Still Running

I ran in the Worldwide WordPress 5K yesterday. I wish I could say it was a great run.

But it wasn’t. I planned to run 5 1/2 miles but I cut the run short because I felt terrible. My legs hurt. I couldn’t get my breathing right. And my arms even hurt at one point. It was my worst feeling run to date. But I got the 3.1 miles in.

fullsizerender-7Since last year a lot of good things have happened with my running. I run regularly and longer distances and at a faster pace. I ran an 8K in May. I finished a Spartan Race in August and I will run my first 10K in October.

Most importantly I will run tomorrow and I will run my planned 5 1/2 miles. Even if hurts.

Because I want to get better at this.

 

 

 

 

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Quest

 

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Photo by Ty Griffith

We all know what it’s like to look for something. Sometimes the thing we’re looking for is lost. We had it….but lost it……so we search for it. Like keys or a receipt or your wallet.

Those things aren’t lost really. We just forget where we put them.

Sometimes the thing we’re looking for isn’t a thing at all. It’s a feeling. Or answers. Or a memory. Or truth.

I’ve heard of people trying to find themselves. I think they mean they’re trying to figure out who they are and where they fit into this big world and maybe they’re trying to make sense of it all.

We’ve all searched. We all have a sense of longing……..for something we can’t quite name.

So we travel the world and see all there is to see.

We seek adventure and hike the highest peaks and explore deep waters and jump out of airplanes.

We get the PhD from the best university.

We build a career that lets us make plenty of money so we can drive the best cars and dine at the finest restaurants and have an extra house at the beach.

We buy the trendiest outfits, dye our hair, get implants and tattoos, have our stomachs stapled and noses reshaped.

We marry that guy or that girl and when it doesn’t work out we move on to the next one that is supposed to make us happy.

When those things don’t work we self-medicate to numb the ache.

Different thrill. New place. Bigger house. More stuff.

But the search continues because none of those things, not one of them, eases the ache inside.

The longing remains.

C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord….  Jeremiah 29:11-14a  (NIV)

In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge Quest.

 

 

 

 

See it Through

In the mid 1990s I watched my dad learn a whole new way of doing his work. The company he worked for did what most companies did at that time and upgraded the way of doing things to computers and software and transmitting data through the Internet. He’d always used his mechanical pencils, triangular ruler, other items I never knew the names of and his calculator to get the numbers. And he was good at it too. Dad was just fine with his old school ways of estimating.  img_4352

But the bulky computer came anyway. It sat on a hand-built shelf atop Dad’s drafting table. He built the shelf after he accepted the new way.

But it took a while. A long while.

This computer stuff and the email and the downloading files and working out the glitches frustrated my dad. A lot. He thought he was too old to learn the new ways. He thought about quitting. He wanted to give up.

But he didn’t. He stuck with it even when he couldn’t see how it would ever work. And he had that job until the day he died. That job enabled him to work from his home office for years while he cared for Mom. The frustrating technology and new way of doing things that Dad resisted so much at first was the exact blessing he needed later.

Dad stayed the course. He persevered. He stuck it out.

My parents were “see it through” kind of people.

My dad beat his addiction to alcohol. That doesn’t happen if you give up.

Mom stayed with Dad through a lot of painful years of marriage. Fifty-one years don’t happen unless you see it through.

Thank God I have some of that grit too.

Have you hit hard times? Don’t know how you’re going to make it through another day?

Want to give up, give in or quit the whole thing?

See it through my weary friend!  See it through!

 

“But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”      Hebrews 10:39  NIV 

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The Edge

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At the edge of my grandmother’s yard there was a rock wall that separated our yard from hers. My little sister and I jumped over those rocks a thousand times. We used the rock wall as a hurdle in the pretend race courses we created.

“Run around the pecan tree and back to the barn, from the barn to the apple tree then run and jump over the rock wall. To the gravel road back through the yard over the rock wall and down to the pines. Climb the mimosa tree and down the mimosa tree then up the gravel road to the mailbox. Whoever touches the mailbox first wins.”

I can’t remember who won most of the time. Maybe we took turns winning. I do remember that when we finished the course we felt we’d done something big. Our rock wall hurdle seemed tall way back then.

The rocks are still there……exactly as they were when I was a little girl. Now I can step over those large old rocks with ease.  img_4544

The rocks haven’t changed.

But I have.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”         Colossians 2:7

Midnight

Sometimes you’re allowed a glimpse of the deepest parts of someone’s heart. That happened late last night. My oldest daughter and I talked.

About life. About deep things. Needed things. Good things and hard things.

It seems like the late hours are when hearts are most open. Maybe we’re too tired to keep our guards up. Or even better, the guards completely go away. Either way, it’s a beautiful thing.

Staying up late to see deep into a heart is worth it every time.

Full-Time

Midnight.

That’s when I crawled into bed last night. The red numbers on my alarm clock glared at me, reminding me that it was way past my bedtime.img_4537

But my sleepy eyes couldn’t steal the smile off my face. And my drained body couldn’t take away the fullness of my heart.

I was very tired when I got home. It was a busy workday, then I led a ladies’ group for two hours. On the quiet drive home, I thought of the few things I needed to do before I went to bed. I decided they could wait.

My plan was to chat with my family, change into my pajamas, wash my face, brush my teeth, then go to bed.

My husband and youngest daughter followed me into the bedroom. They were still chatty. We sat there, talked about our day in more detail, laughed and yawned. My husband got…

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Together

After months of training for a race like I’ve never run before…..I ran the course and finished.

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Photo by Pam Barksdale

And I finished well.

The race was 4.22 miles with 22 obstacles and it was amazing.

It was the teamwork. The encouragement. The ability to do more than I thought I could. It was strangers offering a hand or a knee to help and me offering one in return. It was how I pushed myself. It was conquering fears and obstacles and it was watching others conquer fears and obstacles. It was hard and eye-opening. It was humbling and heart-opening too.

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Photo by Pam Barksdale

Running a Spartan Sprint was a good thing to do on a Saturday morning.

I almost missed it though. In short, a wrong map took us to the wrong place. We turned around and took the right map to the right place and finally arrived at the military base where the race was held. But 100,000 slow moving vehicles were between me and where I needed to be (not really that many but it seemed like it). I jumped out of my husband’s truck, sprinted a mile to the registration tent, picked up my racers pack and made it to the starting line in time.

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Photo by Pam Barksdale

This race was more than just a race for me. I learned a great deal about myself and others and the importance of doing new things and taking on challenges but two things really stand out.

Training made a significant difference in my race. And not only my race……but getting to the race in time. I ran the mile to make the race with no problem because I was prepared. I trained with other women every Saturday morning for months leading up to the race but I worked out on my own 5 times a week. Our Saturdays were great but not enough to prepare me adequately. I was consistent and disciplined in my own preparation and it made all the difference in my race…..in my confidence going into it and in how I performed.

The other major lesson learned is that we are better together. The women I trained with were a constant source of encouragement as we prepared for the race. We lifted each other up on our bad days, cheered our victories, and talked down our fears. We held each other accountable.

I made it to the starting line on time because two friends helped me get my gear and chip timer on and made sure I was hydrated before we started.

And  I could not have finished the race well without my racing partners. We stayed together throughout the entire race. 57b90c27a0898a9211ffdb19-oThey pushed me and lifted me (they literally lifted me at one point). We laughed. We strained. We cheered and helped each other. We cheered and helped other racers. We joked at all the mud and we raced with all our hearts.

Together.

The encouragement from these women…..the help, the drive, the smiles and laughter were vital to my race.

Life’s that way, too.

We are better together. We just are.

And being prepared is better than not being prepared. It just is.

Now go.

Try something new and do something hard. And help others do it.

And let them help you.

Because it matters. Live like it matters.

 

 “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”       Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT

 

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Live On

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I remember playing in the shade of this old pecan tree when I was a little girl.

A long time ago the tree was struck by lightning. The wounds from the strike are only scars now.

Although damaged and misshaped the tree lives on. It found a way to survive…..thrive even.

Birds still perch there. Shade is still given. It’s a generous tree.

And the hole in the center of the tree is the perfect place for a squirrel to rest from his scurrying.

 

In response to The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge Frame.