive me for mistreating the tool You gave me not just for running, but for living and serving You. I pray for wisdom for my nutritionist and for wisdom for me as I learn how to care for Your vessel. Please protect me from destruction and injury as I go through this. Thank You for Your grace and for this awesome new connection! I know You are in control and will give me great wisdom and understanding! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!"

Today, I believe it's a good lesson for us all to take into account. Do we really think about our bodies and how we treat them as an act of obedience and worship? God gives us our bodies and asks us to steward them. He wants us to be healthy so that we can both enjoy this life and serve Him at our highest potential. Let's all consider our health today. How are we treating our bodies and what should we change? It's not just about us. It's not about physical appearance. It's about being faithful with God's gift to us.

Ciao, friends!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 19...

After traveling back from the West Coast yesterday, I was curious as to whether or not jet-lag would affect my speed workout this morning. Nope!! :) Praise the Lord! It was an awesome time on the road. I actually got to go outside in the 34-degree weather and try my first attempt at outdoor speed work.

When it comes to speed training, treadmills can be easier in terms of hitting goal times. You just set the belt at the pace you need to go and force your legs to keep up. haha! Sometimes that's tougher, too. You don't ever get to let up or down. But either way, it keeps you steady and makes sure you hit your marks! When you go outside, it's all on you to keep pushing yourself to the pace you need to hit.

Today, the times were spot-on! I gave it an easy 1-mile warm-up and then did 2 miles at 7:40ish followed immediately by one mile of 6:50ish. I took one mile to recover at an easy pace and then did another 2-miler at 7:30 followed by the last mile at 6:45. It was perfect! Exactly what I would have aimed for! :)

When I do speedwork, I usually trade my podcast sermon in for music all the way through. It's so much harder to keep a fast pace when I'm trying to digest the spiritual wisdom of Chip Ingram. haha! Today's motivation came straight from Mandisa, whose True Beauty album has been a bit of a standard for me in the training thus far. She belts out the encouragement I need in such a fun, uplifting way! It really helps me to remember WHO I am training for. I'm working hard for the troops, but why? Because Christ came to heal their wounds. He is the goal. He is the reason. He is the aim. He is the finish line. :)

Thank You, Lord! May we all be inspired to run for Him today.



Monday, January 18, 2010

Day 18...

First off, a big shout out to my Momsy. It's her birthday! Thanks for EVERYTHING, Mom. I love you dearly! You're the best "Marathon Momsy" in the world! :)

Today was my last blessed run in 50-degree weather for a while, and it was awesome. It didn't matter that it was windy, rainy and hilly. I was in capri running pants and light layers! It was bliss! :) The hills of California, the water on the rain hat, the wind in my face. It was all worth it to run without a ski mask and three layers of gloves. Thank You, Lord!! :) Tomorrow is speedwork day, so I'll head back to the treadmill for 8 miles of fast-paced adventure. Bring it on!! :)

Now for the first major challenge to overcome. My weight is a problem! I've wasted away to skin and bones, and I can't seem to get enough calories to stop losing. haha! You don't hear many people say that's a "concern" very often, but this is pretty real. I'm going to make an appointment with a sports nutritionist tomorrow to see if she can give me some pointers. Yes, running light makes me faster, but looking like a skeleton and running the risk of stress fractures isn't my idea of fun. There has to be balance! I just need to learn how to eat properly for training. Especially as the miles increase. This is going to be tough! But I know the Lord will give me wisdom. He's shown me this problem early enough to where it can be addressed before the mileage gets crazy. I'd love to put back on a few pounds, but at this point, it's going to be just ceasing the loss of weight. Once we're stable, then we can worry about adding 4 or 5 back to the scale.

However, I'm calling on my prayer warriors for help on this one. Would you all please lift me up and ask the Lord to give me wisdom in what to put in my body and when? Thank you all so much!


-Jill :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 17...

Praise God for an off day!! And praise Him for giving me the wisdom to do the long run yesterday. Today is cold and rainy here in Monterey, and it's a perfect day to relax and recover from the glorious 16-miler yesterday.

In the absence of running this morning, I was able to sit around and have quality coffee time with my dear friend Dana. We also had the best conversation over the phone with her mom. These two women are the ones who automatically come to my mind when I think of the Proverbs 31 woman. They are strong, beautiful, capable, kind, wise and GODLY. They're also both military wives. This morning, we had a wonderful discussion about the amount of ministry opportunities to the community of men and women who serve our country. They know. They're right in the middle of it.

It was so humbling to hear both of their hearts. They both are embracing God's calling on their lives to reach out to those military families around them. I'm inspired by them and every single one of the women just like them. I pray that I can learn to be so available to the Lord in my own life and to really own up to the ministry opportunities He puts in my life. Especially with this race endeavor and with Military Ministry. Now is such a critical time to reach our troops for Christ. Suicides are on the rise, marriages are in danger...Lord, have Your way! Please continue to use this for Your glory!

Thank you Dana and Judy. Thank you all military wives. I love you and run for you, too!


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 16...

Last night I had a dream. I'm visiting two of my dearest friends in California, and, in my dream, I was trying to find a place to run down by Monterey Bay, which is close to their house. In this dream, I was so focused on completing the run that when I came to a dangerous cliff, I didn't stop. I HAD to complete the run. So, I followed a slippery slope that led pretty much straight down and ran over the cliff and into the bay.

Here's one of my issues...I always have anxiety dreams about runs when there's a variable involved. Today's variable was running in a new environment when I didn't know where I'd be going or what the terrain would be like. It's one of the issues that I know God wants to address with me. He wants me to understand that I can and should trust Him with EVERYTHING about this. He's the One who has called me to this, so why would He not provide the place for me to complete it? Still, I agonized about it in my sleeping subconscious--which honestly revealed my true heart. I didn't trust Him to take care of it and thought He would abandon me to a crappy situation.

SO not the case. I had the most GLORIOUS 16-mile run this morning, which is the farthest I've run in a year since I'd been hurt with IT Band syndrome. It was full of hills, ocean views, quaint wharf shops, beautiful trees, sea smells and even history (John Steinbeck, anyone?). The middle miles of the run were even up-tempo and felt amazing. Total overall pace: 8:05. Fantastic!! :)

Bottom line: God. Is. Faithful. He brings us into unknown situations so that we can learn that He is trustworthy and in control. That He will bless us when we follow Him. Today, although skeptical and with a wrong heart, I did follow Him. And He blessed my socks off! :) Thank You, Lord. You are faithful!

Ciao, friends!!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15...

"Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you." - Proverbs 4:6

Thank You, Lord, for Your protection and wisdom!

Today, I was so set on running outside. I had been blessed so much by yesterday's run, that the thought of going back to the treadmill was just dreadful. When I got up and checked the weather, though, the temperature was only 26 degrees. Not good when you've had a massive thaw the day before. The refrozen streets were sure to make the run as dangerous as running on oil.

Foolish little me...In my pre-run prayer time, I tried to ignore Wisdom as she called out to me, telling me to go to the treadmill. Pretending I didn't hear the Holy Spirit's voice, I prayed according to my own will. "Lord, please keep me safe as I run on the streets today. Give me sure footing and help me not to slip."

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit got louder. I knew I was being stupid, and the word "wisdom" just kept flashing through my mind.

So, I surrendered. I put on my gym clothes and headed for the treadmill instead. And was it bad? Absolutely not! It was such a blessed 7-miler! And I didn't slip once. :)

Here's the kicker, and why this is so telling. . . Later that morning, as I was leaving the apartment to go to work, I totally biffed it on the ice! I mean, sprawled out, flat on the ground in the parking lot. The black ice was pooled around my car, and I'd never even thought to watch out for it.

Running outside today would have been worse than Bambi's first go-round on the frozen pond. Who knows how I would have hurt myself? But thank the Lord for Wisdom and for her protection. May we all seek her and HEED her today.

Ciao, friends!


P.S. Quick prayer requests:

-For the slight ache in my arch on my right foot.

-For the switch-up of the off day to Sunday.

-For the 16-miler in a new environment tomorrow. (Monterey, California, here I come!)

-For our amazing troops! That the Lord would reach them through this race effort and training.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 14...

Is every day going to be this amazing and humbling? I mean, seriously!?

This morning, when I got out of bed, I heard the dripping sound of melting ice and snow going through the drainpipes. I thought to myself, "Surely not. Could it be above freezing outside?" I stumbled to my phone and pulled up the weather. And I almost fell over. 38 degrees??? You've GOT to be kidding me! Compared to what we've had for the last two weeks, that was practically tropical! Could it be that I'd be able to do my 8-mile tempo run outside??


And, seriously, it was one of the most amazing runs ever!! After enjoying the treadmill for the last two weeks, being outside was like coming alive in a whole new way. I breathed the fresh air, felt the wind on my face again and challenged my legs with actual hills. All while NOT wearing 17 layers of clothing! It was the most blessed gift from God. Thank You, Lord!!

There's no way to describe the quality of the run. It was beyond anything I could have expected. Somehow, my legs were super fast and my body was willing to go. The run ended with a 7:37 average pace, which included my over-8-minute-paced .75 mile warm-up. I am SURE that the last mile was sub-7.

Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. I've never started off a training plan this fast. God, what are You doing?? :) Who cares, man?? I'm just going to absolutely EAT IT UP while I can! And, Lord, just so You know, if You send more 38-degree days (and above) in January...I'm okay with that!

There's no spiritual lesson today other than I guess learning that it's okay to be shocked and surprisingly blessed by God. Honestly, when I went to bed last night thinking about the 8-mile tempo run at 5:00, I was intimidated and anxious. I always am when I know that I have to push it so early in the morning. I never think I'm going to be able to hold a good pace at that time of day. But it just proves once again that God is SO in this. He's Lord over my body. He's Lord over the weather. He's Lord over this training. It's not about me. It's not about the times. It's not about the pace. It's about Him being God over this whole thing.

Today He showed me Himself. Period. He is God, and I am His vessel. He is God, and I am His legs. He is God, and I am His body. May I run every day as a way of revealing that to the world.



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 13...

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." - Isaiah 40:29

Well, I made it. I knew this day would come, and I know there will be plenty more like it, but it was the first time the alarm went off that I just wanted to stay in bed. Yes, I wanted to run...just not right then. :)

Anytime I don't get a good night's rest, it always shows up two days later. Monday was a late night, so I kind of expected to be a little groggy this morning. And I sure was! But these are the days that mean so much. They provide some of the most significant personal growth experiences because of how much effort they require. But let me be clear: It, again, was NOT my own strength. The "effort" was simply coming to the Lord in prayer and asking for strength, joy, endurance and mental focus. In His faithfulness, He provided. And the run was pure BLISS! (After a nice warm-up, of course.) :)

Part of this experience is learning my own weakness and finding God's strength. Charlotte Smith, a former WNBA player and current assistant basketball coach at North Carolina has a great perspective on this. She says, "No matter how hard times may be and no matter how weak we may feel at times, we know that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. We know that our strength is not of our own, but from God. Our strength that others see is really our weakness being overshadowned by His strength."

AMEN! Today, thank YOU, Lord, for overshadowing my weakness and letting my legs soar for Your glory. :)

God bless you all with HIS strength today! Especially those brave men and women who are serving our country through the military. The Lord used YOU to inspire me today, as well.



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 12...

MAN! Today I realized why most athletes cite Philippians 4:13 as their favorite Bible verse. "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." AMEN!!

I was a little curious to see how this morning's workout would go. It would be my first attempt at doing a speed workout at 5:00 a.m. Typically, my legs are NOT ready to spin fast that early. Running easy is no problem, but dropping the hammer is another story.

But, man ALIVE! This morning was AWESOME!!! I turned in 8.25 miles total. An easy mile warm-up, two miles at 7:40, one mile at 7:13, two miles at 7:30, one mile at 6:53, all with either a quarter or half-mile easy in between. Sa-weet!!! Thank You, Lord!

Now, let me be honest. It was HARD work! Especially that first two-miler in there. Wow! That took some convincing to finish. But praise the Lord for everything. I had asked for endurance and for speed, and He certainly held up His end of the bargain. If He hadn't been there pushing me, I would have cut my workout down. But His Spirit prompted me to keep going and inspired me the whole time.

Some days there is just nothing to say other than, "Praise God." Today is one of those days. He surprises me every day with how He strengthens and inspires me to keep going. His strength is so much greater than my own. Even when I'm on the treadmill at 5:00 after a short night's sleep (forgot to mention that part--another reason to praise).

I tell you what. If you read this, I challenge you to find a way to experience God's strength for yourself this week. There is so much to be gained and learned when we allow Him to show up in ways that we couldn't without Him. Complacency yields no fruit. Perseverance and endurance DO! Embrace it, whatever it is, and finish strong. Then, sit back and...PRAISE GOD. :)

Ciao, friends!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 11...

Today started off much differently than I'd planned. I woke up on my own and lay there awake for a second or two before I looked at the clock. It read 5:45, a good 45 minutes later than my workday wake-up time. AAH! :) I tossed off the covers, threw on my running clothes and dashed to the apartment complex treadmill. I figured that I'd tighten my routine and still make it into the office on time.

Well, here's the honest truth: Tightening my routine involved tightening my time with the Lord. I knew what I was doing when I ran out the door having not spent time with Him in prayer like I normally do. Typically, I get up at 5:00, spend 30 minutes in prayer and then hit the treadmill. Today, I just bypassed that and went for the run.

Lord, forgive me for prioritizing running ahead of You.

But God's grace is sufficient. Once I was running, I realized what I'd done and I mourned for the lost time I would have with my Father. But, that's when it hit me: "Can't I pray now? Is God not with me in this moment?"

Immediately, I turned off my iPod and began praying. Honest to goodness, my prayer time was so much more focused than it has been in previous training days. I was fully awake and in total concentration with Him. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I wasn't sitting in my apartment surrounded by objects of distraction. Either way, it was amazing. I felt so alive in the Spirit after praying during the workout. It was such a blessing. Thank You, Lord, for taking my misplaced priorities and showing me a great lesson. Thank You for Your grace and for being with me no matter where I go. Thank You for being completely and totally available to us whenever we call on You.

Wherever you are today, take a moment to realize that God's with you. As it says in Psalm 139:7-10: "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."

Ciao, friends!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day 10...

Today's 14-miler was awesome! Jackie and I hit the treadmills at 7:00 and cranked 'em out in just under two hours (while watching retro 80's music videos on VH1--hello Debbie Gibson!). :) I can't say it enough...I am SO thankful for a training buddy! I've had great ones in the past (Amy and Ashley), and I have a great one now. That's just the Lord being good to me.

I'm going to be honest with you all. One of the things the Lord has been teaching me is about faithfulness. I am a CHRONIC starter/stopper. As a matter of fact, as a really revealing point, I was packing up my bookshelf yesterday and almost EVERY one of the books had a bookmark lodged in the middle where I'd abandoned the book for something else. Finishing strong in just about everything is just tremendously hard for me.

When it comes to training, though, it's different. For some reason, while it's incredibly hard, I can be faithful to a marathon training program. I asked the Lord about this in my quiet time this morning and I think the Holy Spirit let me in on a great insight...

In life there are GOOD intentions and there are GOD intentions. Personally, I have always struggled with trying to "do" enough things for God. I'm constantly trying to please Him by doing anything and everything I can to keep His approval.

Memo to me: Enough will never be enough in this case. But somehow, that doesn't stop me. I keep saying yes to so many things and starting new projects that I think will get me closer to God. But is He really asking me to do them? Honestly, not usually. What they wind up doing is taking me farther away from Him because I'm distracted from His plan. Yes, the intention is good, but as a wise person once told me, "Even the right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing." Plus, I think the biggest issue is just understanding that He loves me and is pleased with me regardless of what I do. I can't earn my way into His love. That's a free gift that He gives me (and all of us) for no other reason than because that's who He is and part of His character.

So, today's lesson is actually pretty profound in my life. This marathon training is a GOD intention, I know that for sure. So, I pray that the Lord will increase my faithfulness and help me to stay strong for the remaining 14 weeks. In the meantime, it's time to trim the fat from my lifestyle. To stop trying to do enough and earn my way to God and to pay attention to what He is actually desiring from my life at that time. Maybe then, when I'm involved in more GOD intentions, I'll find myself able to be faithful in all things. . . Even in finihing books on occasion. :)



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day Nine...

Ah, it feels SO good to get back on the treadmill after a day off! The legs feel refreshed, the knee feels great, the mind is focused. I love it! Thank You, Lord!

I listen to a variety of things on my iPod when I train. Usually I listen to music for the first part of the run and then finish with a sermon podcast (usually Chip Ingram's Living on the Edge messages). But one thing I have on there that is neither music nor message that inspires me in a very unique way is my series of Army Ranger cadances. Not kidding! Did you know that iTunes has military cadances that you can download and use while you run? It's awesome!! Especially for situations like mine. Whenever these cadances come on, I feel like I'm running with a bunch of Army guys--right in the middle of the pack, keeping in perfect step with them. Sometimes, if no one is around, I'll even chant along with them out loud. (I could tell a few funny stories about doing this when I didn't realize people could hear me.) :)

Today, I just want to give a shout out to the troops. I don't know how I'll get my message to them since I haven't publicized my blog much, but I just want to say that I love you all! You're my team and I'm running with you. No matter where you are, I am praying for you and thanking you. I can't do much in return, but I can run. And whatever God does with that simple act, I know it will be awesome.

Have a great Saturday, friends!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Day Eight...

It's the first day of rest for my legs since I started training. Rest days are easy physically, of course, but when I get into training, they become a challenge mentally. It's hard to understand that the body needs these days just as much as it needs the days of pounding the pavement. Intellectually, I understand that I must do this and let my body recover, but emotionally, my competitive spirit wants to RUN! haha! I want to get faster and better every day! "Listen, Jill...This WILL make you faster and better."

I feel like this is a great spiritual metaphor. How many times do we get so caught up in "doing," that we forget all about God's command for us to BE STILL. Just like our physical bodies need rest during training, so our souls need rest during life. Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God."

I guarantee that if I didn't take these rest days from running I'd quickly get burned out. I'd get broken down physically and consumed mentally. If we don't be still before the Lord and wait on Him in fellowship (and REST in His presence), we will get broken down physically and consumed mentally by the world.

Today, especially as we enter the weekend, I encourage us all to carve out time to be STILL before God. Use that time to let Him refresh you so that when necessary, you can hit the ground running stronger than before.



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day Seven...

Wow! Day seven already! That's so awesome. I can't believe already a week has gone by! :) This is so exciting!

Last night I was talking to a friend, and he asked me how many days a week I ran. I couldn't believe what came out of my mouth. "I get to run six days a week." Heck yes!! What a blessing it is to GET to run every day.

Any of you who know my story know that my running career has been pretty injury-laden. In fact, I spent ALL of 2009 rehabilitating from the nastiest case of IT Band syndrome. I missed my first chance to run Boston because of it.

But through that, I learned not only that running wasn't the most important thing in life, but also that it is an unbelievable privilege. I get to run!! Every day!! :) I get to push the body that God gave me and experience its power and capability. I get to use the health He has given me in order to bless Him back and bring Him glory! I get to actually use marathon training to bring light and love to others! Isn't that wild?? Lord, You are just so good to me.

haha! If you're reading this and thinking, "Man, she is on crack today," I tell you what...I'm feeling it! But it's just the joy of the Lord, man.

Today, whatever God has given you to do, I encourage you to do it with passion and enthusiasm! He's GIVEN you the gift of being able to do it FOR HIM! Let's all take a look at Colossians 3:23-24, which says, "Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ."

Whatever your "running" is, do it with joy today!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day Six...

What a fabulous day for indoor running! haha! This is the kind of day that makes you absolutely PRAISE GOD for treadmills! :) There's a blizzard going on outside, but through the miracle of technology, I can still get in the training.

Today's run was a nice, easy 6-miler to recover from the speedwork yesterday. It was fabulous! And thank God for this: no pain in the knee! :) He is so good to me. And it appeared as if there were even more blessings in store for this morning's run other than just the warmth of the fitness center. While I was in there, I met two of the kind people who live in my complex. One was a young woman training for her first half marathon. The other was the sweetest 81-year-old man who had retired from a life of coaching and sports administration. We had the best conversation, and it was the most pleasant 5 a.m. run I'd had in a long time.

I'm finding out that life is always better together. Today's run was a great lesson in that. God often gives us difficult challenges in life, but most often He won't ask us to endure them alone. He will give us a support system to encourage us along the way. He's shown me that through Jackie; He's shown it to me in past training with Ashley and Amy; and He showed it to me today with two random strangers. Hopefully, if I see them again, they will become friends.

Ciao for today!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day Five...

Ah, the first speed workout of the season. It was tough! I overestimated myself a little and had to cut back on my initial plan. That's one of the things I tend to do. I get reeeeeeeally excited about training and jump in way too far way too fast. And, as any runner will tell you, when you increase miles too dramatically, you get hurt.

My knee is aching right now. The bad knee. Man, I'm glad I didn't try for what I'd originally intended!

Still, it was a quality workout. Seven miles total with four repeats. Three one-mile repeats and one two-miler with some easy paces in between. Made it in 55:12. Not too shabby!

But here's the thing. . . With the training, all the numbers and all the training can really get consuming. There's paces, distances, times, nutrition, bedtimes, schedules, stretches, strength training, icing...There is a LOT to think about! And, as I've experienced before, it can become an idol in your life.

It is my prayer that this go-round would be different. All of those things above are pointless if He is not my goal. His glory. His fame. His love. His healing for others. His meeting with me. His voice. His heart. His strength.

"He must become greater. I must become less." - John 3:30

Lord, that is my prayer. I want You to be revealed in this. Would you become greater as I run for You and for Your love for our military. No matter what, please help me to focus on You. Otherwise...It's pointless.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Day Four...

Today, I got an e-mail from a friend of mine that broke my heart. Currently, her brother is deployed overseas, and his wife had e-mailed my friend to let me know of a prayer request for two families in their unit. Two families who would be receiving word that their husbands/fathers wouldn't be returning from the war.

Right now, those families need our prayers. The men that they loved and the men that they supported and served have paid the ultimate price for our humanly freedoms. I hope that they are resting in peace with the Lord right now and that the horrors of war have been removed permanently from their recollection.

My morning run was painful today. I went outside in the single-digit cold with sub-zero wind chills and slipped around on the snow-packed streets. Not having quality gloves, my fingertips felt like they were being stabbed with tiny knives for 3/4 of the hour-long run. When I finally made it back to the apartment, and the hands began to adjust to the warmth, the pain grew even worse--so much so that I was reduced to tears. Even now, as I type on my lunch break, they still hurt.

But it doesn't matter. None of that pain matters in the least. I haven't lost a husband. I merely had to run for 50-odd minutes before my pain was eased. There are families today who are dealing with pain that will take a lifetime to heal. It may never go away.

"Lord Jesus, You alone know the depth of the pain these families are experiencing. And You alone can comfort them. I pray that You would speak into their hearts today and give them unimaginable peace. I pray that You would, over time, draw them to Your side through this. And, as difficult as it may be, would You allow them to experience You and Your unfailing love. In Your name I pray. Amen."

As I get started on this training program, I am reminded of how important the cause is for which I am running. Thank You, Jesus, for Military Ministry and for the support and love they provide in these very situations. If you want information on them now, please visit their web site ( And please stay tuned to this blog, as I will have information soon about how you can support and bless our troops who give so sacrificially for us every day.

God bless you all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day Three...

Here's to a day of completely changed plans. It's only 10:30 a.m., and already I've had to do quite a bit of rearranging. For instance, I just attempted to go to church. On my way out, my neighbor passed me and chided me for leaving the house. "I'll show him!" I thought. Well, I managed somehow to make it out of the parking lot, but when I got to my first actual road and realized that it was completely unsafe (and still snowing heavily), I turned around and heeded the wisdom of my neighbor.

Similar situation this morning on the run. Jackie and I had planned to bundle up and hit the road early for 12 miles. It was snowing when I left the house in what felt like 17 layers of clothing, but it wasn't unbearable. But poor Jackie. She'd looked all over for her facemask this morning and hadn't been able to find it. She threw on a scarf and wrapped it around her mouth, but it just wasn't going to cut it. We got out of the apartment complex, turned onto the road heading northeast-ish (directly into the wind) and that cold was just killing her. There's no WAY it would have been safe for her to run without something on her face. So, we turned back into the complex and agreed to meet up 10 minutes later to hit the treadmills together.

Honestly, it was a great blessing. Typically, doing long runs on treadmills is absolute torture. But 12 miles pretty much flew by with a buddy. It had been a while since we'd seen each other, so we had a lot to catch up on. Before I knew it, 93 minutes was up and we were heading our separate ways. She was going to try to get to church, too. I wonder if she made it out... :)

You know, there are so many things in life that the Lord uses to remind us that we are not in control. The weather is certainly one of them. I can plan and plan and plan, but at the end of the day, I'm just me. I'm just a human. But thankfully, I'm a human under the care and protection of a God who loves me. Lamentations 3 talks about sitting in silence when the Lord asks us to. That's apparently what today is going to be about. The weather is of the Lord's making, so I'm going to enjoy it and use it to rest and enjoy His presence. The snow is really pretty, after all. Thanks for the great view out the window, Lord!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day Two...

This morning was a great lesson in submission and wisdom. It's hard for me when I have things "planned out" to reorient myself when plans appear to change. That was the case this morning. After patting myself on the back for enduring two days on the treadmill, I was really focused on getting back outside for a run today. I was going to get up early to beat the traffic and enjoy the fresh air.

Um...Not when it's -1 degrees outside.

For starters, I just don't have the kind of equipment to endure that. Gloves, for one. That's one of my constant battles. I have a nice pair of Nike gloves, but for some reason (I have NO idea how this happens), the minute I put them on, my hands FREEZE. It's like they're locked in some ice chamber. haha! When the "good" gloves fail you, what do you do? Up to a certain temperature, I double up on cheap gloves and cover them with mittens. That seems to keep the body heat flowing between the fingers. But, at -1, that would last about 30 seconds. :)

So I made the wise decision to go to the treadmill one more time. I was thoroughly disappointed and not looking forward to the spinning belt and static scenery. Treadmills are easier on your body, but way tougher on your mind. At least for me. If you're prepared mentally, they can produce some of the best speedwork and training runs. But if you're not prepared for the mental boredom, you are in for a rough morning.

Thank God, today was just a 6-miler. Had it been any longer, it would have been pretty torturous. But, wisdom is always wise. :) And I was surely blessed for being in there. I had a great time with my "Jesus Run" playlist on my iPod, followed by a great sermon from Chip Ingram to finish things up. And I even got to catch the visual highlights from the Sugar Bowl while I was at it. :) I gotta go Google what Tim Tebow's eye-black verse was this time. I saw it was from Ephesians, but I couldn't see the reference.

Tomorrow should be interesting. It's a 12-miler at 7:00 with my buddy, Jackie. I'm SO thankful that she'll be with me. It will be amazing to brave the cold with a friend. Praise God!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Day One...

I woke up today excited for a lazy morning of coffee, a great quiet time with the Lord and a flip through the newspaper. It was supposed to be my last rest day before my training began for the Boston Marathon. That was to be Monday, Jan. 4th, according to my planning.

Then, I got a text. My running buddy Jackie was asking if I had run for the day already. When I got the text, it was 9:30 and I was packing away a breakfast of cereal and yogurt. I replied that I was currently stuffing my face and asked if she had run already. She replied that she was currently on the treadmill. She's amazing. I can't walk and chew gum at the same time, but Jackie can text and run. haha! I love her!

After a couple of texts, she decided to call. (Smart girl.) She said that she'd actually already started her Boston training and that she would send me her training plan so that we could compare. "Good idea," I thought. "Oh, and I should probably figure out my training plan since that starts on Monday."

That's when it got interesting. Turns out I'd miscalculated my dates. I had anticipated doing a 16-week training program. And I should already be three days into it. OOPS!

The yogurt in my stomach did a little flip-flop as I realized that my off day should actually be an 8-mile middle distance run.

With nowhere to run because of the snow packed streets (If I were to run outside, I'd have to run down the middle of the road. And since it was prime shopping time by that hour, I figured I'd get a few dirty looks and honks from motorists.), I let my tummy settle a little more and then jumped into my running shorts and headed into the apartment complex workout room.

You know, the absolute coolest thing happened when I stared running. I found my mojo! hahaha! For the last few weeks, I feel like I've been coasting a little. Just lethargic and unmotivated. In life, in work, in running. I don't know if it's the nature of being on vacation or what, but it was NOT good. It was quite depressing, actually. I'm not one who can take it easy for very long without getting in a serious funk. But, once I hit that moving belt today and started the official training, it was ON. My arms pumped fluidly, my stride was smooth, my eyes were focused. It felt amazing!

Praise God. I'm so humbled to begin this training. For the first time in my seven-year running career, I'm finally running with a passion to do something more than achieve a medal or personal glory. After missing out on Boston last year due to injury, I was awakened to so many truths about the point of all that we do. If we aren't following Colossians 3:23, then there's no point in doing anything at all. Everything we do can and should be for the glory of the Lord--to reveal Him to a broken, desperate and dying world.

This year, when I thought about running Boston, I had absolutely zero desire to do it unless it mattered for eternity. One night, as I was praying, I asked God what He wanted me to race for. Immediately, I felt a question bounced back to me: If you, Jill, could run to bring Me to anyone, whom would you choose according to your heart's passion?

That was easy: the troops. I love our servicemen and women. I love that they are out there in harm's way to protect the freedoms we enjoy and abuse. And it kills me every time I hear of their hurts--things they suffer on our behalf. Post-Traumatic Stress, marriage destruction, physical wounds...All of it. They are all needs that the Lord wants to meet in them, and He has called a wonderful team at Military Ministry to help do just that.

So, this year, as I train for the next 16 weeks (okay, 15.5), I will run to raise funds and awareness to further the reach of Military Ministry. They're currently creating a web site were you can contribute to the cause and become part of the team. Once that is done, I'll let you know!

In the meantime, I would appreciate your prayers. Holy cow, this is going to be hard! Just looking over the days of 10 and 11-mile tempo runs and long, tiring 22-milers made me a little anxious. But praise God. If our troops can endure months/years overseas to protect us, then I can handle 3 hours on a lonely road. Furthermore, if our amazing and unbelievable Savior can endure a cross and all it's torture for all of us, then none of it is too much.

Praise God. Here we go!