Self-Discipline

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1: 7

Running gives me POWER! But, it is important to realize that that power comes from the Holy Spirit.  In fact, it is when I run outdoors that I feel closest to God. Looking around at nature and listening to the natural sounds in my environment puts me in awe every time.

I also see running as a way of showing myself LOVE and appreciation for what my body can accomplish.

Las but not least, runners are definitely SELF-DISCIPLINEd.  It definitely takes discipline to commit to running on a regular basis.

holy spirit_cloud

This is the view of the reservoir along one of my favorite long run routes.  While I run, I really do feel like the Holy Spirit is running along with me like a happy little cloud.  I try to tune in to what spirit is trying to guide me towards while I run.

Do you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit when you run? How do you feel POWER, LOVE, or SELF-DISCIPLINE during a run? Do you link faith and fitness in your life?

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?

Thank You #SexyShred!

Over the past 4 weeks, I have been participating in an awesome challenge. Started by @FeministaJones, it is a social media-based community Health and Fitness challenge.  It was created as a way for her to get off a serious plateau.  Now in its 5th and final cycle, I was happy to be able to participate as I have been firmly on a plateau for a few months now.

Very Clean Eating + Awesome Exercise Challenges = #SexyShredlifes short eat clean exercise

Clean Eating

Each week besides adhering to the clean eating diet, we were encouraged to do additional food challenges in the hope that these swaps would become lifestyle changes.  I have been eating clean for a while but I benefitted from being more mindful of my food choices and paying attention to portion sizes.  My personal challenge as I did this was to actually track what I ate and how much. I suffer from – Rungryitis. I run, I’m hungry, I eat like a bottomless pit.  This is a new issue for me.  But no matter how clean you eat, overeating is still overeating!

Thanks to #SexyShred, I have not had an overeating day and there have actually been days where I still had room to eat more yet felt full.  I think it’s because I was more mindful of what I was eating. The other benefit has been completely detoxing my body of sugar. The only sweeteners allowed are raw local honey and maple syrup.  So I’ve had honey but even that I’ve had sparingly.

2014-01-12 22.11.342014-01-13 08.50.142014-01-25 15.13.122014-01-27 12.23.20

Here are some examples of foods that I ate on the challenge – Honey Oat Muffins, Zucchini with Eggs & Chicken Sausage for Post-Run Breakfast, and Pumpkin Blueberry Coconut Jars for afternoon snacks. Check out my Pinterest Healthy Recipes board for more ideas!

Exercise Challenges

So you all know that I am a Hysterrunner and that ever since my surgery I have been aiming to add more strength training into my routine.  Bikram Yoga and Aqua Zumba have been good to me for cross training.  But strength training and focused core work has been hit or miss.

#SexyShred had us aim for 240 minutes of exercise this week which is doable with my running schedule.  It also had weekly exercise challenges which pushed us to do things outside of our comfort zone – burpees, push-ups, crunches, wall sits.  All exercises which I hadn’t been incorporating regularly have been re-introduced into my routine.  One day we had to do 15 Russian twists every hour we were awake; another day was a 3-exercise circuit done as many times as possible in 20 minutes.  Being accountable to my fellow shredders was the motivation I needed to keep up with the challenges.

2014-01-22 19.03.20

Russian Twists with a 13lb weight!

Dealing with the Winter weather we have had over the past few weeks here in Maryland has made keeping up with my running hard.  As I wanted to not only hit the 240 minute mark but exceed it, I found other ways to exercise when running wasn’t possible.

2014-01-25 15.00.372014-01-31 23.35.08

One Saturday morning the snow and ice derailed my long run plans but instead of sleeping in I did 3 workouts in one day – Yoga for Runners at Charm City Run and the circuit at Curves followed by a class at Xpose Fitness as a part of the #SexyShred group workout day.  Other days, I worked out in my basement.  I’ve finally started working on my upper body strength!

Results:

I have definitely seen improvements in my overall fitness levels in the past few weeks. Weekly 1-minute tests have improved for me – 0 Burpees in week 1 are now 15; 63 jumping jacks to 72! Today I will be completing the post-tests as well as my last workouts of the challenge and I can’t wait to see my progress.

Have I left the weight loss plateau? Sort of. After weeks of the scale not moving, I lost 1 pound on #SexyShred. My clothes are falling off as my body is changing from the strength training.  I’ll take that! It’s still Progress!

Did you do #SexyShred? Have you done any exercise or weight loss challenges for this year? Tell us about your progress in the comments.

One Year as a Hysterrunner

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

On September 20, 2012, one year ago today, I entered the hospital for a total abdominal hysterectomy.  I was nervous and scared to undergo the surgery.  I prayed to God that everything would be ok.  I am thankful that the tumors they found were benign.

After four weeks of primarily bed rest, I was able to start walking.  One of my walks was to cheer people on at the Baltimore Running Festival.  I was so exhausted afterwards that I couldn’t even get out of bed the next day.  On days like that I wondered if I really would be able to come back to running again.

One year later, I can definitely say that “with God all things are possible.”  I have not only come back to running but I am a full fledged hysterrunner.  I have run 11 races, including 3 ten milers and half marathons each.  Each and every day, I thank God for the chance to rebuild my body and treat it as a temple.  In a few weeks, I will be at the Baltimore Running Festival.  This year not with a cane chair to cheer but as a runner in the half marathon. 

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley.

What are you thankful for today?  If you have had a hysterectomy or other injury that has kept you from running, tell me about your progress in the comments.

Six Months & Counting

Today marks 6 months since my hysterectomy! On September 20,2012, I had my uterus removed. After months of hemmorhaging, it was the only choice. It turns out that I didn’t have endometriosis or cervical cancer. I did have numerous fibroids and 2 rapidly growing  tumors which turned out to be benign. The surgery was truly a lifesaver for me. Life post-op has been interesting.

Thanks to my surgery, I went from being a sometimes mother runner to a badass hysterrunner. When I first coined the term, “No uterus, no problem,” I had no clue how true that would be.

Before my surgery, I ran 10-12 miles a week. After, it was a battle to run 1-2 miles at a time. Today, I’m averaging 25 miles/week! Why? Because I am thankful to be alive! Pre-hyster, I was considering maybe running a 5K a month. Now, I have challenged myself to run 13 races in 2013, including several 10 mile races and my first half-marathon!

image

I used to read stories about people who have a new lease on life and chuckle. Now I understand how grateful it truly feels to be able to do something you may not have had a chance to otherwise. I run for all of the reasons in this picture. I run to thank God for giving me my body back. I am thankful for the chance to make it healthier day by day.

Day by day, day by day, oh dear Lord these things I pray. To see things more clearly, day by day. Love thee more dearly, day by day. Follow thee more nearly, Lord, day by day. – Godspell

What are you thankful for today? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Birthday to Me!

image

Five months ago, I headed to the hospital to have a total abdominal hysterectomy.  Due to an issue with a perforated uterus and a couple of other details, the TAH was the only type of surgical option available to me for my procedure. Several hours, numerous fibroids, and two thankfully benign but large tumors later, I woke up in a morphine & Dilaudid haze. My FB friends can attest to the interesting status update which I posted from the hospital. LOL!

Over the past five months, I have learned a lot about myself and my family. I was still relatively new to running when I was sidelined. Being on bedrest, I craved running. I even had a girlfriend drive me to the Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival expo so I could be near runners. An excursion which had me whipped the whole next day. But when I was able to run again, a HYSTERRUNNER was born. From my first mile to now being able to run 15-20 miles per week, I have felt myself grow as a runner and as a person learning about my limits and pushing through them. Slowly but surely!

Today is my birthday. My hysterectomy saved me from a life of hemmorhaging. Becoming a hysterrunner as a result has helped me to rediscover me. Next weekend, I will celebrate my second chance at life by running in my first Ten Miler Race with the Road Runners of Baltimore. My word for this year is serene. It is from a place of true serenity that I say:

Thank you God for my life and for the lessons I learn as a hysterrunner!

image

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

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