The Wellies (#jammed daily devo, day 286)

October #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 286: Keeping our feet dry.

Complete your work outside, and get your fields ready for next season;
after that’s done, build your house. Proverbs 24:27

Sheets of chilly Autumn rain streamed down unto the saturated course, and my wellies 22212725661_5429246674_zsquished with every stride. Rain rolling off their noses and mud sucking the shoes off of their feet, they slid and trekked through the mud. It was my favorite kind of race-day. The kind of day when talent is shelved for guts, and mud makes champions.

We can all run atop a dry and even course, but it’s in the depths of the hills and the chill of uncooperating weather, that our true grit is revealed.

None of my cross country runners knew that they were preparing for this race all season long, but I did. I knew something they didn’t. I’d been up and down these muddy slopes before, and I remember the triumphant feeling of shelving the mile-splits and running after the competition through that mud. Sometimes, we don’t realize what we’re preparing for until we’re knee-deep in a mud  …trying to keep our shoes from being sucked off.

Today’s verse is about trusting what God says about preparation. He knows what’s coming. He’s numbered our days. His plan for us is good, and His will for our lives is perfect …even though it sometimes looks like a big shoe-sucking mud puddle.

Get your fields ready:  Plan carefully and acquire the means as you build your house.- NIV Study Bible Notes

Distance runners plan carefully. We know we have to run far, but we can’t get there all at  once. Miles must be accumulated a little bit at a time, week after week, as we prepare our legs and strengthen our bodies and our lungs to handle the heavy load. We must plan carefully in life, too. Making drastic increases in any area of our lives cause red flags to fly.

Wisdom is required to build a house; understanding is necessary to make it secure. Proverbs 24:3

Wisdom doesn’t come easy for a distance runner. At first, we’re not sure we’ll survive that first three mile run. Our lungs burn and our legs have no idea what’s happening. That first race, we’re not sure we’ll make it to the finish. It seems impossible, and we feel a little defeated. But in time, as we run a little farther, and survive to see another finish line …what we know starts to trump how we feel.

We have to let what we know trump how we feel.

house. Symbolic of the life of an individual or a family.- NIV Study Bible Notes

We become what we prepare to build. And the truth we stand on must be rock solid, because everything that flows from the heart that we guard will provide the foundation on which we build our house.

Jesus died so that we can have an impenetrable foundation and an immovable confidence to build our house on. Him. The Cross. The grace He gave us when He gave up  His last breath is the very foundation our lives are built on. Anything else is just shoe-sucking mud.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:augFather, Praise You for runners! For distance runners! Thank You for giving me the opportunity to run and to coach, so that the lessons I learned would affirm the wisdom You planted. Forgive me …and forgive us all …for thinking that the athletic and academic feats we accomplish come from our own strength. Bless us to build our homes on rock sold truth …on Your Truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Mud running,

Megs

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Stay encouraged!

The Empty Running Log (#jammed daily devo, day 266)

September #jammed: Free Grace.

Day 266: Slowed to a stop.

“I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.” Galatians 2:2 day 266

The empty pages smelled like a slice of heaven. I couldn’t wait to fill the pages full of miles and routes, splits and workouts. But it wouldn’t be that way this time. This time, the old injuries would resurface and linger.

Today’s verse speaks of running, a hobby fond to my heart and something that is a very big part of who I am. It was only in learning to let it go that I realized I could survive without it. I’m learning, as I walk with Christ, that I can survive without anything …but Him. In Greek (the language the New Testament is written in), “to run” is the work “trecho.”

trecho- by a metaphor taken from runners in a race, means to exert one’s self, strive hard; the word occurs in Greek writings denoting to incur extreme peril, which it requires the exertion of all one’s effort to overcome. (Strong’s)

Running taught me how to exhaust myself beyond what I thought was possible to recover from. The wisdom I gained from pushing my limits helped me to learn that I do, in fact, have limits. My injuries are prone to my legs, and sometimes, I can’t outrun them. Sometimes, there’s no telling when they will heal, or when relief will come. Sometimes they seem to be ready for the pounding again, but underneath the surface, the scars often linger too large to hold up under the weight of my fleeting feet.

trechō means “to run” in both a physical sense and a figurative sense. trechō is used several times to picture of the Christian life in the sense of running toward a goal (1 Cor. 9:26c; Gal 2:2; 5:7; Phil 2:16; Heb 12:1). Passivity is not a virtue in the Christian life. -Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

Passivity is taking all of the wisdom God’s given us throughout our trials, and suppressing it. Barreling on with one solution after the next …none of them working. While Jesus waves His hand in front of our faces to stop, passivity is thinking that we can fix everything without Him.

Walking with Christ is hard. We get knocked down, stripped of things that we identify with and once identified us. People leave our lives. Death is an everyday reality. And if we can’t find God in those situations, we have fallen victim to a passive attitude about who God is and what He promises.

He is good. And He knows what’s good for us. His plan for us is good. The way we identify ourselves is not always the same way He sees us. Being open to His version of who were made to be and what we are here to accomplish starts by believing in Jesus. Walking with Him doesn’t always make sense to us, but we can trust that we are being made holy, one stride at at time, until we break the tape in heaven.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for our losses and our trials. Thank You for the things You strip from us that we think we need more than You. Forgive our flipped perspective of control, and bless us to lift it entirely up to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Running …or not,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

 

Stay encouraged!

The “Yes” Shoes

imageHe will straighten our stride, in His time, when we lace up our “yes” shoes.

I’m convinced my daughter thinks that her shoes will magically jump onto her feet if she stares at them long enough. When they don’t, her shoes fly over the foyer in frustration. And, oh …the agony …when a pair that normally slip right on no longer fit.

“Lo, stand up so I can zip them up,” I stammered in frustration.

“I AM,” she yelled and convulsed, convinced my help was overkill.

“Push your foot down harder,” I ordered. Her boots were swimmingly large mere “mommy” moments ago, but now needed to be pushed on.

“OK, let’s do the other one…”

Expanding feet shift goals. They also outgrow shoes.  image

Growth is predictably unpredictable, and keeping goals in stride with a shifting destination is hard. Has your finish line ever moved as you were about to break the ribbon? Here’s what I learned from my missed marathon and mommy moments.

Shoes too small.

A complete year off running didn’t yield a healed heal. And if I could go back, I’d risk a snapped Achilles and line up at the start of my first full marathon. God swapped my shoes regardless of my readiness to understand why.

“By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated with soon disappear.” Hebrews 8:13 (NIV)

I ran through snow and wind and ice …in shoes that were a complete size too small. Something that the runners at the running shoe store would have told me had I went there to be fitted for the right shoes before logging hundreds of miles.

Sometimes, we pray into God-sized goals. He wants us to dream big, and will bless our ambition to pursue, for His glory, the passions He laid in us.

imageProperly prepared with the right pair of shoes, the impact is absorbed efficiently and the weight is distributed properly. Experienced runners know that injury arises from a misaligned stride, often corrected by a shoe fit to guide feet as they strike the ground.

God does this for us. Through Christ, we capture the key to a corrected stride. God’s love is giant. He found a way to fit us for freedom. Jesus absorbs the impact and distributes the weight. To run straight, stick by His side.

In addition to personal conversation in prayer with God, He seeks to speak specifically through His Word. Dig in beyond devos, follow side-trails, and chase after characters. The pull to know why and the curiosity to question fit our feet for training.

Shoes that didn’t fit “in.”

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Hebrews 8:13 (above) speaks to us about outdated goals. About Old Testament customs and traditions that are no longer applicable or necessary. Jesus filled the gap those things attempted to bridge.

Google defines the effect of “obsolete” as “replacing it with something new.” And, anyone that lived through the 80’s can define “outdated.” Remnants of style may return redefined, but are fit for the “now.”

365 days ago, I took my running shoes off. I’ve been striding and striving everywhere but the road, tired and frustrated. God grew my feet before my shoes were fit to comprehend the change. The healing I prayed for came laced in lesson. I thought the goal was the marathon. He knew it was time to sit down …and write.

Every time I load the trunk up with bags of shoes that are too small for my kids, I feel ill-equipped to replace them all with the size that fits them. I’m not even sure what size to buy, what they will need, or if they will like them. Clearly, I need help with my own shoe size…

imageWe may have to adjust, grow, and shift …learn new patterns, drift in new waters, pursue new passions, open different doors, and stand on new stages. But Jesus picked us to fit where we fly.image

My identity in my daughter’s eyes is still “runner,” and she misses it just as much as I do. Her note is the nudge I’ve been waiting for. Could it be possible, that time spent obeying the development of one passion could be rewarded with the return of another? On this day, number 366 since the last time I laced up my running shoes, I believe His answer is “yes.” Fit in His shoes, the weight of many passions is bearable and possible. Today, I began to run again.

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God pauses passions to add in complimenting attributes to the fabric of our stories. Chapters and pages that we might have edited out, or never written, yet essential to who we are in Him.

Whether you’re training for a marathon, building houses, crunching numbers, or digging through a mountain of laundry …ask Jesus to adjust the fit. Children discover their passions by watching us let Him fit us to ours.

Jesus ushered in a new era. Life isn’t a Browns draft failing to produce a quarterback yearimage after year. (As a hometown Clevelander and life-long Browns fan, I’m allowed to say that.) Sit down, and let Him fit your feet.

Happy Strides,

Megs

imageMy long-time friend, Cherie, is the picture of perseverance as I type this, crossing the finish line of her first marathon. She has not just run through pain, but lived through it. A survivor in so many ways, never giving up …and always full of joy. A Mom showing her little boy anything is possible, and a light to everyone that knows her. Thank you for inspiring me with your constant kindness and positivity. Forever thankful to call you “friend.”  

Stay encouraged!

The Achilles Heal

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This morning, I made breakfast and lunches to the sound of a unicorn galloping throughout the house.  I can’t make this stuff up.  With sound effects, she made laps around the first floor for a good hour… in full character.  She stopped only to hug Daddy goodbye as he left for work, and to eat “unicorn’s” favorite breakfast…a Pop Tart.  This is why she is the most difficult child to discipline.

I appreciated her funny little antics, and let her buckle up and walk up to pre-school as “Lo the Unicorn.”  I didn’t want her to be distracting to her class…but man…I had to seize the opportunity to spread the laughter on this cold, foggy, spring morning in Northern Ohio.

In the midst of dealing with dashed marathon hopes due to injury, and going through withdrawel on my fourth day off of running, little Lo rescued my day before it even began.

“As runners we understand the importance of our bodies,

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because without them we would lose a piece of who we are.” 

-Jolee Paden, “Spiritual Runner.”

That’s a truth packed statement, and a photo full of a swollen achilles.  Goodbye, piece.  It sure looks likes, it, right?  I sure looks like the end of my marathon goal…12 days before the race.  It looks like failure, heartbreak, lack of discipline, and lost hope.

I had made it through the training…celebrated my 20 mile long run, and was looking forward to taper…but I failed to rest, and launched a minor injury into a possible major.  Out for an 8-miler a few days ago, I could sense it was over. Amidst the pain, anguish, and heartbreak lumping up in my throat, echoing in my ears was the Elevation Church sermon “It’s Yours for the Taking” I had chosen for my long run.  As the inevitible began to confront me, I heard something about holding on your life verse.  Mine is 1Thes5:16, “Be joyful always,” but I didn’t feel very joyful.  In fact, I remember exactly what I was thinking…”That’s too hard right now.”

A few moments later I made it down to the end of my old street to enjoy what I knew could be my last run to the sunrise.  Comforted by the sound of His word and the sight of his presence, I took a deep breath…and ran the half mile back home.  IMG_2017Tears streamed down my cheeks and sobs overcame me as I walked up my sidewalk and into my house.  It was over.  I could feel it.  I believe no one but other runners knows how that feels, so I was thankful to find comfort in these words Jolee Paden’s devotional.

“As runners we understand the importance of our bodies,

because without them we would lose a piece of who we are.” 

“Be joyful always.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances.”  1Thes. 5:16-18   It was super easy for me to be joyful and thankful when I finished my 20 mile run.  For the first time, I felt confident I could race the marathon.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could run 20 miles at 8:29 average pace.  But God knew it.  And I felt Him every stride out there that day, running along the lakeshore at sunrise.  Felt His presence every step…even smiled up the hills.

It’s not so easy to be joyful right now.  But I will be… and I will keep praying.  I will be thankful in all circumstances.  Turn my focus towards my funny Lo who always makes me laugh, and my sweet Brianne who has such a compassionate little soul.

IMG_2180When I told my her that I might not make it to my big race, she replied immediately.

“You just can’t focus on that.  Instead, focus on how far you’ve come.”

Remarkable words coming from a 7 year old.

“Thank you so much, Brianne!  You’re right.  Where did you hear that?” I asked.

“From my sweet Momma,” she replied.

“Be joyful always.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances.”

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God has healed me before, and I have complete faith He will again.  Exodus 14:14 assures me, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I can’t control God’s timing, but I will not lose hope.  After all, miracles do happen.  Little ones, and big…fat…ginormous..huge ones that change your life forever.  Keep facing the sunshine, and lift your head high.

“For those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”  Isaiah 40:31

Happy Strides,

Megs

Stay encouraged!

The Marshmallows.

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“Mom, I’m sooooooo hungry,” came the voice promptly at 6:15 am from my four year old daughter, Lo.

“Ok, Ok,” I responded sleepily,” let’s go get you some breakfast.

Normally, my little one wakes up about an hour before everyone else’s alarms go off, pitter patters into my room, crawls onto my bed, steals half my pillow, and soaks up some cuddles before she starts her day.  It’s honestly my favorite way to wake up, and every morning I utter prayers of thanks for those cherished moments, and pleadings for her to stay little forever.  I know all too well how those morning cuddles are fleeting.  My older daughter now sleeps like a brick through her alarm most mornings.

“Ok Lo,” I said to her as I poured she and her sister a bowl of cereal, “you can’t just eat the marshmallows.  You have to eat the cereal, too.”

“OK MOM!” little Lo stated matter-of-factly, and back upstairs I went to start getting the family ready for the day.

By the time my oldest daughter, not such a morning person, got ready and went down to eat her breakfast, little Lo had already bounced back up the stairs to get dressed and brush her teeth.  She passed her Daddy on the stairs, on his way to have a relaxed cup of coffee on his Friday morning off of work.

It was then that I heard the following arguement waft up the stairs…

“Dadda, there’s not enough marshmallows in my cereal,” Brianne complained.

“Brianne, that’s rediculous,” he stated.  “Eat the bowl of cereal that your mom poured you.”
(To my husband’s credit, silly morning conundrums are not out of the ordinary for her, so he launched into the normal parenting tecnique.)

“But can’t I just have Cheerios instead?” she pleaded.  “There’s like, no marshmallows in here!”IMG_0140

While my husband continued to reprimand Brianne, sending her flying out of the kitchen in tears, I sauntered over to Lauren’s room.  Happily humming a tune as she got dressed, I interrupted,

“Hey Lauren…”

“What Mom,” she answered in a way-too-happy, I-just-got-away-with-something- tone.

“Did you pick all of the marshmallows out of your sister’s bowl of cereal?” I pryed…already knowing full well that’s what had happened.

Little Lo smiled, giggled, and then confessed, “I just couldn’t help it, Mommy!”

Both of us in total laughter by this point, she added, “THEY ARE JUST SO DELICIOUS!!!”

I flew down the stairs to rescue Brianne from her plight, and pour her a new bowl of cereal.  Explaining to her and to my husband what had happened, trying to get them all to join in on the laugh.  Brianne was content to swipe her sister’s purple vitamen and replace it with an orange one…thinking she’d surely evened the score.  My husband was confused as to why no one was going to be held accountable for their behavior.

“It’s 7:30 in the morning,” I explained, “Do you really want every woman in this house in tears before school?”

There are so many instances in life when I want to pick the marshmallows off the top.  Times when I feel like taking a shortcut, and others when I put in the effort, the work, and the discipline…realizing that the outcome is still out of my hands.  Parenting has given me a front row seat to this show for seven years now, just as my passion for running throughout my life.

“I’ll try, and see how far I get,” I said, responding to the possibility of running a marathon.  

“You’re going to run a lot of ‘halfs’ in training for a full,” George told me, when I asked him to help coach me through my attempt at the half-marathon. (My cousin is a distance runner, too, and is running the Boston Marathon again in 2015.) I nodded and laughed in response, but agreed.

All along, I doubted that my back would allow me the opportunity to run that far.  (If you’ve kept up with me on this blog, you know why…if not…just know it’s not conducive for a marathon runner.  In fact, it was in the shape of an ‘S’ the last time it was x-rayed, but no longer fused at the bottom…which is a literal miracle.  Praise God.)   Fear and anxiety nagged me every long run day. Six miles, seven miles, eight, ten, eleven…and as a the distance I originally set out to conquer faded into the entries of my training log…thirteen.  (13.34, to be exact.

Impossible.

I’m so knicked up, it’s become more practical to take an ice bath than to rotate the ice pack around every 20 minutes. Yet, as I write this entry  I am attempting to prepare for a 15 mile long run.  The doubt is creeping in and magnifying every pain that I have…exploiting every weakness I struggle with…  tempting me to give into the fear, instead of trusting in the faith has carried me this far.  Faith that “can do anything…far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams.” (Ephesians 3:20)  Like, maybe, run 13 miles.

In the spirit of Lent, imagine if Jesus just picked all the marshmallows out of the cereal bowl.  What if he only liked the sweet, brightly colored parts of me?  When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethseneme, he said that “His soul was overwhelmed with sorry to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38)  On the way to Jerusalem, he told his disciples that he would be betrayed. (Matthew 20:18)  As he made his way to the cross, “Those who passed by hurled insults at him.” (Mark 15:29)  He was spit at and hit, his clothes torn. (Matthew 26:67) He was beaten, and given a crown of thorns. (Mathew 27:28)  He carried his own cross up to Golgotha and was crucified. (John 19:17-18)  There were no marshmallows in Jesus breakfast on that day.

Simply imagining a morning without cuddles from my daughters brings tears to my eyes. Recalling the sacrifice that God made…I guess that’s why God is God.

IMG_0145He has encouraged me through every stride.  Through my cousin’s advice and encouragement, friends and neighbors that encourage me in conversation, Facebook comments, and high fives.  Through a high school teammate who responded to my Facebook post about GPS watches,  mentioning that he listens to sermons while he runs.  While I logged a 10 mile, 11 mile, 13 mile…run, I learned through Moodswingers how to “beat burnout” and shift my attitude.  To focus on God’s voice in moments when the other is picking me a part. (Crash the Chatterbox).   To push through “weakness of the flesh” (“The Genius of Jesus.”), and become the healthy person I was designed to be (The Daniel Plan).  Marshmallows.

“He is not waiting for you to cross the finish line first.  He is smiling at you as you run the race.” The Daniel Plan.

Marshmallow.

“I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” Phil. 4:13

Marshmallow.

“Push through what you dread to get to what you love.” Pastor Steven Furtick

Marshmallow.  (I think that one was a purple moon…)

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corintheans 10:31

Marshmallow.

“God whispers to us in our pleasure but shouts to us in our pain.” CS Lewis.

Marshmallow.

Marathon training has revealed itself to be such a painful, unfathomable, anxiety-filled, and incredibly joy-filled task.  It’s bringing me closer to God, because it keeps the conversation going.  I need Him out there on the road..to survive every stride.  With every step forward….every mile I run…every distance I complete that I felt terrified to try…the roots of my faith extend into the ground a little further.IMG_0146

When Jesus died on the cross, He died so we may live.  He ate the whole grain cereal, so that we could enjoy the marshmallows.  When I choose to let Him lead me through parts of life that I am the most afraid of…guide me through situations I don’t know how to handle…pray to Him for help I cannot give myself…I get to experience His love.  I celebrate Easter because Jesus rose from the dead of that cross.  His tomb was empty.  God made the impossible, possible.  For the love of his son.  For the love of his people. For the love of you. 

(…I decided to add an update to this entry before I click on publish. God willing, I completed that 15 mile run, and the following week a 17 miler. Never stop praying.)

 Happy Easter,

Megs

“Maybe one day we’ll see that the greatest setbacks in our lives were setups to seeing God’s glory in places we didn’t even know to look.” Pastor Steven Furtick, Elevation Church.

Stay encouraged!

Think Happy Thoughts.

“DIG DOWN DEEP!!!” my daughter, Brianne, yelled out to one of the HHS runners at the first home track meet this season. It struck me so funny I collapsed onto the infield rolling in laughter.

My little runners racing each other…

She’s been around the summer 5K circuit with my mom and I since she was just a little bean sprout, and hanging out at the track since she was 18 months old.  It’s very obvious that she feels it’s ‘her turf.’  High-fiving the High Schoolers ‘Good Luck” and “Good Job”…passing out stickers…(the boy’s reactions are the best).

“Are you going to be a runner, Brianne?” I asked her.

“I already am a runner, Mom.” she stoutly replied. I mean, a couple more years and there will undoubtedly be a “Duh,Mom’ hinging on the end of that phrase.  I’m all about encouraging her interest in the sport.  I would LOVE to watch her tear up the track.  Fingers crossed….

Still, she just turned four.  Way to early to label her a runner for life yet, right? However…..

This spring she has been just as caught up in preparing to ‘win her race’ than she is with breaking in her brand new bike.  We are all forced to play starter (‘boom’ for the gunshot start included) and cheering crowd to prepare for the big day, as well.

That local summer 5K circuit I mentioned starts out every year with the Huron Lighthouse 5K in our home town. I’ve entered Brianne in the kids fun run since she was 2. That precious little toddler, putting her head down to sprint to the finish was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!!!!

See, in her mind, she believes herself to be equal to full grown peeps.  She pumps her arms, concentrates on her breathing…does everything she sees Grammy, Mommy,my good friend ‘Coach Dee,’ and all of the high school distance runners that we help coach, do during practices and races.  It’s hilarious to watch.  Who wouldn’t want encourage it?

My little runner, stretching with me after her first 1/2 mile run.

Never, did I think, she’d be begging me to let her run with me at four years old.  Everyday, asking if it’s warm enough to wear her new running gear that she got for her birthday.  Or, asking for new running shoes to win her ‘race’ in for her birthday.  “Really?  No American Girl doll?  You want running shoes?”

“Yep.  One’s with the pointy things sticking out of the bottom,” she specifies.

(Yes, she means spikes.)

We started running down the street and back together, and the girl looked up at me with an enormous smile the whole time.

“I’ll be damned,” I thought.  “She might just have a natural love for this.”

My little runner and I out on a cool-down run.

We ran down the street, down to Grandma’s house and back (half mile), then we decided to try a mile.  She got all decked out in her running clothes and Little Nike Runner shoes and plastered a huge smile on her face.

My little four year old ran a whole mile that day.  When she whined, I trained her to respond to “Runners don’t…”  with “quit,” and to think about happy things when it starts to hurt a little.

“Mom, when I’m running my race you gotta tell me ‘Get your butt moving!!!”  Fearing I may push her too hard, I opted not to run with her on race day.

This year, at the kids fun run…she completed the whole thing (I’m not sure it was a full mile…but she did the whole course).  Decked out in her pink running outfit and Nike running shoes…hair braided like Mommy when she runs…and a huge smile.  She didn’t care that it was only 55 degrees out.  Running tank, shorts, and Barbie socks over a couple fingers to keep warm.  She ran by me cheering for her smiling and waving…and then smiled at the other kids running with her as if they were sharing the funnest moment ever.

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As she jolted off to the finish, I had a huge lump of tears in my throat.

I scooped her up for a congratulatory hug, and when she caught her breath, she said “OK, I want my M&M’s now.” (there was a pack in our race packets.)

Talking about the race on the way home, I told her I was so proud of her that I cried happy tears the whole time she was running.  When I asked her how she felt during the race, she said…

Future 1 and 2 runners for Tigers XC 🙂

“I thought about happy thoughts, Mommy!  Like you and me going to Snoopy’s house, and riding the Jr. Gemini……”

I saw pieces of me in her today, and I’m glad they’re good pieces.

Happy Strides…

Megs

Stay encouraged!

…the other side.

Ahhh, the beginning of Track season.  32 degrees, but the sun was out and the wind was dead.  “Shorts and T-Shirt” weather, as one of our brightest observed.  My view of the track has always been linked closely with pain…and joy…and hurt…and triumph…and nausea…and pride…and…well, you get the picture.

From the other side of the track as a volunteer coach,  I recalled my initiation into track at fifteen. A green pea, I thought over a decade of ballet wold lend me the coordination and speed it took to be a hurdler.  Yet, I took notice of how much fun the distance runners had out on their runs… and I fell over a lot of hurdles.  

I laughed as some of our Cross Country runners deserted the distance crew to be sprinters, and wondered what painful episode caused the sudden change in heart.

Quickly pulled back to reality by my run-away child, I caught the glance of every non-parent in the weight room as she stumbled hazardly through bars and leg press machines.

Practice rolled on, and I fed my 8 month old a bottle while attempting to coax my stubborn ‘almost-3” year old down from the bleachers, I collected goals and last week’s mileage from the distance runners.   Learn new names, calculate workout paces, establish new goals…and chase after my 3 year old who believes with all her little heart that she can keep up with the ‘runners’ as they exit the track to log some miles.

The thrill of the “chase” made me question my motives,  Why coach?  Why drag my 2 kids up to the track?

Truth?  Track is a piece of me.  My little peepsters misbehave and make the experience a wonderful combination of gut wrenching and embarrassment on some days, but being at the track never was a completely comforting experience.

I had drifted towards distance runners, just like I had at fifteen.

I always wonder how people know what their passion is.  (Little kids on American Idol that say they’ve known since they were 2 they wanted to sing.)  Perhaps it’s just what you gravitate to….what you love so much that any pain that goes along with it is overshadowed by the triumphs.

Maybe my daughters will learn to love distance running and it’s masochistic ways, too.  If not in running than in something that they question why they love, until they are out there in it. I’m trying to instill an experience in them that will help shape their determination, by simply showing them who I am.  I might not have it all figured out yet, but maybe that’s a good thing to accept early on in parenting.

Practice isn’t perfect, but it can make it.

Happy Track Season,

Megs

Stay encouraged!