Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 90...

My jaw just dropped. I literally almost dropped my phone, as I checked the weather online before heading out this morning. 65 degrees??? You've GOT to be kidding!

I went to my closet to pull out my running clothes and had to stop and think. What the heck does running in 65 degrees feel like? I didn't even remember! Will shorts really be warm enough this morning? Am I going to freeze in short sleeves?

So funny. :) But 65 degrees remained true to itself and provided an unbelievable and amazing run this morning. Not even the 30-mph wind could dampen my spirits. I had been liberated from the layers of winter clothes. You have NO idea how much of a release it is to run in shorts and a race T instead of Under Armor and ski masks. You feel about a million times lighter! :) Plus, it takes about 10 minutes less in the morning to get ready and out the door. :) LOVE that.

Guess what! I got my race packet in the mail yesterday!!! :) :) It's official! I'm Runner 14349 in this year's Boston Marathon. I'm just going to cry. Thank You, Lord. Thank You. It's such a dream come true, and it's such a move of Him. For what He's done to bring me (and us) to this point. It's been such a long road. It's been so full of challenges. But it's been so blessed. From dashed dreams to submission to His bigger plan and what He's doing now through this to raise funds for our troops through Military Ministry. I'm so humbled to be used by Him in such a way. Lord, may I honor You with every step. May every move I make bring You glory. May bib #14349 be one that stands out from the crowd because of Your joy. :)

Friends, we have just under three weeks left. Only 19 days. We're almost there. Please continue to pray for my mind--that I would fully trust Him with everything. I am still battling fears and anxiety about injuries, but they're unwarranted. Please pray for protection over my mind and for truth and peace to fill it! I'll return the same prayers for you. :)

Prayer Requests:
-For Military Ministry to be fully equipped and funded to meet the spiritual needs of our troops.
-For soldiers to be drawn to open their Rapid Deployment Kits and read of God's love for them.
-For healing and protection on my right foot.
-For physical protection over the rest of my body.
-For my sweet sister in Christ, Lacey, who is also running in Boston and has just pulled a muscle. Pray for her peace and healing.
-For my 12-mile tempo run tomorrow morning! :)

Love you all!
-Jill :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 89...

The song playing right now on my morning playlist is SO appropriate: "A greateful heart I give; a thankful prayer I pray; a wild dance I dance before You..." SO good! :) That's how I feel this morning after a hard-fought battle mentally and physically.

This morning was the first 50-degree morning that we've had, I believe, all year, (I might be wrong. We might have had one other one randomly.) But all I wanted to do was be outside. I couldn't wait to wear shorts! But guess what the Holy Spirit Trainer voice said when I got out of bed this morning..."Treadmill."

"Ah, man. Really Lord? REEEEEEEEally? You realize that it's 50 degrees out, right?"

I was encouraged by me attitude. (I know what you're thinking.) But it was WAY better than before! This was more of a "Am I really hearing You right?" than a "You've got to be kidding. How could You ask such a thing?"

It was SO cool. The verse I studied in my quiet time right before I went out totally lined up the lesson that the Lord wanted me to learn this morning.

1 Chronicles 28:9 - "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts IF you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forecer."

All I could do after studying that verse was say, "Yes, Lord." So, off I trotted to the treadmill. :) My heart wasn't exactly excited about it, but I had at least come to grips with the fact that God had my best in mind and knew more than I did.

Here's the cool part. My speed has really been bothering me the last week. I haven't turned in very good times, and it's been totally frustrating. I've been questioning whether or not my goals are reasonable and if I peaked at the wrong time. Of course, the weather hasn't been the best, and I do continually train on steep hills. Neither of those cater to speed training. The one guaranteed way to get in a good speed workout: treadmill. I didn't even know it, but God had worked a desire for this run into my heart deeper then I realized!

10 miles in 71:29! :)

1 mile of warm-up
3 miles at 7:09
1 mile at 6:44
1 mile recovery at 7:50ish
3 miles at 7:04-6:54
1 mile at 6:36-5:55!!

SA-WEET!!! I haden't turned in those paces in forever! :) I am so thankful to know that they are still there. Hallelujah! :) One more verse for the day, because it's SO appropriate:

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declared the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways highter than your ways and My thougths than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8-9

Prayer Requests:
-For our troops. That they will be equipped to handle all the Lord asks of them today.
-For recovery from today's run.
-For mental preparation for the marathon.
-For Military Ministry and our last-minute fundraising efforts!

Thanks, friends! You all are awesome!
-Jill

P.S. I finally figured out how to post the photos that my sister took!! You can see a video diary of a 1-6mile training run by checking out the photos. And there are even a few from the fundraiser om March 13 at The Well. :) Enjoy!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Boston Marathon 2010 Training (83 photos), by Jill Ewert


I'd like to share my Walmart Digital Photo Center photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.

Day 88...

THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY!! Can you believe it? Only three weeks until the Boston Marathon? Three short weeks until we take our 26.2-mile victory run from Hopkington to Boston. YEE HAW!!! I'm SO excited. I wish it was tomorrow! :)

But there are three weeks left. Twenty-one days of not only physical training, but also spiritual training. I have no idea what God will teach me in these next three weeks, but I know that He's not done yet. And He never wastes a moment, so I'm sure each of these 21 days will be spiritually fruitful.

Today was a good run. It was only a 6.3-miler, but I had been itching to get in a run at a good pace. Friday had been slow for recovery and Saturday had been slow for a variety of outside factors. Sunday was rest. Man, I was mentally itching to turn up the heat. :) So, I did. And it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I don't know if it was because I didn't sleep well last night or what, but the pace was harder to push than normal. I'm wondering if it has anything to do with the orthodics. They've really helped, but they also were something new that my legs had to get used to. They added a little weight to the feet. I'll just have to use these next two weeks to get stronger and learn how to push the pace in them.

I say two weeks because I have to factor in the notion that the last week before the marathon is a taper week. All that means is that you basically don't run much the week before the marathon so that you're itching to go on race day and physically loaded with tons of energy.

(Man! I love peanut butter oatmeal. Hallelujah! haha! Just took my first bite of the morning. SO good.)

So, I mentioned that I didn't sleep well last night. Wanna know something? I knew that was going to happen fairly early in the day. It's such a mental thing! Early on in the day, this little thought took root in my brain, "You didn't run today. There's no way you're going to fall asleep tonight when you need to. You won't be tired." I didn't realize I'd even had the thought until I'd had it over and over and I was already worked up about it by late afternoon. At that point I tried to combat it, but it had become an issue. So, when I laid down last night, all I could think about was the mental battle for sleep and that I needed it and wasn't going to get it.

GOSH! What a lesson in taking thoughts captive before they take YOU captive! 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "...we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Today, I pray that the Lord would help me to recognize my negative thoughts when they first strike so that He and I can strike them down with His truth! Would you pray that prayer for and with me? Maybe you need it yourself!

Prayer requests:
-For healing on the feet. (PRAISE GOD! First run without a blister pad on the left side.)
-For our troops! We love you guys and gals! Keep doing what you're doing, knowing that you are storing up treasures in Heaven!
-For Military Ministry and our friends who serve to bring His love to our armed forces.
-For the tempo run and speed work tomorrow morning. Gotta use it wisely!
-For rest tonight.

Thanks, friends! :) You all are awesome!
-Jill

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 87...

I'm pretty stoked for a day of rest today. After yesterday's physical and mental mauling, I can certainly use a break. The plan for the day is to treat my body to as much spa treatment as I can. :) For me, that usually means an extra dose of Icy Hot, but at least it's a start. haha! :)

This past week at our leadership retreat, we were challenged to nail down our life's core values--those principles that would serve as guiding filters for our actions. On Tuesday night, I sat down for some time with the Lord, and He revealed five core values that apply uniquely to me and to who He created me to be. The first one: Courage.

We've all heard Ambrose Redmoon's quote that courage is not "the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear," and that is something I'm coming to understand. Friends, I think we'd all agree that this training period has been changing me in many ways. And I think one of things the Lord has been addressing is my fear. That sin and cancer that keeps us from His highest and best.

It may sound absurd that someone with so many fearful tendencies would select Courage as a core value, but I can't think of anything better.

In my quiet time this morning, I went through Scripture and prayed for a verse to apply to each value. Not surprisingly, Joshua 1:9 was what the Lord gave me for Courage. It says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

This is the thing. It's not about just being courageous. God doesn't ask Joshua just to cast off his feelings and barge ahead for no reason. God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous for a specific reason: because HE was with him.

It's the same for me and for all of us. God wants us to get to the point where we can face our fears and walk toward them, not because we are just that strong mentally or because we're bold, but because we know that He is with us in all things. He promised in other verses to never leave or forsake us. He promised over and over that He would be faithful. In fact, He makes it so clear in so many verses of Scripture that we almost have to purposely avoid verses on His faithfulness and love if we don't want to see them.

For me, it's not that I am just supposed to walk out my door every morning full of pride and arrogance and confidence that I can run. On my own, I can't do that. I'll be nervous, anxious and fearful every time. But what I can do is know and believe that God is with me. I can be strong and courageous knowing that I'm not alone and that His strength is inside me. He is with me wherever I go, whatever I do. And, because of that, I can trust that no matter what happens, He has a plan.

Friends, today, I want to challenge us regarding courage in our lives. Do we believe that God is with us wherever we go? I do believe that. I know it because I've experienced it. If I had your attention for 72 hours I'd have just enough time to begin to scratch the surface of the start of the beginning of the introduction to God's faithfulness in my life. (Well, maybe I'd need more time if I'm going to tell you that much. haha!) But if we believe that God is faithful, then let's all face our fears and accept His calling to be strong and courageous.

Prayer requests:
-For healing on my right foot.
-For healing on my left foot's blister.
-For the upcoming week and the 6-miler tomorrow morning.
-For our troops--that they may be strong and courageous, and that they may know the Lord is with them wherever they go.
-For Military Ministry and their ability to communicate His truth to our service men and women.
-For rest today.
-For the last three weeks of fundraising! Want to give to Military Ministry and spread the hope of Christ to our troops? Go here: http://www.militaryministry.org/home/running-for-the-troops/

Thanks so much, friends! You guys are awesome! :)
-Jill

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 86...

A friend of mine used to say, "You can't coach suck." Well, after today, I've been properly coached in absolute suck. :)

First, a HUGE shout out to Andrew for keeping me company on the first leg of the run. Thank you so much, AA!! That was awesome. I was so grateful for the company. Andrew took me through the first half of the run and provided great conversation. Toward the end of his time with me, though, I could tell that the elements weren't going to cater to an easy finish.

When Andrew and I parted ways at mile 13, I ducked into my apartment to get some warmer gear. The wind had TOTALLY picked up, and was gusting at 100 mph out of the south. (A little extreme, but that's what it felt like.) :) And the rain drops had started falling.

Well, by the time I left my apartment to finish the run, it was coming down. And the temperature had taken a nose dive. And, let's not forget that incredible wind.

Being the weenie that I am when it comes to 38 degrees and driving rain and wind, I tried to take the easy way out and hit the treadmill. BUT, I'd forgotten my keycard, so I couldn't get into the workout room.

"Okay, how bad can it be? I'll just tough it out."

Okay, that mentality lasted about three miles before I passed by my apartment again hoping that the apartment girls would be there and the door would be open. Nope. I was stuck outside.

Mental wall. Totally up. I was angry at the weather. I was TOTALLY frustrated by my pace (totally slow, by the way). I was hacked that my iPod had quit at mile 15. I was frustrated by the pain in my right foot. AND I was now running in completely wet shoes and socks. My hands were numb. And I was hungry. And I still had 6 miles to go at this point.

I stood there for a moment and examined my circumstances. This is where it got cool. :) God showed me my thoughts and asked me to retrain them. I was somehow supposed to find joy in the rest of the run, no matter what the challenges.

So, I had my little Lieutennant Dan moment (remember when he's shouting to God on the top of the boat?) and hit the hills in the wind and rain. Now, my moment was WAY more respectful, but it just reminded me of that with the rain and wind and me calling out to God. :) Mine wasn't so much fighting Him as it was agreeing with Him loudly that I would accept His challenge. :)

And that was it. I finised the run. It was hard. It honestly was a horrible run. But God is SO good. And He's made me so much stronger for it. And...now I'm properly coached in suck. haha! :)

Prayer requests:
-For recovery from this 22-miler.
-For rest with a capital R tonight and tomorrow.
-For Military Ministry and their fabulous staff and volunteers!
-For our troops who go through FAR more than miserable runs...all on our behalf.
-For healing on my blister and the pain in my right foot.

Thanks so much, y'all! :) :) You guys rock!
-Jill

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 85...

What an incredible morning! :) This run ranks right up there with any of the most enjoyable that I've had in a long time. The sun was rising, the birds were singing, the winds were calm, it was cold but not frigid. AND, my pain was almost non-existent! Hallelujah! Praise God! :) Let's define grace and mercy: After a full week of hard running and long miles, I feel better today than I did on Monday. :) Lord, You amaze me with Your goodness.

I know that I kept blogging this week with small updates, but there is just so much to say about what REALLY went on this week, especially below the surface. I just couldn't say it all when I was typing on my phone. haha! :) (Thanks again to Mom for posting the updates for me!)

Monday was probably the hardest day I've had mentally. It was the blog day that I was questioning everything. Such frustration with the pain in my foot. And I'd resigned myself to the idea that I had a stress fracture and was going to have to give up this whole thing.

I tell you what. God's timing is amazing. His love is beyond my imagination. He used that situation to teach me such a valuable lesson this week.

I've known for a long time that He wanted to address my thought life, specifically when it comes to fear. I really struggle with allowing my thoughts fixate on fears, and that tends to criple my ability to function at a high capacity. I find the worst possible scenario and start stewing over it. You saw it this past week when I was convinced that I had a stress fracture in my foot. I stewed over that constantly for about four days. I mean, literally, it was almost ALL I could think about.

By the time Monday rolled around, I truly believed that's what it was, and I couldn't think about anything else. I moped around. I stressed. I cried. All without any legitimate reason other than my own rampant and negative thoughts.

God is so good, and here's where it's so important to have Christian brothers and sisters in your corner. By the time I got to the airport on Monday to meet up with my group and travel to our retreat, I was in such a state that a group of my girls circled up and prayed over me. Shortly after that was when I got the great wisdom from my trainer buddy who pretty much dismissed the notion of a stress fracture and suggested the heat therapy.

Gosh, it's hard to communicate today. I just feel like so much happened that relates to this mission that I can't share it all!

Anyway, regarding the thoughts. I had prayed specifically that God would address my thought life at this retreat. I'd not seen any schedule, and I knew that the program would center on leadership. But...Wanna know what we had a session over on Tuesday? "Thinking Strategically." hahaha! God, You are so good!

I will have to let you know more about all that I learned later on when I've processed it more, but I wanted to share that with you to let you know two things:

1. God is strategic in all of our life events. When we are going through something, we can be assured that He is planning to use it to make us more like Christ. He used my thought collapse to prepare me to learn on Tuesday and begin to transform my mind.

2. If you've been following this blog and have been praying for me regarding my tendency to fear, know that your prayers are being answered. And if you would be willing to keep praying that prayer, I would love it!

Well, friends, I have to get going. Time to go conquer the world of magazine for Christ! :)

Prayer requests:
1. For the 22-miler tomorrow. LAST ONE!!! :)
2. For healing on my feet and cranky left knee.
3. For the Lord's truth to continue to be delivered to our troops.
4. For Military Ministry and their staff and volunteers.
5. For rest and recovery for me and my body.
6. For all of us not to fear and to learn to think strategically and use a filter of Truth!

Love y'all!
-Jill

P.S. Wanna see a pic that I took on Tuesday of that killer blister after it popped?? Check it out! Big battle scar there. :) Haha!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 84

What a glorious morning here at the Mohican! :) It was in the low 40s with no wind for the 11-miler today.

The pace was good. I kept it around 7:30 for most of the run around my little .25-mile circle parking lot. :) The reason I don't usually hit the road away from the lodge is because it isn't lit and it's nothing but steep hills. Those are ok, but not for speed work.

At the 7-mile mark today, the Holy Spirit prompted me to tackle the hills. He had a good point that it would help me prep for Boston's Heartbreak to run the last few miles pushing the pace on steep terrian.

Whew! It took me a circle around the parking lot to get the courage, but I obeyed. :) It was great! And I was blessed by one last moment with the serene, woodsy beauty of this place.

It was a great run. But aren't they all? Praise God. :)

Prayer request:
-For our brave soldiers and their families
-For continued healing and protection of my feet
-For safe travel home
-For rest tonight. (a great week, but no sleep!)
-For a quality recovery run tomorrow
-For Military Ministry

Thanks so much, team! You guys rock!

-Jill

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 83

Hey, team! Greetings once again from FCA Leadership Training!

Thank you all so much for your prayer support these last couple of days. God is at work in some pretty clear ways. I totally forgot to tell you about one thing He did yesterday to remind me that He's with me.

I was just starting the 10-miler yesterday, warming up and listening to my normal running playlist on my iPod. We were only one or two songs into it--I say "we" as in me and God. haha!--and one song was just about to come to a close. I just thought to myself, "I'd really like to hear 'Never Turn Back." It's a great workship song by Coffey Anderson and runs very well. But out of a playlist of 50 songs, and only two down, I didn't expect it to come up right away.

Haha! Wouldn't you know it. Five seconds later when the one song began, 'Never Turn Back' fired up. :) It was just a small reminder, but it was unbelievably encouraging and inspiring. God is in this. He's God! I am Jill. I'm so small!

I have so much more to say, but I'll say it when I'm not typing on a phone. :)

Prayer requests:
-For healing on my feet (both of them)
-For God to bring hope and healing to our soldiers
-For Him to continue to equip and use Military Ministry in a significant and powerful way.
-For the 11-mile tempo run tomorrow
-For rest for me tonight

Thanks so much, team! You all are amazing and I'm asking God to bless each of you today as well!

-Jill

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 82

Hey, guys! Greetings from Ohio (Thanks to Momsy for relaying the message!)

Real quick: "I can't. God can. So I'll let Him."

I got some great wisdom from a trainer buddy. He said it's not likely a stress fracture, but an aggrivated ligament. He recommended heat therapy. It went great! 10 miles this morning at 7:40. It's all God.

Keep praying!! Love you all!

Ciao!
-Jill

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 81...

I just don't know, guys. I just don't know. I can't walk at the moment. Running seems pretty out of the question. I just don't know.

I don't want discouragement to really get a foothold, so I'm sitting here just trying to find the right train of thought to settle on.

Today, doing a routine treadmill recovery run, pretty much all the wheels came off. Remember that blister that was forming on the left foot? It burst in the middle of the run. I had to stop and take out the orthodics. Remember that foot pain in the right arch? It's not tendonitis. I've had tendonitis. This is either a stress fracture or a bone bruise. Either way, after I took out the orthodics, the run was going fine. And then I had some sharp pain shooting up from my right foot. Um, I'm pretty sure that's not good.

It was certainly an interesting sight to watch me try and walk when I took my shoes off back at my apartment. I can't step on the left foot because of the ginormous gaping hole in the middle of it's sole. I can't walk normally on my right foot because it hurts. I look like I'm 95.

What I know to be true: God is faithful. What I know to be true: God sees the big picture. What I know to be true: that I can trust Him. What I know to be true: that He loves me.

What I don't know: Whether or not I'll be able to finish this training. What I don't know: How to go about this week without letting these injuries be a distraction. What I don't know: How not to cry right now. I'm really sad and frustrated. Prayers would be appreciated.

If God has different plans that don't include running in the Boston Marathon, then that's gotta be okay. It has to be part of His plan. I don't like it, but I'll trust Him with it. If He does have plans for me to be able to run this race, then something is going to have to change.

The page in my prayer journal that I use during my morning quiet times had this verse on it today, so I'm going to be mulling it over and asking Him to reveal more truth to me today. Maybe this is to inspire hope in my soul. 1 Peter 5:9-10 (The Message): "To keep a firm grip on the faith...It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ...will have you put together and on your feet for good."

I don't believe in coinscidences, so I'm going to hold to that verse and ask God to put me back together and on my feet for good. If you'd join me in that prayer, that would be amazing.

Well, friends, I'm off to an FCA leadership retreat until Thursday. We don't have a single bit of internet access there, so I may have to recruit my mom to blog for me. They'll be short, but at least you'll hear the workouts and updates. And, you can be sure, I'll have a lot to say when I get back. :)

Prayer Requests:
-For our troops and their families to be blessed with God's love and strength.
-For Military Ministry
-For healing on my left blister.
-For healing on my right foot.
-For peace of mind.
-For the workouts on the retreat (not much of anywhere to run).

Ciao, friends! May we all be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer today.
-Jill

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 80...

First...My condolences to my fellow Jayhawks out there. Sad day, huh? But be encouraged! We'll reload and be back on top in two years. :)

Today is a marvelous day of REST. Praise God! I enjoyed sleeping in until 8:00 and waking up naturally. The weeks get so long and tiring, that I really do come to rely on these days to recharge. They're so much more than a luxury. They're an absolute necessity.

Now, before I jump into this discourse, I want to make one thing VERY clear. I LOVE TRAINING! :) I'm having an absolute blast and totally living my dream. God is SO good, and I wouldn't trade a minute of this. It's a blessing in EVERY way, shape and form.

But, because I want to take you into the marathon training experience as much as I can through this, I want to share today what the typical training week looks like and just exactly what all is involved. It will sound regimented, and it is. But it is NOT said in a spirit of complaining. It's one of the most marvelous lifestyles a person can live! (Just not for long periods of time. haha!)

We'll start with the runs themselves. At this point, I have three "easy" run days, two longer tempo/speed runs and one long run. Six days per week of running and one day of letting the body relax. For the easy runs, I'll do what I would normally do without being in training. I don't know how or why I got into the habit of doing 6.3 miles, but that's just what I do. haha! It's weird, but it's what I do. Those days are just gravy. Takes me anywhere from 51-55 minutes, depending on how beat up I am from the day before.

The tempo/speed workouts are typically 10-12 miles, and they are the hard workouts for the week. They're awesome! Tempo runs just mean that you run as hard as you can at a consistent pace for the entire distance. It reeeeeeeally prepares you for the marathon better than any other workout. Those happen two days a week: Tuesday and Thursday.

Saturday or Sunday is a long run. At this point, that's anywhere from 18-22 miles. In these, I'll start out slow and gradually drop the pace to somewhere around what I want to run the actual marathon in. Most runners don't run their marathon pace during their long runs, but I try to get some miles in at that tempo. It seems absurd to me not to. Especially the last few miles. I want to go into the race having confidence that I've kept a low pace at the end of a long run before, and that I can do it again.

That's the running schedule. Here's the rest. :)

During the week, I'm up between 4:45 and 5:00 a.m. I have a cup of coffee to wake my body up and spend time in prayer before I go out. I like 30 minutes with the Lord before I hit the road. It really prepares me and helps me focus and, more than anything, remember that I'm doing this to bring Him glory.

After 30 minutes, I start my running prep. I change into my running garb, hop on my foam roller to massage out the muscles focusing on my adductors, IT band, calves and glutes. Then I stretch for a few minutes. I always use this time to put some sports drink in my body, too. I load up my Garmin watch, put on my iPod, strap on the shoes, pop in a piece of light blue Stride gum and hit the road.

When I get back, the recovery begins. This part is pretty important. Your muscles are more open to receiving fuel within a 30-minute window after your workout, so it's important to get some nutrition in them soon.

What I do is start by showering, jumping back on the foam roller and stretching. That takes about 15 minutes. Then I get started feeding myself. My favorite post-run meal is coffee with skim milk and oatmeal with peanut butter. Protein, carbs and fat. Gotta love it! :)

Icing is also reeeeeeally important after a run. Especially with my crazy body that likes to embrace any and every injury possible. :) After I've fixed my oatmeal and coffee, I grab a couple of ice bags and head out to my computer desk. Usually during this time I will spend some time doing a devotion with the Lord so that I can feast on His Word, and then I will blog.

By this time, I'm usually running about 5 minutes late for work. hahaha! But I hustle to get ready and head out the door usually by 7:45.

Here's one of the perks to working at FCA. They let you have a little time during the day if you want to work out on business time. That is SOOO helpful for me! I usually take 15 minutes during the day to devote to strengthening exercises. I will focus on my core muscles because those are absolutely critical when it comes to maintaining alignment and running healthy. (Imagine how many injuries I'd have if I didn't do these. haha!) I try to get those done early in the day before I plug in so that I can focus on work for the rest of the day.

After work, I head home and run errands or whatever, but I try to be back by 5:45 to start dinner. I try to eat by 6:30. My evening then gives me about an hour or so to do whatever evenings call for. Paying bills, cleaning, working on Military Ministry fundraising, etc. Then, by 8:15-8:30, I have to start shutting it down. I get ready for bed, spend about 15 more minutes debriefing the day with the Lord, hop back on the foam roller, stretch, read my Bible, prepare some toast for a last-minute snack and then hit the hay. Usually lights are out by 9:30.

Then we do it all over again! :)

The beauty of marathon training is that you can take it as seriously or as easy as you want. It's totally up to you and what your plate can handle at the moment. For me, I have chosen to jump in wholeheartedly and really try to do this with excellence. It's part of who I am that I get so intense and focused. And I just love it! There's nothing like putting in a ton of work and reaping the blessings of it. Scripture is FILLED with verses about how hard work leads to blessing. Plus, I just LOVE Colossians 3:23-24: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." If there's any verse that keeps me going, it's that one.

Yes, this training is tough. Yes, it's time-consuming. Yes, it is HARD WORK. But, it is SO worth it. Every run, every pain, every mile. Every sound of the alarm clock, every early bedtime, every bite of oatmeal and whole wheat pasta. It is ALL worth it because none of it is wasted in the Kingdom of God. What we're doing has purpose. What we're doing has meaning. We're doing this to bring hope and healing to our soldiers. We're doing this because we love those who selflessly love us. And, I wouldn't want it any other way. :)

Prayer requests:
-For rest and recovery today.
-For healing on my right foot.
-For our troops to be blessed with spiritual healing, and for our military chaplains to be equipped to minister to those looking to them for help.
-For Military Ministry.
-For the continued funding of the race team! Visit us online at http://www.militaryministry.org/home/running-for-the-troops

Love you all! Thanks so much for the prayers and support! :)
-Jill

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 79...

Sweet Lord of all Creation! Hallelujah!! 20 miles. Done. In your face, snow/wind/ice/traffic/treadmill/pain! My God is bigger than you all!! Yee haw!! :) :) Man, this feels good.

I love getting the long runs out of the way on Saturday. It means that I don't have to battle pre-run anxiety all day Saturday. I can get it conquered first-thing and enjoy the rest for the afternoon and all day on Sunday. The only drawback is that I don't get to run with my girls when I go out on Saturday. But there were a few conflicts that were going to keep us apart this Sunday, so I went for it today. Praise the Lord!

The run itself was interesting. The weather was atrocious. The wind was pretty killer: straight out of the north at 20 mph. Honestly, I think some of the gusts were more like 30 mph. Maybe that's just because I was being pistol-whipped by them. haha! Either way, I endured it for as long as I could, but at the halfway mark, I was in such pain and misery that I had to take it inside. The tendonitis was reacting poorly to the hills, traffic was picking up, there were no sidewalks, it was starting to sleet and the wind was making the pace take a hit, and I really wanted to run a negative split for training purposes. So, I headed back to the apartment and did the final 9.5 on the treadmill and watched the first half of the UNC/Mississippi State NIT game.

I did try something totally new today, though. For the outdoor part of the run, I decided to use the time on the road as a prayer walk (run, in this case, obviously). I made a prayer list before I went out the door of what I would pray for each mile. Wow. Talk about running with purpose! What an awesome, awesome, awesome time! The miles FLEW by as I was so focused on calling on the Lord intentionally for specific things and people.

I've recently been challenged about the spiritual discipline of solitude. Just plain getting away from everything and allowing the Lord to communicate with me. It's so hard to do that with our dependency on electronics. Why is it so hard to turn off a cell phone? Why is there always something to check online? Why am I so afraid of silence that I have to have music on constantly? I tell you what. . . This run really reminded me how important it is to remove ourselves from distractions on a regular basis and get in position to hear from the Lord.

Question: How powerful do you believe prayer really is? If you and I truly believed that James 5:16 was true, and that the prayer of the righteous was powerful and effective, wouldn't we use it as more than a last resort? Wouldn't we use it as the first line of attack and defense? Man, we are so self-righteous sometimes.

I sent out a prayer e-mail this week for people to pray specifically for healing on my right foot. At first I felt guilty and ashamed for asking. I seem to ask for prayers for running injuries a lot. But then it hit me...God has spared me from so many injuries. He's healed me in such amazing ways. I ask for prayer. People pray. God heals. I don't think that's a coinscidence. Duh. That's what the Word says we are to do. Only the enemy would try and tell me that I shouldn't ask for prayer. So, annoying or not, I'm going to continue to ask for prayers for healing when my body reacts in pain. Because the prayers of my brothers and sisters are powerful and effective! :) And I am learning that I need them more than I will ever know. . .

Speaking of prayers...
Prayer requests:
-For healing on the right foot. Arch pain and tendonitis.
-For recovery from the long run.
-For rest.
-For Military Ministry and their outreach.
-For all soldiers who are battling PTSD.
-For our military marriages to be strengthened and for God to raise up examples of godly marriages.
-For continued funding! If you want to bless the troops, give online at http://www.militaryministry.org/home/running-for-the-troops

Thanks so much, friends! I prayed for my race team today. :) May God POUR His blessings on you all! :)

-Jill

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 78...

Throughout this blog, you've heard my share of doubts and fears and a few complaints. Well, today, we're going to focus on a different side. There is a bigger part of me that fully believes God is good--that He is faithful. There's an inner peace that knows that above all else, God is at work in all things and that He truly DOES work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

So, today, we're going to take a fun little exercise and put some praise into this blog! :) We're going to go through the alphabet and praise Him for everything that we can think of that has to do with our troops and/or running. May God be glorified today as He so rightly deserves!

Lord, thank YOU for...
A - Armed forces! :)
B - Boston
C - Chaplains (thank you all!)
D - Determination (of our armed forces and our race team)
E - Energy (It's only by God's grace!)
F - Fort _________ (Praise for all the military bases.)
G - God (Just for who He is.)
H - Healing (on all my injuries and on all our soldiers with PTSD)
I - Ice. (Got bags all over me right now.)
J - Justice (What our men and women fight for daily.)
K - Kansas City (the great training ground)
L - Liberty (double-meaning here)
M - Military Ministry (Love you guys!)
N - Nations (What Military Ministry will reach through the world's armed forces)
O - Oatmeal (the daily breakfast)
P - PTSD Counseling
Q - Quiet (Thank You, Lord, for peaceful apartments!)
R - Rest days (Sunday's coming!)
S - Soldiers (love you!)
T - Tempo Runs (My favorite workout)
U - Unfailing love (What God offers us all.)
V - Victory! (See April 19, 2010)
W - Witness (What we will do through the streets of Boston.)
X - X-trordinary (Cheating, I know...But this whole thing has been amazing!)
Y - YOU! Thank you all for your support!
Z - Zeal (What we should never lack, according to Scripture, and what this team has in abundance!)

Lord, we praise You in all things! In sickness, in health, in plenty and in want. We love You and we trust You!

Prayer Requests:
-For the 20-miler tomorrow and whether or not to wear my orthodics
-For healing on the right foot and the new blister on the left foot.
-For our troops! May those who have PTSD seek help!
-For Military Ministry!
-For continued fundraising.
-For rest.

Thank you all! Praise Him today! :)
-Jill

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 77...

One prayer that I've prayed frequently throughout this whole thing has been for protection against pride. It's something that I've struggled with all my life, and it would be SO easy for me to be all like, "Look at me! Boston Marathoner who is running for a cause. Aren't I great?"
Well, as we all have seen, God is faithful. He DOES answer prayers. Especially ones like that, which line up with His will for us.
I had a little bit of a meltdown yesterday. After the cross-training session, my right foot pain made it's presence known in a pretty significant way. And, after doing activity that should have helped it, and instead, hurt it, I lost it. My thoughts just went crazy as to what was wrong and how I should fix it and why God would let this happen.
All day, I stewed about it. I cried to several friends. I sent out e-mails for prayer. I prayed, obviously. I quoted as many verses as I could--not just about healing or anything, but ones about anxiety and fear in a sincere effort to get my mind focused on what was true.
One of my favorite sisters in Christ stopped by the office to have lunch for me, and the minute she asked me how I was, I started bawling. "Anna, I just don't konw what to do!" I sobbed. Now, friends, my girl Anna is one of the most spiritually amazing women I know. She's still in college, yet, she's someone I'd go to without hesitation for spiritual advice. She's just THAT solid. (Love you, Anna!) Bless her heart. She listened and comforted me, and then she spoke some very encouraging truth: God is still faithful. "Jill, maybe His glory is going to look different than what you thought," she said.
To be honest, I'd not really considered that. Everything had been lining up in a certain way that I just figured everything would work out the way I thought. We'd raise the funds, I'd do the training, we'd take Military Ministry to the streets of Boston in celebration. Well, what if that's not God's best in this situation? What if He's got glory planned in "defeat"? I hadn't considered that as even an option. Now, the question became, how would I react to that.
Not well.
After lunch with Anna, I did feel a little better. Yes, God was still faithful. I enjoyed revisiting that truth with her. But after a while, the enemy began to creep in again. By the time I was driving home from work, I was asking God why He hated me. Seriously. I was really just convinced that this whole thing was over and that all the work that had been done was for nothing.
My Papa Bear (pictured on the left) called me just as I was getting ready to get out of my car and go into my apartment. I have to tell you, he's one of the most positive, encouraging people on the face of the planet. He can put a silver lining on a case of poison ivy. And he will, too. It just annoys the crap out of people if they're in a really bad mood. haha! :) Well, he let me cry for a while, but then he started spinning his positive words.
Truthfully, I wanted to smack him. hahaha! :) But what he spoke really hit home. I couldn't deny the truth of it. And while my flesh wanted to wallow in misery, my spirit wanted to keep it's faith.
I walked into my apartment pretty exhausted. I glanced at my running shoes at the side of the door and a sudden thought popped into my head, "Orthodics."
Explanation: Back when I'd trained for the Lincoln Marathon in 2008, I'd had some custom orthodic inserts made for my running shoes. I have UNBELIEVABLY high arches, so the support really helped when I packed on the mileage. After I got my IT Band syndrome, I didn't wear running shoes for so long that I forgot I had them. When I returned to the road, I might have casually thought about it in my head, but I thought I was so much stronger in my core muscles that I didn't need them anymore. I tossed them in a drawer and went about my running as normal.

Pretty desperate to do anything to help the injury, I went upstairs to try and find the orthodics. I looked inside old shoes and didn't see them. Then I went to the back of my closet and the bottom drawer of a storeage piece I have. There they were. Tucked away under some unused gloves and scarves.

I pulled them out and went back downstairs to put them in my shoes. They fit perfectly, even with a new brand. (They'd been created for Mizunos. I'm running in Sauconys now.) "Well, it can't hurt," I thought. And I left it at that.
Now, for everyone who isn't familiar with orthodics and running shoes, this move is really not generally a good idea. Messing with your running shoes before a 12-mile tempo run is kind of risky. But I kind of felt like this was the answer to my prayers, so I decided to take that risk.

It worked.
12 miles this morning. Minimal pain during the run. None after. The only glitch (and I kind of expected this to happen) is a near blister on the arch of my left foot where the orthodic rubbed. Other than that, my legs and feet feel great. It even really helped the plantar fascitis in the right arch, as well. Thank You, Lord.

Yesterday, one of the verses that I read while I was on the elliptical was Isaiah 54:17. I have a collection of cards from Beth Moore's Breaking Free study that are very handy to transport. This verse says, "...no weapon forged against you will prevail." While those weren't God's promises to us in general, but to a specific group at the time, I fully believe that's true when it comes to spiritual warfare. Then, when I e-mailed out my prayer request yesterday to a group of ladies, my sweet sister Brenda wrote back and included that very verse.

So, here's where we're at: God is faithful. God is obviously at work. God is still God. I believe that He is a way-maker and that He will see this through. I am believing that no weapon--whatever that looks like--forged against this will prevail and that God will carry us through to victory. I'm praying that victory ends with my Military Ministry race jersey crossing the finish line in Boston with the confidence that we've raised funds, awareness and prayers for our military. I'm praying that the marathon itself is nothing more than a 26.2-mile victory lap in celebration of all that God did during the 16 weeks leading up to the race. Would you join me in that prayer today?

I know this is long, but today there was a lot to share. Thanks so much for reading. And I do pray that if this moves you--if you have ever felt or are currently feeling despair and hopelessness, or if you feel like God is against you--hold on. Please hold on. Even if you can't fully understand, just believe. Just trust. As Brenda told me yesterday, God is a God of movement. He won't leave circumstances the same for long. Just hold on and trust Him until He moves. And trust me. He will.

Prayer requests:
-For the right foot and the continued divine grace on my body.
-For Military Ministry and the fundraising efforts. If anyone has thoughts on how to raise more, I'd love to hear them! :)
-For our troops as they serve us and protect our freedoms. '
-For healing on those with PTSD.
-For the recovery run tomorrow.
-For rest. (I'm a little emotionally and spiritually dry. Need a jolt of Jesus!) :)

Thanks, all. You guys are amazing!
-Jill

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 76...

What kind of Christ-follower would I be if I only obeyed His voice when it told me to do something I wanted to do?

Yesterday, the Holy Spirit prompted me very clearly: "Trust Me with the parking lots." Today, I woke up, and the first thing I hear is, "Cross train."

NOOOOOO! I hate it when it says that! hahaha! And I usually fight Him tooth-and-nail all morning, praying that He'll let me off the hook with it. But, then I thought, "Seriously, Jill? You're seriously going to argue with the One who gave you everything you asked for in a run yesterday: a flat, fast track with wind-breaking buildings?" Off to the gym I went. And the funny thing was that it was raining outside. I think that was a little wink from God so that I wouldn't miss being outside so much.

But, here's the thing. I gotta ask my girl Janice...Did you pray for me about more time in God's Word yesterday after I sent you that e-mail? hahaha! If so, your prayers were answered! :)

For the rest of you, I'd sent my sweet friend Janice an e-mail, and in it, I shared with her that my time in the Word has gone down as the miles have gone up. And that is NOT cool. The Word of God is vital to our survival as Christians. As David mentioned in the Psalms, we have to "hide" His Word in our hearts so that we won't sin against Him.

Well, that in mind, I grabbed a few of my Scripture memory cards before I headed out the door for the gym and shoved them in my pocket. For the last 30 minutes I was on the elliptical machine, I went over and over and over verses from the book of Isaiah. It was awesome! With every verse I read, I felt more and more peace about who God is and about His hand over me. I also was given such a clear picture of God's desire to heal our soldiers out there as I read Isaiah 61:1-3. Let me share that with you:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor."

These verses reference Jesus and the task He was given--what He can, will and does for all of us. Today, would you join me in praying Isaiah 61:1-3 over all of our soldiers who are suffering from PTSD? They give so selflessly for all of us. May we strengthen them with our prayers and ask the Lord to heal in ways only He can.

Prayer Requests:
-For that pain in the right foot. I'm getting frustrated, but trusting the Lord!
-For the continued fundraising. Pray for our next steps!
-For Military Ministry and their continued provision and guidance and reach.
-For our brave and amazing soldiers. (See above request. Let's pray specifically today!)
-For my 12-mile tempo run tomorrow! :)

Thanks so much, friends! Love you all!
-Jill

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 75...

Hallelujah!! You all must have been praying overtime for me. I have to tell you about how awesome God is! :)

Today I was supposed to do 10 miles of speed work, right? Well, I was bumming a little about it because with the achy tendons, I knew I'd probably have to do the treadmill in order to avoid hills. Well...Maybe not. :)

Last night as I was climbing into bed, I thought about how I'd once done an 11-mile training run circling a .25-mile parking lot. :) Hey, at least it was flat! So, I got to thinking, "There's tons of shops right by my house. I could always go use the parking lots there like a track." That was TOTALLY the Holy Spirit. He reminded me of the parking-lot run and, once I had that thought to go there, I just knew in my soul that's what God had in mind.

Still, the idea wasn't SUPER exciting. I mean, who really wants to go circle a parking lot for an hour and 13 minutes? So, I woke up still debating whether or not to go inside or try the parking lot idea. Finally, as I was praying, "God, I am still not sold. Are YOU really the one who is asking me to go to the parking lots, or is that just me?"

"Trust me with the parking lots."

Totally heard that. Not audibly, of course, but my Spirit head voice totally said it.

So, I did. I warmed up running the .4 miles over to the shopping area and started looping the lots. It actually turns out that the loop is just shy of a mile total. And it's completely flat!! :) :) I was having a blast! The miles were flying by and the foot wasn't in any pain at all! :) Of course, the Target morning shift was giving me funny looks as they were going to work, but that's okay. Maybe if I do this enough, they'll bust out their stopwatches. haha! :)

Then, I got a wild hair. At about 4.5 miles, I just decided to see what the other side of the highway had to offer. Lo and behold! There is a stretch of backstreets across the highway that leads into a residential area...that is FLAT!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) HALLELUJAH! :) It's flat to a point. I did have to turn around after about a mile because I was heading up a steep hill, but there's a whole other mile back there that is untrafficked and flat! Praise You, Lord!

Here's what I'm saying today: God. Is. Faithful!!! He is sovereign. He loves us. He is in control. He answers our prayers. Trust Him. Trust Him with everything. Even when you've got your own version of tendonitis and hills, trust Him. Even when He asks you to circle parking lots. Trust Him that He's got your best interest in mind. He loves you! He wants to bless you! But you'll never get to those blessings if you don't step out in obedience. I'd never have discovered the parking lot mile or the side street mile if I'd stayed on the treadmill this morning in something familiar and comfortable. God always knows best.

Remind me of that later, won't you? :) haha!

Prayer Requests:
-For the anterior tibial tendonitis in the right foot and the cranky left knee.
-For Military Ministry and our fundraising. (What should be our next steps?)
-For PRAISE for the fundraiser on Saturday and for everyone who gave and who has given online (I'll find out who you are tomorrow and will be sure to thank you properly!).
-For our amazing troops, out there on the front lines of danger protecting our freedoms and our ability to run around parking lots.

Love you all! Ciao!
-Jill

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 74...

Wow! Some days you just wake up in the middle of the "Zip a Dee Doo Dah" cartoon with Louie Armstrong. hahaha! Today, that's how I feel! :) For the first time in weeks I feel like I have energy. And, I KNOW that 99% of it comes from getting my love tank filled this weekend by friends and family.

The run this morning was a dream. :) 44 degrees, casually strong wind (at my back on the way home), light traffic and singing birds. :) And, being in such an amazing mood today, I just had to listen to happy music the whole time. Normally I'll do a sermon podcast on easy days, but there was just too much joy overflow to listen to Chip Ingram talking about being stuck in a rut and how to get out. A valuable message, I'm certain, but today...it was all about Mandisa, Dave Barnes and, I confess, two playings of Chris Brown's "Forever." hahaha! Come on! You KNOW you love it! :)

What a morning!! :) :) :) It totally makes this prayer request just seem that much smaller when I'm so full of the joy of the Lord today. I've been reluctant to talk about this because I know that talking about it (for me) breeds the fear of it. But I'm not scared anymore. God is more than in control and His hand is on me. Aches, pains and all. So...Would you be willing to call out the anterior tibial tendonitis in my right foot specifically? It's a recurring issue I've had since my first marathon in 2007. Back then I saw a doctor about it, and he said I was fine to run on it, but I shouldn't take hills. hahaha! Now that I live in the land of 1,000 of 'em, that's a pretty tall order. I know I could do treadmill or drive somewhere, but that's not probably going to happen, if I'm being honest. Treadmill, occassionally, but I don't have time on weekday mornings to drive somewhere flat. So, that is a specific prayer request today. Thank you SO much, friends!

Well, I best be getting ready for work. Got a full day of editing and writing ahead! I love it!! :)

Prayer Requests:
-For the anterior tibial tendon.
-For the cranky left knee.
-For Military Ministry and the continued funding of this race team! :)
-For our TROOPS! God bless you ALL!
-For the speed work tomorrow!

Ciao, team!
-Jill :)




Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 73...

Ah, rest...And what a way to spend it! I had the luxury of getting up and sitting my bottom down at the Papa Bear Cafe with a good cup of coffee and my fantastic family. I love being around people I love! That is the only drawback to Kansas City.

Hey, a HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who came out to The Well last night!!! :) :) What a blessing you all were! :) It was so encouraging to see so many people who love and want to bless our troops with the hope of Christ. Wow. I was so honored and moved by your presence. Even when there was a somewhat important basketball game on. (Rock chalk!!) :) I don't know about you all, but I really am excited about the seeds of information that were planted last night. Especially after some of the conversations I had with you. Wow. The Lord was moving! (Shaf, I'm praying for you!) And I was so grateful to hear your hearts on this matter. I tell you what...This truly is a TOTAL TEAM EFFORT. We're in this together, and we WILL see His Kingdom come in a powerful way for our military. Praise God!

And, I think what fired me up even more was seeing all the notes come in for the Rapid Deployment Kits. Just think about all the soldiers who will read those and be encouraged about what they're doing--that they will know they are appreciated and loved. Thank you all so much for taking the time to write those.

And, finally, for the financial gifts...Wow. Thank you all SO much. I am already praying about each dollar that was raised and asking God to use it to bless a soldier and change his or her life for eternity. I KNOW that request will be answered. Thank you for being so selfless and willing to give, even when I know that times are tough and money is tight. You are storing up treasures in Heaven, folks. And THAT is what it's all about.

Okay, as far as the photos go, we have to find a good way to get them from Jami's computer to mine without using a ton of computer storeage space and without the help of a burned CD. :) We're going to get them uploaded soon and posted! :) Her handiwork shouldn't be missed! :) Oh, my little shutterbug. I do love you. :)

Well, friends, I'm gonna go make me some venison loin steak courtesy of my fantastic uncle and his bow and arrow. :) (Thanks so much Dwight and Gail! Love you both!) :)

Prayer requests for the day:'
-For blessings on those who came out last night and for their generosity to be returned to them.
-For God to bless the gifts and use them to impact the lives of soldiers and their families.
-For healing on my right foot/leg/tendon thing.
-For rest tonight for me amid sleep issues.
-For the training week ahead and the 6 miles tomorrow.
-For Military Ministry.
-For our TROOPS! We love you!!

Ciao, friends!
-Jill

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 72...

What a trip!! :) Today, my sister put on her photojournalist hat to document one of my long training runs. She's got such a fun fascination with photography, and she had a blast! The girl was even laying down on a trash bag in the middle of a muddy, country road to get unique angles of her sister running toward her. hahaha! It was so awesome!

Momsy, whom I've affectionately nicknamed 4M (Military Ministry Marathon Momsy) played the driver, and she did a great job of finding the right speed in the truck to keep pace.

Our whole goal in doing this was to bring the team more into the experience. You guys have been SO stinkin' supportive, and we want you to know just how much of a part of this you are. These photos will hopefully illustrate the fruit of your prayers. Every time you take these daily requests to God, you are igniting divine power. And, let me tell you, that is SO key to this whole thing.

Honestly--and this is what I was telling my parents this morning--with my injury-prone past, there's no way outside of the grace of God that I should be able to keep these miles. My body is being held together by divine duct tape. :) Seriously! It is ONLY by the grace of God and His work through the prayers of the team that this is going anywhere. Thank you all and thank You, LORD!
So...TONIGHT IS THE BIG NIGHT!!! :) :) :) The fundraiser and information night is TONIGHT at The Well in McPherson, KS. Come out if you're around! It's from 7-8p.m. DVR the end of the KU game and come eat some of my brother-in-law's yummy chocolate cinnamon cake, Jackie's amazing cake concoction, or Erin's amazing lemon bars. AND drink up some of The Well's outstanding coffee (10% of sales go back to Military Ministry). And, best of all, learn how YOU can bring the love of Jesus Christ to our fabulous troops!
A big big shout out to the military personnel who read this today. I love you guys. I've never met you, but I love you. I live in debt to you every day. May God just absolutely overwhelm you with His love today.

Prayer Requests:
-For the fundraiser tonight and for the Holy Spirit to be there! And that the details would all work out according to His plan.
-For recovery for my body from the long run (GREAT pace: 7:44 average for 16!).
-For the right foot pain to be alleviated.
-For Military Ministry to be elevated to a larger platform and for more people to support what they do.
-For our troops and the Lord's love and healing to be showered on them in abundance.
Thank you guys so stinkin' much!

Love ya!
-Jill
P.S. We'll post the photos either on the blog or Facebook or something within the next couple of days. Stay tuned!! :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 71...

As soon as I climbed on the treadmill this morning I knew that it was going to be an unscheduled maintenance day. My body--specifically my right foot--was just not equipped for a run today. Nor would it have been smart to force myself through it. Not on a recovery day before a 16-miler. So, as hard as it was mentally to do it, I hopped over to the elliptical machine instead and did my workout there.

As difficult mentally as it is to cross-train instead of run, it's usually the best decision for me. I'm such a hard-headed runner that for me to get to the point of actually considering a cross-training substitute usually means that I really do need it. No, I didn't get a very intense workout, but my body does feel a lot better today. And I know that my long run tomorrow will be that much better for it.

Friends, I would definitely appreciate your prayers for my sanity and my overall health. You've heard me talk about the full plate going on. It's all such a blessing! But it's starting to take a physical toll. I've battled insomnia in my past, and it's been a problem for the last three nights. I just can't fall asleep. If you've ever experienced that, you KNOW how miserable it is. And once it starts becoming a recurring thing, it's hard to shake. You start laying down at night anxious about not being able to fall asleep on top of everything else. And that just stinks. So...If you could put rest and sleep at the top of the prayer list for today and the next few days, that would be huge.

One bit of HUGELY awesome news today, though! The race team's Web page on the Military Ministry site got a big ol' facelift yesterday!! :) :) :) Kudos to you girls, Cynthia and Brenda!! You girls rock! There's now an updated photo and a great thermometer that tells our progress in fundraising! :) So cool! That way we'll be able to watch as God provides financially for Military Ministry and our AMAZING troops! Click here to check it out:

http://www.militaryministry.org/home/running-for-the-troops/

Friends, I will leave you with one particular verse that is on my heart today and pray that it inspires you. It certainly is speaking to me right now.

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." - Psalm 42:5

Thank You, Lord.

Prayer Requests:
-For SLEEP and REST! :)
-For healing on the right foot and restoration/protection for the entire body.
-For the fundraiser tomorrow night (7:00 at The Well in McPherson).
-For Military Ministry.
-For our AMAZING men and women serving our country and protecting our freedom.

Thanks again, team. You're the best!
-Jill

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 70...

Before I spent time in the Word this morning, I was ready to send up a thousand prayer flare signals through the blog post today.

Friends, I will be totally honest. I'm flat-out exhausted. While the 11-mile tempo run this morning was a good one (not a terrible 7:44 average), it was the hardest I've had to work in a really long time. It took every ounce of mental focus I had to keep my legs moving fast. My whole body and my mental capacity have been maxed out this week. With the travel, the things at work, the things coming up this weekend, daily chores, and oh yeah, training... Man, I'm toast. I was telling my beautiful friend Janice yesterday that I felt like a whistling tea kettle. I need to be taken off the burner!

Then I got in the Word. I don't know what it is about how God speaks to us and His truth, but it truly does pierce straight to our core. I am finishing up a study on the Proverbs 31 woman, and I was reading about where true beauty comes from in the eyes of the Lord. One place, according to 1 Peter 3:4, is through a gentle and quiet spirit.

Yesterday I e-mailed a friend and told her that when I get super tired, I feel like I have an excuse not to act like Jesus. "I'm too tired to think about being kind or loving. Are you kidding? It's all I can do to survive, let alone worry about being nice!" (Hey, blogs are for honesty, right?) But the truth is this: That mentality shows a complete and total flesh/self mentality. God's Word says that we'll never get to this point if we are allowing Him to strengthen us. So, if I feel that way, I must be relying too much on my own power or believing Satan's lies. It's flat-out NOT true that I'm beyond my physical limit if I'm walking in God's will, which I believe I am.

So, that's why there is no distress signal today. Yes, I DEFINITELY need your prayers. There's no way I'll believe God or accept His strength without people pleading for me to have that kind of heart/soul. So, please do pray. But I'm not going to freak out and overreact. God says that I can do all things through Him with His strength. He says that I will run and not grow weary. He says that if I hope in Him, I will gain new strength. THAT is truth.

Prayers:
-For the fundraiser on Saturday night!! :) :) Please pray that the right people come out who need to be connected. And pray for the team of lovely women who are helping me put this together. They are all-stars! :) Jami, Brenda and MMMM. :)
-For my right foot. The pain is still present.
-For our brave troops, who inspire us all daily.
-For rest for me and renewed strength.

Thanks so much, friends!
-Jill

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 69...

Oh, morning sun, how I do love you! What a gorgeous morning outside. The birds are singing, the sun is up when I am (at least until daylight savings hits this weekend), and...I got to wear shorts this morning!!! Mark it down. Spring is on its way!! I know we're supposed to have snow again this weekend, but I can SO feel it.

It's been a blessed but rough morning. I didn't sleep well at all last night. I don't know if it was the travel or the excitement of everything going on yesterday or what, but, even though I was exhausted, I couldn't shut down. I laid in bed just so tired but wide awake for what seemed like eternity. I finally drifted off, praise God, but it always makes me a little "down" in the morning when I know I haven't had my sleep tank refueled. It makes me not excited about the run that I'm heading out for. It's like a policeman going to investigate a crime scene without his gun. He can probably do it, but it's uncomfortable and you know you're missing something. (Sorry if that analogy doesn't make sense. See why I need sleep? hahaha!)

Either way, the run was amazing, but that's just because God is awesome. :) His grace is truly sufficient for me. Sleep or not, He supplied energy and a beautiful morning. Thank You, Lord. What a sweet recovery run before tomorrow's tempo run.

One quick housekeeping note...Thanks so much to Joel for the AMAZING job he did with the full interview on Air 1!! You can actually download the entire interview he and I did by going to the Air 1 web site and visiting their news podcast page, or by clicking this link:

http://joelontheradio.posterous.com/-audio-jill-ewert-marathon-runner-report-on-k

Then, when the episode list comes up in your iTunes, click on the one about the woman running the Boston Marathon for the troops. :) Man, I listened to it last night and just had to stop and drop to my knees in humility before God. Where He's taken this is just beyond anything I could have dreamed. That we would be able to use this to bless our military is the most unreal privilege. Thank You, Lord!!

Okay! Prayer requests for the day:
-For the fundraiser in McPherson this weekend--specifically that people would come out despite the confilct with the Big 12 Championship game being on TV. haha!
-For the troops--specifically for the encouragement of our chaplains.
-For Military Ministry and God's provision for them.
-For the tempo run tomorrow.
-For REST for me.
-For the left knee and right foot.

Thank you all so much. I am so blessed to be on the same team with you all! :)
-Jill

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 68...


HALLELUJAH!! Two HUGE praises today!

1. The K-LOVE interview was played today on both K-LOVE and AIR 1! As a matter of fact, I was blessed to hear it on my way home from the airport. PRAISE GOD!!! This is exactly what we prayed would happen! That people would hear about Military Ministry through this race team and be spurred into action.


SPECIAL MESSAGE for those of you who are visiting this for the first time from K-LOVE: Welcome!! I'm so glad you stopped by to check things out! This is the daily training blog site. Visit for daily updates on training and Military Ministry. AND click on the link under my profile picture to contribute to the fundraising goal! We're raising $10,000 for the troops together!

2. Second praise: The run today was fantastic!! I woke up with the intention of turning in the typical Tuesday 9 miles of intervals for my speed work, but I had a Holy Spirit moment on the road and was spurred to go one more mile. Praise God!! It was such a great decision! The run was amazing. The speed was fantastic! The weather was gorgeous! (Did I tell you all where I was going when I left? I was in Florida.)

One very cool thing about Florida? Everyone bikes or walks there so there are TONS of sidewalks and paths. It was paradise! I never once had to circle anything or run on dangerous roads. AND I got to wear shorts this morning!! My legs hadn't seen daylight in months!

Gosh, what a great run. What a great day! I'm just so stinkin' grateful. As I listened to the K-LOVE interview and the words that I shared about the injury in '09 and how God had a bigger vision for Boston for me than what I had for myself...It's so true. Last year, if I'd run this marathon, it would have been only about me and checking it off my dream list. But when He took it away, He knew what He was doing. He was planning something more amazing than I ever could have imagined. Something that would bless those men and women serving our country and defending our freedom. Wow. Who am I that He would use my legs and my story to bring "faith to the foxhole and hope to the home front"? Thank You, Lord. Your grace and love overwhelm me.

AND, so do my teammates! Your encouragement and prayers have been a daily inspiration, and I appreciate them so much! Here are the daily prayer requests:

1. For the interview on K-LOVE to be heard by the right people! Especially military personnel who are in need of Military Ministry's support and resources.
2. For my cranky left knee (acting up again today) and for the ache in the right foot.
3. For our fantastic, amazing troops and military chaplains.
4. For the fundraiser in McPherson on SATURDAY!! :) SO excited!
5. For a great recovery run tomorrow!

Thanks again, friends! You are amazing.
-Jill

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 67...

Hey, everyone! Super short today because I have no computer access. Great recovery run this morning! Looking forward to speed work tomorrow.

Quick announcement: LISTEN to KLOVE TOMORROW!! My interview will be played throughout the day as a news report. Pray that everyone who needs to hear this message will hear it, and that great awareness for MILITARY MINISTRY WILL BE RAISED.

Special thanks to my Momsy for typing this message from her home computer. The blog chain must go on!!

As always your prayers are appreciated and coveted. Specifically, for my right foot.

Love you all! Thanks for your teamwork.
-Jill

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 66...

Oh my gracious!! Celebrate with me! 22 miles this morning!!! :) Yee haw!!! :) :) :)

Me, Jackie and her friend Quinn met up this morning at 7:00 for a fantastic 3:03 run. It was amazing! Started out a little cold, but after a while, warmed up nicely. The sun was shining, the snow was gone. There was a strong wind, but we'd broken up the mileage so well that we only had to run a few miles into it before we'd get to turn around again. What a blessing! Plus, with the route we took, we got in some GREAT hill training that will really help us prepare for Boston. Totally rolling hills with a few steep ones. We were just ridiculously blessed today.

PLUS, I just love these women! You guys already know that I love Jackie, so it was so great to have three hours with her. And Quinn is just as awesome. The three of us had some GREAT conversation about faith, work, and (of course) boys. hahaha! :) Three hours gives you PLENTY of time to share stories. ;)

Oh, team. . . It's a big week. We have our first fundraiser coming up on Saturday, so please be in prayer for that. I'm asking God to draw the right people there who will have a heart for our troops and want to know how to bless them. Pray that the details come together and that I'll be given a vision for the program itself.

Also, I've got kind of a nutso day. I'm hopping a flight here in about an hour and have to spend a day that I'd normally use to sit on the couch with ice bags on a plane, instead, all cramped up. I know it will be a great trip, but I'd appreciate your prayers in the training aspect of it. God's gone before me, though, so I'm confident that it will be great. Anxious Jill would be freaking out about hotel treadmills and running paths. Peaceful Jill knows that the Psalmist's words are true: "I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Thank You for preparing a great trip, Lord! I know You've gone before me. Please protect me as I run in unfamiliar territory, and even bless me with great runs while I'm there.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to find a place to blog tomorrow, too. Even if it's short. We'll see what the hotel has to offer. :) But I'm confident that will work out, too. God's just that detailed. :)

Alrighty, friends! I'm outta here and heading to the friendly confines of KCI and Southwest Airlines. Your prayers would be MUCHO appreciated! :)

Until tomorrow...Love you all!
-Jill

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 65...

Day 65??? Wow! I can't believe it's been that long. It seems like just yesterday I woke up and realized that I was late on starting my training and went and hopped on a treadmill for 8 miles. haha! :) That was fun. What a great day. And, really, it's all been great. (I haven't acted like it at times, but it has.) God is so good.

I'm sitting here nursing my second cup of coffee for the morning, thoroughly enjoying the laziness of a Saturday morning off day of training. These are so rare. And I know they will be increasingly rare in the next three weeks.

It's so hard not to get freaked out by the schedule of March. In fact, I had a bit of an anxious moment last night as I was laying down to sleep, just thinking about everything coming up. But, I tell you what. . . It's ALL about perspective. If I really believe God's Word, then there's absolutely nothing to worry about at all!
"If God is for us, who can be against us?"
"There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear."
"The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing."
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Wow! Let's talk about some big promises. And, I know that my God never breaks His word. :) Doesn't that just give you the most incredible tingling feeling? Whatever is on our plates, isn't truly on OUR plates at all. In fact, we don't really have a plate at all. The plate is God's. He's holding it. Our job is simply to pay attention to Him and put on what He wants us to. If we do that, we can walk in complete confidence that whatever is there is a good thing.

Now, do we sometimes try to cram more on God's plate for us than He intends? Absolutely! And that's when those anxieties will get overwhelming and we'll have to adjust. For me, right now, I feel like the plate is organized by God. I've got His mix of items, so I can walk in complete faith knowing that He's in control and bringing blessing to them all. They're His, after all.

Tomorrow I am getting up early to run 22 miles with Jackie, and immediately climbing on a plane for a business trip that lasts until Tuesday. I'll come back and have to put together the program for next Saturday's fundraiser and get ready for that (whilc editing a magazine). In there, I'll need to be focused on the training runs and taking care of my body. A week after that, I'll fly to Ohio for a conference and then come back immediately and step into the date of an event I'm helping host for a friend.

Individually, I'm excited about each of these, but when I look at them collectively, I get overwhelmed. But why? They're on God's plate for me, and that means that He's in complete control! Not only that, but He's working each of them out for my good! haha! That almost seems too good to be true. But it's the beauty of living for Him--our unbelievably ridiculously marvelously sovereign and loving God.

I think I went on a tangent this morning, so bless you if you're still reading. :) haha! Anyway, there are quite a few prayer requests in there, but I'll bullet them out anyway:

-For the schedule of the next three weeks and my perspective on it all.
-For the 22-miler tomorrow (specifically for the weather)
-For me to make my flight. haha!
-For running paths around where I'm staying.
-For Military Ministry and the fantastic amazing work they are doing to bless our troops.
-For our troops. We love you guys!! Let's pray specifically for the families today. Lord, please strengthen and bless them!

Thanks, friends! Love you all!
-Jill

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 64...

The perfect soundtrack to a gorgeous, peaceful recovery run at dawn: "'Til I See You" by Hillsong. Man, thank You, Lord. What a morning! But it certainly didn't start out that way...

It's funny that I blogged about the danger of getting overtired yesterday. This morning, when the alarm went off, I was NOT happy. I was exhausted from the day before, sore, hungry and cranky! All I wanted to do was go back to bed. And the LAST thing I wanted to do was run. "Why isn't it Saturday, yet?" I whined.

Still, I went about my routine. I poured a cup of coffee and sat down to pray. "Lord, I have no idea how I'm going to survive this run. I don't want to do it. My legs hurt. I have no energy. I don't want to go to the treadmill. I don't want to take the hills outside. I need Your intervention in my attitude."

Seeing the treadmill as the greater of two evils this morning, I opted for outside. The temperature hike to 32 degrees would at least make it a little more enjoyable. (No ski mask!) :)

Just as I was about to head out the door, the Lord spoke. He reminded me in an instant of where I'd come from, where I was going and the absolute TRUTH of the situation. "Every run is a great run, Jill," He seemed to say, using an old mantra He'd given me during an injury. WOW. Amen to that! I paused for a moment and totally just absorbed His words. "Yes, Lord. Thank YOU for perspective! Today, I GET to run! Today, I GET to use the legs You gave me. Today I GET to train for a purpose. Today, I GET to fellowship with You on the road. Thank YOU!"

That was all it took. From what seemed like an impossible run that I'd have to force myself through, to the most amazing, peaceful, beautiful, enjoyable 6.3 I'd had in weeks.

It's all about perspective and thoughts and attitude. There's a Proverb that says, "As a man things in his heart, so he is." (That's not a direct quote, but it's close!) And it's so true. Today, may we all adopt an attitude of praise to God for what we GET to do. And that pretty much includes everything. :)

Praises:
-An AMAZING run this morning.
-A chance to talk to K-LOVE today.
-Military Ministry and their amazing work for the Kingdom.
-For our troops serving so selflessly.
-For health and a recovery day tomorrow!

Ciao, friends! :)
-Jill

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 63...

"Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name." - Psalm 103:1

Oh, friends. What a morning already! Hit the ground running at 4:30 a.m. for a great 11-mile tempo run in what is hopefully one of the last 20-degree mornings of the year. (Please, Lord?) :) It was fantastic, though! Almost no wind, and a beautiful sunrise. That's definitely one of the perks to training. I get to see some of the most beautiful parts of the day that I'd otherwise miss if I were still sleeping. God is good. :)

Okay...I want to take today as an opportunity to apologize in advance to all of my friends for my lack of social skills for the next 6-7 weeks. I was talking with my friend Ashley this morning (who is also a marathon veteran, as I've mentioned before) about the nature of the training beast when it gets to this point. I've talked about balance before and time-management, but at this point of training, when you're putting in crazy miles and getting up so early, it's important to sleep well and eat right. That being said, my social life is officially on hold for the next few weeks. And I do that for not just my own sake, but for those I interact with on a daily basis. haha! My poor staff and co-workers! If they had to deal with over-tired, under-nourished Jill every day, they would probably quit FCA. I don't want to do that to them. :) Plus, I do want to continue to train well, and for that to happen, I know that I'll have to be disciplined in caring for my physical body. If you could, please pray that God would just give me great wisdom in time-management and self-discipline for the next few weeks.

While we're talking about prayers. . . The fundraiser is coming up!! We're only a little more than a week away from it, and we're in heavy planning mode. I love it! :) Details are coming together, and I'm praying that it's a night that really blesses a lot of people as they hear how they can bless our troops. If you are in the McPherson (KS) area next Saturday, please come out to The Well, grab some coffee and dessert, and hear about Military Ministry and their amazing outreach! And invite your friends. The more the merrier! :)

Speaking also of fundraising, the campaign has begun! If you haven't had time to check out my Facebook note, visit my profile page and click on the note: "Military Ministry: Running for the Troops." You can't miss it. It's the one with the pic of my handsome father and uncle in their American Legion suits on Memorial Day. :)

Thanks again for your support, prayers and encouragement. You all are outstanding! :)

Additional prayers:
-For our troops--specifically those serving in overseas deployments away from their families.
-For Military Ministry and their continued funding and outreach.
-For my recovery from the hard workout this morning.
-For my cranky left knee and right foot.
-For a place for me to run next week when I'm on a 3-day business trip.

Love you all! Have a great day!
-Jill

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 62...

Before I get started, I want to take a moment and THANK YOU ALL for your prayers. You guys have no idea how much it means to me to know that you're out there presenting me before the Lord. And there is NO way I could be running without you and those prayers. Seriously, considering the amount of injury my body normally experiences and the health that I'm currently enjoying, there is NO explanation outside of prayer. You guys are amazing. Please keep praying! God's grace is the only thing that's keeping me together.

That being said, today, I feel absolutely amazing from an ache/pain standpoint. Everything is SO minor. Had a great recovery run this morning on the treadmill. (I have some serious spring fever and couldn't bear the thought of putting on my ski mask this morning to brave the 20 degrees.) :) But it was such a blessed, casual run between hard workouts.

Okay, yesterday I mentioned that I had an interview coming up with K-LOVE. How exciting is that? My sister had sent out a press release to the McPherson area media letting them know about our event on the 13th, and, on a wild hair, my mom sent it in to K-LOVE. Randomly enough, they're the only ones who responded! But how amazing is that??? We will do the interview on Friday and then let God run with it! :)

Isn't this exciting??? This is EXACTLY what I have been praying for! How many people are going to hear about Military Ministry and either (A) contribute to the ministry's needs, (B) volunteer (C) pray for our troops and the ministry, or (D) get help themselves if they need it? Statistics show that most service men and women who suffer from PTSD don't get help for it. They just suffer. But hopefully this will hit the ears of someone who needs to seek out the help of Military Ministry and allow God to heal them. Would you pray that with me?

Other prayer requests:
-Praise for the great health!
-Prayers for continued protection on the cranky left knee and right plantar fascia.
-Prayers for the fundraiser on the 13th and the details.
-Prayers for Military Ministry and their staff.
-Prayers for our troops--specifically those with PTSD, that they would get the help they need that would lead them to Christ.

Again, thank you guys SO much. We're a TEAM, and I'm so humbled to be part of it with you!

Ciao!
-Jill

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 61...

Now I'm gunning for it. Every time I hit the treadmill for speedwork, I'm probably going to be shooting for a new PR, even if it's by a second. That's most definitely my competitive side making itself known. And I wouldn't trade a bit of it!

This morning was a new PR in the 9-mile interval workout: 63:38, trumping the former time of 64:03. Praise God!! I was praying the whole time. hahaha! :) It hurt! It was hard! But it was SO worth it. :) Every time I complete a speed workout I'm reminded that very few things in life worth doing are easy. But we have to run straight toward our fears, knowing that God has gone before us.

One of my favorite verses is Psalm 16:8 -- "I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Last night at my small group Bible study, we got into a great discussion about fear. If you've read my blog for any consistent amount of time, you KNOW that's something I battle daily. And, apparently, I'm not the only one. PHEW! The enemy had me going for a while. But it looks like it's something that a lot of us deal with. Maybe that's why there are so many verses in Scripture that talk about it. Joshua 1:9, hundreds of verses in the Psalms, Luke 12:5, 2 Timothy 1:7...And on and on.

We've got to BELIEVE these verses. What will it take for us to do that? What will it take for us to really trust the Lord? For me, what will it take for me to wake up on a Tuesday morning and not fear the hard 9 miles? Faith comes to mind. Belief. Trust. The Holy Spirit's truth-telling whisper...All important things when it comes to winning the battle over fear.

Anyway, be encouraged today if you battle fear. You're not alone! I honestly think we all do. But we don't have to! Let's pray for each other that we can be released from all fear and walk in complete faith today.

Love you all!

Prayer requests:
-Cranky left knee.
-Upcoming interview on K-LOVE!! (YAY for press coverage!!)
-Military Ministry's amazing outreach.
-OUR TROOPS and their marriages.

Ciao, friends!
-Jill