Monday, December 17, 2012

I Ran My First 10K!

Here's Calvary Chapel's Running Team before the race:

We all gathered at the start line, 5Kers and 10Kers in a combined start.  I was excited when they asked the 10Kers to move to the left (the faster lane!) before the race began. And we're off! I had adrenaline helping me get up the hill and for the first 1 or 2 tenths of a mile. Then my body protested. It usually does, especially at the beginning of an actual race when my pace is determined by adrenaline and the people around me. At first it's really slow, almost a walk, then I match the people running nearby. That never lasts more than a minute, though! I soon settled into my normal pace. People began passing me, but that was okay. I wasn't trying to win. We rounded a corner and neared the bridge. The Bridge. The Huge Bridge. The huge bridge that I've run a dozen times. Before the race there was heavy fog, so much that we couldn't see the bridge from the park and it's very close. As I crested the bridge I looked out to see the water but I couldn't see it because the fog was so thick.

This isn't an actual picture of it since I didn't have my camera with me and wouldn't have stopped during an actual race to take a picture anyway. It was this thick, though.

I was a little sad about not being able to see God's creation of sky and water. He then reminded me that fog is His creation too. Oh yeah. It is! He was closer to me, enveloping me, than if I had been able to see and marvel at His other creations like I was expecting to. He reminded me that pilots learn to fly by sight and then by what their instruments tell them even when they can’t see the sky/horizon/earth. I was running by faith, not able to see much of what was around me but knowing it was still there.

Downhill was not as fun with hundreds of people around. I couldn't open up as much as I would've liked. We approached the 5K turnaround. I felt like part of an elite club when I continued on and didn’t turn around. J

I wasn't paying attention to my music as much with so many people around. People were passing me but I didn’t mind (too much). We turned north at the roundabout. The directions and map said that the 10K turnaround was a little past Bay Esplanade so I went about a block past in training. Apparently “a little” to the race organizers is about *4* blocks! That added another minute or two to my total time. Wait. If that added a minute or two to my time and if I finished 42 seconds faster than the one and only time I ran the entire distance in training, then I finished quite a bit faster than expected! I used the calculator on my phone and it said that my pace was 13:22 instead of 13:30 like it had been, but that’s incorrect. Well, not incorrect; actually I interpreted it incorrectly. First, I didn’t take into account what I just told you about the longer distance and shorter time. Second, I forgot to convert seconds (time) to tenths (distance). Or something like that. 82 minutes divided by 6.2 miles equals 13.22, which is 13 minutes and 12 seconds per mile, not 13 minutes and 22 seconds. So I went faster in addition to going longer! I like that!
Somewhere around mile 3-1/2 I felt like I could go on like this forever. That almost always happens but not always in the same place. The first few seconds I run I feel powerful. Then my body realizes what I’m requiring of it and protests. NO!!! STOP NOW!!! When I don’t stop, my body realizes it better kick it into gear. It does, in its 43-year-old obese way. Then I tend to stay in that zone for the majority of the run except for some occasional bursts of speed that last for a few seconds.
At about mile 4-1/2 a lady said she liked the back of my shirt:
Going up the bridge at mile 5 was tough, as it always is. I didn’t slow to a walk, though. It might have looked like I did, but I didn’t. J I went down the spiral thinking that this race was almost over. As I crested the last uphill the woman in front of me turned around and asked if I was Michele Ervin. She is a member of my church’s running team but we had never met. We ran the last 0.3 miles together, which was nice.

As I turned the last corner and began the downhill path to the finish line (I love that they structured the course that way!), I saw my family and friends waiting! That and the downhill slope caused me to run faster!

I even disconnected the cord from my MP3 player, raised both arms into the air, and ran that way for a few yards! Victory! My first 10K completed without injury! I'll do another post when I get some more of the pictures they took. 
I crossed the finish line at 1:21:58 according to my watch. 
The official records say 1:22:10.  I came in 56th out of 61 women in my age group in the 10K.  I didn't finish last!  I came in 613th out of 638 total runners in the 10K. 
People say that we need to get out of the way and let God work, but I think many people don't know how to do that. It can be difficult to understand what our responsibility is and what God's responsibility is and not get the two confused. In running it's a little easier than it may be in other situations. I know I have to dress appropriately, move my feet, pump my arms, make my lungs expand, practice, set goals, push myself, etc. Then when race day comes I have to take my concerns that I'm not fully prepared, set them aside, and let God do what He does best. Show Himself. He didn't show his power in making it so that I won the race or even my age group, and I didn't expect Him to. I won by running faster than this woman

That makes me a winner in my opinion no matter what the official results say.  J 



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Be Still and Know That I Am God

Since Friday’s run when I ran the entire 10K distance, the soles of my feet have been hurting.  I’ve never had this happen before; it just came on all of a sudden.  I’ve been using a wooden roller,


standing on ice packs,

and resting my feet.

I cancelled yesterday’s long run and rested instead.  I was going to run the whole course again.  This means that by the time Saturday comes I will have run the entire thing only once.  That makes me wonder if I’ll be able to do it then.  I know I said there’s no shame in walking part of it, but I really don’t want to. 
I was planning to run just 3.1 like usual with my running partner this morning and Thursday but she texted me last night and said she’s going out of town in the morning and can’t run.  I could run on my own but I took that as a sign from God that I need to rest. 

Psalms 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God. 
For a couple years God has been sending me this verse every once in a while.  Yeah, yeah, God, I’m trying to be still and know that You are God, but it’s really hard for a single, homeschooling, working mom to be still.  I’m TRYYYYYIIIIIING!!! 

This is about Me, not you, Michele.  You stand back, be still, and let Me shine. 
Okay, God.  I know You’ll be using my legs and my lungs on Saturday, but I want people to see You, not me. 

We’ll see if I run 3.1 on Thursday.  If God again tells me to rest - to be still and know that He is God - I will.  Then it’ll really be Him showing Himself when I run the race because I will have run the full distance only once and will not have run for 8 days since then.  I won’t feel prepared.  I’ll wonder if I can do it.  I’ll have to depend on God to see me through and be the strength in my legs.  And that’s what He wants.  I could run the race in my own strength.  Many people will.  But then God wouldn’t get the glory.  And He won’t share His glory with anyone.  If I could say I did this race on my own, my whole purpose for running would be lost.  I’m doing this to show what God can do with an obese, middle-aged woman who lets Him have His way. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I Ran The Full 10K Distance!

I was supposed to run for 80 minutes on the 10K course this morning (Friday) and walk the rest, but I didn’t. 

I ran 82 minutes and the entire course!  The 80 minutes came during a song called Yes We Can by Me In Motion.  
How could I stop with a song like that playing?!  I decided to run until that song was over but then I was so close to the finish line I decided to just run the whole way!  One hour 22 minutes and 40 seconds. 
I’m tired now. 

But my God can do big things.  The last day or so I’ve wondered why I signed up for this 10K race and why I didn’t do the 5-mile run on Honeymoon Island next month or the 8K at Gasparilla in February first and work my up to a 10K.  I didn’t think I was ready and that I had taken too big a leap.  I was definitely feeling my humanity and my femininity.  What had I gotten myself into?  God knew, though.  And He knew that He was ready even though I didn’t think I was.  I just needed to get myself out of the way and let Him be the strength in my legs. 
I’m inviting all of you to my race next Saturday, December 15, at 8:00 a.m. at Coachman Park in Clearwater.  It would be so encouraging to have friends and family spaced out along the course in addition to at the start and finish line.  Signs are welcome!  Let me know if you can be there.  Here’s the link:
And here's a map of the course. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Why Am I Running a 10K?

At the end of our run Thursday, I was telling my running partner that my first 10K is in just over two weeks.  She said, “I don’t know why you want to do a 10K.”  That got me trying to remember my reasons for doing this.  I want to increase my distance because endurance is the part of running I do best.  I’m not fast and my form isn’t something people admire.  A famous runner said, “I don’t just go out there and run.  I like to give people watching something exciting.”  That famous runner was not me.  J  But there has to be more to it than that.  I began running to allow God to dream big within me so that He and I could do amazing things, hard things, things that I’d never be able to do on my own.  And boy have we!  I’ve done six official 5Ks and run that distance several times a week for almost 1-1/2 years.  I covered that distance with a combination of walking and running for six months before that.  A few years ago I didn’t even want to walk one mile because it was too hot or I didn’t want to take the time. 
So I want to move on from 5Ks because I endure.  And to show what God can do in a person who lets Him have His way, whatever that way is.  Hence, a 10K (which is 6.2 miles). 

On the course yesterday morning my goal was to run for 65 minutes and then walk the rest of the way.  I realized that the first 3 miles or so are easy.  Well of course they are!  I run that twice a week!  No sweat!  (I mean no problem.  Believe me, there is sweat.  J)    Even running another mile or so isn’t too difficult.  After that I start running out of my own strength and have to rely on God’s.  That’s where it gets interesting.  As I neared the bridge on the return trip, I wondered if my 65 minutes would end while I was on the bridge and I started to think of options.  One was that I could stop then and walk the rest of the way but I wouldn’t get to run downhill.  Another was that I could continue running the uphill to earn the fun downhill, even though that would put me over 65 minutes of running.  I’ve become a person who doesn’t shy away from a hard task, so I decided to keep running until I was done with the downhill.  This thought process took a few minutes and I was at 64:something and part way up before I decided I would keep running.  That trek up the bridge was HARD!  It felt like I was going so slow that I was walking sometimes.  (I wasn’t.)  I even got tears in my eyes.  Were they from the sun I was running directly into, the cold wind I was running directly into, or the figurative brick wall I was running directly into?  Whichever, there they were.  I thought of a verse I wrote on a running shirt, Psalms 34:1 – "My lungs expand with His praise!"  During all this, DC Talk’s ‘Jesus Freak’ kept me going.  So did David Crowder Band’s ‘Foreverandever, etc” because it felt like the uphill climb was taking forever. 
When I meet other runners or bicyclists going in the opposite direction sometimes we smile or say good morning and sometimes we don’t.  About this time a man was coming toward me and I could tell he wanted to say something so I continued to look at him rather than away.  He held up his hand so we could high five!  I’ve never had a stranger do that before!  It gave me the energy to keep running.  I never really noticed the leveling off at the top of the bridge, but I did begin to notice the downhill increase in speed.  I even held my arms out to my sides for a few seconds as if I could fly!  That makes it even more fun!  I ran to the end of the spiral and checked my time. 

71 minutes.  Six minutes longer than I’d planned to run.  I even ran past what was going to be next Monday’s goal – 70 minutes.  (Next Monday’s goal is now 75.) 
So I run to show what God can do when I let Him have His way and to encourage others to let Him have His way in their lives.