Sunday, February 28, 2010

On the Road...

Today was a historic day! I bet you were eating lunch or watching USA vs. Canada hockey and didn't even realize that I was out changing the (my) world!  

Today in my training for the 5K in two weeks, I moved from treadmill running to running outside. Not only that, but today's training run is the biggest hurtle in the Couch to 5K running program. The dreaded "Week 5 Day 3" -- running continuously for 20 minutes.  Doesn't sound like a big deal, but "Week 5 Day 2" is two 8 minute runs with 5 minutes of walking in between. Kind of a big difference for those of us in the limited running ability category. But... I did it! And I did it on my first run outside! I have to admit, I was pretty intimidated by everything I had heard about adjusting from treadmill running to running outside. And it didn't help that Eric ran right before me and came home complaining about how much his legs were hurting. I can't recall the last time I ran for 20 straight minutes, and am not sure I have ever run this far outside without walking in my entire life. That's a pretty big accomplishment, right?

Observations from my first run outside:

* I found myself able to think about something other than running! When I run on the treadmill, I become obsessed with the amount of time I've been running (or the amount of time I have left). The time obsession kicks my panic response into overdrive and I start to tense up, worrying that I won't be able to run as long or far as I'm supposed to. Outside, I spent time worrying about being hit by a car (surrounding neighborhoods don't have great sidewalks/bike lanes), looking at horses, enjoying the sunshine on my face, checking out upcoming terrain... even composing this blog! I was able to really listen to and appreciate the music on my IPod, which hasn't really been happening often when I run on the treadmill.

* At first, I thought I couldn't do it! Those first few steps were scary. And I'm not just talking about the familiar "I really should have gone to the bathroom before I started this!" thought. I expected the same result I have had over and over when it comes to running. In short, I expected to run one block and then feel like I couldn't breathe or lift my legs. But then I made it through that first block and I remembered I've been practicing for this! I may not have great form, and I may not have been running very fast, but I was doing it!!

* I set smaller goals for myself.  I think my dad probably gets the credit here. I don't have a specific recollection of him teaching me to do this, but a vague sense that he did. Or maybe it's just because he ran when I was growing up. Anyway, I do well when I get to accomplish something, so I like setting small goals along the way to the end goal.  And that is what I did today. Once I survived that first block, I set a goal about a half a mile away. And then I didn't think about it again until I got there. When I got there and realized I could breathe and move and keep going, I was really proud of myself!

* I knew I could make it! I didn't run wearing a watch on purpose so I wouldn't know how much longer I was supposed to run.  But Eric and I had talked about a route for my run (keeping in mind my approximate speed), so I knew when I made the turn back towards our neighborhood that I had to be about half way. And that last stretch to home was a long straight path where I thought about my upcoming 5K.  I had a pretty good stitch in my side at that point, but my legs felt good and I just kept telling myself "keep on moving" and "you are going to do this!" And I knew I could do it.  Not only that, but I know now that I have a really good chance of running the entire 5K on the 13th. I know I can do it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

NBC Olympics coverage conspires to steal much needed sleep

I have always been a big fan of the Olympics.  I remember watching every minute of figure skating as a kid. I remember Rosalynn Sumners competing in the Olympics when I was 7.  I loved it enough that I love the movie Ice Castles (which I just found out is being remade soon INCLUDING a remake of Melissa Manchester's Through the Eyes of Love).

So, it drives home all of the things I have been hearing from friends about how horrible the Olympic television programming is this year.  Last night they didn't start showing the women's skating here until well past 10pm. I'm pretty sure my parents weren't keeping me up that late to watch figure staking while I was in elementary school. Pretty much nightly I sit down to watch the Olympics, check out the little blurb on the "info" about what will be showing and am moderately to very interested in what it says will be on in primetime.  But every night I have been disappointed as the programming during the hours I am normally still awake (8-10pm) includes highlights of snow dogs or ice fishing and "thrilling" events like cross country skiing or ski jumping (my least favorite winter Olympics sport). 

Seriously, I know I am a stay at home mom and a person who tends to need more sleep than average, but does the average person REALLY stay up until midnight so they can watch figure skating or speed skating? I'm truly perplexed. Maybe I just have a really warped sense of what other adults are doing at their houses while I am fast asleep.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Comfort and Perspective

Since the fall, I have been involved in a Friday morning Bible study focusing on Job. I have to admit, when I learned that Job was the focus of the school year length study, I was a little disappointed. I have tended, in the past, to view Job as a "bummer" book. Lots of long-winded complaining and arguing, misunderstanding God, suffering.

The study we are using is called Job: Lessons in Comfort, and has changed my mind about the book of Job.  In addition to really focusing on the specifics of the arguments, the study connects Job to God's promises, both in the form of His covenant with His people and also Job's request for an "arbitrator" who comes later in the form of Jesus.  And the book is strong in the area of application. How can we use the lessons from Job to learn to comfort others and find comfort for ourselves?

Many times in the past months I have thought about how timely this study has been for me. True, my comfort needs have been minimal, but my opportunities to comfort have been many. It seems like every other week someone close to us has been diagnosed with cancer, suffered a serious heart ailment, had a miscarriage, lost a job, lost a loved one or something similarly life-shaking.

How to respond to those that are in need of comfort? I still have a lot to learn, but the key points from our discussions so far include:

* Be willing to silently mourn when needed
* Offer support in whatever way is needed
* Remember our brothers and sisters in prayer
* Keep focus and hope on Jesus
* Learn God's promises and understand that they are solid

Throughout the course of the past few months of working on this study, I have also gotten some enhanced perspective on my own problems.  Having a busy husband and two toddlers is hardly a "problem" compared to what other people are facing.  Struggling with anxiety is a chance to come to God in vulnerability and know that He makes things right. Last Sunday, our Pastor's sermon was taken from Psalms 42 & 43 and focused on attributes of prayer, but he said one thing that really stood out from me as I've been thinking more about the idea of comfort and perspective:

"Think about this: What are you so down in the dumps about? Did God fall from His throne in heaven?... Did God stop loving you?... Did His grace run out?"

Praise God, the answer is no.  And really, those are the questions that matter.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My commitment to overcommitting

I've been away for awhile. Living the busy life of a mom - sick children, sick me, busy husband, travel with husband (and kids) for school competition, training for a 5K, book club, etc. etc. etc.

Our family is now well into the 6th month we have been living here. Know what that means? Time for me to start committing myself to way more things than I can probably handle! Why? Because I like too many things and lots of people/groups need helpers with time, something that I have, at least in theory.

o·ver·com·mit (ō'vər-kə-mĭt')
v. o·ver·com·mit·ted, o·ver·com·mit·ting, o·ver·com·mits
v. tr.
To bind or obligate (oneself, for example) beyond the capacity for realization.

I kind of like this definition because of the use of the word "realization". It calls to mind REALITY and REAL. As in, can I REALLY expect to do all of these things, in REALITY?

I'm currently playing with the idea of committing (overcommitting?) to two fairly large, but short term, responsibilities at our church/school: head softball coach for the middle school and Vacation Bible School coordinator.

Softball coach:
+ desperately needed, I love softball and have some skills (or at least I did 10 years ago when I last played!)
- problems with what to do with my kids during games and practices

VBS coordinator
+ in the past the church has apparently had trouble finding a coordinator for this, it's up my alley in the "organizing, planning" skill set
- I am totally unfamiliar with VBS and the amount of work scares me

In both cases, it would be cool to do something to help provide a good program for some of the BL kids and I'd get to know more BL families and moms better. And, in both cases, it would mean adding significant time to a new commitment when I sometimes feel like I'm barely holding it together as it is.

Thinking, thinking...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ability to Estimate = Cool New Toy for the Kids!

Last Saturday, my mom and I took the kids to the Tri-Cities Family Expo.  Eric was working at the booth for the school and we walked around playing and collecting up info from different programs and resources for children and families in our area. Got lots of free goodies!

One of the big draws at some of the booths was a "Guess how many..." contest. I guessed how many M&M's were in a giant glass container at the RDO Equipment booth (while the kids sat in kid sized John Deere equipment). Yesterday I found out I won 2nd place!!!

Here is what we won...

A John Deere Radio Controlled Dozer!!

Little Man is scared of mechanical noises, so he is less than pleased with the prize at this point. In the store when the manager gave it to us and showed me how to use it, he cried and said, "I don't like that toy, Mama!" Luckily he will get used to it!

Thank you RDO Equipment for the cool prize!! We're going to get years of use out of this bad boy!