Sunday, February 27, 2011

Revving up for Race Day!

For those that might have heard - I'm running a 5K on March 12th.  This has been a 6-month process leading up to this race. 

Last August, I started an individualized workout plan with a heart-rate monitor.  The heart-rate monitor and the workout work-up were a thank you gift from my brother for helping with his son last winter.  I started off slow...walking with the occasional jogging.  As my fitness level improved, I had to jog more and more of my workout.  Soon, I was jogging 15 minutes at a time, 20 minutes at a time, and then 30 minutes at a time.  Slowly but surely, I could go further and further.

The first time I ran 2.5 miles, the average speed per mile was 17 minutes.....I could have walked faster, but that wasn't the point!  The next week, it was about a 16 minute mile for 2.5 miles.  Now, I'm hovering around a 15 minute mile for 3 miles....still not the fastest I'll ever run, but it's 12% faster than I used to be :) 

I could still probably speed walk as fast as I'm jogging, but I'm jogging it.....for 3 miles at a time!  I will continue training the first half of March and pushing myself faster towards the goal of averaging 14 minute miles on race day.  I'll have the support and running buddies of my brother, sister and soon-to-be SIL. 

Not everyone would admit to running a 17 minute mile the first time they tried, but I think people should.  Some people are naturally gifted runners, and then there are the rest of us.  I have friends that have seen my genesis into a runner and voiced the idea that they couldn't do it, they're just not a runner.  So I want everyone to know how slow I started (and continue to be not as speedy as I will be someday).  I didn't run 3 miles the first day.  I didn't run it the first month.  I didn't run as fast as the track teams that regularly use the same route, I might not ever be really fast.....after all, I have short legs :P 

Believe you can do it too.  I was depressed, seriously out of shape and overweight when I started my workout program.  I had lost a pregnancy a few months before beginning and hadn't really expected much of my body since then.  I started out slowly and cherished and cheered myself along the way, proud of each new accomplishment my body achieved.  The first time I ran a mile, I focused on being thankful for the ability to run with a plate and screws in my ankle.  That gratitude made it easier to focus on the beauty and workmanship in me.  Many times I repeated to myself either running or around the house, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made".  I'm still working to improve my fitness and find a healthier weight, I will continue to set new goals and celebrate my success at each step.

Recently as I've been running, I've contemplated what ways this stronger body will serve God, an idea first sparked when reading Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn.  I know my first choice for ways this stronger body could serve would be to bear many more children.  I don't know where I'll be called, only that I will be more ready than ever because of my renewed physical strength and stamina. 

There was no secret trick, no easy way to transform day at a time, still working to trim down and speed up.  I've worked hard to get where I am and am looking forward to March 12th as a celebration of everything I have become and grown into.  My weaknesses have been made in strong, and I praise God for a body that still has the ability to be trained and active. 

Wave when you see me running by....or better yet, join me next time because you can do it too.

For a beginner's running program, check out Couch to 5K.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vocations and other little moments

We've been busily catching up this week after being sick last week.  Amazing how the laundry, dishes and dust pile up when you're under the weather!

Something happened this week that has no accompanying pictures and wasn't planned in any way.  Little Bean and I sat down to go over the virtue lessons before her Little Flowers meeting on Friday.  We talked about St. Catherine of Sienna and read a short story about her life (starting back at the beginning of the book and reviewing past saints to prepare for the next lesson!).  Afterward, we talked through a couple of the activities in the Little Flowers book.

As we spoke about St. Catherine, who cut off all her hair at 6 and started serving the poor at 12 and became a religious, I asked LB if she knew what it meant to be a nun or sister.  Well, she couldn't really explain to me what that meant, so I started to explain that just like a wife and mother takes care of her husband and children, some women marry the Church and devote their lives to caring for the Church and its people.  I explained that everyone is born with special jobs from God and that everyone lives out these jobs differently.  Some men are called to be priests, some men are called to be husbands and fathers, just as some women are called to be sisters and some women are called to be wives and mothers. 

I asked her if she thought she might want to learn more about becoming a religious, and she very seriously considered it before telling me that she felt that she was supposed to grow up and get married and have children.  She said it with a surprising certainty and I made sure to tell her that if she ever felt called to be a sister or nun, we could help her learn more about it. 

I don't think the conversation was particularly monumental or life-changing for LB, but it was a moment that made me stop and be thankful for the little moments in our day.  I'm thankful for the quantity of time I have that I can spend with LB because it leads to those unexpected quality moments.  Something so simple as reading a story can become the bridge to talking about what she's going to do with the rest of her life.  So profound and simple at the same time. 

I am reminded of stories my S-I-L has told me of discussing the priesthood with her serious oldest son (who responded that he didn't feel that's what God was calling him to).  Those moments are there, just for the paying attention.  Had I not taken the time to sit down and discuss the life of a saint and been present in the moment, we wouldn't have started the conversation about finding her vocation in life. 

As we've firmed our resolve to homeschool next year, it's little things like this that are the real reason.  LB would be fine anywhere, home, private school, public school.  But having me there in the little moments of the day and available to her provides the opportunity for profound simplicity every day.  In giving the quantity of my time, I will be able to provide her with the quality moments to help form her soul for a lifetime.  I know I won't regret giving every moment I could to her, what I would regret is all the moments I would've missed had I not spent so much time with her. 

As we approach her sixth birthday this summer it hits me that I am a third of the way through the time she will spend in our home.  I've been with her almost every day for nearly 6 years and it's gone by in a blink.  Giving her the next 12 years will be a gift for her, but also for me when I can look back and say, "I did everything I could, gave her everything I had and I wouldn't change a thing".  Although I'll let you know how firm that resolve is when she hits the teenage years =)          

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzards and Bronchitis

A little late this week on getting a post up - I was felled by a case of bronchitis this week.  I awoke Monday morning to a tight congestion in my chest, so my healthy winter streak was broken. 

I felt pretty good Monday morning and got some cleaning done, but by afternoon it was pretty clear I'd overdone a bit, so back to bed I went.  Tuesday I barely left the bed.  Today I'm feeling a bit better, but trying to learn my lesson from Monday and not overdo.  I did go outside and take a few pictures, but then it was tea and a rest :)

Luckily for me, the rest of the world is postponing any meetings or appointments we may have had this week due to the weather.  My husband was able to make it into work, but most places around us are closed, so we're snuggling in for a couple more days. 

There are actually four steps, not just two!

The drifts were waist deep in some places

Foot of snow against the sliding glass door

Perspective on snow depth

These trees are 4-5 ft tall

Back steps from outside

The fence on the side is 6 ft tall

Ready to play!

Creating a snow cave

Looking in a window....that's 6 ft off the ground

Snow fun :P

Hard worker!

A meager path for the mailman

Playing in the snow cave

Don't give away the hiding spot!

It really is 2 ft high on the sides

The only way in....or out :)

Trudging off to play

Nearly waist high!

What's the fun of snow if you're not throwing it?
By the end of my photo-taking/snow-path making, my bronchitis-ridden lungs were burning, so I headed inside for some steaming tea and a rest.  Can't wait to feel better!

We're definitely planning on continuing homeschooling next year.  I've started purchasing the books and so far we have material for history, reading, grammar, writing and art.  Still need to get math and science materials, but I have until August, so no rush :)

LB has almost reached the 100 boxes she wants to sell - so Girl Scouts is going very well.  We're also looking forward to all the Valentine's Day parties in the next couple weeks. 

Hope everyone is staying safe and warm....and healthy!