Open Yourself Up to God

Last night on my way home from speed work with BRRC, I was listening to the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM Radio.  One of my favorite shows was on, The Busted Halo Show. They were playing Fr Steven Bell’s homily from Ash Wednesday.  Several points from his homily struck me.  One of them was the statement that we should “open ourselves up to God.” (In fact, I actually called in to the show for the What did I say in the homily contest as I was so touched by it.  I ended up winning tickets to see the movie “Son of God.”)

I found myself thinking how can I open myself up to God as a part of my fitness practice.  What can I do to be more aware of God as I run during this Lenten season?  During Lent, most people think about giving up something but the truth is you get as much as you give up.  You give up something to make room for more of a focus on God’s will.  In thinking about how to open up to God while running, I came up with the following ideas:

  • Give up the headphones.  Run at least one run without music.  Take the time to listen to your surroundings.  Listen to the sounds around you both man-made and natural.  Tune in to God’s world.
  • Forget the GPS and/or a set path. Run one run just for the feel of it. Go as far as you can.  See how far your body can take you without worrying about a specific distance.  Be amazed by what your body is capable of and thank God that you can run every step of the way.
  • Choose a memory verse or prayer to recite as you run.  One of my favorite bloggers Mile Posts has 26.2 Bible Verses for Running and Racing.  You could choose one of these or all to recite while you run.

Do you have any other ideas?  How will you open yourself up to God as you run this week? Have you given something up for Lent?

Post Surgery Progress Timeline

This past weekend I was talking to someone who had recently had a hysterectomy.  She was determined to start exercising immediately and excited to get her body back.  She is 6 weeks post-op and started full force with Shaun T and T25. It was a bit much for her even with the modifications.

I realized that it seems to some people that I went straight from post-op to running long distances.  Nothing could be farther than the truth.  So I decided to share my timeline back to fitness after my total abdominal hysterectomy.

Weeks 1-2: RECOVERY – I couldn’t do much more than get out of be, especially in the first 2 weeks.  I listened to the the doctor as far as how to slowly resume normal activities.  NO exercise whatsoever.

Week 3-5: WALKING – I walked short distances to get moving.  Around the block. To the Lake. I didn’t do more than a mile or so at a time the first time.  I also started upper body strength training during my 4th week using exercises designed for women who had just had hysterectomies or pelvic floor surgeries.  You can read about my progress at that point here.

Week 6: RUNNING – I had my first run exactly 6 weeks post-op. It wasn’t my best run but it felt great to be out there.  I still was following doctor’s orders.  I could only do 1-2 miles at a time for a while but I stuck with it.

What I’m trying to say is that you should listen to your body as you get back into the swing of things.  It has been more than a year since my surgery and I still have issues with my lower abs and core.  I work on it and remind myself that I am making progress each day.  You will too.

How long was it before you started exercising post-surgery?  Did you have any setbacks that caused you to have to build back up your fitness levels?

God is My Strength

my flesh and my heart is God

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PowerIce Review

I haven’t blogged much since the BWC.  I needed time to rest from racing in 9 races in 6 months both physically and mentally.  But I’m baaaaacccck!

So since this blog started, I have been hesitant to post full out reviews of products.  I have stopped following blogs in the past because they turned into mostly reviews with a little bit of content sprinkled in for good measure.  I definitely don’t want to become one of those.  However, I have been asked to review a few items over the past several months.  I have been trying the products and have finally decided to blog about them.  It’s my intent to catch up on this backlog of reviews by doing one a week for the next few weeks.

First up in the Shark Tank is PowerIce.  From the website:

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I was sent two boxes of PowerIce to try – Lime Kicker and Orange Blast.  Both flavors taste great; almost like frozen Gatorade except without the weird chemical aftertaste.  You can have one before, during or after your workout depending on what you are aiming to do.  Before is supposed to increase endurance, during cools core body temperature, and after for “lightning fast recovery.”  Most of the time I have used it before workouts.  If I could figure out how to keep it frozen in the middle of a run, I would have one during as this heat and humidity here on the East Coast has been no joke.

On the days when I had one before Bikram Yoga, I would eat it in the car on the way to the studio.  It reduced my core body temperature just enough for me to get centered and begin my practice.  It was harder to do so on days when it was hot outside if I didn’t have the PowerIce first.  They became part of my Bikram Yoga healthy trio – PowerIce before, Ice water during, and coconut water after.

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Before my afternoon runs when that heat and humidity had me melting before I started, I also had one before I started.  It also served as my snack booster as I don’t usually have dinner before them.  I don’t know if it increased my endurance but it helped to make the runs more bearable.  I have started back with speed work and training in preparation for this Fall’s half marathons.  I have a couple of these left which I am saving to try before my session on Thursday.  We’ll see if they make a difference then on timed repeats.

How do you keep cool and hydrated when exercising in the heat?  Have you tried PowerIce? Do you drink coconut water?

Faith & Fitness Friday–Psalm 121

I woke up this morning with this Scripture on my mind.  This video has some beautiful images coupled with the reading and music.  The images all reminded me of my word for the year – SERENE.  I would love to run in any of these locations.  Remember whether the hills you encounter are physical or mental, you do not have to tackle them alone.

Psalm 121–I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help…

Faith & Fitness Friday

Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews 12:1

As I prepare for my first big race ever, this Scripture phrase is becoming more and more of a friend to me.

My hysterectomy and the events leading up to it and recovering from it was a race which I have already endured.  I know that running a foot race is possible.  I know that God has strengthened me in every way to prepare me for this race.  I just need to put my training – physical, mental, and spiritual – into practice.

Good luck to everyone running races this weekend! No matter what kind.

Three things I LOVE!

Of course, I love myself first. If I didn’t, then nothing else would matter. It is because I love myself that I am aware of the three things I love the most.

Family– My husband and my son truly are my heart.  I focus on getting better every day so that I can be the best I can be for them.

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I come from a decent sized family.  Talking to any of them – my parents, sisters, brother, cousins, etc – is usually a joy and a blessing that I don’t take for granted.

Faith – I can do everything through my God who strengthens me.  Battling back from my hysterectomy has taken a lot of faith that I would heal.  Daily prayer and going to Mass regularly helps me to remain connected to God.  I hope that sharing “Faith & Fitness Fridays” with you helps you to connect as well.

Fitness – I may not be an elite athlete.  But, I truly love becoming that FIT CHICK.  Whether I am running, doing Water Aerobics, or shaking it in a Zumba class, I love pushing my limits and getting physically back to the way I used to be.  I have been enjoying this journey back to fitness and look forward to the next stage.  Speaking about running…

loverunning

The guys over at the runchat have asked this week for us to post things you love about running.  So to elaborate on one of my 3 things I love, here are the things I love about being a HYSTERRUNNER!

  • I can run! It doesn’t have to be fast or far.  But, I can do it.  I have come back from 0 miles/week to just under 20!
  • It has helped me recover.  Being in decent shape because of running helped me to manage pain better immediately after my surgery.  Getting back to running post-surgery has helped me get my body back.  Slowly but surely!
  • I don’t need much equipment to do it.  A good sportsbra & my Sauconys are all I need.  Of course, being that I run mostly outdoors, I have invested in some tech gear/cold gear/etc.  But I can just get out there and run – anywhere, anytime, anyhow!
  • It’s the one thing I have TOTAL CONTROL OVER!!!  My body still has its issues.  I don’t always know when I wake up if my incisions will twitch or if I will have swelly belly and not be able to fit in what I thought I could wear to work that day.  But I do know that if I get out and run even a little bit, I feel better mentally and spiritually which is better for both my FAMILY and my FAITH.
  • I love the running community.  The online community helped me to focus when I was lying in bed recovering and could barely walk much less run.  My Black Girls Run group encourages me and pushes me to run even when I am not sure what my capabilities are.  My Road Runners Crew is always there with tips, tricks, etc.  My offline running friends are always there with personal support.

So there you have it – the Three Things I love combined with what I love about running! How’s that for a Valentine’s Day!

runners_valentine_card_i_heart_love_running-p137917693705586184bfmxk_400http://www.zazzle.com

Faith & Fitness Friday – January 4, 2013

For many, this is the month for making plans – exercise more, spend time with family, get rich.  No matter what you plan, remember…

gods-plans

12/12/12

Today is a once in a lifetime day.  In fact, it is the last alliteration day for 100 years.  With all that is going on in my life, I felt it was only fitting to discuss health goals for the next 100 years.

Causes of Death 1900 - 2010

Causes of Death 1900 – 2010

To know your future, you need to know your past.  So here is a table that shows the top causes of death at the turn of the century compared to now.  The top 5 causes of death then were: 1) Pneumonia and influenza; 2) Tuberculosis;  3) Diarrhea; 4) Heart disease: and, 5) Stroke.  We have succeeded in reducing causes of death from natural causes greatly.  There are even diseases which caused death in 1900 which we have almost eradicated today.  However, heart disease and stroke are still major killers now joined by cancer.

In the 1950s, my mother had Scarlet Fever.  Scarlet Fever killed many but not my mom.  She is one that survived.  However, it damaged her heart making her susceptible to heart disease as she grew older.  Most people today have never been exposed to Scarlet Fever thanks to the medical miracles of the last century.  Heart damage due to communicable diseases is rare today.

Doctors in 1912 looked to a future where communicable diseases would be eradicated and there was a cure for cancer.  Much has been done since then in eliminating diseases with vaccinations, etc.  However, we now know that heart disease  can be prevented with healthier lifestyles.  I hope that everyone will embrace fitness as a way of eradicating heart disease.  This will be good for both your immediate and the world’s long-term future.

The average life expectancy in 1912 was 47 years old; today it’s 78.7 years old!  We are definitely living longer.  It is my hope that by the year 2112, the life expectancy is 112 years old or longer! (Purely selfish reasons – my son will be 112 in 2112!)

What steps can you take to embrace a healthier lifestyle today?  Eat a vegetable with lunch.  Have fruit for a snack instead of a donut.  Drink more water.  Get up from the computer and walk around.  Whatever you do, start today!

Faith and Fitness Friday

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!