Lump

So I thought I’d share some of the random pics I have on my smartphone and write this blog entirely on my phone as well, just for kicks. I feel like I have the most random photo album ever – some pics I’ve taken myself, some not. Here is just a glimpse into my ridiculousness…

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My new running kicks, the Mizuno Wave Runner 15

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David Wallace. Suck it.

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Yes

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Thanks to my friend Charlotte for that lil gem!

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Really good pie

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Praying mantis at car wash

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Me super muddy at the Ruckus

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I love seeing pics that remind me of friends.

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Why you all in my grill???

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Truth

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Nothin you can do about it

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Motivation

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Moms dogs tongue is like 500 feet long

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McKayla is not impressed by this blog! Rats!

Hope everyone has a nice weekend 🙂

Run by faith,
Lindsay

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Mud on the Tires /// Ruckus Edition

Thought I’d take a second and share my recent experience in the Ruckus.  While I’ve done 5 & 10-K’s, half and full marathon’s, this was my very first obstacle race.

photo courtesy of runruckus.com

 

If I had to use one one word to describe the Ruckus it would be muddy! The days leading up to the race we had extreme rain storms which didn’t help AT ALL because everything between the obstacles, mud-related or not, was muddy too. It made the running portions in the grass very treacherous. I had expected there to be some sort of mud-pit obstacle, but what I didn’t expect was there to be 5+ mud-pit obstacles. In a row. Getting a “little” dirty was simply not an option.

Anyway I thought I’d share some tips for anyone who might want to participate in an obstacle course race:
1. Make sure your shoes are tied tight! Once they’re water logged with mud they weigh about 7lbs a piece and you don’t want your shoe to fall off mid race.
2. Gloves are a good idea but certainly not mandatory. I didn’t have them, I saw others who did. There wasn’t any obstacle in which I thought “gee this is killing my hands I wish I had gloves,” but had there been a different set of obstacles then perhaps I would’ve. It’s a crap shoot.
3. Don’t choose the last race heat of the day. My thinking was it’d be better on my husband and kids if I went later in the day. However the champions heat started before my heat finished (basically making it an impossibility for anyone in my heat to participate in it if we qualified) and by the last heat the queues before some obstacles were CRAZY long. I mean I stood at certain obstacles over 10 minutes waiting my turn behind people from previous heats who showed up and walked through the course. It negatively impacted my time and it killed my momentum. That was disappointing.
4. Bring a towel to sit on in your car. They had garden hoses you could use to knock some of the bigger mud chunks off yourself with,  which felt very Woodstock-y to me, but even that doesn’t clean you enough to go anywhere until you can get to a real shower.
5. Pants past the knees is a must. All that crawling in mud and sand would be tough on an exposed knee!
6. Wear old shoes. They get trashed in all the mud and there’s no avoiding it! There were donation spots set up all over the place so once you change into your post-race flip flops you can then give your old shoes away. Good stuff.

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Aside from the multiple mud pits and slides, there were also 20′ high nets (shaped like giant tee-pees) to climb over, there were wooden walls with ropes to climb up one side and jump down the other, there were ropes with loops hanging over a giant mud pit and  you had to “swing” from rope to rope to get across, giant hay bales (5′ tall) to climb over, and various other walls and things to army crawl over, under and through – making it a total of 4 miles of obstacle challenges.

Overall I’d definitely do another obstacle course race. I was nervous as most participants appeared to be in teams and were helping one another through the obstacles and all I had was me, but it turned out ok. Nothing was so difficult that I couldn’t handle it on my own.  “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” [Phil 4:13]

Let me know of you ever try or have done an obstacle race!  Would you do one again?  Is there a particular type besides the Ruckus you would recommend?

Run by faith,
Lindsay

California Love

First I’d like to offer my apologies to anyone who typically reads my blog as it’s been a while since I’ve last posted… I must have started and gave up on ten different posts then decided maybe I needed a break. So here I am, back and freshy-fresh 🙂

Earlier this month my family and I took a vacation to Southern California. It’s where I lived when I met my husband, where his entire family still lives and my hands-down favorite place to visit.

Upon arrival I quickly found myself on the hotel’s treadmill. They have a nice little fitness center and I honestly can’t say enough about my satisfaction with Hilton-brand hotels’ workout rooms. I have consistently found their treadmills to be gym-quality and their assortment of weights and equipment to be more than adequate. However, the beautiful weather each morning was beckoning me… I so badly wanted to run outdoors.

So, one morning armed with my GPS and my iPhone I set off. I was about 1.5 miles into my run when *gasp* I saw her – another runner! She then turned off the road ahead of me through a hole in a fence marked “no trespassing” and started down a dirt trail. I did the only thing that seemed reasonable – I followed her. Careful to stay at least 30-50 yards behind her so as to not seem like a crazy stalker I followed her down the dirty desert trail. Towards the end of the trail, there was a quick blind hill and a turn followed by a fork in the road. I never did figure out which way she went. But I did find that either way took you to the Ronald Reagan Sports Park, which is a HUGE park filled with all things sports-related. Skate parks, baseball fields, a running track, a dek hockey court and children’s playsets were everywhere.

cool secret trail

With “The Gipper”

scary snake sign!

What I also found was a grassy knoll upon which about 30 runners were stretching – including the girl who had led me down the trail. They were all different ages and sizes. “A running club!” I joyfully exclaimed to myself. Part of me wanted to stop, to ask them what days and times they regularly met up. Part of me wanted to join them. I was excited about the prospects of learning about and running on even more new trails. And part of me was self-conscious. Afraid they’d think I was a crap runner or that I’d be too slow for the group. So I continued on…

The rest of my trip, from a running perspective, went just like that day. Same road, same trail, same sports park, pass the running group and back to the hotel. Some mornings I was mad at myself for being too nervous to join the group. And some days I had other places to be – like Disneyland – and didn’t have the time to wait around until their 8:30 start time.

If I was going to be in SoCal any longer I would have had to step up, overcome myself and inquire about the group, maybe even join them for a run or two. But since it was only a week-long trip I could get by with what I had figured out on my own without getting bored.

What I learned though is that sometimes it’s tough to ask for help, advice or to even join in when you feel intimidated by other’s knowledge and/or abilities. I know I certainly did, hence my never stopping to inquire about joining the group for a run or two. But it’s like my husband so eloquently said to me last night, “If you want to learn to dance you don’t go ask a soccer player* to teach you. You ask a ballerina.” When you’re serious about wanting to learn or try something new, you need to go to others who are experts in it, not people as clueless as you are. If you’re not willing to go to an expert then how serious are you really? Everyone was once a newbie and has been in your shoes.

The “good news” is that the Bible provides a pretty clear road map for how to be and live your life. And church is kind of like that running group – yes, the group I avoided because I felt intimidated by my perceived inadequacies. Remember, we are all sinners and each and every one of us falls short. And we have all walked a mile in one another’s moccasins in one way or another – don’t be afraid to go where you need to go or ask who you really need to ask when you need a hand. Theres nothing wrong with being new, slow or uninformed, as long as the desire and determination to learn and improve is present. Oftentimes the only thing holding us back is ourselves.

Run by faith,

Lindsay

*i can’t for the life of me remember the non-dancer example he used, but you get the point

Feeling Strangely Fine

Two weeks ago I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon.  My first ever marathon.  Here is a pic of me pre-race:

pre-marathon

I may look like my normal silly self but truth be told I was really, really nervous.  I mean mega-nervous.  Perhaps more nervous than I have ever been before any physical challenge I’ve ever done.  This was my first marathon – the longest race I’d ever run before this was 13.1 miles, which was 2 years and 1 baby ago.  I did 100% of the training and preparation for this by myself.   I didn’t have a regular time of day or schedule for running, because when you’ve got 3 kids pre-K and under you don’t really have the luxury of having a schedule for your hobbies, let alone even have hobbies.  So I stuck with a plan as best I could, worked it around my girls’ dance, soccer, swim lessons and illnesses and showed up on race morning feeling completely overwhelmed and underprepared.  “If I’d only had more free time I’d have done way more cross-training,” I remember thinking.  “I just need to pick a reasonable pace per mile and stick with it.  I just need to cross the finish line.”  My goal was just to finish the race with some level of dignity.  So with the help of my trusty Garmin watch I picked a pace that seemed modest, tamped down my adrenalin and forced myself to stick with the planned pace even though I so badly wanted to tear off at a faster clip.

My distance runs during training started off strong.  But as I got further into training I found myself getting burned out, so I had to back off running a bit and try to find a better balance.  But in backing off I also ended up unexpectedly having to pack and move our family of 5.  Subsequent distance training runs suffered and rocked my confidence.  I would call my (non-runner) husband (who loves me but thinks distance runners are nuts) mid-run when I was struggling and he would encourage me to press on.  I would often come home, feeling dejected, shaking from running 18+ miles and wondering how in the heck I was ever going to run 8 miles further.  It was beyond demoralizing.

Race morning was a humbling experience.  Feeling like I had bit off WAY more than I could chew made me want to throw up.  I have always been an athlete, a competitor, and feeling like I can’t do something isn’t how I operate.  “What if I don’t make it to the finish line,”  I wondered, “What if I get injured and can’t finish?”  “What if all the time I spent preparing and training just wasn’t enough to press out those last few miles?”

I did what I always do – I took it to God and prayed for my safety during the race.  I prayed for both physical and mental strength and tenacity.  I prayed that I would just finish the race.  I thanked the Lord for giving me the opportunity to run.

And a funny thing happened – as I ran I started to think about my finish line in life when I go to the Lord.  Will my training and preparation be enough for me to cross into Heaven?  Much like the marathon with some easy, some difficult miles, we have easy days and hard days when it comes to our faith and our ability to avoid sin along our life’s course.  But at the end of it all we can blame our “life marathon” result on no one but ourselves. Only I am ultimately responsible or accountable for the choices I made during my time on Earth.

I know how scary it was feeling I was unprepared on race morning — I can’t even begin to imagine how petrified I will be going before the Lord knowing in my heart that I am not worthy.  All I can do is focus on the training.  To keep studying His word.  To continue fellowship with fellow Christian sisters.  To continually pray.

Crossing the finish line (I’m on the right)

I will never know while I’m here on Earth if my preparation truly is enough to cross the finish line into Heaven.  What I do know is that I will never stop preparing for that final mile, minute, breath.  Fortunately for me 2 weeks ago, my preparation was more than enough for the Pittsburgh Marathon and I finished easily in 4 hours 33 minutes.

super proud 🙂

“Keep running the race that is set before you with endurance.” -Hebrews 12:1

Run by faith,

Lindsay

How Bizarre

Getting caught with your pants down is a funny saying.  It’s hilarious to imagine.  In real life, however, it’s embarrassing and a public humiliation.

There’s nothing worse than toeing the start line of a race and feeling completely unprepared.  As I’ve been going through the rigors of training for my first marathon, I’ve spent A LOT of time worrying about whether or not my training and preparation has been adequate.  With the race literally less than 4 days away there’s really nothing more I can do to increase my strength or endurance.  I am praying that the miles I’ve put in have been enough.  I am praying that I don’t eat something over the next few days I regret once I’m 15+ miles in and that I remember to drink a ton of water between now and Sunday morning (I’m bringing back the 40-oz challenge!).  (I think) My success depends on a combination of training up till now and my diet and sleep between now and Sunday.  I really don’t want to go into Sunday and get caught with my pants down.

Me crossing the finish line for the 2010 Half Marathon in 2 hrs 4 mins

When I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May 2010 the day started off really humid and muggy.  I was SO THANKFUL when about 3-4 miles in it started raining, breaking the humidity and providing what I considered to be a ton of physical relief.  What I failed to think about was how I was going to finish the half marathon and not get caught with my pants down.

At some point a few months prior to race day I was wearing my favorite cotton Nike running shorts when my 3-year old pulled the draw string out.  I continued wearing them and they seemed to stay up no problem so I figured I didn’t need it and never went to the trouble to re-string it into my shorts.  What I failed to consider on race morning was that I hadn’t done much training in the rain in those shorts, if any.  And race day was rainy.  About 7 miles in I noticed my shorts were starting to sag.  Since they were cotton they were starting to get water-logged and heavy.  About 10 miles in and things were turning from mildly annoying to really irritating.  And at mile 12 I was seriously considering taking them off and finishing in my undies.  I’m not joking.  If you look in the picture above you can tell which one is me – I’m the one holding up my shorts while running towards the finish line.

A lot of runners and running friends have been chatting about how to prepare for the race – what to wear, what to eat, where to park.  All I can say is this:  don’t do anything you haven’t done before.  Eat foods you typically eat before a run – but don’t be dumb about it!  I would not recommend something really heavy or greasy even if it is what you chow down on before your at-home distance runs.  Pre-plan your parking strategy and get there really early.  And for the love of Pete, please make sure your clothes are equipped to handle whatever the weather forecast is for the day, because getting caught with your pants down really sucks.

“but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint” – Isaiah 40:31

Run by Faith,

Lindsay

Going the Distance

I’m uber competitive about a lot of things.  Running actually isn’t one of them.  Since becoming a mom, running has become my “me” time.  I’ve been a runner over ten years now but running and being fit took on a whole new meaning after having our first child.  I soon realized that as long as I was out running I didn’t have to change anyone’s diapers, clean up throw up, or remind anyone for the ten thousandth time that brushing their teeth isn’t an optional daily task.   And, after just moving to a new neighborhood going to the gym gave me an opportunity to meet some other mommy’s and make some friends.  Double inspiration for getting fit!

I wouldn’t say I don’t care about my finishing time when I run races, I would just say I don’t care about your time.  Sorry.  I wasn’t born to run.  I’m not thin and wiry.  It takes me a zillion years to build endurance – I’m built for strength and breeding, not running.  When I sign up for a race I consider the course and my level of fitness and I make a mental goal for myself.  If I meet or surpass my personal goal, I’m happy.  If I don’t, that’s OK.  And if I have a PR or get a medal that’s just a bonus.  Honestly I don’t even know what my 5 or 10-K time would have to be in order for me to get a PR, that’s how much I don’t care about it.  I don’t walk around like I’m some great runner, mostly because I’m not.  I’m just a regular thirty-year old mom of three who enjoys the freedom, sanity and fitness running provides.  My goal is never to beat anyone specifically.  That takes the fun out of it for me.  My goal is first just to finish, and second to finish with a self-measured level of dignity.

Trust me friends I realize that signing up for races is hardly a private matter.  Anyone can look up any race and see the results.  One bad day means anyone with internet access can look you up and judge you, which stinks because so much outside of the actual race itself can go in to whether a race is a successful one – diet, sleep, or emotional state, how long it’s been since you last had a baby, how many weeks pregnant you currently are (OK those last two definitely apply to me! LOL)… just to name a few.  I’ve run so many races these past five years pregnant or with interrupted sleep it’s not even funny.  I feel for runners who put their everything into training and then have an outside source disrupt their preparation and it’s out of their control.  I’ve been there.  It’s my life.  And, once again, outside factors I have no control over are impacting my marathon training.  But I am pressing on.

It’s OK (and I think normal) to compare our results, but one thing I can promise is that when I’m toeing the starting line I’m not there thinking “I really want to beat her (or him)…” I’m thinking, “I really want to beat me.”  And (surprise) at the starting line I’m praying.  I’m praying that it’s in God’s plan for me to finish the race and for it to be with a time I can feel good about considering whatever amount of effort I’ve spent preparing and whatever obstacles have been placed in my way leading up to race day.  Because I know that simply showing up at the starting line doesn’t mean I’m going to make it to the finish line.  And I know that each step, each breath, each mile is on borrowed time and I owe nothing but praise to God for giving me the ability and opportunity to have that moment.  And that is something worth bragging about.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  -James 4:14

Run by faith,

Lindsay

Pour Some Sugar on Me

This past week my marathon training hit a major hiccup – I came down with the stomach flu.  And it rocked my world, hard.  Fever of 102*, and other unmentionables that I’ll omit from sharing with you.  Anyway, so I was completely on track for my weekly mileage goals AND had settled into a training plan that was actually reasonable (after admitting to myself that for a first-timer I should NOT be following a training plan called “Advanced 1”) and things were going good.  I replayed my weekend over and over in my mind trying to find out how or when my super-human immune system failed (that’s a joke for those who don’t know my humor) and I just couldn’t pin point what I’d done wrong.

I think messages (or in my case, BLARING SIGNS) from God to remind us of His strength in our small lives are something to appreciate.  Right when I was feeling super human, running twenty zillion miles per week and everything else, He put me back in my place.  Where I rightly belong, might I add.

While in the midst of my involuntary “cleanse” I started thinking a lot about my diet.

I already consider myself a pretty healthy eater, but post-illness after literally having eaten nothing but soup, crackers and gatorade for 54 straight hours I somehow actually feel better than pre-illness?  Sure, I still have some lingering effects of the virus but today aside from the occasional ache and minimal appetite I actually feel really, really good.  Weird, right?

I’m not pledging to go on some crazy diet.  I already make healthy choices a lot of the time.  But how I feel right now is how I want to feel all of the time – and if that means tweaking some things then that’s what I’m going to do.

I can’t control where life takes me.  Running twenty miles today doesn’t guarantee I’ll even wake up tomorrow and it certainly didn’t keep me from getting the flu.  But I can control what I feed my body so that when it runs twenty miles it runs them strong.  So that’s what I’m going to *try* to do.

Run (and eat!) by faith,

Lindsay

Friday Running Randomz

OK so a couple of “running randomz” since it’s 80* in March (which in itself is random enough!)…

Last weekend I almost stepped on a dead raccoon on the side of the road during my 18-miler. Massive running FAIL. But it got me to thinking about all those barefoot running people (sorry but I think you guys are CRAZY). What on Earth would make someone want to run in their bare feet?!? I mean there are DEAD RACCOONS out there just waiting to be stepped on. Barefoot? Gross.

Which leads me into this: the lady at the running store I mentioned in my previous blog tried to sell me socks with toes. Who wears socks with toes? What happened to the standard sock-fare? When did we decide to become neanderthals when running? Shoes were invented for a reason! And I can’t help but wonder if all this toey-barefootedness has positively impacted the quantity of customers at the nail salon trying to get pedicures for the massive callus’s on their crazy shoeless feet. (Note to self: open nail salon!)

I haven’t talked much (OK really not at all) about my marathon training, so here’s a snippet into how I manage to do it with 3 kids. I train: A) in the mornings while they are sleeping, B) during naps on my treadmill, C) at the gym in the evenings when we don’t have soccer, dance, swim,…, D) I sneak out as soon as my husband gets home from work, or E) when my mom is crazy enough to offer up an hour of her sweet freedom. I’ve only done option D once, while A and B are most popular around here. On the weekends my husband is cool about me dipping out for a few hours while they’re napping to get in a long run and since the weather’s gotten warmer I’ve been trying to get up a little early so I can do the distance run and get home to enjoy brunch and my weekend in it’s entirety with the family.

Finding time to run is hard enough with a young family that demands a lot of your time, energy and effort. Finding time to prepare for a marathon is almost impossible. There were times I doubted I could do it and came thisclose to switching to the half. Then I started hitting 17, 18 mile runs and thought, “maybe this IS something I really can do!” But it does take an all-in effort. I’m really lucky my husband is cool about my weekend training. (I think) He sees that I do everything I can to train around the kids sleep schedules so the impact it has on him babysitting so I can be out prancing the streets for a silly marathon is minimized as much as humanly possible. And I’m lucky to have my mom just across town who will randomly offer to take them so I can get off the dreadmill and enjoy the sweet freedom road running provides. If it weren’t for them I’d be dead in the water.

The past two weeks I’ve run 40+ total miles each. This week I backed off due to the hip & knee pain (mentioned in previous blog) but now that I’ve got my new sneaks I’ll probably get in 35 this week. Oh and my new shoes are the Brooks “Ghost”.

Old sneaks on left, new sneaks on right, Elmo slipper in the background. Sounds about right 🙂

So anyway, that’s a small snapshot into my running and marathon life. Maybe I’ll try to make “running randomz” a more regular blog occurrence because (since I’m training alone) there are all these things I think about and would like to ask / share.

Do you run shoeless? Or even wear socks with toes? I’d love to hear your thoughts either way! Perhaps you can sway me into giving it a go…

A Change Would Do You Good

If you know me, you know I am very much a creature of habit.  I deeply enjoy many, many things but each and every time I enjoy them I do so the exact same way.  It’s just an idiosyncrasy of mine.  One of many 🙂

My “professional job” which I went to college for is deeply rooted in the idea of change.  Teaching others to accept new methods, technology, ideas.  Coming from a control freak like me, that’s kind of laughable.  But in a business setting I actually find accepting and being a catalyst for change quite refreshing.  In real life, however, sudden and abrupt change causes the Lindsay row boat to capsize. Many, many years ago I once cried because I went to Eat ‘n Park specifically for clam chowder on a Friday and they were sold out.  My plan was thwarted and I couldn’t control it. Tears ensued.  I really was that extreme.

Having kids certainly has forced me to give up control in many ways.  I can’t follow the exact same routine anymore when I leave the house to go anywhere because each and every time is like an exercise in herding cats.  Getting in the car and Emily having on 2 matching shoes with clothes properly on is triumph enough.  All routine and rules have flown out the door when it comes to the kids.

But with me I find that the small things I can control I still very much do.  I realized today I’ve been running for eleven years, and for about eight of them I’ve been wearing the exact same style running shoe.  Don’t get me wrong – my shoe is fantastic and was even coincidentally voted this past winter by Runners World as the top  all-around running shoe.  I ran through 3 pregnancies in that model of shoe.  I ran from Pittsburgh to Southern California and back (not literally) with those shoes.  I ran a half marathon in that shoe.  And I had full-on intended to run a full marathon this May in them as well.

Then something happened.  As my distances crept up, pain started to come with it.  Sore hips.  Aching knees.  My body began to feel twice it’s age.  I’d been cross-training.  I’d slowly increased my  mileage.  People started to tell me that perhaps I simply wasn’t made to go such far distances.  If you don’t know me by now you must realize that telling me I’m not made to do something only makes me even more determined to accomplish it, hence my sticking with sports against all odds when I was a severe asthmatic as a kid.  Nobody puts Lindsay in a corner.

So today I went to a local running specialty store.  I took my trusty shoes with me.  I explained my dilemma to the associate.  And you know what she told me – the problem wasn’t my shoes per se, it was ME.  “Me?!!?”  I was stunned.  She reminded me that aches and pains are going to come with high mileage runs.  She implored me to continue cross-training.  And to pay attention to the wear on my shoes – mine were worn out and needed replacing even though they were only 3 months old!  Then she studied my gait and recommended a different shoe.  She said my old, trusty shoe model would be fine if it’s what I wanted but that I didn’t need the support that shoe offers so why not see if one of the other styles would be more comfortable to take me 26.2.

A different shoe.  A different shoe?  Was she nuts?!?  But of course I love shoes and had to try on a few for the fun of it.  And I decided.  Reluctantly.  Surprisingly.  It was time for a change.

I know in life things just aren’t predictable.  You can’t control the choices those around you make and you can’t change most of the things that come at you from day to day.  But you can control your choices.  Your actions and reactions.  And by doing so you are blazing your path, walking to your own beat, and being your own person.  Change is OK.  I know I can’t control everything and it’s absolutely insane for me to think or pretend that I can.  Like somehow a certain shoe is going to guarantee I can make it the entire marathon?  No.  Training, preparation, diet, etc., is what will ensure I make it on race day.  Only I determine my success or failure.

Will I go to Heaven someday?  God willing, I pray.  I so badly want to.  Is it a guarantee?  No.  Much like a marathon the preparation today determines my final outcome at the end of this race.  I know I will have good miles and bad ones.  Hard ones and easy ones.  But each step is taken out of love for my Savior. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to take each step regardless of it’s difficulty.  And that, friends, feels really good, even in the hardest of miles.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34.  Get yourself through this day, this moment, this mile, this step with pride, strength, integrity and love.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Don’t be afraid to take a chance, change your pace, put your trust in Jesus and change your life.  What awaits beyond the finish line is far better than any trophy.

Run by faith,

Lindsay

Safety Dance

I read this article last night about a jogger who was critically injured by pit bulls… which INSTANTLY reminded me of the pit bull attack I was part of earlier this year, thus inspiring me to write a quick blog about running (and life) safety.

About 4 months ago I was dog-sitting for my mom.  She has an ADORABLE little shih tzu, Quincy (or Q-Zilla, as I like to call him these days). Anyway, my girls were so pumped to have Q around the house and adored feeding him, walking him and petting (aka harassing) him each day.  One day the girls and I were out taking him for a walk… picture it: my 4-year old and 2-year old walking by my side in matching outfits, a 6-month old baby in my arms, and the little pup on a leash walking out in front of us.  I noticed a group of people on a front porch across the street from us and thought nothing of it.  Then suddenly I saw it – a HUGE dog – in their front yard with them.  The dog saw us and starting running FULL SPEED at us.  I froze and began screaming repeatedly, “PLEASE STOP YOUR DOG!” They just sat there.  My oldest ran and hid behind a tree.  My middle child stayed fairly close by my side… maybe only 10 feet away from me but was definitely in a danger-zone.  And let’s not forget I’ve got a dog on a leash and a baby in my arms.  Luckily (?) the pit bull went for Q.  I hate to say it, and even just typing it is making me tear up a bit, but I’d rather he go for the dog than my girls, even though we all love Q so much and it would be awful to lose him or see him hurt.  Right there, in front of me and my little girls’ eyes, was a full on pit bull attack on their doggy BFF and I was powerless to stop it.  I started spinning in circles, dragging Q by the leash to keep him out of the pit bulls reach.  I’m still screaming, “SOMEBODY PLEASE – PLEASE STOP YOUR DOG! PLEASE HELP US!”  The people were still just sitting there on their porch, lazily calling for their dog like he’d suddenly snap out of maul mode and happily trot back to them.  Meanwhile I am attempting to keep 3 children plus myself and a small dog from being killed.  After about 30 seconds (which felt like forever), the dogs owner decided to get up from her seat, walk over and grab their dog by it’s collar.  She tried to assure me that their dog wouldn’t harm us or Q, and when I attempted to test that theory her dog snapped at Q again.  I was shaking worse than I ever have in my life.  I started screaming, “What is WRONG with YOU?!? I’ve got little kids here and a BABY and you just SAT THERE?!?”  She said nothing.  I wanted to verbally tear into her – but what good would that do?  I knew I had to set the example of how to treat others, even when they are BEYOND disrespectful, and be a Christian in front of my girls.  She tried to defend that their dog had never done anything like that before.  I reminded her that there are laws in our town about having either a leash or a fence for your dog.  I took everyone home.  Q-Zilla was petrified.  I was beside myself.  I called animal control.  We were all pretty shaken… and my girls talked about that dog for WEEKS and even now at random times will bring him up.  By the grace of God we were all OK.

After that I started carrying mase.  The incident made me realize that when I’m out doing even normal daily activities, like getting groceries or taking the kids to the park, I’m truly responsible for everyone’s safety and simply can’t be defenseless.  It’s irresponsible.  Life can change in an instant and I don’t want to live the rest of my life having regrets over “couldda, wouldda, shouldda’s” when it comes to my family’s safety.  Additionally, now when I go for an outdoor run I  have AT LEAST the mase on my person.  Because you never know.  And the response, “my dog has never done anything like this before!” is a ridiculous excuse for not having your pet on a leash or in a fenced in area.  Every animal does have  a natural wild side and you never know what can set them off.  Being responsible is just showing respect for your neighbor and fellow man.

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” [Galatians 5:14]

So when you’re out – be it with your children or on a run or doing whatever, please do it with safety in mind.  You are your (and your children’s) first line of defense.  And in some cases, you may be your only line of defense.

 

Run safely and by faith,

Lindsay

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