Saturday, January 29, 2011

Free GiveAway!!!

Ok, so for anyone who loves a good contest with a free giveaway, head on over to, and send us your story=) Hope everyone is having a fabulous day!

post signature

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Run-A Reflection: Goal 4!!!!

When was the last defining moment of your life? Were you fully present when it happened, or did you have to look back on that moment in time from a distance to realize it was a defining moment? When was the last time you set a big, hairy, audacious goal? (A BHAG as they’re called in the Chick-fil-A world=) A goal so lofty, you really weren’t sure if it was actually attainable, even feasible, but you went for it anyways? If/When that BHAG was realized, how did you feel? Are their words?

I’m not even sure I have the words. But this is my story…might want to settle in with a blanket by a fire for this one=)

This past Saturday, January 8th, 2011, I was fully present in time for the realization of one of the first BHAG’s I’ve probably ever set for myself--if I was honest. I crossed the finish line of the Disney Half Marathon with an official time of 2 hours 30 minutes and 31 seconds. 13.1 miles of careful training and God-breathed energy had passed under my feet. By my guesstimate, I walked maybe 2 miles or less only for the sake of taking in water or energy gels, then it was right back to running.

I’m serious when I tell you, there really are no words to explain to you how this made and still makes me feel. My eyes are welling with tears as I write this simple statement. I literally cried when I crossed the finish line. I’ve never pushed myself that hard for something I really felt so unprepared to accomplish. Heck, my longest training run was only 8.8 miles! How the heavens did I run 13.1????

There’s really only one answer. GOD. He orchestrated every circumstance before and during this race. He met me for the past 5 months of training for every run, through a week off due to a sinus infection, for a week off due to tendonitis in my hamstring, for time off just due to the holiday craziness. He remained faithful to sustain my spirit, my drive, and ultimately—on the day of the race, He sustained my body and my mind.

I had resigned myself going into this race that there was only one plan that could get me across the finish line alive. My plan was to run 3 miles and walk 1 mile until I reached that finish line. That was my plan of attack. I honestly felt my body could not physically endure 13.1 miles of solid running. I was being realistic and setting a goal I could reach. I would finish--THAT was the goal. Admittedly, inside I felt a bit defeated having to settle for this plan, but muscles were aching and cramping in my high mileage training such that I wasn’t going to risk really hurting myself. It seemed the wise thing to do. I trusted God just wanted me to finish.

Joey and I were the only ones of my family actually able to make it race day. My dear sister and brother-in-law Tim were holding down the fort back at their house with kids, for which I am eternally grateful because without their help, we couldn’t have done this.

2:30am came calling early as we carefully got dressed and headed down to the starting line. Mad props should be given to the Disney staff for their careful herding of 27,000 people. Four porta-potty breaks later, at 5am, the nerves were itchy, and we anxiously awaited the start. The first wave started at 5:30am, we didn’t actually get to start the race until 6am. Did I mention there were 27,000 people???

Not even ½ mile in, Joey and I were making a mad dash for the woods along with many others who had over hydrated themselves for this race. Men have it so easy—I was just hoping no one further back in the woods was getting a better show of my backside.

Fully relieved and ready to run, Joey said he would hang with me until I wanted to walk my first mile. I was feeling great and hitting a good stride, so I didn’t actually stop to take in my first round of water bottle and energy gels until mile 4. Joey went on ahead, so I was left alone, but I really felt so good, I decided it was time to see what God could do with me. Instead of walking to mile 5, I started running at mile 4.5.

Unbeknownst to me, Joey was having a tough time. A collision at a water station took him to all fours as he tried to cough all the PowerAde out of his lungs he had inhaled only to lose his iPod nano trying to recover and get back in the race. This set his pace off just enough that I actually caught back up with him at mile 8! Trust me…this is unbelievable, and truly God-ordained.
We ran together to mile 9, and I took a quick walking break to finish my water bottle and refuel with gels. I was tired. I won’t lie. Four more miles seemed like an eternity. BUT, Joey was with me. He decided that we would finish this race together. In hindsight, I can’t express how much that decision meant to me.

His knee was in excruciating pain, and by mile 11 my Achilles’ tendons and tendons in the bottom of my feet were cramping. I didn’t stop, but I almost tripped half a dozen times because when those muscles cramped it felt like someone was grabbing me and pulling my foot to the ground. Joey would say, “You’re doing good. Keep going! We’ve got this babe.” And I would bite my lip, and stomp my feet into the ground until the cramp let go, and I would keep going until it happened again.

By mile 12, I was on the verge of tears. I wanted to quit so badly. I wanted to walk the cramps away. I wanted to stop and stretch, but we were so close. Joey kept encouraging me. Kept reminding me of all the people we were finishing ahead of. (We finished in the top half of 27,000 people actually.)

The finish line finally in sight, Joey grabbed my hand and we slugged our way down the homestretch. There it was. A beautiful banner…FINISH LINE. With a stadium of cheering people looming behind it in the distance. Somehow, I think entering the gates of heaven will feel like this, and I can only wish that my best friend is holding my hand when we cross over that finish line together too.

Video of us crossing finish line--we cross on the right at about minute 2:58 on the clock--along with the marathon photos:

The last 10 yards we let go and sprinted—or what felt like sprinted, I’m sure it looked like a slow run—toward that final time ramp in the road. There were so many people. The rush. The noise. The panting. The whirring. The herding. His hand holding mine. His words gasping, “We did it. You did it! I’m so proud of you.” I’m doing the best I can, but these words don’t do it justice. I could have lost it completely in tears at that moment. Sobbed uncontrollably on the ground in the middle of these throngs of people. But Joey kept me focused on the next step, and together we made it to a quiet parking lot patch of asphalt where we could down bottles of PowerAde and help stretch each others’ muscles that were cramping sporadically.

It was finished!!! We did it!! God is so good! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that physically I was unprepared to run this race the way I did. I don’t care how committed to training I had been, this was the ultimate test. My physical break point. I WILL NOT be training for a marathon, in case anyone was wondering. 13.1 is my break point. However, I might do it again, especially at Disney. It was a very fast and flat race with plenty of entertainment as you ran through The Magic Kingdom and Epcot. My favorite part was the fanfare of trumpets as you ran through Cinderella’s Castle=)

Why even talk about the next thing? Some people would say I’m crazy. How do you top that experience? Well, I don’t, but God can. However, I have to follow His lead, follow His plan, and put in the hard work, effort, commitment, and perseverance it will take to get to that next BHAG. You have to have a dream, a goal, a vision. The Lord was wise when He recorded in His Word, “Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18a)” It’s true. If I don’t set another goal of some kind, be it physical or spiritual, then I promise you, I will slip quickly into depression and gain back the 25 pounds I’ve lost in a year. Trust me. It will happen.

So what’s next? I don’t know. This year, I definitely want to run the Peachtree for the first time, and complete one maybe two sprint triathlons. But this year, I’m setting other goals as well. If you can’t tell, my heart is to write. Write a book. A book that gets published. A published book that people actually want to read and benefit from reading. A book that impacts this world for Christ. Maybe even a best-seller? Too much of a BHAG? I don’t know. This is the first time I’ve ever announced this thought in a public arena. Fear already overtakes me, and doubt clouds my thoughts. Rejection and failure are also comrades that hide in the recesses of my mind when I think about this goal.

I don’t know. There’s still much training that the Lord must provide before this goal is realized. But one thing’s for sure, after this year and 3 months of physical training, I am more mentally and spiritually prepared now to face what it will take to meet this goal than I have ever been in my entire life. That is a God gift. That is how God works. You must follow Him through each step of His plan before you can even think about another one. I leave you with His Word spoken into my life for this New Year:

“12 NOT that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained. 17Brethren, join in following my example (God's example, not my personal=), and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.”

(Philippians 3)emphasis mine

What's your next BHAG? It took me 15 months to accomplish my first. Probably will take me 15 years to accomplish the 2nd, but hey, that makes the next 15 years worth living, right?

What about you?

post signature

Saturday, January 1, 2011

An Update in Rhyme

November came and then it went,
Not exactly sure how the time was spent.
Orlando was my last big blog spree,
Thanks to a hubby who sent me down kid free.

I vaguely remember some sickness and some fun,
Then of course there was the Thanksgiving Gobble Jog run.
My second 10k was a success!
I beat my May time even with tendonitis=)

Thanksgiving at my mom’s house was a blast,
Time always flies by quick; I wish it would last.

December first Weston began to walk,
And it’s so funny to hear him try to talk=)

Four generations the Nutcracker surveyed,
Invaluable time and memories made.

Savannah and Joey went to Texas for his brother’s graduation,
Which freed my time to prepare for our Christmas celebration.
One weekend passed, and with only one kid in tow,
I bought every gift and was ready to go!

December 15th an adoption was finalized,
Durhams and Harmons—one family still in our eyes=)

Down in Macon, our Christmas began a weekend early,
Six kids, six adults, rainy weather equals topsy turvy!
Loved every minute of watching all those cousins play,
Reminds me of my childhood in every chaotic way=)

WestRidge service for Christmas Eve Eve,
My family sharing God’s workings on Christmas Eve,
Christmas morning came after that late night,
But children don’t wait; we were up at first light.

Presents opened and monkey bread eaten,
Clean up ensued, then off to Dot-Dot’s for more eating.
Narnia was our choice for Christmas Day movie tradition,
Then back to my mom’s bright and early for a sibling present rendition.

Longs nights of Just Dance played on the Wii,
Wouldn’t trade one moment with my family.

The New Year came and went with just me and my man,
Enjoying sparkling cider and two sleeping children.
No resolutions for me this year,
Just so grateful for this little family here
Home. Warm and cozy and resting without fear,
Waiting peacefully and patiently for God’s next move in our lives this coming year.
Grateful for every blessing He’s given.
Not more I could say. For Him I’ll just keep on livin’. =)

Happy New Year!

post signature