Saturday, October 30, 2010

Boston Bound 2011!

Well, friends. . . It's the last Saturday in October. The beautiful fall weather held out for one more glorious weekend run today. I was able to run in the running capris and just a long-sleeve shirt and enjoy the low 50s temperatures. Marvelous!! :) I can't help but think our days are numbered, so it's important to savor each and every run before I'm out there in five layers of clothes freezing my tail off. :)

I had wanted to blog about this when it happened, but I just never carved out the time. But...It looks like I'll be Boston-bound again this spring!! Yee haw!! :) :) The Boston Athletic Association did registration a little differently this year, only opening it mid-October. And it filled up SUPER fast.

I hopped on my computer right at 8:00 a.m. that morning to register and the site was just jammed! I tried about 5 times and got absolutely nowhere. That's when I had a little mental battle.

"Do I even want to run this? Why am I doing this again? It's so hard! Would it be such a bad thing if I didn't make it in? Should I just quit trying to register and just take it easy and find another spring marathon?"

Now, here's the thing. It's good to not push yourself to excessive extremes and get carried away by things in life that don't matter as much as others (i.e. the Lord and people), but there's also a certain responsibility we have to extend ourselves when it comes to using the gifts that God has given us. (That's a mega-long sentence. Does it make sense?)

I think we can get carried away by our world's push to "relax" and "take it easy." "Oh, everyone is so busy. You should just relax when you can. Take it slow. Slow down."

Okay, all of this is good if you're excessively busy, but it can also be horribly wasteful. We can get so caught up in conserving our energy and protecting ourselves from busyness that we actually get lazy. I think that was where I would have gone if I chose not to register for Boston.

After a few minutes, I thought about it. "Jill, seriously, what would you RATHER do than run Boston next spring?" Easy answer: NOTHING! :) Dude, it's a privilege and a blessing to be qualified to run in the super bowl of running events, and I'm going to take it! Who knows how many times I'll be able to qualify in my life. But I do know that it's a HUGE blessing from the Lord and a door HE opened to put me in there. Especially considering the fact that I finally did get through the registration process online (which I tried again after my mental battle), which was something that a ton of people weren't able to do that day.

So, I'm one of the 25,000 blessed individuals who made it through the registration in time to sign up for the Boston Marathon in 2011. Hallelujah! Thank You, Lord! I know it's a blessing and a calling to be heading back. May every step bring glory to my Lord. I'm already praying for a mind that is focused on bringing Him into the process. After all...He's what it's all about.

Love you, friends!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why we run.

For anyone who has ever questioned my sanity for running or the sanity of any runner they know, this ad is for you. THIS is why we run. We run to leave our old self behind. We run because we can. We run because sitting on the couch hurts more than running 26.2 miles. We run because the voice that tells us to stop is more detrimental than the one who tells us to keep going. The one who pushes us forward is the one who makes us stronger.

When we run we realize divine strength that is inside us--God-given, God-breathed, God-ordainted--which would otherwise remain untapped.

This is why we run. Because we can.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Post-Race Report: Prairie Fire Wichita Half Marathon

Oh, friends. . . What a day yesterday!! This is the official post-race report from the Prairie Fire Wichita Half Marathon.

First, I have to say a BIG thank-You to the Lord for the environment I'm in right now. Because of the busy weekend and the even busier one ahead, I took today off from work in order to just SABBATH with Him. Right now it's raining outside and I have every candle lit in my house. There's a strong cup of Starbucks Verona blend coffee in my hand, and I'm just in Heaven. :) Oh...And there's also a heating pad on my back. haha! War wounds. :) I'm in the infirmary today physically. But in SUCH a good way.

The official results of the race can be found here:

Let me just say that I never ever would have dreamed that I'd be finishing a relatively large-field race in the top 10 females. But that's what happened yesterday. I just cracked the top finishers by crossing the line as the 10th woman overall. Out of 1,647 half marathoners, that's an unbelievable blessing. I also finished 4th in my age group, which is awesome! Way to go 30-34-year-olds! We can move!! :) haha!

So, about the race. . . The lesson that the Lord gave me last week about running MY race was definitely key. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from the day. I got a lot of questions about my goal for the day, and I would just say, "Oh, I haven't really thought about it. I'd just like to finish with an average pace of less than 7:45/mile." I didn't know what that was, and I didn't check. My whole purpose in going down there was to run the last three miles of the full marathon with my running SISTER, Amy (see the photo). She's my hero. She decided to take on the full marathon with only about 5-6 weeks of training, and she knocked out a PR and a sub-4!! Unreal. :) We'll get to that in a little bit.

But, like I said. No idea what to expect for myself. On Saturday as I drove down to Wichita, it honestly hit me a little bit, "Um...I'm actually running tomorrow. I should think about the details a little bit." haha! I guess there's good and bad things to being so focused on work and friends. But there is also a time when it becomes important to focus on the game at hand!

Anyway, I got the details worked out just fine. Was blessed BEYOND measure by a fun evening with Amy and her family on Saturday night, just hanging out with the girls and Matt and talking strategy with Amy. Then off to bed for an early morning!

Race day? AMAZING weather. No wind, perfect 60-degree temps throughout. Totally not typical of Wichita. But it was perfect-o! :)

The course itself was nothing like what I'd trained on. They don't have hills in Wichita unless they build an overpass. haha! :) This was so key.

I started out pretty average, keeping an 8:00 pace for the first mile. It being a half, I knew I didn't need to conserve energy like I did in a full marathon. So, after the first mile, I started to push the pace.

I wasn't quite sure how fast to take it, but in my head, I just fixated on going fast until mile 6 and then gunning it.

TOTALLY believe that was the Holy Spirit's wisdom there. I'd asked Him for wisdom to know how to race that day, and I believe He gave it to me. It's funny. At work we've been talking a lot about how Christian athletes should bring the Lord INTO their games, not just pray before and after. And we had another columnist write about this very thing last month. About how God wants us to discover Him through the actual inner-workings and wisdom of our sports. I fully believe this is what He's doing with me the longer I run. He's giving me divine wisdom to learn how to do this well and to, thus, help others do it well, too. It's fun to be at the point where I can start answering questions and offering advice.

So...Back to the race. Sorry.

Around mile 4, I started thinking. "Hmm. . . I don't do half marathons that often. I don't have a whole lot of time to race, here. This is a lot shorter than a marathon. If I'm going to race, I need to actually start racing soon."

I'd been keeping a low 7 average, but I think it was about mile 4 or 5 where I realized that I actually had a chance to do well in this field. And that's when it turned ON! :) haha!

This is the difference between running a race and RACING a race. When I race a race, I have a specific strategy that is very much like a game of seek-and-destroy. I'll find the next woman ahead of me, zero in on her, and focus on passing her. It's so funny. My little inner-competitor sees a girl, and it's like in Top Gun where the missile lock goes from red to green. "I'm got good tone. Firing!" :) She's going down.

When you're constantly focused on passing people, an amazing thing happens. . . You go really fast through a lot of miles without thinking about it. :) Before I knew it, the race was almost over, and I had been GUNNING it at a sub-7 pace for the last few miles.

The most fun part of the race, though, had to be the end. :) This was awesome. There was a guy I passed with about .2 left in the race, and apparently, he didn't like being passed by a girl. :) So, about 5 seconds later, he passed me back. haha! Well, this GIRL doesn't like to be passed at all, so I sped up to keep up with him. He was intent on leaving me in the dust, but I stayed right on his heels and tried to pass HIM back. We were SPRINTING down the home stretch. haha! And the coolest part was because I was a girl, the entire crowd was cheering for me! haha! "Get him, girl!!" (There's a photo of the finish here:

Well, I didn't get him. I bit his heels all the way in. But I had a BLAST doing that, and we high-fived at the end. :) It was awesome. :) Thanks, dude. Whomever you are. I tried to find out online who he was, but I don't think the results are posted correctly, or something. The guy it says who finished right before me says he finished like 30 seconds ahead, which isn't true. Oh, well. Whomever you are, thanks for the great race!!

But when I think about running MY race, I know that hit me several times on the course. My race that day was to find the hidden strength God had given me for the day. I wasn't supposed to run my race from yesterday, I was to run my race from today. Does that make sense? That's how the message fell on me. I'd only trained at a 7:30ish pace, but the Lord told me to run a different race yesterday.

I think that's part of running our race with Him in general. He trains us, and we may only think we know what we're trained for, but He knows the race He has for us. We may be FAR more equipped than we think we are. We have no idea what He wants to do with our experiences and how He wants to use them. We have no idea how He wants to show us His divine power through us by using us for things far greater than we ever thought possible.

So, that was my race yesterday. My God-given race was to run well and finish strong. Thank You, Lord. :)

Next up? Boston 2011!! :) :) Oh, man. I am psyched. :) :) :) Registration opens on October 18, so I'm just praying I get in at all. This is the first time they've done this, so we'll see what happens! :) Either way, I'm hoping to return to Boston for another fantastic experience at running my race with the Lord. :)

Love you all! Have a great Monday! :)

P.S. Amy is my absolute hero!! She gutted out the most amazing race yesterday, and I was so stinkin' blessed to be by her side for the last three miles. Even though she felt beat up, battered, bruised and beyond fatigued, she smiled her way to the finish and got to hug her babies with a well-earned medal around her neck. Amy, I'm SO proud of you, sister. :) :) :) You are inspiring and amazing and I love you!! :) Sisters at heart...just missed it by blood. :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Prideful Truth

Ahhhh, today's run was ridiculously awesome. I've been pretty tired this week, so I figured today's tempo run would be super hard, but the speed was totally there! Sometimes I just sit back and marvel at what God can do. Sometimes He gives the speed and sometimes He doesn't, but days like today just prove that He's totally capable of it. There's no reason I woke up with energy--I was just blessed with it. :) Thanks, Lord.

YESTERDAY's run was SO interesting, thouogh, and that's what I want to write about. It was totally one long 6-mile spiritual lesson. :)

It was a slow-run day, which I do three days a week between speed workouts. During these runs I purposely just take. it. easy. Even if I feel super amazing, I don't push it. I know my body needs these days just as much as it needs the speed workouts to get faster.

So, I started out easy and was enjoying the morning when I came up behind a guy who was just running out of his subdivision. He came out just ahead of me and was keeping a pace a little slower than me, so I was going to have to pass him. Not a big deal, but it's always tricky how to do that when it's dark and quiet. You know these people don't hear you coming, so you always try to find the best way to shuffle your feet or cough to let them know you're coming up behind them and are not intent on mugging them. :)

Anyway, so I pass him successfully and go about the run. Well, about five minutes later, I hear someone behind me. It's the same guy. He passes me up and gets about 15 feet ahead of me and then just maintains the same pace as me. hahaha! Okay, now, here's where I get honest.

At this point I'm annoyed. To me, it's just courteous to maintain a faster speed if you're going to pass. It's just like driving on the interstate. I really hate playing leap-frog for hours with cars who don't set their cruise control.

Now, inside, I'm thinking, "Okay, I'm the one who is running slower than my pace. I could totally just speed up and pass this guy and leave him in the dust." But, if I were to do that, I would violate my no-fast-running policy for the day. So, I put my head down, focus on the pavement in front of me instead of the runner who was crowding my perceived bubble of personal space. (Which can get very big in my mind when it's 5:00 a.m. and I think I own the road.) Eventually he turns around and heads home.

Okay, so I keep going, and it's going great. I'm again enjoying the morning and my unlimited personal space. Then, on my way home, I come across this fast runner girl who lives in the area. I see her maybe once every couple of weeks, but she's always booking it. And it never fails that I see her on my slow days. My pride is ALWAYS challenged by this because she's never seen me run fast. haha! Inside I'm always thinking, "Oh man. She only sees me slow! She doesn't know how much speed I have in my legs!" Why I care is totally beyond me, but it's usually a blow to the pride.

This morning, she is running on the opposite side of the road and she, of course, passes me. But then, when I'm almost at the street that I turn on to go home, I see her cross the road and head the same way. Internal Jill says, "Oh, man. Now I have to watch her pull away from me the whole way home. This stinks! I just want to run fast and show her that I'm as good as she is!"

Okay...Time out.

The pride is getting ridiculous at this point. What is that? Well, it was what was in my heart, I guess. And I'm thankful that the Lord lets me see those moments so that I can confess them to Him and see more clearly. In those moments He brings the image of Christ on the cross to my mind, and I am struck by just how small and sinful I am compared to my Lord.

But this wasn't actually the ending spiritual lesson. After a little discussion on pride with the Lord, I discerned Him addressing the comparison issue. The whole deal was that if I watching the other runners, I was tempted to run THEIR pace. In reality, God was only asking me to run MY pace. He knew what I needed that day, and He had only called me to a recovery run. I wasn't to compare myself to those who were running ahead and going faster than me, perceptively "achieving" more than I was. I was to focus on HIM and not them. When I focused on THEM, I wanted to win their race, not mine.

How true of life! I have dealt with that so much in so many areas of life. It is SO easy to compare myself to others who are "ahead" of me. So easy to get wrapped up in comparing myself to others and thinking that I need to keep up with them in order to be considered good enough or to "win." Am I the only one who does that? I seriously doubt it. I think it's something we all do. It's human nature.

But God wants us to focus on Him alone and keep our hearts set on running the race He has called US to--not our neighbors.

That's what I came away with that day. "Run your race, Jill." It was a great life lesson more than just running, but it's something I can definitely use on the road, too. Maybe I'll take it down to Wichita this weekend and see what kind of race He has for me there. :) SO pumped!! :)

Ciao, friends! Have a great evening!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oh, have mercy.

hahahaha! I just wrote the world's longest blog post and then tried to upload it guessed it! Internet Explorer Cannot Display Web Page. hahaha! Oh, man. I guess that message was just for my own personal memory bank. :)

Either way, I have to write SOMETHING on here for my time. Long story short: WINDY WINDY run this morning. If I wasn't prepped for Wichita before I sure am now! Bring on the Central KS wind! :) I'm rocked and ready!

Nope, I'm too mad at Blogger to write much of anything else. I'm going to go clean my apartment and praise God for awhile to get over my miffed attitude against the Internet. :)

Ciao, friends! Happy Saturday!! :) Walk in the light of truth today knowing that the Lord loves you and understands you better than you understand yourself. :) Trust Him!