Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 59...

Ah...Bliss. That's what this morning was. Sheer bliss. Woke up at 6:00 after a GREAT night's sleep, and I walk out to the living room and get a good-morning hug from my papa. :) Man, I love that guy. Then we sat around and had great conversation over a morning cup of coffee (which turned into two, and three, and we had to bust out the instant coffee because we drained the brew). That was totally the best part about the weekend. No one is up, yet, but me and PPB sat around solving all the world's problems before anyone else knew they were there. Bliss. :)

As it always happens when Papa Bear and I get together on the weekends, my run got slightly delayed. I'd intended to hit the road at 6:45 this morning, but it turned out that there were more problems in the world than we thought, so that turned into 7:30. haha! But that's okay. It totally worked out. I eventually got enough motivation to break away from my PPB and the coffee pot to hit the road for a short 14-miler. It's a down week between 20-plus-milers, so it was a nice change of pace. And since I couldn't meet up with Jackie this weekend, I was grateful it wasn't any longer.

The pace was great considering the 20-degree frozen tundra and seven layers of clothes in which I was running. The only trouble was that, because I delayed my start so much, the half banana that I'd eaten for my pre-run snack didn't give me enough energy. I was pretty zapped out there without more food. But that didn't really matter much for just 14, and it made the peanut butter oatmeal taste that much better when I got back.

Hey, I just want to say thanks to all my blog followers and friends out there. I continue to be encouraged by each and every one of you, and I spent some time praying for and thanking God for each of you this morning. This blog and training period has really shown me a lot about the friends I have, and I have really been given a great understanding about how to show support for others. And it's been through the example of you all. So...Thanks. :) You all are amazing.

Prayers for the week include...
-Healing and protection over my cranky left knee.
-The Military Ministry fundraiser and information night on the 13th. (AWESOME details coming together for that. More later!)
-Military Ministry in general--that God would continue to expand their reach.
-Our troops, especially those away from their families right now.

Thanks again for your support, friends. Okay...I'm off to drink more coffee and hit up church with my PPB. :)


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 58...

I'm SOOOOOO excited!!! Remember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote that I was devastated because my daddy/daughter weekend with my step-dad got postponed? Well, today is the day! And, not only is it daddy/daughter weekend, it's also his birthday! My Papa Bear is turning 51 today. And he's spending it with his Baby Girl. I'm so blessed. :) Drive safe, PPB!

Today is also a blessed off day--a nice chance to recover from the week's pounding. First 20-miler got taken care of this week, and we returned to our regular training after a bout with injury. What a blessed and grace-filled week! Thank You, Lord!! I haven't been keeping track of my mileage totals, yet, but I'm sure we're getting up there in numbers, so these rest days are getting pretty critical.

Let's see. . . 20, plus 6, plus 9, plus 6.3, plus 10, plus 6.3, equals...57.6. Not too bad. Not into the 60s, yet, so we're still not at the peak. I think that will happen in the next month.

Yesterday, I had a really cool experience. We were doing some spiritual leadership training at the office, and we all got to take part in a foot-washing ceremony. WOW! Talk about a powerful and humbling experience. If you've never done this, you really must. There's a reason that this story is in the Bible. For Jesus to humble himself and wash the grimy, dirty, disgusting feet of His followers was absolutely jaw-dropping. And for me to have my feet washed by my boss was just unreal. I literally wanted to jump up and say, "No, you totally don't have to do that! I don't want you to have to lower yourself to touching my nasty feet." But for him to be able to do that was an act of pure humility and a symbol of his desire to serve.

You know, it is my prayer that this marathon can be my own way of washing the feet of our troops. Granted, I'm not a King to them like Jesus was to His disciples, nor am I their boss. But the Scripture goes on to reveal that Jesus instructed us all to wash the feet of others out of a heart of humility and serving and love. And that is what I want to do. I want to serve those who serve us. It's not much of anything big--running a race--but it is a way that I can serve those whom I respect and love so much. I am praying that this whole thing brings them spiritual cleansing in some way. That they are able to be washed in the Word by the Bibles we'll be able to buy with the funds we raise. I'm praying that they will be washed by Truth as they experience marriage counseling and PTSD help through what is raised.

"Lord, thank You for lowering Yourself to become a foot-washer. Would You offer Your cleansing and love to the troops through this in the same way? Help us to raise funds and awareness that will bring restorative truth to our brave soldiers. I thank You for each of them, Lord, and ask that You would use this to bless them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

Prayer requests:
-For all that I mentioned above.
-For great recovery today and for a strong 14-miler tomorrow.
-For clear sidewalks.
-For the fending off of a cold that I think I'm getting.
-For the fundraising event on the 13th.

Thanks so much, friends! Ciao!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 57...

Ah, sweet reunion with the road. :) It had been almost two weeks since I'd been able to run outside, and that made this morning just absolutely wonderful. Icy? Yes. Frigid? Yes. Peaceful? YES! No SportsCenter bottom line to watch (which, is actually a joy), no morning traffic jam maps from local news anchors. . . Just me and the road and the Lord. It was awesome. Thanks, God. :)

Still, I feel like I'm missing something this morning. Do you ever feel like that? Like you think God wants to say something to you or has a message or word for you and you're not looking in the right place to receive it? I just wrapped up my morning quiet time, and I still have that feeling that God has more for me today. I did the prayers, the sermon podcast on the run, the homework on Proverbs 31...What else, Lord? Does anyone else ever have that feeling? If I had a few more minutes before I had to leave for work, I'd spend more time in the Word. But since we have training this morning, I have to be there on time! :) Guess I'll just use silence on the way.

Thanks for listening to my long dissertation. haha! If nothing else, I hope you're encouraged if you've ever felt like that before and enjoy hearing that other people go through it as well. Don't you just wish sometimes that we could have endless hours to just pray and read the Word? Well, the good news is that God is with us ALWAYS. Even though I feel like He is trying to get my attention with some other bit of truth, I know that He is going to be with me even as I go about my day. If I stay tuned into Him and His Spirit, I will receive His message.

Isn't that a wonderful thing about the Lord? I've been in Psalm 139 a lot lately, and verses 7-10 say this: "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."

Thank God today. Thank Him for His love for each of us and for His presence in our lives. And then, ask Him what He wants to tell you today. Rest assured, no matter where you are, He is there too. And He's always eager to speak.

Prayer Requests:
-For Military Ministry and the funding for Bibles and chaplain training.
-For military marriages.
-For troops with PTSD.
-For my long run this weekend and the rest day.
-For our fundraiser on March 13!

Thanks, guys! Ciao!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 56...

Praise God! Had a great 10-mile tempo run on the treadmill this morning. Turned in a 1:14:29 for a 7:23 average. Not too shabby! I had a few knee "twinges" over the course of the miles, but other than that, no injuries to report. That is super great! God's grace has been on my adductor muscle and plantar fascia. And I know He will continue to hold the knee together. Will you keep praying with me?

I'm finding that I'd forgotten how long marathon training is. :) That's not a complaint by ANY means. I'm really, really loving this. As a matter of fact, I love it so much that, as you've heard me say before, it's almost walking a fine line of loving it too much. But I pray daily that the Lord would keep this in balance with the life He's given me to live.

But here I sit at day 56, and we still have 7.5 weeks to go! I am SOOOOO pumped and thankful! :) I wish training could last forever! :) hahaha! I feel God's purpose and pleasure all over this and am just living it up and humbly accepting His daily challenges and grace and lessons.

Do you ever get so passionate about anything like this? If you do, you know what I'm feeling. If you don't, you totally gotta try it. No, you don't have to run a marathon, but you gotta try this whole passion thing. :) Today, if you're feeling like you're in a rut, I totally challenge you to ask God to awaken a great passion inside of you. He created each of us for great things, and I know He wants to use you for greatness in a specific area. He wants to bless you with a heart that is fully alive and joyful and excited and glorifying to Him! Seek that out today. Find your passion!

Prayer requests:
-For the left knee.
-For recovery from today's great run.
-For the Military Ministry fundraising and upcoming event.
-For our troops: specifically for marriages of military families today and for those with PTSD.

Ciao, friends!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 55...

What a great day! :) I was blessed with enough wisdom to take it easy on the treadmill this morning. Did a 6.3-miler in 52:52 for an 8:23 average pace. That's SO great compared to the fast times I've tried to turn in on previous recovery runs! I just kept hearing the voices of Jackie, Andrew and various running guru's about relaxing on the easy runs. It was very tempting to push the pace, but quite nice when I heeded the voice that said, "No." In fact, I rather enjoyed it. Thank You, Lord!

Okay...The Military Ministry fundraising and race team stuff is really starting to take off. And I could NOT be more thrilled!! We're hosting our first fundraiser and information night on March 13 in McPherson, Kan. (If you're around, come on out to The Well at 7:00!) And this is one of those very sweet times when I'm so passionate about something that I just can't WAIT to tell everyone about it! Military Ministry is making SUCH a differernce in the lives of the most amazing people on the planet. I don't care if that's a bold statement, it's my own opinion. Our troops are flat-out the most amazing, awesome, respectable (is it -able or -ible?), selfless, brave, courageous men and women on earth. Our freedom-fighters. Our protectors. Our heroes. The fact that God is allowing me to use running to bless them with His love is just absolutely crazy awesome. The fact that I can use what I love to do most to bring WHO I love most to those I respect the most. . . I'm humbled. God, YOU are awesome.

Anyway, I can't wait to get this started. I know we've already raised a couple hundred bucks, but we've got a long way to go! And I cant' wait to get started! If you feel moved to give, don't let me stop you! You can already donate online at . OR you can wait until there's more information. We're going to set up ways for people to contribute based on their own hearts. You'll soon have the opportunity to choose whether or not you want to send Bibles, fund chaplains, fund marriage retreats, fund PTSD counseling and combat trauma help, and more!! But even if you give now, your money will be put to GREAT use. And thank you SO much to those of you who have contributed already! You are making a KINGDOM difference for ETERNITY!! :)

Okay, prayer requests:
-For recovery and a great, strong tempo run tomorrow.
-For the Military Ministry fundraising and our event on the 13th.
-For God to raise up military chaplains.
-For healing in the broken marriages of our military families.

Thanks so much, friends! I love you all!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 54...

Remember in high school basketball practice when you'd run so hard that you'd feel like you were going to throw up? Man, that was awesome!! hahaha! I hadn't done that in a while. And, now, I didn't hurl this morning. (Sorry for the graphic nature of this message.) But, I felt like it when I was done with the speed work this morning. It was awesome!! Not a PR, but I hit my highest speed when I knocked it up to 10.1 mph for the last quarter mile. Love it!

Does anyone else out there just love the last mile? I'm such a last mile kind of girl. In anything and everything of life. I LOVE to push it hard to finish out. The rest of the speed work always feels great, but I can't wait until that last mile when I can crank it up and GO! It's even like that on the long runs. Finish fast! Give it everything you've got!

Okay, I'm going to get philosophical. This last mile concept can apply to anything really. I have "last miles" at work when we have magazine deadlines. There are even last miles when it comes to my Bible studies and the books I read. Will I finish strong, or will I let it fizzle out?

I've been talking with Ashley a lot lately about pressing through when things get hard. In everything worth finishing, there comes at least one point when we'll want to quit. It's those critical moments when we must really press through and keep going. I just hate the fact that Philippians 4:13 has become so cliche, because it really is SO powerful. And these make-or-break moments are PRIME Phil. 4:13 moments. If God has called us to a difficult task, then you can best believe that you CAN do all things through the strength of Christ. Not on your own, but through Him. And FOR Him.

Today, whatever your last mile is, I totally encourage you to crank it up, bust it out, and go for it in the strength of the Lord!

Prayer requests:
-For recovery from today's run.
-For the wisdom to run easy tomorrow.
-For protection on the body.
-For Military Ministry and their chaplains.
-For our fundraising event on March 13, that the details would come together.

Ciao, friends!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 53...

It had been so long since I'd run 20 miles, I'd forgotten what it felt like the day after. :) I woke up this morning feeling fine sleep-wise, but my legs were just toast. It was all I could do to move them without physically using my hands to do so. :)

So, with that in mind, I believe that I exercised a little wisdom today. Old Jill would probably have pushed through a run no matter how hard it hurt. New, wiser Jill broke up today's recovery workout by doing 30 minutes on the elliptical, 2.3 easy miles on the treadmill, and 10 more minutes on the elliptical. I just kept thinking about the hard speed workout that I have tomorrow and thought, "Man, it will be so worth it to have fresh legs tomorrow."

During yesterday's 2:45-hour workout, Jackie gave me some great advice. She's an amazing runner with great wisdom and experience, so when she talks about training, I listen! She was telling me about the body's need to repair itself after a hard workout and our need to allow it that time. It brought a TON of light to the training I'd been doing and the amount of injury that I'd been racking up. I was never taking it easy. Ever! Except for my full days off. My body was just contantly being broken down. What I need to do is bust it all-out on the hard workout days and then really take it easy on the recovery days.

So, with that in mind, I'm probably going to add in one day of cross-training to my plan and take out one recovery run. Like today. I will run the rest of the week, but it was good to give my body a chance to catch up after yesterday. I'll likely listen to it and put these into practice more often. Then, on days like tomorrow and Thursday, I'll be fresh and ready to ROCK on the speed workouts and tempo runs, which I LOVE anyway.

Okay, friends, I better get myself going to work.

Prayer requests:
-For the body to recover physically from the long run.
-For healing from plantar fascitis in my right foot.
-For Military Ministry and for their financial and spiritual needs to be met so that they can meet the needs of our troops.
-For our troops and military families to be blessed and strengthened by the Lord.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 52...


hahaha! You will not believe today. It's only noon, and I feel like I've been delivered through a week's worth of obstacles already today. THANK YOU, LORD! Seriously, I don't know how this all worked out aside from grace. But it was SO worth it. Here's the morning:

6:00 a.m. - Alarm goes off. Great start to the day. I packed most of what I needed for the 20-miler down in Independence last night, so I was good to go. I sipped a cup of coffee while I made a post-run smoothie, got dressed for a great trail run with Jackie in the snow and headed out the door.

6:35 a.m. - I leave my apartment only to find out that my weather check had been wrong. It wasn't snowing, it was freezing rain. And I mean BIG time. My car was buried in at least a quarter inch of ice. So, I spent 5 minutes cleaning it off, dreading the whole time the drive to Independence. I knew the roads would stink, and my car doesn't do well in winter weather.

6:48 a.m. - I'm barely out of my apartment complex parking lot and my driver's side windshield wiper blade breaks. haha! HOLY cow! I can't drive in freezing rain without a wiper! Plus, I'm already slipping and sliding around dangerously on the uncleared roads. It's unbelievably treacherous! In fact, if it was any normal occasion, I would 100% without a doubt turned around. In fact, I almost did here. I called Jackie from a stop light and told her that the roads were unreal and that my wiper blade was busted. I was ready to admit defeat and head back to the complex and hop on our treadmill. But once I heard her voice, I knew I had to press on. She was driving up from down south and said that it was only rain down there. No ice. Okay, maybe we could do this. If I could just make it out of the bad stuff up north. . .

6:58 a.m. - I'm fishtailing down 291, gripping the steering wheel with all my might, peering through my grace-covered windshield that never caused a problem (thank YOU, Lord!). Jackie calls from Independence and says that she's there and it's raining. She'll be in the workout room of our old complex waiting for me.

7:05 a.m. - Jackie calls again. The roads there are ice-covered too and she's in the complex. "We have a bit of an issue," she says. "One of the two treadmills is broken." hahaha! Okay, what do we do? We can't run outside. We can't run on the treadmills. I'm just HOPING to make it there alive. My car wipers are going to cause a serious problem if this gets any worse. "Okay, I have an idea. My 24 Hour Fitness membership doesn't expire for one more week. Let's go there and get on some of their machines." (There's a club about two miles from our old place.) We agree to meet there and pay the one-day charge if Jackie has to.

7:15 a.m. - We both get to the gym. Hallelujah! We walk in, and I tell the woman at the front desk that I don't have my card. She looks me up. It says my membership expired already. Great. Well, now what? But, wait! She's going to give us favor!! Since it JUST expired, she says, "Eh, no big deal. Just go ahead and go in." AND, get this! She gives Jackie a guest pass with me FOR FREE!!! That's killer!!

7:33 a.m. - We are FINALLY running. And it's amazing. I'm used to running on apartment complex treadmills, so the gym ones are like Corvettes. I'm in heaven! We start out slowly (thank God for Jackie's wisdom and experience) and do the first 6.5 at an 8:40 pace. Felt AWESOME. No pain from the knee, adductor or plantar fascia.

8:30 a.m. - We finish our first 6.5 and have to restart our treadmills, which only run for one hour at a time. We stretch for a moment and then start up for our next 6.5 at an 8:20 pace. Feeling good. And we're SO thankful to be doing this with a buddy.

9:26 a.m. - We finish the next 6.5 and brace ourselves for the final 7 at an 8-flat pace, giving each other pep talks and encouragement for the task ahead. And, by this time, praise God, the vulgar movie on TBS was finally over. It was some raunchy mind-junk with men dressed like women and Cuba Gooding Jr. dancing scandalously on a cruise ship. Awful. But at least they had SportsCenter and Fox News on, too.

10:10 a.m. - We crank up the speed to 7:47 for mile 18. Feel good there. Then kick it up to 7:30-7:19 for the last mile. AWESOME!!! WE DID IT!!! The only issue was a flare of the plantar fascia in the right foot. That was cranky after I got done. But it's feeling good now after some ice and massage.

10:45 a.m. - After some foam rolling and stretching at the club, I head out to drive home. "By this time, they HAVE to have 291 in good shape. It's so much less distance than taking the interstate. I'll just chance it." Oh, Jill...

10: 55 a.m. - Independence wasn't bad. It was just wet and slushy by then. Liberty, amazingly enough, was a MILLION worlds different. By the time I'd made it about 6-7 miles north, the roads were COVERED in ice. The precipitation was hard freezing rain again, and there was only one lane that was even drivable. I was, again. clutching the steering wheel like Cruella DeVille and praying constantly. (It wasn't very intelligible. Just pretty much a constant stream of, "Help me, Lord. Help me, Lord. Help me, Lord.")

11:10 a.m. - I'm still driving s.l.o.w.l.y. People are fishtailing all over the place. There are cars in the ditches. Stoplights are freaking me out because I don't want to stop my momentum. My car would spin and spin just trying to get moving again when I did.

11: 20 a.m. - I'm finally turning onto my street, which, of course, is not clear and uphill. This was one of the worst 4-minute stretches of my life. My car had ZERO control as I crept and spun up the hill. I finally made it, but still had to turn into the complex. I don't know how my car got through. It was God, for sure. I slipped and spun through the turn, up the hill into the complex and around to my apartment.

11:25 a.m. - I'm finally home. And I vow never to drive again. hahaha! :)

Every night before a long run, I will dream about not being able to complete the run. Last night I dreamed that I was abducted by drug dealers just as I was heading out to run. I didn't care if I lived or died, but I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to do my run. I think I even begged them to let me finish it before they took me away. haha! But all that to say, it's always worked out. Those dreams are just crap. But today was the first day that I think I really came close to not being able to do it. With all the obstacles from injuries, to roads, to wiper blades, to ice-covered trails, to broken treadmills, to expired memberships...It was like the longest series of unfortunate events. But let's talk about how big God is and how small we are. I'm back at my apartment, and the facts are these: I ran 20 miles today without pain and injury, and got to do it with a good friend. Thank You, Lord.

Today, I totally encourage you to walk in faith and in the knowledge that, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Prayer requests:
-For good recovery from the 20.
-For the healing of the plantar fascia and the protection of the knee and adductor.
-For great rest for my body today and tonight.
-For Military Ministry and their provision and reach to our FABULOUS military men and women.
-For the upcoming dessert/coffee event in McPherson--that we would raise AWESOME awareness and funds.
-For OUR TROOPS!! What I experienced today is NOTHING compared to serving a deployment in Afghanistan away from my family. Pray for them today to be blessed by the love of our Father.

Okay, I'm starving. Gonna go make lunch!

Ciao, friends!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 51...

I am so thankful for Brenda's amazing prayer on the blog comments yesterday. What a timely message! B, thank you so much. You are just the most wonderful sister/battle buddy/friend/co-laborer. May the Lord bless YOU exceedingly abundantly today.

That book I mentioned earlier in the week could NOT be more timely, as I'm finding so many hidden fears surfacing in my heart.

As a Christian, we are not supposed to fear. There are countless Scripture verses commanding us to not be afraid and to trust God. But I fear. I fear a lot.

This morning as I was spending an extended, unhurried time with the Lord in my day off of running, I just wept before Him. A lot of it stemmed from yesterday's experience. After the run yesterday morning, which I THOUGHT went okay, I had KILLER pain in my left knee all day and was barely able to walk. (*sigh*) It's at the point where it's just ridiculous.

Anyway, I just cried with the Lord and poured out all the things I fear with this whole thing. More than anything I fear letting everyone down (our troops, Military Ministry, you all, my friends and family...). So much is invested in this, that if it were to all fall apart, it wouldn't just be about me. Then, there's also the fear of going through major injury rehab again. Again, if you know my story, you know what happened last year and how difficult it was to walk through a season of dashed expectations and hours of cross training. I fear doing the 20-miler tomorrow. I fear NOT doing the 20-miler tomorrow. I fear that I'll have to cut back my training and lose fitness. I fear not even being able to make it to the starting line in Boston, let alone the finish. I fear. I fear. I fear.

This is NOT okay. Fear is from the enemy. Straight up. This is a critical time in which I must really press in to God's Word and choose to believe that it's the TRUTH. Romans 8:28, Psalm 23:1, Philippians 4, James 5:15-16 even. And tons more. Does God REALLY work for the good of those who love Him in ALL things? Right now, as I sit here with physical and emotional pain, is He REALLY going to use this for His good and His glory?


But, do I believe it? Will I walk through THIS day believing that, or will I be anxious and worried and fearful about what is to come and what will happen with this body and the training?

Today is a critical day. Today I must believe. Today I must CHOOSE to believe, trust and rest.

As the honest man says in the book of Mark, "I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!"

Thanks, friends. Please pray as the Spirit leads you today. I love you all!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 50...

I just got back from the gym, and I'm covered in ice bags, but feeling good! :) hahaha! They're more precautionary than anything.

Because I have an off day on the calendar tomorrow, I had peace to try out the treadmill for an easy run today. The leg felt good this morning, and I took some extra time to do a few warm-up exercises to loosen the muscle. I won't say it was a perfect run, but it certainly didn't hurt. I could tell it was tight, but that's about it. And being on the treadmill, I was able to keep myself from going too fast. I ended out at 6.3 at 51:08.

Before I dive into what I want to share for the day, I have to say thank you to everyone. Man, over the last two days I have been more encouraged by this team than I deserve. I praise God for every one of you who has said a kind word or who has prayed for me. You have NO idea how much you mean to me--all of you! I wish I could repay you. Instead, I will return the favor and lift you up in prayer. I'll let God repay you. He's a way better gift-giver anyway. :)

Question: Would you still love God if ______? As I was climbing the stairs back to my apartment, I was thanking God for allowing me to run this morning. "Man, Lord, thank You so much for putting me back on the treadmill." But then I stopped. What if He hadn't? What if He permanently took running away? Would I still be so thankful?

Through this, it is interesting to examine just how conditional my love for God really is. Thankfully, I'm pretty sure I'd still love Him if I couldn't run. But, quite candidly, it wouldn't be as easy. If He took it away, I'd really have a hard time with it.

It made me stop and think just how glad I am that God doesn't love me if __________. He doesn't only love me if I pray. "Man, Jill, thank you so much for praying today. I'm able to love you now." "Man, Jill, thank you so much for reading your Bible. I don't know how I would have looked you in the eye if you hadn't." "Jill, I'm so thankful that you went to church. Now we can be friends." Even as I think about it now, I'm so grateful and relieved that God isn't like that. He's not like us humans with our petty and selfish conditions. No, He loves us whether we ignore Him or spend every minute in prayer. And, as one of those selfish humans, that is so hard for me to understand, but so amazing for me to realize.

Yes, I do like to think that I'd love God if He took away my beloved passion: running. But I'm also thankful that God is bigger, wiser and more perfect than I can and ever will be. Thank You, Lord, for Your unconditional love. Help me to love You with greater faith and trust today. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Prayer requesets:
-For continued healing and protection on my right adductor, right plantar fascia, and left knee.
-For the recouperation of the off day.
-For the 20 miler on Sunday and the weather.
-For Military Ministry and that God would meet all of their needs so that they can meet the needs of our brave troops.
-For our troops! For God's love to be showered on them. For God to heal their wounds and strengthen their families.

Ciao, my wonderful friends!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 49...

Well, team, today was unscheduled maintenance day No. 2 of this training program. You all beared the knee scare with me a couple of weeks ago. Now it's on to dealing with a strained adductor muscle in my right leg. Again, your prayers are SO appreciated. I have NO doubt in my mind that God is all over it. There has been so much prayer going into this that I'm 100% convinced that He'll restore me back to the road soon. I'm praying that I'm even able to do the 20-miler on Sunday. We'll see.

If it's one thing I'm learning, it's that I am only given grace for today. I can't see what God's doing in the future. I can plan, but ultimately, I'm just Jill. He's the one with Plan A. :) I am merely on a need-to-know basis. How does that play into this? Well, for starters, because I tend to get really worked up when I'm injured trying to figure out how I'm going to make up for the lost time on the road. I missed a long tempo run this morning. What will I do to squeeze it back in somehow? What if I miss the 20 on Sunday? Where will I make it up? How do I need to adjust? Well, I don't know if I can. But what I do know is that I obeyed the Lord and took to the elliptical machine today. I also know that I am commanded not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. (That's in Matthew, I think in chapter 6.)

Another lesson that this injury has taught me--and this is probably the more embarrassing and humbling one to admit--is that training had gotten to "that" point again. And, for that reason, I'm thankful that God allowed this injury. It has given me a smack in the back of the head with a perspective stick.

Anyone who knows me knows just how intense I get during training. I mean, I get RIGID about it. Downright focused. And, while that CAN be a good thing, it always gets to a point where it's out of balance. And, thankfully, God has stepped in at just the right moment. I could tell that I was starting to focus on the training more than anything else--even people. And if my whole purpose in life is to become more like Christ through all experiences, then that was wrong. Christ would never have put marathon training above the people and relationships in His life.

So, that in mind, I am humbly admitting that I took it too far and asking for God to draw me back into His will. Thank You, Lord, for the perspective and for the injury that delivered it. Help me to balance this training with the life You've given me to live as Your daughter. Help me to stay focused on You above all and to continue to love and serve those around me while training. And, please continue to offer Your healing to this body. Let me return to the road with a right mind. Thank You! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Would you pray with and for me? Thanks, team. I appreciate you all so much!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 48...

I'm sitting here with a wrap on the upper part of my right leg and some Biofreeze underneath it. It's okay, but it's time to start treating this. The "ache" has turned into a "pain," and that's not a good thing. Time to start doctoring it.

The run this morning was actually exactly what I was hoping for (minus the pain): a slow, cold, solitude-friendly recovery run outside. Cold? Check. About 18 degrees. Slow? Check. About a minute slower per mile than my normal pace. Solitude-friendly? Check. Even the traffic was less than usual. But, man, did I need that.

I told my friend Ashley (a fantastic friend that I've trained with several times) this morning that, for the first time this training period, I didn't look at my pace. I HAD to take it slow--both because of the leg and because I just needed to mentally. And when I got back to the house and saw my time, I typically would have freaked out. But, honestly, this morning, I was super pleased with it. I had needed to take it easy for a day, and that's just what happened. Thank You, Lord!

Though, I am asking for prayers. Obviously, the body is experiencing some issues, and I do need prayers for healing and wisdom. God is in control, that's no doubt. He's been in this from the start and will be in it to the end, but I am reminded today just how fully reliant on Him I really am. My body can't do this aside from His touch.

Those of you who know my story know that my running career is full of injury stories. My body gets to a point in marathon training when it just likes to break down. But there also have been training times when God has carried me straight through without delay. For me, it is obvious that whatever marathon success I experience is truly lined up with His will for it. This, I have no doubt, is one of those times.

With that, I'm really asking that you would pray for several things specifically:
1. For physical healing on my right leg and the painful tendon.
2. For physical healing on the ache in my right arch.
3. For physical protection over my body as the training continues to increase.
4. For mental endurance as training continues to increase and the miles and runs get longer and more demanding.
5. For my continued focus to be on the Lord and His perfect plan.
6. For wisdom to know if my body needs cross training and if it can run.

Then, please remember to keep those in mind who are the focus of this whole thing:
1. For our troops, especially those currently serving in deployment.
2. For Military Minsitry and their outreach to our service men and women.
3. For the fundraising as it gets started, that God would do a great work and meet many needs through this race team.

Thanks so much, friends. I'm humbled by your prayers and support. For those of you who have encouraged me lately, you have NO idea how much it means. Philippians 1:3!! :)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 47...

I've adopted a new mantra: "Run toward the roar." Let me explain...

My friend's fiance' wrote an amazing book that I've just started called "Overcoming Intimidation." (I'm so careful about whose real names I post in these. Should I just keep writing everyone's names, or be more anonymous about it? Internal struggle...) Anyway, I'm only a couple of chapters in, but the first one has changed my entire mindset on running.

I've told you before that I struggle with pre-run anxiety. I freak out about everything--whether or not I'll finish, if I'll have enough energy, if there will be a treadmill, if there will be rain/wind/snow, if I'll have the speed I need, if I'll get hurt. blah blah blah.

Well, in this book, my buddy tells about how when male lions get old, their teeth start to get rotten and they aren't able to kill animals very easily. So, in order to get fed, they'll recruit the ladies and stronger young guys to help. The killers go hide on one side of a herd, while the big, old lion goes to the other side. He'll let out this massive, scary roar that sends the herd running in the other direction...where they will die in the jaws of the strong lions.

So, Scripture says that our enemy is AS a roaring lion. He's an old, roaring lion who has bad teeth and a big roar. All he can do is lie to us, just like the lion. If we would, instead of running from him, run at him and face the roar, we wouldn't be devoured.

AWESOME!!! How amazing is that? Jesus threw Satan down already. We are victorious. All our enemy can do is lie to us and send us running in the wrong direction and away from where God wants to take us and where He can show us His strength and truth.

I took that phrase, "run toward the roar," with me this morning as I headed in to do my speedwork. It was tough, but like I'd prayed, I had plenty of strength to make it. Nine miles in 64:06. Another PR.

God, YOU are truth. May we all recognize Your voice and see the enemy as a liar. May we all run toward the roar.

Ciao, friends!
P.S. B and K, thank you SOOOOO much for that book!!! I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 46...

Despite the travel stomach I had this morning, the easy run was really blessed. I enjoyed just cruising and turned in a 6.3-miler at 49:56. Based on what this last Saturday told me, I'm going to try and drop my time a little more on all my runs. Just test it out and see what happens. "Easy run" might be a little faster now. And it might still be easy. I just want to see.

My small group Bible study at church is doing a great study on Proverbs 31 and the ultimate godly woman. One of the things that I walked away with from this weekend was just how much the military wife embodies the Proverbs 31 woman. Her husband has a very unique calling, and he really has to know that his home is taken care of so that he can do what he has to do. Especially while he's deployed. We heard many women talk about what they had to handle while their husbands were overseas and what helped them deal with it. MAN, they have to be STRONG!! They care for kids, handle bills, tackle home repairs, manage budgets, do the shopping, make calls--everything! And their husbands need to be able to entrust that to them. They are called into battle and have to have the most amazing and capable women behind them so that they can do that without having to worry about what's going on back home.

These women amaze me. I love each and every one of them for what they do, and if I could treat them all to the ultimate spa getaway, I would. :) They deserve it! But you can see in some of these women's eyes that this is what they love to do. They get it. They get the calling their husband has, and they get how they are a part of that. How it's THEIR calling, too. God is using them to defend freedom and fight for justice because of how they empower their husbands. How they encourage them, love them, support them and manage their homes. These men couldn't do it without them.

Today, THANK YOU to all the military wives. You inspire me and serve as my utmost role models. I pray that you ALL would experience God's peace as you manage your households today. May He fill you with JOY as you complete His calling on YOUR life. Love you, girls!

Prayer requests:
-For Military Ministry and their continued outreach.
-For the military wives.
-For our troops, especially those serving in deployments.
-For my continued health and for the nagging ache in my right inner thigh.
-For great rest and an awesome speed workout tomorrow.

Ciao, friends!

P.S. I'm trying to gauge how many people are reading this. If you read today's blog, would you let me know on Facebook or e-mail or comment here? Thanks, guys!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 45...

Today I sat in a room full of my heroes.

It was an off day for running, and in place of the morning run was a breakfast with the military couples at the marriage retreat. I sat around a table and listened to four military husbands share their Valentine's appreciation for their amazing wives. I chatted with a young Navy wife who is expecting her second daughter in a couple of months. I heard about various travel experiences and different deployments. Most of all, I heard about the grace and love of God and how He had worked in the lives of our troops and been faithful to them throughout all of the trials they face in serving their country and defending our freedom. And of upholding their calling in the Lord's service.

I am so unbelievably humbled. These men and women serve. They risk. They battle. They believe. And I love them for it. May God bless and keep and protect and guide you all.

I'm not an active duty service member, so I will do what I can to help them do what they've been called to do. I know that I've been called and gifted to run, so I will put that to use for them by raising funds for Military Ministry. That way, our Heavenly Father can continue to reach them with His love and truth.

Thank you, Military Ministry, for the most amazing weekend. Thank you, troops and families, for EVERYTHING you do. Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness and strength that is shown so clearly through them all.

God bless,


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 44...

SUB-8 LONG-RUN!!! That has NEVER EVER happened!!! 18 miles at an average of 7:44/mile. YOWZA!!! :)

It was the most inspired and spiritually in-tune experience. And, honestly, a lot of it had to do with our circumstances. I'll blog more about this tomorrow and Monday when I'm back home, but being with the Military Ministry staff yesterday and meeting my heroes in person. . . I had more reason to run today than ever. Thank You, Lord!

I'm going to jet to eat lunch with my unbelievable hostess, Miss Brenda, her fiance and my sister, now. But thank YOU, LORD!!! Thank YOU, HOLY SPIRIT for running with me in the beautiful snow and wind. In the beautiful scenery. In the beautiful streets.

It was so cool, I do have to tell this part--I started running, and I just felt like I had the most energy ever. My warm-up miles were below 8:30, and eventually I looked down and I was going 7:45/7:30. And it felt totally natural! By the time I was at mile 12, that had been my standard pace, and I decided to go for the sub-8.

Let me tell you, it was HARD work. But the Lord kept bringing to mind Isaiah 48 about those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. HALLELUJAH!

And. . . For the last two miles, when I was really having to push it, the Lord gave me my Army cadence. haha! SO perfect! I ran with my troops for the hardest part, and they inspired me.

This is about so much more than I could ever have imagined. God is using me for His purpose to help bring Faith to the Foxhole and Hope to the Homefront. I'm humbled.

(P.S. Thank you to General Dees and Kathleen for the amazing tour yesterday. You guys are amazing and I was humbled that you spent so much time with us. And thank you to everyone we met at MM. Wow. And thank you, most of all, to my dear, sweet sister Brenda for being my extended family. My GIRL! We are unbelievably grateful. And thank you to my actual sister, Jami, for making travel fun again.)

hahaha! Thought I was going to blog short, didn't you?


Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 43...

Quick blog this morning. It's 6:10, and already Jami and I have been up for an hour and a half. I went to squeeze in my recovery run on the treadmill and she showered. Now it's time to rotate. Becauuuuuse. . . We're going to visit Military Ministry today!!! :) :) We have a super early flight, so this has to be my shortest blog ever, but I gotta jet.

Please pray for us. We've been so blessed to connect with Brenda and the gang there, and it's going to be amazing to put faces with names. And to get to see the ministry in action will be absolutely priceless. I can't wait to see what God has in store! :)

Pray for us...
-For God's ordered steps and connections.
-For my 18 mile run tomorrow morning.
-For the military marriage conference to change lives.
-For God to bless Brenda, our amazing hostess and my sweet soul sister!! :)

Ciao, friends!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 42...

I won't say that today was a great run necessarily. The pace was fine, my endurance was great. Physically, yes, the performance was there. But it was TOUGH.

It started out as another great run in the snow, and I thought it was just going to rock the whole way as another peaceful environment for a tempo run. But after a while I noticed that this snow was a little different. It was somehow making the sidewalk slicker than snot! It was just a thin layer of ice/snow stuff. That wasn't a tragedy for the first part of the run. It was easily solved by running down the middle of the unicy street.

But, as it happens when the world wakes up, traffic eventually got going. Soon, I found myself weaving back and forth to either side of the street and zig-zagging between lanes. I honestly felt like I was in the middle of a game of Frogger. (Not an uncommon problem for runners, just not a fun one to experience.)

And then it all came to a head. Not only was I dodging traffic, but on the last two miles I turned into a fun headwind and had to go up two steep hills, all while dodging traffic and trying to find solid footing, as the streets were now slick.

I confess that I did not keep my cool. BUT, something really cool did happen. As I was running through a tough part and getting a little down, a little voice inside me said, "Jill, this is your dream come true."

Woah. Hold on. TOTALLY true.

It was perfect timing to get that message because it totally brought me into a right attitude. I realized what I was doing at that moment. I was training hard for the Boston Marathon!! :) :) After such heartache last year and such a long road of recovery, I was finally getting to live out my dream! :) Thank You, Lord!! :)

With that in mind, even as training gets tough, I hope to keep an attitude of praise and proper perspective. I GET to run. Every day! I get to live out a huge dream! And God is seeing me through. Praise Him!! :)

Here's to long tempo runs in crappy weather! Bring it on.

Ciao, friends!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 41...

I had to blog early today so I could write down the fabulous message that I heard from Joyce Meyer on the treadmill this morning. (Great run this morning. I haven't calculated the pace, but it was an easy 6.3 miles in 50:57.)

I don't know what your opinion of Joyce is, but I like her. Some things she says I don't agree with, but I know that this woman can speak truth into my life like very few message-bearers can. Today, she was talking about trusting the Lord through suffering. (Hello marathon training.) She said something that reeeeeeeally got me about the epitome of faith being when we can trust God when He leads us through suffering when we have the power to change the circumstances by taking action on our own.

Does that make sense? It sure did to me. Wow. Think about that. It takes more guts to walk with God THROUGH a trial when you have all the power in the world to take another way out. For me, it's easy. I could not do the training runs or cut them back and not work as hard. The second option there is way more tempting. Yes, I'll get out and run, but will I work as hard as I need to even though it's difficult? Will I do 11 miles tomorrow morning instead of scaling back to 10 because I don't feel like going the extra mile? You see. Suffering could be alleviated by my own action. But what would that get me? Less trained. Less mentally strong. Less prepared. OR, I could follow God THROUGH the suffering and be better equipped for the race day when He has called me to run with excellence for Him. It's my choice.

I think that applies to everyone. Of course it does! We all have situations in our lives in which we could take the easy way out, but we know we shouldn't. And it's my prayer that we'd all learn to trust God enough to walk through the trials so that He can show us the blessing on the other side.

Great, popular verses: Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 8:28.

Thanks for the lesson, Lord!

Prayer requests:
-For that 11-miler tomorrow. And whether or not to run outside or in. The treadmill availablity really is becoming an issue here.
-For my visit with Military Ministry this weekend. YAY! :)
-For Military Ministry's outreach.
-For OUR TROOPS! We love you!!

Ciao, friends!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 40...

I'm starting to love Tuesdays! I remember being pretty anxious about speedwork to this point, but I was actually looking forward to it this morning. And it was TOTALLY blessed. Great time, great energy. I didn't kill myself like I did last week, but I kept up awesome 10K and 5K paces for 2- and 1-mile repeats. Nine miles total!

Here's the thing, though. Tell me if I'm the only one who ever does this. I found myself praying for the run, but almost in a gambling mentality. After I'd prayed for strength, endurance, focus, joy and all the good things, I also prayed for an available treadmill. TOTALLY a great prayer to pray when you only have two available treadmills and a small community. And Philippians 4:6 tells us to pray about EVERYTHING.

But, after I'd asked God to reserve one for me, I got into an interesting train of thought. As I was driving to the workout facility, I literally was thinking, "Come oooooon, God. Let me have a treadmill." Literally like I was rolling dice.

Thankfully, God, in His mercy, stopped the train of thought by speaking VERY clearly into my spirit: "Are you gambling on Me? Is our relationship a game of craps?" Woah. That was like a sucker punch to the gut. How could I POSSIBLY go there? Has He not provided all things, not only in my training, but in my life? This is GOD! He's not a pair of dice! He's not a genie! He's not a wishing well! Holy cow! How could I be so shallow?

I'm so grateful that He showed me my own thoughts and revealed my perspective. "Lord, forgive me for reducing You to a slot machine. I am unbelievably sorry for how I abuse Your provision and for my horribly wrong view of You. Please give me perspective. Help me to see You for who You truly are. Help me to know and believe that You are GOD. Help me to take my eyes off of myself and to put them back on You as the reason for everything I do. I'm scum today, Lord, but I thank You for Your forgiveness, love and mercy and grace. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen."

Prayer requests:
-For recovery from the great speedwork. Small ache in the knee and right arch.
-For my upcoming visit with the Military Minsitry staff. YAY!!
-For our troops and God's love to be showered on them, especially those away from home.

Ciao, friends!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 39...

I'm totally getting spoiled. The run in the snow today was, once again, gorgeous. Little wind, falling snow and a quiet hour with the Lord.

No music today, just prayer. One of the reasons I love running so much is because it offers me the opportunity to completely unplug from all distractions and connect with Him. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty easily distracted. By anything. And everything. I'm like that dog in the movie "Up." "I love you, Master. You are my master. I would--SQUIRREL!" haha! But when I'm on the road, I am physically removed from absolutely everything. The only potential distraction is the occasional beep of my Garmin.

The next two weeks (three, four, eight) are absolute chaos. And, whenever I'm faced with a hectic schedule, I tend to get psyched out before it even starts. I get overwhelmed thinking about how I'm going to get everything done and when I'm going to do it, and then I add in the added factor of how it will affect my training. "How will I get enough sleep? Will I be able to perform well? How will I fit in 11 miles?" It can lead to a lot of unnecessary anxiety.

This morning on the road, the Lord was so faithful to encourage me that He would unfold everything according to His perfect plan. My only job is to be obedient--in fact, to surrender it all to Him. I like to control my schedule and manipulate it to what I think will work best, but this time I am going to just trust and obey. He is my loving Father who has my best in mind. He knows my schedule and will work it out. That's part of the great Romans 8:28 promise. Thank You, Lord!

Prayer requests:
-For the speedwork tomorrow morning (and an available treadmill).
-For rest and adequate sleep.
-For Military Ministry and their continued reach to our troops!

Ciao, friends!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 38...

I'm sitting here watching pre-game coverage of the Super Bowl. Carrie Underwood is singing one of the most beautiful songs in the world: "The Star Spangled Banner." A giant flag is covering the field. "The land of the free and the home of the brave." AMEN, sister!! :) What a world we live in. :) They just showed a feed of our troops watching this game in Kabul, too. Man, guys, thank you SO much. I hope you have a great time watching the game and get some encouragement and enjoyment from the event. You deserve it!

Praise God. That's why He's set me to run. For these awesome men and women who are watching the Super Bowl away from their friends and families. I'm sure they'd rather be at a house party with bowls of chips and salsa and 20 pals. Instead, they're serving us by fighting a war overseas. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I run for you all.

That's why 16 miles was awesome this morning. Because there is purpose. Becuase through these legs, our troops will be loved. Thank You, Lord! :)

Great turn around the trail, too. Jackie and I cranked out an 8:16 pace in a beautiful shower of snow. It was gorgeous!

Okay...Off to watch the game! :) Go Saints!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 37...

Oh, I am so tragically bummed today. SO bummed. SOOOO SOOOOO bummed. My fantastic Papa Bear, my amazing step-dad was going to come up this weekend for a daddy/daughter weekend. Unfortunately, his work trip got extended and, instead of being here to sip coffee and solve the problems of the world with me, he's stuck in Oklahoma City. And I'm stuck without my big teddy bear for the weekend. :( SOOOOOO sad! Honestly, all I want to do is cry. I miss him so much. But that's life. And we did talk about trying again in a couple of weeks, so I'm praying it works out.

How this affects my running schedule? I was going to put in 16 miles this morning before he got here so that I could chillax with him all weekend and take tomorrow off. But I got this news late last night, so I am putting today back as my off day and running tomorrow morning instead. I did enjoy the lazy morning of waking up at my leisure and spending an extended amount of time in prayer and Bible study this morning. I certainly don't get that very often. But I'm grateful for it. And I'm sure my legs appreciate the break. They've worked hard this week. Truly. They've put in some amazing runs, starting with last Sunday's 18, the awesome speedwork and the great tempo run. It's been a very blessed week.

Tomorrow, I hope to hook up with Jackie and another of her buddies for the 16-miler. It will be, again, GREAT to run with friends. Two hours alone is way less fun than two hours with a good friend.

Sorry I'm not cheerful today. My joy is being challenged. My eyes are teary. I miss my Papa Bear.

PPB, if you read this, know that I love you and miss you and look forward to absorbing heat from you in a couple of weeks. Be safe. Trust the Lord. And receive a big hug from me across the miles. I love you! - Your BG

Ciao, friends!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 36...

Every day I get an e-mail devotion written by my former campus minister from college. Today he wrote a great one about Psalm 104 and how we so often forget to appreciate the works of the Lord in our natural surroundings. What a timely message! That was exactly what I gleaned from this morning's run. (Yes, I totally just used "gleaned" in a sentence.)

When I woke up, much to my delight, I saw that it was above freezing outside. YESSS! Outside we go! So, I threw on my gear and headed out. It didn't start out that great, as it was kind of freezing rain a little bit. But it wasn't so bad that I was going to have a miserable time.

About halfway through the run, the precipitation changed to snow. And not just ANY snow, BIG FLAKE snow! :) You know the kind. When it's like you're in the middle of a snow globe. The flakes were so big that they created shadows on the ground under the street lights. :) It was breathtaking!

I'm a complete sucker for running in the snow, especially when it's dark and quiet and you can REALLY enjoy the setting. Today was one of those unbelievable days. Humbling days. Days when you just sit back and say, "God, wow. You totally knew that I'd be out here, and I know that You created this knowing I'd enjoy it. Thank You."

The run itself was fabulous. A quickie 6.3-mile recovery run at 8-flat. And when I got back to the apartment, I was positively caked in snow. haha! My hair was dripping, my vest was white and my gloves were soaked. But I never felt a drop. :) It was pure bliss, and I can't think of a better way to start a day.

"Thank You, Lord. Today, I appreciate Your beauty. Forgive me for when I pass up the chance to marvel at Your works. Thanks for the amazing morning. You floor me sometimes. I love You and look forward to spending another great run with You tomorrow."

Quick prayer requests:
-For Military Ministry and their continued needs to be met. (Pray specifically for the number of Rapid Deployment Kits that they need.)
-For our troops and their safety and for their spiritual needs to be met.
-For my 16-miler tomorrow--specifically for a running path, since the sidewalks will most likely have a ton of snow on them by then.
-For protection over my body. Feels UNBELIEVABLY good today. Pray that it stays healthy! :)

Thanks so much, all! Until tomorrow...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 35...

Man, what a morning! 10-mile tempo runs...You've heard me say it before. They're my absolute FAVORITE workout! You get in that mode of "push it" for an extended period of time. It is the BEST way that I've experienced to get prepared mentally and physically for the marathon. During the full race, the last miles can be really hard. BUT, if you hit mile 16 and realize, "Oh, hey! It's only a 10-mile tempo run to the finish! I've done it a million times." That is totally reassuring and gives you such a boost. Love it!

Anyway, today's was awesome. A 7:37 average. Felt fantastic! Even with the abundance of hills that I'm discovering in my new area. hahaha! Heartbreak Hill...Bring it on!!

I wanted to blog about this yesterday, but I wanted to get the nutrition update out there.

Yesterday was actually the 6th anniversary of my dad's passing. February 3rd, 2004. I miss that guy and always will. In fact, I'll never be able to hear "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" without thinking of him and getting tears in my eyes.

My dad, pictured on the left with my awesome step-mom, was one of the most honorable men you could ever meet. He never told a lie, worked his tail off, provided for us and truly, passionately loved his country. If I've said it before, I'll say it again. I'm SO proud to be his daughter. And, without a doubt, his memory and life are what God is using to spur me to run for the troops this April.

My dad was a Vietnam veteran. He gave up a significant amount of his innocense for the freedom and protection of the U.S. and its citizens--for the freedom and good of those he didn't even know in Vietnam. I loved him for it. While I know that it cost us in our relationship as it hindered him from opening up significant areas of his life, I am so proud of him.

Today, I say thank you. Thanks to my dad and thanks to every man and woman who upholds our freedom and protects us from harm. Thank you for your selflessness. May God bless you with His constant love and meet every one of your needs according to HIS riches in glory.

Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 34...

HALLELUJAH! Huge praise from the morning. I visited with the nutritionist today, and it was a great appointment! She's a sharp lady who is an endurance athlete herself and works with runners all the time. I loved her!

Well, remember when I had the small concern about my being underweight? Well, it turns out that my home scale is off. My weight is PERFECT! In fact, it's only .2 lbs. off from my ideal weight for a runner! Isn't that awesome?? Praise God! The only issue is my body fat. It's about 10% lower than it should be. The prescription for that? More peanut butter, almonds and salmon. Totally doable! She's telling me to add a few more fish oil pills and flaxseed into my diet and wants me to eat more protein. Once I start getting more fat in my diet, that will also help with the injury issues I tend to have AND will help me sleep better. Rock on! You can't go wrong with that, right?

The run for the day was cold, but great! Nice recovery run from yesterday. Which, can I tell you how the treadmill speedwork paced out? 7:10 average for 9 miles!!! I've never run that fast in my LIFE!!! Credit to God and for His wisdom in telling me how to pace in the absence of a pace guide. He's the best trainer on the face of the planet. :) The Holy Spirit is totally the ultimate Coach. :)

Alright, gotta jet. But if you could pray for my long tempo run tomorrow morning, that would be awesome! It's gonna be long and cold, but it's gonna be awesome! Why? Because I'll get to do it with Jesus. :)

Ciao, friends!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 33...

FYI to everyone out there, I think I've found the BEST smoothie in the world! :) Vanilla Kefir, vanilla yogurt, frozen blueberries and frozen bananas. YUMMMMM!! :)
Today's speed workout was adventurous! I tried out the new apartment complex workout facility for the first time. I'd been wanting to give their treadmills a whirl since I'd moved in, and today was my chance! It's SO like test-driving a new car. haha! You learn all the new bells and whistles and evaluate so many different features.

The treadmills are great! Good cushion. Great placement for the water bottle holder. Working keypad. One very key exeception, though. There isn't a feature that shows your current pace! haha! That's a first in my treadmill experience. They show your miles per hour, but they don't tell you what pace per mile that is. Yowza! That's kind of important. Especially during speed workouts.

So, today, I got a good lesson in listening to my body. And you wanna know something? I ran faster than I would have if I'd seen the actual pace! I looked up my times online on a treadmill pace chart, and I killed it! 9 miles of intervals faster than ever!

I knew I was working harder than I had in a while, but I didn't know if that was from heavy legs or lack of sleep, so I just kicked it up a notch, prayed for God's amazing strength and kept going. It was awesome!! :) Praise the Lord!

His grace has been so overwhelming. Even when I'm exhausted from a move, underslept and uneducated, He makes a way. Thank You, Father. OH! And even when I'm a clutz, He's all over it! Last night as I was leaving my small group Bible study, I nearly sprained my ankle. Nothing tripped me; nothing was in my way. I was merely walking on pavement and not paying attention to walking. (Um, I'm 30. I shouldn't have to do that, right? Should have learned how to walk a few years ago.) All of a sudden, I took a step and came down wrong on the left side. My ankle folded like a soccer mom chair. MAN! I was like, "Jilly, come on!" But I went home, iced it, popped some vitamin I, and went to bed. Praise God, it's fine. :) Another great memo? It can all change in a second. :) And don't get lazy and comfortable! haha!

Okay, prayer requests:
-For Military Ministry and their continued ability to reach our troops with the love of Christ.
-For our awesome troops. (You inspired me for several miles this morning as I ran to my Army cadence.)
-For protection on my body.
-For a good night's sleep tonight!

Thanks so much for all your continued support, friends. You have no idea how much it encourages me to know you're there and praying.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 32...

I feel like a kid in a candy store! :) After living so long in an area that had basically one single running route, I've now moved to an area that is full of possibilities. There are so many residential neighborhoods and connecting streets...and (*gasp*) they all have sidewalks!! hahaha!! You might think that's pretty standard, but where I used to live, that was a foreign concept. Hallelujah!! Thank You, Lord!

What's even more? I was out this morning exploring option #1 and I saw another solo female runner out in the dark. Yessssss! That's a great sign. It definitely speaks volumes of the safety of the neighborhood. (Yes, Momsy, I know it's still not a guarantee, but it's at least a good sign. I'll still be careful.) :)

Man, I got a little shot in my pride today, though. After yesterday's long slow run with the 8:20 average, I wasn't feeling so great about my times. And then today, since my legs were tired from yesterday, I wasn't exactly Speedy Gonzales. But that is what a recovery run is for. It's just hard to be okay with it. (Especially when the aforementioned solo female runner passed me. hahaha! I was like, "Dude, I so want to speed up and beat her. I don't care where she's going. Let's race!")

But, this is cool. I had been praying that I could find a verse in the Psalms that had been running through my mind for a while. I just couldn't remember it's address. Last night, the Holy Spirit led me to Psalm 31, and there it was. At SUCH an appropriate time.

"But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands..." - Psalm 31:14-15a (NIV)

I have to constantly remind myself that each of my training runs are in the Lord's hands, and I'm convinced that He inspired this verse for runners. We put in the physical work, but He is the one who holds our times. If we work hard, He will bring out the times that He wants for us. That includes slow long runs and the ensuing recovery workouts. My times are in His hands.

"Lord, let me constantly lay my training in Your hands. I trust You to work in my physical body and to produce the results. Help me to do my part to care for this body and to work it appropriately knowing You will take care of the rest. You supply the energy, rest and strength. Thank You, Lord! You are so good to care about this venture and what it means. Thank You for allowing me to race for a purpose: to bring You to our troops and to support Your work through Military Ministry. I love You, Lord, and continue to praise You for Your plan! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

Prayer Requests:

-For energy in an exhausted body.

-For the speedwork out tomorrow and for rest tonight.

-For our troops!

-For Military Ministry and God's provision for them.

Ciao, friends!