SETTING REALISTIC RUNNING GOALS

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When it comes to running, I can’t emphasize how important goals are.  I mean there’s nothing wrong with running just to run, but goals keep us working towards something and keep us motivated.  The thing I love about running is that there is ALWAYS room for improvement.  Once you’ve reached a goal, then you can set an even loftier goal.  There is always something to work towards.  Even if you are a world record holder, you can still aim to run faster – it’s brilliant!  You never run out of things to strive for, and I love that!

The above pin got me to thinking about running goals and how to choose them so that they are attainable and so that you won’t quit till you get them!  Through the years, I’ve had SO many different running goals.  I’ve reached some and set new ones, and there are some that I am still striving for!  The best thing about goals is that you can’t fail if you don’t give up, so the key is that wonderful saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try try AGAIN!”.  With all of my different running goals, I’ve found some key things that are important in setting them.  I figured I would share these things with you in hopes that it will help some of you to set realistic and attainable running goals.  Here we go!

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1.)  BE SPECIFIC!  This is extremely important.  If you set unspecific goals, you won’t know when you’ve achieved them.  For instance, if you say “I want to be a stronger runner”, that is a great idea, but how do you know when you have achieved that?  What constitutes a “stronger runner”?  And for that matter, if I run strong one day, and feel like crap the next, does that mean I am getting further away from my goal?  There are so many questions that pop up, it is impossible to tell how to achieve this goal.  You want to set specific goals, such as “I want to shave a minute off my 5K time in the next 2 months” or “I want to run x miles a week for y weeks”.  These are goals that you will know you have reached and can gladly reward yourself for.  Thus, when making your goals, BE SPECIFIC!

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2.) MAKE YOUR GOALS SPECIFIC TO YOU!  When setting goals, it is important to set goals that you and only you are responsible for.  For example, if you set a goal such as “I want to win a race”, then you may be setting yourself up for dissapointment no matter how hard you try for this goal.  The reason why this goal isn’t the best is that you have absolutely no control over quite a few factors that will play a role in this goal.  For instance, Who will show up for the race?  What are the other people that will be running this race doing in their own training or what are the other runner’s natural abilities?  You can’t control these things, and they are a huge part of that specific goal.  You want to have your goals such that they have to do with you and you alone, and the only factors involved in achieving this goal pertain to what you put in, not to what others are putting in.  A goal such as “I want to run 150 miles this month” is a goal that only you can make happen — there are no extraneous factors that can keep you from your goal, which makes it much more attainable.

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3.) DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS WHEN MAKING YOUR GOALS.  This ties into #2.  If you set a goal such as “I want to be as fast as so and so”, you are introducing extraneous factors (namely that persons natural ability or training habits) that can keep you from our goal.  While a little healthy competition between runners is fine, your goals should pertain to you.  A better goal would be “I want to run this distance faster than I ran it last time.”  The only person you should be comparing yourself to is the person that you were yesterday.  Not only that, but as a side note, comparing ourselves (in anything) to others is incredibly discouraging.  We are all unique and different, and we all have different strengths and weaknesses — that’s what makes us beautiful and special.  By comparing ourselves to others, we are discounting our own beauty!  I can assure you that while you are busy wishing you had what someone else has, there are a number of people out there wishing they had something that you have – appreciate who you are and how uniquely God made you! 🙂

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4.)  KEEP IT RELEVANT.  Make sure to keep your goals relevant to you.  Your running goal doesn’t have to be a common one – it just has to be one that is important to you.  It should be something that you consider worthwhile and important.  For instance, I’ve coached a few soldiers in bringing down their 2 mile PT time.  Their goals varied in terms of time, but they had no interest in “running a marathon” or “running x amount of miles a week”.  They just wanted to get that PT time down because it was relevant to their life.

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5.)  KEEP IT ATTAINABLE.  While it’s good to shoot for the sky when it comes to your goals, you also want to make sure that your goal is something that you can achieve if you are willing to put in the work.  For instance, I would love to say “I want to run a 4:00 mile”…yeah, that’s not gonna happen, so even though I would love to have that as a goal, I would never reach it.  You don’t want to make it too easy, and you want to have to work for it, but it is important to make sure that it is a goal that is attainable through hard work.

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6.) GIVE YOURSELF A DEADLINE.  When setting a goal, it is always good to keep it timely.  Know when you want to achieve your goal by.  This will help to keep you motivated and give you a bit of a sense of urgency.  If you are setting goals like “I want to run a sub two hour half marathon”, and you don’t say when you want to do it by, then there is no sense of urgency which can lead to procrastinating training.  It is better to have a race, event or date in mind for when you want to reach that goal.  That being said, I always want to use caution with this one, because while you should have a timeline in mind, if you don’t reach the goal you wanted in that timeline – you DID NOT FAIL TO REACH YOUR GOAL!!!  You just didn’t get the goal in the given timeline, so you just change the plan, not the goal and you keep trying!  I said it before, and I’ll say it again – YOU CANNOT FAIL IF YOU DON’T GIVE UP!

These are just a few things that I’ve come across that help to set realistic, attainable, and exciting running goals!  It’s always good to have a goal – it keeps us reaching and moving forward.  What running goals do you have in mind?  Make today the day that you set that goal — go for it, stay focused, and most importantly – DON’T GIVE UP!    Happy running! 🙂

37 PINS FOR MY 37th BIRTHDAY

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IT’S MY DAY OF BIRTH, GUYS!!!!  I turn 37 today!  It’s going to be a fantastic year!  Since my 20’s, I’ve always felt like Papa has been telling me that 37 is going to be a special year, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me!  To celebrate the big 3-7, I am going to post 37 pins that say something about me!  At first, I thought this would be hard to find 37 things, but after I got going, I found that I was actually having to pick and choose to narrow it down!

After finding these pins that describe some of the many different parts of me, I have to say that I recommend everyone doing this on their birthday (maybe not pins, if you’re not on Pinterest, but just thinking of things that make you the amazing person you are!)  I promise it will make you realize just how special and unique God made you and why He is head over heels crazy about YOU!  So, without further ado, here are my 37 pins for my 37th birthday – here’s to my next 365 day journey around the sun!!! 🙂

1.) I am a HUGE lover of animals! Furry = friend in my book!

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2.) I am extremely shy

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3.) I do not handle conflict well AT ALL, and will go to HUGE lengths to avoid it!

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4.) I am a BIG advocate of healing naturally – God made the body amazing, and it is fascinating how it can heal itself when taken care of properly!

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5.)  It is normal for me to sing what I am doing at least 4-5 times a day – not well, but I do burst out into song quite frequently!

burst out in song

6.) My cats are my best friends, and I have daily conversations with them – laugh all you want, but 9 times out of 10, they give me better advice than my friends of the human form! 😛

cat conversations

7.) I am a Christian, and I’m not shouting “I’ve been Saved”, I am saying that I get lost at times, and that’s why I chose this way.

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8.) I am a child of the ONE TRUE KING!  I don’t know how to say this, but my Dad is a pretty big deal. 😉

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9.) I LOVE LOVE LOVE to cook!!!  Almost as much as I love to eat!!!

love to cook

10.)  NEEDTOBREATHE is my favorite band!

favorite band

11.) Phillipians 2:3 is my favorite bible verse

favorite bible verse

12.)  Brennan Manning is my favorite author, and his book “Abba’s Child” is my favorite book.

favorite book

13.)  This is my all time favorite quote!  Any good deed, any kindness – let me not delay!  BEAUTIFUL!

favorite quotes

14.) I speak fluent sarcasm…which sometimes gets me into trouble! :-/

fluent sarcasm

15.) I am a follower of Jesus!

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16.)  I LOVE to help people!

helping others

17.) I am a crazy cat lady, and I’m not afraid to admit it!  MEOW!

i love cats

18.) I am currently taking classes towards my PhD in mathematics.  I am a total and complete math geek, and it holds a special place in my heart! ❤

I love math

19.) I have been running for almost 20 years now.  I’ve raced 5K, 4 mile, 5 mile, 10K, 10 mile, half-marathon, 25K, marathon, 50K, and 50 miles races.  I LOVE them all!

i love running

20.)  I am a complete introvert.

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21.)  I am an ISFJ personality type.

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22.)  I LOVE to laugh at myself, and I find something that I do that is laughable every. single. day.

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23.)  For that matter, I LOVE to laugh in general.  If somebody can make me laugh, they are my new best friend.

love to laugh

24.)  My hubby and I only met face to face four times before getting married.  We’ve been married 6 years now, and I am head over heels in love with him!

love my husband

25.)  I absolutely LOVE the rain!  I will take rain over sunshine any day of the week!

lover of rain

26.)  I love teaching math!

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27.) I have misophonia.  I’ve had it since middle school, but didn’t know what it was till after I graduated undergrad.  So, if you ever wonder why I’m looking at you like I’m plotting your demise when you are chewing on something – it’s probably because I am!

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28.) I am a complete night owl!  I get most of my best work done late at night!

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29.) I am an optimist.  I can find good in any situation – to the point of being annoying.

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30.) I am a total neat freak.  Everything has it’s place, and it freaks me out when something is not in it’s place!

organized neat freak

31.) I love to paint.  It calms me and allows me to do some of my best thinking.

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32.)  I also love playing the piano!  I started taking lessons in elementary school, and still love it to this day!

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33.) I am pro-life.  To me, this does not just apply to unborn children.  I am pro-life in terms of everybody.  Everybody, no matter who they are, or what they’ve done in this life should be loved, and while I weep at the unfair destruction of the unborn, I also weep when anyone is unjustly taken from this earth.

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34.)  I ALWAYS root for the underdog – in every circumstance!

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35.) I ran and won a 50 mile ultra marathon.  I even got the course record, though it’s been beat since then! 😛

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36.)  I want to inspire people in any way I can.

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37.)  And lastly and most importantly – “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” ~Brennan Manning

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There’s some small, and some not so small, pieces of me!  Birthdays are good for you! I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the more you have of them, the longer you live! 🙂

JOEL 2:25

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Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. ~Joel 2:25

I’ve always liked this verse.  Probably because I’ve always thought of it as it is described in the pin above: “God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing.”  I’ve seen God’s work in action over the past few years while healing from botulism and the associated dysautonomia.

On October 2, 2011, I became very sick with a denatured version of botulism.   It was awful.  I was basically in the hospital for the first three months, and then bed ridden for about 4 months after that.  At that point, my nerves had been badly damaged, and I had every symptom you could possible think of: headaches (tension and migraine), body pain, a feeling of acid running through my body and veins, practically zero cognitive function (at one point, I couldn’t even think well enough to make a grocery list), brain fog, confusion, anxiety, depression, racing heart when going from sitting to standing, severe insomnia, difficulty breathing, ear pain, ear ringing, sinus pain, teeth pain, mouth ulcers, skin rashes, extreme food sensitivities, extreme weight loss (I got down to a measly 95 lbs and I’m 5’6″!), muscle twitches, involuntary muscle movement, shaking, numbness in different areas of my body, vision disturbances, facial twitches, trouble with digestion and extreme stomach pain, dry mouth, trouble swallowing….oh my gosh, I had well over 100 different symptoms.  I could have died in the first 60 days, but God had other plans for me.

After I could finally get out of bed on my own, I still was in bad shape, so though I could take short trips to the bathroom or the kitchen, I was still basically in bed.  It was difficult for me to do anything.  The neck and head pain was constant and debilitating.  It took about 9 months for my nerves to finally start to heal and regenerate.  You would think this is a good thing, and it is, but as nerves heal, they cause just as much, if not more, pain and disruption as they do when they are being damaged.  The feelings I had in my body weren’t like anything I can describe, and in all honesty, suicide was on my mind due to the depression that was caused by my autonomic nervous system being so out of whack.  I didn’t feel like I could take anymore and was tempted to give up.

At about 13 months, the nerves really started to kick back in…the problem is that when the nerves regenerate they don’t know what to do at first and they freak out about EVERYTHING!  The sensitivities went into overdrive.  I had to eat the same thing everyday for about 1 year and a half (steamed broccoli, boiled chicken, eggs, spinach, cucumbers, baby springs, and a bit of olive oil…no herbs, no salt, no anything!  I had no appetite at all because I was so sick, so it was hard to choke anything down anyway)  I had a hard time using anything on my body like lotion, essential oils, different soaps, etc.  Dysautonomia takes a good 2-5 years to resolve according to my doctors – BUT resolve it will!!!  God is good!

I am now almost three years out from when I originally got sick, and I am on my way to recovery.  I am taking classes towards going for my PhD in Mathematics.  I am eating a bigger variety of foods.  I am laughing, loving, and I am slowly beginning to enjoying life.  I have hope, and I know that Papa is going to heal me 100% completely!  To go from not even being able to take a few steps without collapsing in exhaustion and pain to doing all of these things is nothing short of a miracle — I am blessed!  I still have symptoms, but they are getting fewer and farther between and much  milder, and after basically being bed ridden for two years, every single thing I can do now feels like a miracle.  Looking back at how far I’ve come, it is amazing.  It is extraordinary the beauty that God is capable of making out of our trials and suffering.

Through all of this, I leaned solely on God for recovery – no meds, no procedures, just GOD.  I couldn’t have taken any meds even if I’d wanted to because of my sensitivities – I’m sure He was responsible for that, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  This whole experience taught me to trust Him completely and to rely solely on Him and not on my own understanding.  I couldn’t have survived the whole ordeal if I had tried to do it on my own.  It’s only through His grace and love that I am doing so much better.

So, why am I talking about all of this?  The moral to this story is simply this: No matter what you are going through – a physical ailment, emotional turmoil, anxiety, depression, loss, etc. – NO MATTER WHAT, HEALING IS POSSIBLE.  Not only is it possible, it is promised! Some of the verses that I would, and still do, repeat over and over again in my head when I was laying in bed wondering if I would ever get better were:

  • Do not fear for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10
  • And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. ~1 Peter 5:10
  • And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. ~Matthew 10:1
  • “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

There were many more, but these ones really helped me.

I am living proof that there is nothing that God can’t turn around and make beautiful.  Have faith, keep your eyes locked on Him, and know that He will supply you with all the strength you need to get through whatever is set in front of you.  Know that it is okay to cry and grieve — He’s there with you catching your tears.  Know that it is okay to have whatever feelings you have – He understands completely and is right by your side, ALWAYS.  There is nothing beyond His reach…talk to Him, sit with Him, cling to Him, and know that He LOVES you and will make beauty from your suffering.  TRUST HIM!  God bless you! ❤

 

 

“Be the Good” Wood Craft

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About a week or so ago, I was cleaning out our storage closet, and I came across a box of pieces of wood.

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For someone who loves crafts, this is like finding gold.  I’m not going to lie — I drooled a little bit.  Off to Pinterest I went to get my creative juices flowing.  I came across this pin:

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This is one of those pins that when you click on it, it doesn’t go anywhere, so I don’t have a site to refer you to for this.

I didn’t have nice even pieces of wood like in this pin, so I decided to stack pieces of wood of different length and then just line up the lettering.  I also didn’t make it a wall hanging, instead making it so that it sits upright and can be placed on a mantle or dresser.

It is now proudly on display in our living room.  This craft is really fairly easy to do.  The hardest part was the lettering, as I did it freehand, but using a stencil would make that part much easier.

Here’s how to do this:

Materials:

  • pieces of wood
  • acrylic paint
  • paintbrushes
  • pencil
  • tape measure
  • wood glue

Directions:

1.) Get materials together.

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2.) Paint the wood strips colors of your choice. Let dry.

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3.) Line up the pieces of woods as you are going to want them to be stacked. Use a tape measure and a pencil to mark the length of the lettering on each piece (line them up so the lettering will be right on top of each other)

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4.) Use the tape measure to measure equal widths for the lettering and mark the width of each letter.

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5.) Draw in the lettering using a pencil. I did it freehand, but you could also use a stencil.

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6.) Paint the lettering. Make sure to use one color for “Be the good”, and another color for the rest. Let dry.

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7.) If you have an extra piece of wood, you can draw a design on it with pencil, then paint if desired (As shown, I did daisies on the bottom piece of wood). Again, I did these freehand, but you could stencil something in.

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8.) Use wood glue to glue the pieces of wood together, making sure to line up the lettering so it is on top of eachother. Let dry.  Go back over with paint to cover any pencil marks, etc.

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I would say this one was a success!  Enjoy! 🙂