Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jingle Bell Run 2011

God and I did it! I finished my second 5K race two weeks ago! I ran my first race in 39:10, a personal record at the time. In training since then I got my time down to 37:59. In the Jingle Bell Run I did it in 35:56! Praise God! I shaved 3:14 off my time in just two months!

Thank you, Melisa, for running this race and my first one with me! You keep me focused and running fast. When I'm by myself I tend to settle into a slower pace and only pull myself out of it reluctantly.

Thank you, Tori, for your interest in running and your encouragement to me.

Here are some (lots) of pictures from that night.

Me before the race in the T-shirt Kendall gave me back in July. I wrote scriptures that inspire me on it.

Me, my cousin Vikki (not my cousin Vinny!), and Tori after we got our goodie bags and glow necklaces.

Start and Finish Line

Some of the Calvary Chapel Running Team just before the start.

Terry, Melisa, Me, and Tori

This is a very popular, fun race so it was quite crowded.  We were barely moving at first but after about half a mile it thinned out.  We were wearing glow bracelets, too, but you can't see them under our long sleeves.  It was so cold that night!  Temperature was probably in the 50s, it was very windy, and we were on the Pier so the wind was whipping off the water and making us even colder.  It didn't keep us from sweating, though! 

Tori left Melisa and me after about the 3/4-mile mark.  Go Tori!  She's younger and can run faster than I can, and I  had already told her to go and run her best race even if she had to leave us behind.  She ran it in 30 minutes even!  Woohoo!  Congratulations!

Melisa and I kept running and having fun.  We talked about Jesus like we do on all our runs! 

As we neared the end, I started getting tired like I usually do.  Melisa kept encouraging me not to give up.  She even pushed me to run faster!  I love the race atmosphere!  Especially the end.  My body is so tired but seeing people cheering for me, especially people I know, gives me energy to finish well. 

Melisa and me at the finish line.  Tori's clapping for us. 

Here's a video of us crossing the finish line.  If it won't play, you can go to my Facebook profile and look under my videos for it.

And recovering after the race!  The red faces are from wind and our own effort.  We earned them and we wear them proudly!

I'm now training for the Gasparilla 5K on March 3.  After that, I'll take some time to re-evaluate and see if I want to continue doing 5Ks or if I want to go for longer distances.  I don't always enjoy the process of running, but I do enjoy what God's teaching me through it.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Second Race!

My second 5K race is in less than 3 days!  I'm excited!  My plan was to run this morning, rest tomorrow, rest Wednesday morning, and run Wednesday night.  I had pain in my right ankle, though, which is the ankle I've sprained, broken, and have swelling in, so I thought it best to finish the loop I was on by walking and not do any more running and only necessary walking until the race.  It's not worth injuring my ankle again just to have one more day of training.  I know I can do this distance; I do it five times a week and have done so for many months! 

I'd love to see you at the Jingle Bell Run

You don't have to register.  You can just show up and walk or run, but you won't get a Tshirt or a goodie bag.  I hear this is a very crowded run, and that it's more of a social occasion than a serious race.  That's okay.  I'm treating it as a serious run, but I know there will be walkers, strollers, and dogs to contend with. 

I'd love to see you on the sidelines too, if running or walking isn't your thing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The War Is Already Won

When my dad and I were in the ER waiting room last night I was very hungry.  We got the call that they were taking my mom there just before we sat down to supper and it was now an hour after that, so about 7:00.  After a while of sitting there thinking about how hungry I was, I remembered that there were vending machines behind me.  The thought of getting something from them, though, was gross.  It actually turned my stomach.  A couple years ago I would've known that it wasn't a good choice but I would've tried to make the best of it somehow.  Whole-grain Sunchips maybe?  A granola bar? 

Well last night I didn't get anything.  Neither the food nor the drink machine tempted me.  It wasn't that I fought a battle and won; the battle, no the war, has already been won!  Woo!  I didn't even have to fight.  I just stood (or sat) in the victory that was already mine.  How peaceful!

I still owe y'all the rest of the race report.  I've been so swamped lately with my mom's injury and hospitalization and taking care of Brianne, my dad, and all the household stuff for them.  Since I'm on here anyway, I might as well do it now. 

We started running the race and got into a decent pace.  People were passing us, but that was okay.  I WAS RUNNING THE RACE!!!  A little bit after the 1-mile mark I saw the first person I recognized since starting.  He was holding up his phone to take a picture of me and I hollered, "I'm doing it!"  I was almost giddy!  Soon after that I saw my daughter who took a few pictures and encouraged me to keep going.  That made me happy too!  Then we didn't see anyone we knew until the very end. 

We continued on the course, which we knew very well from all our practice runs.  As we neared the end I started hearing music and seeing people I recognized.  Melisa and I had worked some on having a strong finish, but it's very difficult to push at the end when you're so tired.  Seeing people I knew, though, and hearing them cheer for me, FOR ME!!, energized me!  Two friends who had already finished came back and ran across the finish line with us.  That was fun!  I picked up my pace and practically sprinted to the finish!  I posted a few days before the race some tips for spectators.  One of them mentioned being specific in your cheering.  "Yep, it is nice to hear “ohgoodjob” but lemme tell you it is so much more fun to hear “OH HERE SHE COMES, JEN JEN JEN, OVER HERE! WAHOO!!!! KEEP RUNNING, OH MY GOSH YOU ARE DOING IT! WAHOOOOOOOO!!! JEN KEEP RUNNING!!! I LOVE YOU!” No lie. Go all out. Your 30 seconds of screaming will carry me an entire mile. I will float on your cheers, puff my chest out and let your cheers be my fuel." 

I found out how true that is!  Seeing and hearing my friends cheering FOR ME gave me energy I never knew I had!  Thank you to everyone who was part of that!

Here are some more pictures:

Before leaving for the race.  I'm so nervous I'm already sweating!

Close up of the shirt I wrote on.  Thank you, Kendall!  I wrote on the purple one too and took it along to change into afterward because I knew I'd be sweaty, but there was such a strong breeze I didn't have to.

 I'm running so fast you can't even see me!

Here we come!

There we go!

My dad and me after the race.

Gotta get to work now.  Thank you to everyone who has prayed for and encouraged me.  Keep it up!  I'm still running!  This was only the first of many(?) more races to come!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jesus and I did it!

39:10!!!  That was my official time, and a personal best.  There are so many things I want to write that this will be either a very long post or a few shorter ones. 

1 - food prep and Mom
2 - sleep
3 - flustered
4 - race itself
5 - hospital
6 - baby shower
7 - hospital

Friday night Brianne and I went to my brother's house to help prep food for the baby shower we were having the next day for him and his girlfriend.  My mom arrived later but fell in the street and we had to call 911.  Her hip is broken.  I rode in the ambulance with her and stayed at the hospital for a few hours.  I didn't get to sleep until 12:30 and I had planned to pack that night and be in bed by 9 to get a full night's sleep before the race.  I don't understand why God allowed her to break her hip the night before my race and the baby shower, but He did and I have to deal with it. 

Woke up at 5:00 and overpacked:  a second pair of running pants, shirt, socks, and shoes JUST IN CASE!  A banana even though they probably have them at the end of the race, but JUST IN CASE!  Extra batteries for my camera JUST IN CASE!  (and I did need them)  Half a gallon of water but they had bottled water there.  Gatorade to alternate with water.  Baby wipes for my face (didn't use them).  A washcloth to carry with me during the race to wipe the sweat before it runs into my eyes (definitely used that).  A hand towel for afterward (didn't use it).  Water to pour onto myself was on my list, but I didn't take it because the weather was cooler and VERY windy so I didn't take that.  Comb, which I did use. 

I was nervous the day before and the morning of the race.  I was also flustered because I'm not a fan of crowds.  I don't avoid them at all costs, but as we lined up at the start line, people were packed fairly close together and were moving around but most of all, I COULDN'T FIND MELISA!!!  My running partner!  We had planned to run this race together and here I was at the start line and couldn't find her.  I had already seen her that morning

but couldn't find her right before the race.  AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!  I finally left the start line go get her.  Whew! 

And we're off!

This is going to have to be part 1.  I have to leave to go the hospital where my mom is having surgery.  I'll continue the race post later.  Stay tuned!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Day I've Been Waiting For Is Here!

Tomorrow is my big day!  My debut race!  What I’ve been training for officially for about eight months! 

Melisa and I did our last training run yesterday and it was the worst run I’ve ever had.  (Not because of anything Melisa did, though!)  On the last leg of the race we always kick it up a notch to finish strong.  It’s tough but we concentrate and give it all we’ve got.  We don’t slow down; we actually speed up.  Yesterday was different.  The fatigue (and it wasn’t even physical fatigue) set in way before that last leg.  I was almost crying it was so hard. 

I can’t explain what was so hard about it.  Maybe it was physical fatigue, just not the normal type.  We’ve been training every day for the last 2 weeks without a real break.  I had 2 days of meaning to do the full distance but running only part of the way and walking the rest so those weren’t really days off. 

Maybe it was emotional fatigue.  When I got in the car to go home I was still breathing heavily and I started to cry.  I would’ve sobbed but it’s very difficult to cry when you can hardly breathe.  I couldn’t get a deep enough breath to cry the way I wanted to.  That’s a weird feeling, let me tell ya! 

I’m doing this for God’s glory, to show what He has done and can do with us when we let Him.  After yesterday’s run I knew I was victorious because I didn’t quit but I certainly didn’t feel glorious.  First Corinthians 10:31 came to mind.  “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God [not the glory of Michele].”  Maybe God was reminding me that this is about Him getting the glory, not me.  Victorious doesn’t always mean glorious. 

My friend Mary found a picture of me before I started losing weight.  I don’t know exactly when it was taken, but I’d guess about three years ago.    This is what God has done and can do with us when we let Him. 


 Here's a more recent one:

It would mean so much if you could cheer Jesus and me on tomorrow morning at 7 at Vinoy Park.  Here's a link to a map if you don't know where the park is. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tips for Spectators

This is a blog I follow, Prior Fat Girl.  If you're planning on coming to my race, please read this.  I never thought much about these things, but Jen's words are so true.  I especially like #3!  The only difference is #5 where she says to just make noise.  That would be distracting to me.  Please don't bring a cowbell and especially don't bring those extremely irritating airhorns!  Other than that, cheer on!


Tips for spectators, from a PriorFatGirl’s point-of-view.

by Jen, a priorfatgirl on October 4, 2011

I thrive on spectators at a race. I know I’m running the race but spectators can change the feel of the entire race. No matter if it is a marathon, half-marathon, 10 mile, 10k or 5k, spectators are treasured. Just your presence is appreciated but here are some additional thoughts from my point of view on spectators:
  1. Your presence is very appreciated: It means a lot. As much as I say “Oh, no worries, don’t worry about it,” it really does mean a lot when you take the time out of your morning to come and cheer for me. No matter how many races I may do, each one, especially each of the long runs are hard. They never get easier, I just get crazier. I won’t ever be mad at someone for not coming but will be overwhelmingly appreciative of those who actually do come.
  2. Scream, cheer, shout, yell and make noise! I think some people are embarrassed to be loud but as a runner, the louder you scream the better. When I run, I am fighting through all the noise in my head so whatever you can do to distract me is appreciated. I need YOU as a spectator to be louder than the noise in my head.
  3. Scream when you see a runner you know: Running is hard. When you see me coming, be LOUD. Yep, it is nice to hear “ohgoodjob” but lemme tell you it is so much more fun to hear “OH HERE SHE COMES, JEN JEN JEN, OVER HERE! WAHOO!!!! KEEP RUNNING, OH MY GOSH YOU ARE DOING IT! WAHOOOOOOOO!!! JEN KEEP RUNNING!!! I LOVE YOU!” No lie. Go all out. Your 30 seconds of screaming will carry me an entire mile. I will float on your cheers, puff my chest out and let your cheers be my fuel.
  4. Cheer for others: Again, running is hard. You don’t have to know me to cheer for me. Cheer for me and let me know how proud you are. Tell me to keep going and remind me I’m running. Tell me I can do it, I will do it, I AM doing it. Cheering for me when don’t know me is like an extra amp. Don’t just stand there staring. First, you look silly just standing there. Second, your cheers are my fuel. I suck it in and turn it into amped up power. It is an adrenaline rush hearing cheers and even more exciting when people I don’t know are cheering for me.
  5. If you just aren’t a cheerer, just make noise! You know those loud annoying cow-bells? DO IT! Cowbells, thunder sticks, hand clappers and stadium horns are very inexpensive but they can annoy some people so pay attention to those around you. If you see people who seem to be disturbed, tell them you are cheering for the runners and to get a life… or maybe just walk 20 feet away from them :)
  6. Bring signs: Use humor. Or be serious. Reading simple signs distracts me and gives me something to do while I’m struggling to fight through all the noise in my head. I may think about a sign for 5-10 minutes so trust me, your sign helps! Here are some sign quotes I love:
    • “Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much butt!”
    • “Your legs will forgive you…eventually.”
    • “Don’t stop — people are watching.
    • “Today, you’re my hero.”
    • “Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”
    • “Remember the reasons you are running.”
    • “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”
    • “One foot in front of the other. That’s all.”
    • “You are no longer training, you are RUNNING THE RACE!”
  7. Be okay if I am distant after the race: I am probably in pain. I am probably ready to collapse. I am thinking about what I just accomplished. I am emotional and coming down from an intense adrenaline rush. I’m covered in an inch of sweat which is layered with the dirt from the wind I just busted through. All I want is a hot shower. And food. And a nap.
  8. I will never be able to thank you with words: There are no words I can, as a runner, say to you, as a spectator, to thank you for coming to cheer me on. Running is hard. It is emotional. It is fighting through all the voices in my head to achieve a goal I set for myself. Having you there means the world to me and there are no words I can use to thank you appropriately. In place of the absence of the perfect thank you, please know your support helped me achieve my goal.
Being a spectator can be such a simple act. It may not feel like a big deal but spectators help more than we as runners can ever describe. We don’t run for your cheers, we run to achieve goals we’ve set for ourselves but your cheers, your support, your presence helps us to achieve our goals.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Getting Excited for My Race!

Before she moved out of state, a friend gave me two moisture-wicking T-shirts as a gift so I could wear them for my race.  I decided to write Bible verses and other things that inspire me on them.  They're finally finished! 

I'll wear the top one (it's really teal blue) for the race and then probably change into the purple one afterward when I'm sweaty. 

While I was working on the first one, I had it laid out on the ironing board so I could have a smooth, hard surface to write on.  Even though the shirt was an XL, it still looked very wide and I got a little discouraged.  

Then I decided to go get one of my old 3X shirts for comparison. Oh! Quite a difference!

BIG difference! 

Okay.  The teal one isn't so bad compared to my old one!

My race is this Saturday.  THIS SATURDAY!  I hope you all can make it to cheer Jesus and me on. 

Sunrise Run

He's the reason I'm doing this at all.  Sure, I could've lost 80 pounds and started walking and running in my own strength.  People do it.  But why would I have wanted to if Jesus hadn't shown me that I was sinning and changed my heart so that now I WANT to please Him in this area?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Led by God

It's raining very heavily right now and I just saw an ad on a website for Wells Fargo bank. The ad showed a mug of frothy hot chocolate. 

For a second I thought how good a mug of hot chocolate would taste. Maybe up north where rain equals cold this ad would make sense. In Florida we rarely have rainy days. We have rainy 20 minutes. Even now, near the end of September, it's still not cold. This rain will just make the air sticky and humid.

As soon as I had that thought I also thought how ridiculous it was. I wasn't desiring hot chocolate or any chocolate at all before that, and I don't need any. I've already had some chocolate today and it was plenty.

As ads go, I suppose it was successful. Well, almost. It almost made me want to get a mug of hot chocolate. But it failed in that if I had, I would've made it from what I already have at home, not gone out and used my Wells Fargo debit card to buy some and pad my savings account by taking an additional $1 from checking and adding it to savings.
See, in just the time it took me to compose this email, the rain has stopped. And I've had no hot chocolate, my own or store bought. 

What's the point of this post? That I've overcome garbage like this? Maybe. Most times. That advertising and images are powerful and suggestive? They definitely are, or at least can be. Sex sells. So does food. Two of our most basic needs/wants.
Romans 8:12-14 -Dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 If you keep on following it, you will die, but if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds you will live. 14 All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

My sinful nature urged me to do something, but through the power of the Holy Spirit [Really, I did nothing. I just let God take care of it.] I turned from it. I was led by the Spirit of God, which is proof that I am a child of God.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!! :) happy

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I don't like to run. I like to HAVE run. :-)

Thanks to my friend and encourager, Brandice of for the title of this entry.  :-)

Okay, I did it.  I got out and jogged anyway.  (I've noticed that when I'm excited I use the word run.  When I'm not or when I'm discouraged I use the word jog.)  At least I'm not just walking anymore.  ;-)

So I set out thinking I would have to take it step by step, which was going to be fine.  I noticed right away that I felt slower.  At least I was moving at more than a walking pace.  I felt sluggish but I kept pushing through.  I got to 1/2 mile and checked my time - about 7 minutes, which would put me at 14 minutes for the first mile.  Yuck!  I've been doing mile 1 in 10 minutes.  Well, at least I was moving at more than a walking pace.  Mile 1 ended up being 13 minutes and 15 seconds!  Woohoo!  I must've picked up some speed in the second 1/2 mile! 

Slogging through mile 2.  At one point I actually thought about lying down on the living room floor when I was done and having a temper tantrum.  Yeah, I can't picture it either.  I don't have tantrums.  I've never behaved like that.  Sure, I get frustrated sometimes but I don't throw myself down kicking and screaming.  This turned into a conversation with God.  He confirmed that, no, I don't behave like that, but I still have pity parties.  He pointed out that I was having one right then.  I cried out for help.  I didn't want to have a pity party.  Or maybe I did.  Sigh. 

Then I turned a corner, literally and figuratively. 

As I turned a corner and headed west, I ran smack into the full moon, still shining brightly even though the sun was coming up and the sky around the moon wasn't dark anymore so there was much less contrast between the moon and its surroundings. 

I already knew but was reminded that the moon has no light of its own.  The light it appears to have [here come the tears as I type] is only what is reflected from the sun (Son).   I stared at the moon and contemplated that until the 1-1/2-mile mark when I had to turn another corner.  I continued that mile, occasionally adding sprints, and finished it in 12:38, 37 seconds faster than I had anticipated based on my 1-mile time! 

Okay, into the 3rd mile and happy.  Y'know, I'm not taking it step by step.  I'm not telling myself I just have to make it to the next tree or to the end of this section then I can stop.  I'm just running.  Or jogging.  Or slogging.  At least I'm not just walking.  Or home sitting.  Or home sleeping. 

I finished the 3 miles in 39:15, averaging 13:05 per mile.  More importantly, though, I finished the 3 miles.  And I finished it with some wisdom from God to ponder and incorporate into my heart and to share with you.

I just plain don't want to

I'm waiting for it to get light enough for me to go out jogging by myself.  It's 6:34 a.m. and still completely dark out.  I don't want to.  I want to go back to bed.  I want to get some work done (not really) so I can earn some money.  I want to...that's about it, actually. 

What I don't want to do is jog.  But 3-1/2 weeks away from my debut race I can't afford not to.  And I took off this past Saturday and Sunday.  I NEVER take off two days in a row.  So I can't afford to take another day off after only one day back. 

I thought that maybe if I re-read some of my first posts it would inspire me to get out there and run.  Here's an excerpt from the first one:

"My reason for taking up this blog again, which I set up 1-1/2 years ago but never did anything with, is to encourage you to allow God to dream big within you so that together you and He can do amazing things, hard things, things that you'd never be able to do on your own. And to encourage you to give Him the glory and credit for them."

I really don't think God's going to do anything amazing with me if I go back to sleep.  Work will still be here when I get back.  I need to just go.  I may need to make each tree I pass a marker.  "Just go to the next tree."  "Just go to the end of this section." 

God, You're going to have dream big within me this morning.

Friday, September 9, 2011

5K Times

Mile 1=10 minutes
Mile 2=14 minutes
Mile 3=16 minutes
Total 40 minutes
Actual course and without 3-pound weights

Mile 1=13:10
Mile 2=13:18
Mile 3=13:08
Total 39:36
Course near my house with 3-pound weights

So I did better WITH weights and feeling slow, like I was moving through water.  I don't get it!  I'll take it, but I don't get it. 

Mile 1=12:?
Mile 2=about 14
Total 26:16
Came home because of lightning
Course near my house without weights

Also, this evening I went to supper with my mom and my daughter.  My Philly cheese steak wrap came with soup and fries. I asked if I could have a salad instead and got it. When the food came, though, there were fries on my plate.  The wrap was VERY hot, so I started munching on the fries while it cooled.  After a few I realized I should stop, so I put the fries on a napkin and the pickle slices on top of them (pickles=yuck). I poured sugar on top of that and slid the napkin away from me so I wouldn't be tempted to eat any more. I thank God that I can start over any time, even after eating a little bit of something. I didn't need to just go ahead and eat them all.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011



When my friend and I met up last Friday to run the race course, I suggested we see if we could run the whole distance.  If we couldn't that would be fine; we still have more than a month before the race to work up to it.  She agreed to try, so we did.  I had already found the 1- and 2-mile marks in my car.  When we hit the 1-mile mark, we were happy.  :-)  When we hit the 2-mile mark we were almost delirious!  :-D  When we finished, we were ecstatic!  :-DD

On Saturday I had time to do only 2 miles, but I did them nonstop and with a 3-pound weight in each hand, which I didn't have on Friday.  On Sunday I did 2 miles at a park with a friend.  It was 2:30 in the afternoon and much hotter than at 6:00 in the morning when I usually go.  Monday I did 3.1 miles with weights near my house then went to fitness class with and did a 45-minute workout.  Today I did 3.5 miles with weights near my house.  I forgot the last few days that I was going for 3.5 miles to overtrain just a little bit so the actual race would be easier. 

Tomorrow we should be back downtown on the course and I'll time us.  I posted some times on Facebook yesterday but now realize they were inaccurate.  I'll post correct times tomorrow. 

I'm gathering scriptures to decide which ones I want to write on the Tshirt I'll be wearing for the race.  This is getting exciting!  October 8 will be here soon!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

2400 Steps!

Oh boy!  What a post this is going to be!  I've registered for The Sunrise Run, my first 5K.  I still go my usual route near my house and increase the running portion by 10 steps per section per week.  I have about 5 weeks until the race and I was secretly wondering if I would get to the point where I'm running the entire distance and not walking at all right before the race and not really have time to get comfortable at that level.  I asked the race organizer for a map of the route so I could run it now because I don't like surprises.  I like to know what's coming and what I need to do.  She sent it to me, and a friend and I and our children have walked/jogged/rollerbladed it a few times.  The first time, my friend and I warmed up a little, ran 500 steps, walked some, ran 500 steps, walked some, etc. for the length of the course.  Not bad.  Stretching the distance a little for me, but very doable.  The next time we upped it to 600 steps each time we ran.  So far so good. 

Over the weekend I was talking to another friend, the one who challenged me to look into The Lord's Table Bible Study at that really jumpstarted my weight loss and through which I allowed God to transform me into a new and different person by changing the way I think (Romans 12:2 in NLT).  He suggested that instead of setting my goal at 500 or 600 steps, I just run until I can't run anymore and see how far I get.  I still needed to count, though, so Monday I suggested to my running friend that since we did 600 steps last week, we go for 1200 this time!  She agreed.  I kept count, calling out every 100 steps, and she kept encouraging us with, "We can do this!  Jesus is the strength in our legs!" and similar phrases.  When we got to 1200 steps we felt like we could continue so we did!  We ended up running 1600 steps that time!  Whew! 

We walked to catch our breath, then decided to go for 1800 steps.  As we hit 1800, neither of us stopped.  She said, "You have 2000 in mind, don't you?!"  I said, "I think I do!"  Then she suggested we run to the bridge we could see in front of us then walk for a while. 

That ended up being 2400 steps!  2400!  A mile is roughly 2000 steps, so we ran for more than a mile without stopping!  We walked a little way then ran to the end of the course, which turned out to be 1250 steps.  Incredible! 

Oh!  And then my daughter and I drove to a park for our fitness class,, and did 45 minutes of that!

Ephesians 3:20 (MSG) - "God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us."

That was Monday.  Today I was back to my usual route near my house.  I made a goal of running the entire first mile.  I did it!  I walked the next section to monitor my heart rate and to catch my breath, then ran the entire second mile (except for that first section)!  I did the same thing for the third mile. 

I ran the entire 3-mile distance except for two short sections!  I can't wait to get together with my friend again tomorrow and see what God can do with us on the race course!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Possibilities and Responsibilities

Normally I don't run on Sundays because I'm fasting, but I wasn't feeling well so I didn't fast today.  I was feeling better by this evening, so I decided to do my run (Notice I don't say walk/jog anymore?  :-)).  I got in half a mile before I saw lightning.  Sigh.  I tried. 

I follow a blog called PriorFatGirl.  Here is an excerpt from the latest post of one of the contributors (actually, the woman in charge of it) to the blog:

"Our server came by just enough to let us know he was still there but not to bombard us with intrusions. When he noticed we were slowing down on our meals, he asked the tempting question surrounding the subject dessert. Would we or wouldn't we? I entertained the thought. I even went so far as to ask for descriptions of heavenly creations and begin the process of elimination deciding which one I wanted in my stomach.

As I looked up at the server, I noticed a monster-sized antique looking door on the wall behind him. A symbol, I'm sure of it. The door represented all I'd hope for, fought for and dreamed of. This door was colorful as if alluding to the promises met on the other side. It also appeared to be a heavy door of which one would need to use all the fight they had to push open. It looked simple yet screamed of strength and power.

The server was calmly waiting to fulfill my dessert dreams but my thought process revolving the door helped me realize my stomach was truly satisfied. I had bread and chickpea spread and honey butter. I had udon noodles with a spicy peanut sauce and chicken and an egg. I was satisfied and did not need dessert. {Trust me, I'll talk plenty in the future of dinners when I decide dessert is the perfect end to an evening.} As the server walked away, I looked up as if my decision had been influenced from above. A wall full of mismatched framed mirrors looked down at me.

I smiled and snapped a photo. Doors and mirrors. An entrance to possibilities and a reminder of responsibility. Out in the real world, healthiness exists. We just have to slow down and take a breath long enough for it to make its presence known to us. Blackbird Cafe gives us the space we need to take a breath long enough for us to slow down in a fast paced world. It is a reminder we can be healthy by looking in the mirror and seeing ourselves making responsible decisions."

Isn't it cool that God showed her that?!  I certainly see Him at work here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I can't do this without help. And I'm not. :-)

I took yesterday off from my jog. It stormed when I would've run anyway. Today I did 2 sections plus 110 steps, almost another complete section. On one section I was thinking about things and went to almost 120 steps! And as I approached another I looked ahead and prepped myself by saying, "Jog one, jog two, plus 180." 180????????!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah, that's what I said to myself!

Sometimes I wonder why I do this because, honestly, I don't like the process of jogging and I definitely don't like sweating.  What I like are the results of jogging and of pushing myself (gently) beyond what I think I'm capable of.  Clearly, I'm meant to continue jogging and not stop.  Maybe I'll even expand beyond 3.1 miles when these three 5Ks are over (but you didn't hear that from me!  Not yet, anyway!)

Unrelated to that, I was at my mom and dad's house and decided to see what was in their fridge.  Today is a liquid day for me with one solid meal, which I already had.  But I was hungry.  There was a bucket of KFC chicken and (this all happened in less than a second) I fully intended to get a piece.  Just as quickly as I made that decision, I smelled it.  Even though it wasn't rotten, the smell to me.  And I heard a voice say, "No, you won't." 

So I didn't.  But I'm still hungry.  Matthew West is on the radio right now singing The Motions, one of the songs that helped me through my 20-day fast.  I have a line from that song on one of my workout T-shirts, "I don't want to spend my whole life asking, 'What if I had given everything?' instead of going through the motions."

Help me continue to resist, God. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sweat is Beautiful

I follow a blog called Prior Fat Girl and one of the contributors is doing a project called Sweat is Beautiful.  She asked people to send in pictures of themselves after a workout, so I did.  I even told her that sweat is ageless too and that I'm almost 42.  Imagine!  Here's the picture:

Now, I'm not going to send this picture to a modeling agency, even a plus-size one!  But the fact that I took a picture of myself looking like this and posted it for all of cyberspace to see is testimony to how far God has brought me.  If this was just a random picture, I would've deleted it from my camera, but there is a purpose for it.  Sweat isn't beautiful in the Hollywood sense but I'm moving my body and disciplining it like in 1 Corinthians 9:27.  "I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should."

That verse and the one before it in The Message read like this:  "I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got. No sloppy living for me! I'm staying alert and in top condition. I'm not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself."

So if disciplining my body produces sweat and flushing, so be it.  I'm okay with that.  :-)

Monday, August 1, 2011


I just registered for my very first race, the Sunrise Run!  I'm excited!  I'll be running the 5K on October 8 at 7:15 a.m. and you are ALL invited!  If you want more information, go here:

I'm excited that this will be my first run because the whole purpose of this run is to glorify God!  And that's my whole purpose for living and running! 

I can't wait to hug you all when I cross the finish line all sweaty and teary!  And I won't mind if you take my picture looking like that because I will have earned every drop of sweat and every tear!  I'm tearing up right now just typing this.  I want to go out and run NOW.  Um, but it's 9:15 p.m. and I hear thunder so I won't.  Only 9 more hours until I can go out and run! 

This is quite a different post from this morning's, isn't it?!

Man, it's hot out there!

Just as my daughter and I were leaving for exercise class this morning she got a call that it was canceled due to lightning.  Oh.  Okay.  Now I can finish my work from yesterday and it won't be as late as it would've been if I'd let it wait until we got back from class.  When work was done and turned in, about 9:30, I decided to do my run since we didn't have class.  It's BRUTALLY HOT out there.  It's bad enough to jog at 6:30 in the morning but 9:30 is just ridiculous!  Yogi Berra used to say that 90% of the game is 50% mental.  Yeah.  Think about it.  What he meant was that football or jogging or anything physical isn't just physical.  It's also mental.  Boy, I found that out today.  This week I'm jogging 2 sections plus 100 steps.  One week I do an ABA pattern (mile 1, then mile 2 is turned 90 degrees, then mile 1 again).  The next week I do a BAB pattern just to keep my mind fresh.  I like routine but not ruts.  A little change is a good thing.  This morning, though, I was really battling my mind that thought I was crazy for jogging in the heat and humidity.  I wanted to stop like I haven't wanted to in months!  After one section I thought I was supposed to turn but I was really supposed to go straight.  It took only about 15 seconds to figure it out in my head,, it was BRUTALLY HOT out there!  I had to make myself do at least this section.  If I wanted to quit after that, fine, but I had to try.  And the next section.  And 100 more steps. 

After about half a mile of that, I did stop.  I went 2 miles total.  And that's okay.  Tomorrow is another day.  At least I did 2.  That's more than if I'd not gone at all.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Letter from my body to me

Dear Michele,

Thank you for all you've done to get me healthier these past two years.  Even though I protest some when you deny me so much food and when you exercise, I really do appreciate it.  Really.  Keep it up! 

I do have a concern, however.  When you deny me food for 24 hours it's going to take longer for me to recover than the time you gave me today.  I know you gave me some food twice today, but then you went and swam a crazy long distance.  Twice!  Honey, I'm a 41-year-old body and you didn't push me this hard when I was 21!  Take it easy, woman! 

Now get off the computer and let me rest so I can work for you in exercise class tomorrow morning, okay? 

Thank you,

Your body

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On the parts of my route where I jog the whole section, I don't count my steps.  This is the time when I can pray or think.  On the parts where I do count my steps, though, I also have a focal point in the distance.  It helps me stay focused (hence the name :-)).  I make my focal point something God-made, like a tree, rather than something man-made, and I make it the highest thing I can see.  On one section there's a massive oak tree directly in front of me, so that's my focal point.  I actually use the trunk of the tree for the first half of my count and then move up to the leafy part for the second half.  That breaks up the counting and (here's where the spiritual/life lesson gets good) reminds me to keep going and reach higher.  I've been doing this for a long time but just recently realized that above and beyond that massive oak tree, which God put there so it's a good thing, there's another tree, higher than the massive one but not as visible.  That's what I focus on now.  There's nothing wrong with the massive tree, but it's not as high as I could go. 

There's an old song by Steven Curtis Chapman that I partly identify with - See the Glory. Here are the pertinent lyrics:

I never did like the word mediocre

I never wanted it to be said of me, oh, no

Just point me to the top and I'd go over, over

Looking for the very best I could be

Philippians 3:14b-16 - “I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.”

(Thanks to my daughter, Brianne, for editing this picture. :-X)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


5:30 a.m.  Uuuuunnnnhhhh.  I do NOT want to get out of bed. 

You'd never know I went to bed at 9:30 and was asleep before 10, would you?  Almost 8 full hours of sleep.  (Thank You, God!)  But I still didn't want to get out of bed this morning.  And my lower back hurt.  It would've been so easy to just skip jogging today.  As I sat on the edge of the bed I wondered how this is supposed to give God glory.  Wouldn't it be more glorious if I jumped up and could barely contain myself as I got dressed and put my shoes on?  Wouldn't it be glorious if I was so excited I started running in place in the living room as I waited for it to get light enough to go outside?  Maybe.  It certainly would be exciting and fun to write about.  But that's not what happened this morning and it's not what has been happening for quite a while now. 

Is drudgery glorious?  Is doing what I know I need to do and what is good for my body even when I don't feel like it glorious?  As I jogged and walked, God encouraged me to blog about this.  The good, fun, exciting times and the blah times when I feel like it makes no difference. 

Stephen Curtis Chapman's new song that's all over the radio is called "Do Everything."

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor

for the 15th time today

Matching up socks and sweeping up lost

Cheerios that got away

You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips

and head out the door

And while I may not know you I bet I know you

Wonder sometimes does it matter at all

We’ll let me remind you it all matters just as long as you

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you

Cause He made you to do

Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face

And tell the story of grace

With every move that you make

And every little thing you do

OOoh ooooh oooooh

Maybe you’re that guy with the suit and tie

Maybe your shirt says your name

You may be hooking up mergers, cooking up burgers

But at the end of the day

Little stuff big stuff in between stuff

God sees it all the same

And while I may not know you I bet I know you

Wonder sometimes does it matter at all

We’ll let me remind you it all matters just as long as you do

Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you

Cause He made you

To do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face

And tell the story of grace with every move that you make

And every little thing that you do

Well maybe you’re sitting in math class

Maybe on a mission in the Congo

Maybe you’re working at the office

Singing along with the radio

Maybe you’re dining at a five star

Or feeding orphans in Myanmar

Anywhere and everywhere you are

Whatever you do it all matters

So do what you do and don’t ever forget

to do

Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you

Cause He made you to do

Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face

And tell the story of grace as you do

Everything you do to the glory of the One who made you

Cause He made you to do

Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face

And tell the story of grace with every move that you make

And every little thing that you do

Ooh oooooh

Every little thing you do

So I'll keep getting out of bed or dragging myself out of bed if necessary and jogging, helping Brianne with math, transcribing, thrift shopping, and doing whatever I do to the glory of the One who made me.  Some days it will be by sheer faith that I do it because I can't see how it can possibly be glorious.  I'll just trust God that it is.      :-)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Part of My Jogging Route


A few months ago I said I would try to post pictures of my jogging route. I can't take the camera with me when I'm jogging and I'm always too busy to go out and take pictures another time. Or it's too hot. Well, I finally did it the other day. This is two of 36 jogging sections on my 3-mile route. From where I'm standing to the end of where the road appears to be white is 2 sections, about 300 steps. I jog that, turn the corner, and this coming week will jog 30 more steps. Then I'll walk for the rest of that section and jog another two sections like this plus 30 more steps, etc. for 3 miles. Anyone want to join me? ;-) Really.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

God is better than Dr Pepper!

Have I learned yet? For the last several months, the Dr Pepper I used to LOVE just has done nothing for me. Occasionally I'll get it when I'm out somewhere but it still does nothing for me. I bought some for the girls' sleepover last night and this morning (after my jog) thought I'd try a can to see if maybe it was different. Soda does taste different depending on what kind of container it comes in or if it's from a fountain. I had maybe 1/4 of a can that I had poured into a glass with ice. Nope. Nothing. It tasted like Dr Pepper, sure, but there was no "Welcome home!" rejoicing of my tastebuds. I poured the rest out. Psalms 19:10 (my version) God's Words are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than Dr Pepper, even Dr Pepper in a glass with ice. :-) I can stop looking for that elusive taste I used to crave. God took it away!

Monday, June 6, 2011


I never thought I was competitive.  I never was on a sports team growing up, and when playing board games I don't mind if other people win.  When my daughter was younger, I had to stop the Punch Buggy game because if someone else saw one before she did, she'd get furious!  The game wasn't worth her attitude. 

At exercise class this morning, though, as we were running around the cones for warmup, I happened to start out ahead of everyone.  It wasn't like we were all together at the beginning, I just started first.  On the last leg the second time around, I heard footsteps behind me and realized it was my daughter.  I said, "Don't even think about it, little girl!"  But she thought about it.  She pulled ahead and finished just before me. 

Hmmmm...maybe there is some competitive spirit inside me.  We'll see at my first 5K.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Battling The Flesh

The last week or so has been very "light" spiritually. I miss my heavy spiritual days. I feel distant from God and heavy and bloated physically. :cry: I've been feeling hungry a lot lately so I've eaten more. Small amounts at a time but probably more overall. I just don't have time in my schedule to plan sit-down meals or meals at all. We have food but not meals. I'm missing sleep, but that's nothing new. I'm looking forward to next week when I'll have some time off from work for the homeschool convention and just in general. SLEEP!  

I remember back when I had the most success with losing weight. It was when I was relentless in denying my flesh. I got tired of that and thought I could loosen up a little. I guess I can't. Yesterday I decided to stretch my denying time to two hours after I first feel hungry. I'm going to read back over old posts, blogs, journal entries, and Bible verses to rekindle the spark I used to have.

I need more of Jesus and less of Michele! ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2 Miles!

I'm now jogging 2 miles and walking 1!  : )

It's still not 2 miles all together, but I'm getting there!  I used to wonder what it would be like when I had only one section to walk and recover between jogging sections.  Now I know.  It's not so bad.   On the other hand, these last two days of jogging 2 and walking 1 have been difficult to actually jog.  I feel sluggish.  It's probably the few pounds that have crept on.  : ((((  Yes, I've gained a few pounds because I've been compromising and eating small amounts more than I need to lately.  I'm back on track but feeling the consequences of those decisions.  Siiiigggghhhh.  Just being honest.  Thank You, God, for forgiveness!

Another reason for the gain is very likely lack of sleep.  I've also asked God to keep showing me how to make wise decisions with my time so I don't have to be up so late and early working.  I have some off time coming up later this month to go to the homeschool convention and I'm looking forward to sleeping more than 4 or 5 hours a night!

More of Jesus, Less of Michele.  More of Jesus, Less of Michele.  More of Jesus, Less of Michele.  : )

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lessons In A Wave Pool

I often feel like I'm in a wave pool.  Not a mud pool with yucky, dirty sin overwhelming me but nice, clean parenting, work, homeschooling, housekeeping, ministry, friends, family, LIFE! coming as wave after wave after wave.  I can swim just fine, sure would be nice to just rest in a calm pool.    God doesn't see fit to move me right now, though, apparently.  So here I stay and try to praise God in the waves.  

Brianne and I went to Adventure Island Friday and I wanted to see if God would have anything to say to me in an actual wave pool.  The first time I walked into it I heard, "Just go with it."  Just go with the waves and don't try to fight them.  I remembered part of a passage of scripture, "the unforced rhythms of grace."  It's Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message.   "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Friday was a liquid day and I'd had a smoothie before we left the house and had more of it on the way over.  I planned to eat a regular meal at Adventure Island then smoothie after we got home and the rest of the day.  Of course, I would listen to my body and if I needed more solid food than that one meal since it would be such a physical day, I would have more.  My smoothie consisted of two bananas, milk, cinnamon, a few grapes, and an apple.  The second thing I heard in the waves was, "Don't attempt this on just the milk of the Word."  In other words, don't attempt to be in the thick of the waves of life nourished on only easy-to-swallow liquids.  I could stay in only a few minutes the first time then had to get out and get some solid nourishment in me.  You can't expect to handle big waves unless you've first chewed on something substantial and allowed it to permeate and do its job.      

Those are the lessons I learned in a wave pool. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Inspirational T-shirt

I finally did it!  This looks less...impressive...than I imagined it.  Oh well, I did it.  Come race day, I may be less impressive than I imagine.  Oh well, I will have done it!.  For God's glory! 

It's not easy to write on fabric, BTW.  : )

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Future Is Here!

The title of the previous post was Glimpses Of The Future.  I wrote that I found myself sometimes running past my planned number of steps last week.  Today was the first day of running +140 steps and twice I found myself going past that.  What's going on here?!  Usually I'm carefully counting the steps and I know the 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 numbers so I can keep myself motivated.  Each time I went past my planned steps, my mind was distracted and thinking about something else.  Why?  Evidently, I'm capable of running more than +140 steps, at least sometimes.  God is pushing me...and...I don't mind it.  :) (as long as He's doing the pushing and not just myself or someone else).

There's nothing wrong with my plan of increasing by 10 steps each section each week, but I need to hold that plan loosely and let God change it if He sees fit.  

What a ride this life of faith is!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Glimpses of the future

On two different jogging sections yesterday, I found myself going 140 extra steps.  Wait!  No!  That's next week's number; this week's is 130! 

I'm getting there, maybe faster than I'd planned. 

Hebrews 12:1b - "...let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." (emphasis mine)

He's pushing me in spite of myself.  And even though I protest a little at first, once I think about it I really don't mind.  My feet are in Your hands, God!  : ) 

I don't need easy.  I just need possible.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No Compromise Necessary

I ate supper this evening about 6:00, a piece of chicken I had slow cooked in Italian dressing marinade and some rice that I made in the rice cooker with the marinade.  Yummy!  But I didn't get my jog in this morning and if I was going to get it in at all today, I needed to start by 7 so I could be done before it got too dark.  At 7 I was still quite full from supper and didn't think it was wise to jog on a full stomach.  I decided to at least start walking and see what happened.  I came to the first jogging section and decided to take it very slowly.  I didn't get sick!  Yay!  On the next jogging section I decided to try for my normal pace.  I could almost do it!  I jogged every section I was supposed to for as long as I was supposed to and didn't get sick!  Now, I don't recommend this, and I won't be doing it again if I can help it, but it's nice to know I can if I need to.  I didn't need to compromise. 

I didn't need to compromise. 

I didn't need to compromise. 

Let me say it one more time.  I didn't need to compromise. 

: )

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I don't need easy. I just need possible.

I took Brianne and her friend to see Soul Surfer the other night after prom.  Midnight showing.  Seeing it any other time of day (like in the afternoon when it's cheaper) would've been fine.  Anyway...time aside, I highly recommend the movie.  It's based on events in the life of Bethany Hamilton, a pro surfer in Hawaii.  In an interview she said the movie is very accurate and not much was changed to make it more marketable to Hollywood.  Bethany had her left arm bitten off by a shark and came back to compete again after wrestling with questions like, "Why, God?"

"It won't be easy," she's told, to get back up on that board and compete without the strength and balance of one of her arms.

"I don't need easy," she responds. "I just need possible."

That's my new saying.  Jogging isn't easy and the excitement of having a new goal has worn off.  Now the drudgery has set in.  Maybe writing Bible verses and lines like Bethany's on a T-shirt like I planned to do will help.  I have the shirt, I just haven't gotten around to doing it.

I don't need easy.  I just need possible.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Who Am I, Really?

Today is a liquid day. I had a smoothie for breakfast, a solid lunch, and another smoothie or two this afternoon. Even though this isn't part of today's plan, I just (8:00) had about 3 small strawberries dipped in chocolate. Then...I...stopped...because...I...really...was...full. I...didn't...want...them.  I'm the Strawberry Queen for goodness' sake!
No, I'm God's princess for goodness' sake! That's my real identity!  : )

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm Not Perfect

Right now Chris Tomlin is on the radio singing, "Your grace is enough"!!!!!!!!!!

I'm feeling weak spiritually today because work is piling up and it's now 10:36 and I haven't exercised yet. I'm off to do that now in the heat. : (  Earlier, though, I ate a bowl of strawberries dipped in chocolate. It has certainly taken away the hunger I had, but I could've had just the berries. On the other hand, I wait all year for this. I don't buy strawberries

[Now JoyFM is playing From the Inside Out by Hillsong, one of my favorite worship songs. It starts out, "A thousand times I failed, still your mercy remains..."]

from the store since I discovered how good they are when I pick them myself, and if I thaw frozen ones, they're mushy. I have a very small window to enjoy fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate. Did I overeat, though? I could've had half the bowl earlier and half later, so yeah, I guess I did. I'm sorry, God. Please forgive me for overdoing it.

I know You have, and I thank You.  : )

Now Matt Redman is singing, "You never let go, through the calm and through the storm.  Oh no, You never let go, through every high and every low"!!  It's like God orchestrated the last few songs to play right as I'm typing this! 

Sigh.  : )  & <3 p="">
Now, on God's playlist for me (!), is Steven Curtis Chapman singing, "I'm divin' in, I'm goin' deep, in over my head I want to be, caught in the rush, lost in the flow in over my head I wanna go.  The river's deep, the river's wide, the river's water is alive.  So sink or swim I'm diving in!

This tells me that I messed up, I repented, and now God is saying, "Get back in the water, Michele.  You love it here.  In fact, come out where it's deeper, where the water's over your head.  Depend on me to hold you up.  Walk and jog now, then go to the beach later to swim out past the buoys.  THEN you can come home and work.  Let's go see what I [God] am capable of first, though."