As Ready As I’m Gonna Be

Tomorrow’s the Turkey Trot!

Originally, this was my 5K–the race I’ve been training to run.

But then I got sick and training stopped for 6 weeks and not only did I not progress, but I actually lost a lot of ground.

I’m okay with that. I’ve resumed 5K training carefully in the last three weeks and plan to do my best tomorrow. I practiced yesterday (indoors, unfortunately, because it was raining buckets) and averaged just under 15 minutes per mile. That’s with walking and laps of slow running. My hope is that the actual race and course will help me push myself and go a little faster.

I get frustrated that I’m not faster and that I can’t just keep running the whole time…but I also realize that it’s just kind of fun to run when I can and that I don’t need to be so competitive or hard on myself…especially since I don’t actually have any competitors and it’s not like I’ve EVER been a runner or an athlete before. In high school, I could barely run a mile.

My sister is arriving at our house at midnight tonight (she has to work today and drive from Asheville, NC). She plans to run/walk with me tomorrow. I’ve given her permission to go all Jillian Michaels on me if I get too slow or wimpy.

So pray for me or think positively for me or whatever.  And Happy Thanksgiving!

5K Training…Again


I started training again with Couch To 5K this week. I spent Monday on week one and today on week two. I’m going to attempt week three tomorrow afternoon. (The first several weeks of C25K have you do the same intervals every training day that week. When I originally started, I spent a whole week learning to do each set of intervals and moved on only after I had mastered it.)

I’m glad that I’m not starting entirely at square one! Both days I’ve run the intervals have gone well. Today I even added some sprints at the end before I started the cool-down.

The Turkey Trot 5K is 2 weeks away. I won’t be running the whole thing as originally hoped for, but I’m confident I’ll be able to run some of it.

Race For the Cure (My First 5K)

It was raining when I took our dog, Sam outside this morning. Raining hard. I could tell that this wasn’t going to just pass in time for the race. And I knew they weren’t cancelling the race. Once you survive breast cancer and stand beside breast cancer sufferers, racing in the rain is ridiculously easy, I’d imagine.

It rained the entire morning. There were two or three short periods of slow drizzle, but the rest of the time it rained and rained and rained.

But it was a great morning and a fun race.

There were hundreds of people in downtown Evansville this morning…maybe thousands? I’m super bad at guessing numbers when it comes to people. There was a choir singing and loud music and lots of sponsors and volunteers.

I made two rookie mistakes in my first 5K. I lined up in the wrong place. I misjudged how many people would be walking in this race and placed myself about 1/3 of the way back from the starting line. I didn’t want to get too close to the front and make the fast runners dodge me and my slower pace. This meant that I was the one dodging and trying to get to where I could run at a comfortable pace. That was actually a tiny bit fun–dodging and weaving around walkers, but it was also kind of tricky and it meant it took me about 1/2 a mile before I could go a consistent pace.

At the second water stop, I was thirsty. So I started to move to the right side of the road to grab a cup of water. I was so focused on trying to keep running and grab the water that I accidentally cut the runner behind me off. “Woah!” she yelled as she stopped short (and so did I because she scared me). But neither of us were running very fast and we didn’t collide, so it was okay.

I’m not sure what my time actually was. I forgot to stop the Runkeeper App on my phone (in a ziplock bag in my rain jacket pocket) when I crossed the finish line. I accepted some high fives, re-tied my shoes, caught my breath and found Jason before I remembered to stop it. According to the app, I ran 3.23 miles in about 50 minutes. (You can click that link to see the map of my run, my stats, elevation and speed and all kinds of other fun stuff.) I’d say it was probably more like 47 or 48 minutes, but it doesn’t really matter. For me, that’s a decent time. I did more walking than I planned to do, but it was tough to run with all the people around me and there were so many reasons to slow down and enjoy the experience (the firefighters playing bagpipes on a corner around mile 1, for example).  I ultimately want to do better, but it was my first 5K and I was happy just to run across the finish line.

Jason was a wonderful race-day supporter, by the way. He drove me to the race, held an umbrella over me until they were ready to start, traded jackets with me right before the race started because his was warmer and drier, carried the cameras and took the pictures and cheered me on at the finish line.

It takes a lot of volunteers, a lot of imagination and a lot of energy to have an event like this. The Greater Evansville Chapter of Susan G. Komen For the Cure and all the sponsors did a fantastic job! I’m looking forward to the next 5K.

Training Update

I’m still running, in case you were wondering.

I’m still slow.

I’m still struggling.

I’m still training for a 5K.

I didn’t make much progress during this hot, difficult summer. I’m not a treadmill runner, so my options are outdoors or on the indoor track, which is not air conditioned. The heat was a challenge for most of the summer. I continued to run/walk a few times a week, but I didn’t improve much–and actually struggled more. My running friends assure me that I’ll love it when the weather breaks and it’s not miserable to run outside.

Besides the heat, a couple of things are making training difficult. My right ankle never doesn’t hurt. I still get shin splints. And I’ve discovered/confirmed that I have some sort of anxiety issue that makes me really self-conscious when other people are on the track or near me and I lose my breath more quickly (yes, I know that’s silly).

I run 3-4 times a week either in our neighborhood (which is full of hills), at the YMCA (on the indoor track) or on the Turkey Trot 5K course that starts at our church. I haven’t quite reached the point where I can just keep running. I’ve done the 20 minute run in the Couch to 5K training several times, but I struggle to do the 20 minutes. I often run a timed mile just to challenge myself and track my (lack of) speed. I’ve been sprinting a lap and walking a lap, trying to improve my speed and my stride. I’m still using the C25K program, but I’m lingering in week 6.

Still, I’m encouraged because I know that six months ago, I couldn’t have done any of the things I just wrote in the previous paragraph. I want to be a runner and I believe that one day, I’ll be legit. And I will run the Turkey Trot if it kills me.

It might…


On Sunday I’m driving to Maryland. With five people I’ve never actually met face to face.  Actually, I’m technically driving with two of them and travelling with the other three (we’re taking two vehicles).

On Monday morning, we’ll wake up and drive to Stony Point, NY for the UnConference.

I signed up for the UnConference at the end of last year. I’d been hearing some buzz about it so I checked it out. It looked fascinating. But I wasn’t sure it was okay for me to go (I tend to create guilt and grief for myself when it’s not necessary and worrying about signing up for a conference I was clearly invited to is just part of that), so I emailed one of the organizers. She told me to sign up already. So I did.

Basically, it’s a conference that’s not planned ahead of time. Here’s a link to the wikipedia article.

The past several conferences I’ve attended have been big conferences. You go, there are speakers and bands and a full schedule of workshops. It’s attended by thousands of people. It’s a lot of fun, and I learn a lot, sitting along the wall with my notebook open, but it’s big and it’s easy to be lost in the crowd.

This UnConference will be attended by about 60 people. We are bringing the program. There aren’t hired speakers or bands (although some fantastic speakers and musicians will attend).  There is space for workshops, but the organizers did not plan the workshops. We, the ones attending, are bringing the program.

This morning, I’m packing my bag of supplies. I’m bringing sidewalk chalk, books by Shel Silverstein and Walter Brueggemann, a packet of black and white pictures I have for a prayer station, construction paper, chenille stems, glue, notebooks, my magnetic mosaic set, a bag of dirt from my yard (requested by one of my UnCo co-attenders), some Happy Birthday stickers for friends (and me) celebrating birthdays while we’re together, and some random odds and ends (a slinky, a bubble wand, a jump rope…).

I’m excited. I love things like this–getting together and brainstorming and figuring things out together. I love the bond that comes with meeting people and traveling across the country in the same day. I love it that my introverted, wallflower self will be stretched to participate and offer input and bring something to the table. I love the conversations that are already happening (follow or check out #unco11 on twitter). I’m excited to have conversations about vocation, calling, scripture, health, intergenerational ministry and whatever else comes up. I’m excited to spend time with the #RunRevRun group that’s planning to pray and run together. I’m excited to have time to pray and think and wander. This UnConference came at the perfect time–just right before things get crazy busy for summer, so I can leave with little stress about what I’m missing.

Your prayers for my friends and I as we travel are appreciated, as are your prayers for my family while I’m gone and the conference and the rest of the group attending in general.



Have I mentioned that I’m not a runner? I’m not and I never have been. I was always the slow kid running the mile in gym class. I have never attempted to be a runner. I can walk a 5K. I can stay on the elliptical machine for an hour or more. I can bike. I am not a runner.

Except, I’m trying to be a runner.

Inspired by so many fantastic online friends and real life friends (like Ginny who ran the Boston Marathon in four hours last week), I decided to attempt the Couch To 5K program. There’s an app you can download for your smartphone and there’s a “Get Running” podcast you can download as well.

I started three weeks ago and I’m in the middle of week 2, so you can see how it’s going.

I’m honestly not a runner. I’m also carrying too many extra pounds and wondered if it would even be okay for me to attempt running. I’ve mentioned before that I’m stuck at this horrible weight plateau that nothing seems to be able to defeat, and after being advised by several friends (and even my doctor at my last visit), I decided that running might just be the thing to knock me off that plateau. I’ve dabbled in it some before this, but nothing structured like this program and nothing that I had to commit to.

Week one was hard. I know there are some of you who wonder what’s wrong with me that I can’t run 9 minutes (spread out over 20 minutes), but for the love of Pete, it was tough. It was also hard on my ego–I thought I was in pretty good shape. I mean, I get my heart rate well into target on the elliptical machine and I work out several times a week. But running on real surfaces, actually having to propel my body forward? Hard. So hard.

Plus, I have shin splints. Which are painful and I can’t seem to figure out how to not get them or how to make them any better when I do get them (which is every time I run or walk at more than a leisurely pace).

I struggled through week one. I got to day three (there are three workouts each week for nine weeks) and I worried. I asked a friend who knows about such things what she thought I should do. Do I move on to week two or do week one again. She suggested doing week one again and getting my body conditioned to the new things I was expecting it to do .

So I did week one again. The first two days were easier the second time through.

On Good Friday morning, I took Sam to the vet. Things do not go well when I take Sam to the vet, because he has a lot of issues. In trying to get him to move from point A to point B (and not hurt his hips, which are getting worse every day), I pulled my lower back. I spent Good Friday and Holy Saturday in bed, trying to recover for Easter. I did not work out Friday or Saturday and I was frustrated because I missed my endorphins and I was getting behind on C25K.

Easter arrived and I was feeling well enough to make it through the day’s activities–church, Easter egg hunt, dinner with Jason’s family. It rained all day. On the way home from dinner, I said, “I really need to get a work out in.” The Y was closed. The rain was falling. “I think I’m going to run in the rain.” Everyone thought I was being silly, I know. But I really wanted to get the third workout in and just work out in general.

As I stuck my iPhone in an inner pocket of the rain jacket I put on (so I could hear the dings and prompts of the C25K app) and laced up my old sneakers (they were going to get soaked) I realized that I’ve turned a corner in my life. I had several perfectly acceptable excuses for not doing this–it’s a holiday, I’m still babying my back, it’s raining, the Y is closed…but I want to work out so much I’m going to run in my hilly neighborhood in the rain.

I set my phone to Week 1 Day 3 of C25K and headed out the door. During my first run interval, I hit a puddle that was impossible to avoid–so I splashed through it. Up hills, down hills, through rushing water in some places I ran and walked. I gave up on the hood and I got completely soaked from my toes to the top of my head. I prayed that the jacket was a water proof as it should be and that my phone was fine (it was and I made it!).

This week, I moved on to week 2. The first day was really hard. But this morning, I ran week 2 day 2 and I did it with hardly any struggling. I’ll do week 2 day 3 on Friday and maybe next week, I’ll even move on to week 3–OR I’ll do week 2 again if Friday doesn’t go well!

So, all this to say two things:

1. It’s fun to have something physically challenging me. I mean “fun” in the “sometimes it’s totally not fun at all and I’m afraid I might die” sense.

2. In November I’m going to run (not walk, like I usually do) the Turkey Trot 5K. (I have plenty of time, even for my slow training schedule, to get ready for this.)

So, that’s just kind of an update on how things are going with me and my quest for health!

For The Better

Figure Skating Queen Yu-Na KIMphoto © 2010 { QUEEN YUNA } | more info (via: Wylio)I had lunch with a friend the other day. During the course of our time together, she told me about some things that were happening for her professionally and some things that were happening between her and her co-workers. She’s finding that her co-workers are rather rude, are saying some harsh things to her and are not glad about any of her successes. “Jealousy,” I told her. “They’re jealous.”

It was obviously true. She’s hardworking and she knows that to be the best, she has to be the best.

In her profession, success is made through clients and sales. Her co-workers, I think, are missing the point. My friend is setting the bar high–they should be trying to reach it or set it higher. They should let my friend, their co-worker, enrich their experience in the profession. Instead, they are grumbling and turning on her.

I, for one, want to have people in my life who enrich it and cause me to be better and work harder.  I want to cultivate friendships with people who know about different kinds of things and have different skills and talents and encourage me.

I made the move to this new site this weekend. I probably wouldn’t have bothered to learn so much about what that would take and probably wouldn’t have cared except for my friend, Nibby, who pulled me along and encouraged me that my web presence could be different.  Keeping friends in my life who challenge me to go farther and help me do that is vital to me. My life is so much better because of them!

In my youth group, I always have one student (at least) who demands more of me. T’hey aren’t taking a lesson thrown together on Sunday afternoon, they aren’t just playing any stupid game and they aren’t going to ingest theology and ideas that I can’t present well.  Currently, this student is a high school girl. She loves me and she trusts me to lead her–and she demands that I do it well. “Why did you choose this lesson?” she’ll honestly ask. “What do you have planned for Sunday night,” she’ll text on Tuesday. “So…is this all we’re going to do?” she wonder if we’re sitting around the youth room on a Sunday night shooting the breeze. She (and the students with high standards before her) cause me to be a better youth minister.

I participate in planning teams, discussion groups and boards that demand me to be prepared and bring something to the table. If I show up without anything to offer the group or if I am not doing some thinking and planning  and question asking, I’m letting them down. A good example of this is my participation in the #RunRevRun site. Being part of that team demands that I am pulling my weight on the team, reading the instructions and emails that come my way, writing solid posts to contribute and doing my share of advertising and telling people about the site. If I don’t, I’m not fulfilling my responsibility as part of the team. This causes me to be a better writer and get a little bit better at promotion and advertising (I’m still working on that, but friends who are good at it are encouraging me!).

As an extension of that, being part of a community that encourages me to be healthy and get stronger and faster and in better shape has positive outcomes in many areas! I started training with the Couch To 5K Program last week because so many #runrevrun participants were using it and because my friend, Millie at See Millie Tri decided to give it a shot. Do I believe I’ll actually run a 5K one day? Because of these people, I believe it might happen (but let’s not get excited–I’m re-doing week 1 next week just to make sure I’m ready to do this)!

I don’t really feel like I have a lot of competition in my youth ministry job–and that’s probably because I meet, pray and pal around with many of the other youth ministers and leaders in town on a regular basis. Yet, even if it’s not competition, that group encourages me to do my best and challenges me with interesting discussions and ideas.

All this to say: Don’t be afraid of a little competition or to be friends with people who know more or who know about different things. They will make your life so much better and they will cause you to be the best you can be!

Who encourages you to work harder and do more?


So…this happened:

Oh, believe me, I was/am probably as surprised as you are. God does unexpected things when I’m not really paying attention. I’m excited about what this site can do and that I get to be a part of it. I’m also a tiny bit terrified that I’ll be the worst health and fitness blogger in the history of forever blogging.

My first original post (the second one is scheduled to post tomorrow):

Two pieces from this blog about relevant topics used to help populate the site with content:

It’s a new site and we’re still working on building it and our author list. My co-authors span a wide range of locations, professions, denominations and types of fitness interest and they are all very talented and some of their articles are already up and some of their articles are coming soon!

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