>February is pink!

>

For some reason, when I think of February, I think of pink. It’s probably because of Valentine’s Day. I love February so much more than January. I think this month is the worst out of the whole year, and I’m glad it went by so fast with Aaron being home for most of it.

February is short and sweet, literally, and since I’m in first grade now we will have a class party! How fun.

Here in central Illinois we could be (well, I could be) celebrating the beginning of next month with a crazy snowstorm. I need to head to the store tomorrow to get a few things in case it’s really bad. Looks like we might get a foot! It’s been quite awhile since we’ve had that much in one storm. I have my knitting, Netflix, popcorn, and hot chocolate ready to go in case.

I have to say that I am feeling 100% back to normal again. My sis-in-law Katie hosted a Stampin’ Up party on Friday night and it was the perfect pick-me-up. I love crafty things because although my husband has teased me about having adult ADD, I can focus on projects for hours at a time. I even forget to eat. We made three cards and a picture frame. I might try to go to the subsequent parties in the future, and I might even buy a few things next time. The prices are pretty comparable to the good stuff at Hobby Lobby or Jo-Ann.

I got my yoga mat bag done!

Sorry that the pic is poor quality. I took it on my flip phone since Aaron took the camera back with him. I knitted the i-cord (easiest thing ever!) and sewed the strap on and it’s done! I looooove it. Now I’ll continue with my entrelac knitting and start on some socks. Amelia and her mom got me needles, yarn and a sock book for Christmas.

Amelia stayed the night last night and we watched a couple movies, ate breakfast for dinner, drank apple soda (the Izze kind.. yum!) and stayed up late talking girly. It was also a perfect pick-me-up. I am so blessed with amazing friends and family who are there for me and know what I need.

For some reason, I am loving my apartment and being home. Part of it is that we spent nine nights out of the time he was home at a hotel. We also were really busy after I came home from work most days, so we didn’t get much chill time together at home. I think a couple snow days will be perfect.

I already have some spring cleaning and other projects in mind.. can’t wait until it starts to thaw out and the days get longer.

On my way home yesterday from Elgin, I was blaring Chris McClarney’s “Your Love is Everything” (check it out below), and I realized the most important lesson I am learning from this nearly two-year journey. God is faithful. He is always there, always loves, no matter what we do. Even if we purposely walk away from Him, He will still take us back with open arms. It’s not fair. A perfect God-man dying for our sin isn’t fair. Not getting what we deserve isn’t fair. But that’s why it’s called mercy.

I’m starting to really feel like I’m reconciling all parts of myself. They say you turn into five different people in between the ages of 20-25, and finally I feel like I’m growing into my spirituality and relationships. I’m starting to feel a sustainable balance of spirituality and humanity. I feel at peace.

>Kiss and fly: Departure.

>Raw emotions can be treasures that bring tears. I’ve forgotten how fresh this separation can feel after almost three weeks together. It makes me smile and makes me cry. The first few days always suck the most, especially the first few hours.

Surprisingly, I was awake and coherent enough at 4:30 this morning to drive Aaron to the airport, O’Hare to be exact. I missed the exit for I-190 and had to turn around, but we made it with plenty of time to spare. (And I still have a few tolls to pay.. whoops.) I kept it together long enough to kiss him and send him on his way back to Korea. Fortunately I actually know this time when and in what country I will see him next. Nothing was worse back in June than to not know how long it’d be.

Memories can feel both like dreams and like life is happening right there before you all over again. I just took a much-needed nap and I’m already dreaming about the man. Not surprising, though, considering what a catch he is.

I felt the need to blog in order to capture these exact emotions and thoughts, whether coherent or not. Already I’m looking back at the early morning when I dropped him off at the recruiter’s office so he could start this whole journey, beginning with Basic Training. That was such a strange morning. Things happened perfectly so that he’d be leaving on the last day of my “spring break” (at my last school we had only a five-day weekend for break).

And after the first few text messages and phone calls to let me know that he made tape and everything, there was no communication for about ten days. How in the world did I do it? After I dropped him off I went to Walmart, got groceries and had the furniture rearranged by eight o’clock. Then I went back to teaching the next day.

Someday, years down the road, maybe only months, I will look back at these 26 months and wonder how I did it. How we did it. Strangely, I forget that it’s a we. It’s no secret that I’ve felt left behind. And while his adventures in the Army can be new and exciting (notice I said can be, haha), I know he wants nothing more than to have me there with him. But in his words when I asked him how he felt about it, he said, “It’s just something we have to do.”

We are hoping to get stationed in Ft. Carson, Colorado, Ft. Lewis, Washington or Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. Huachuca is what our hearts are set on. But truthfully, as long as we’re together it really doesn’t matter. I’ve heard that a soldier coming off an unaccompanied tour is supposed to be able to choose his/her next duty station. But we’ll see. It’s the Army. And we both hope and pray he doesn’t get assigned to a unit that deploys shortly after we move in late June/early July.

You thought I forgot about posting about my marathon training. I did train the third week, all except for the three-miler on that Thursday. It looked like this:
Monday: nothing
Tuesday: 3 mi
Wednesday: 5.67
Thursday: nada
Friday: zip
Saturday: 6
Sunday: zilch

Weeks Four and Five were nonexistent, unless you count going places every evening to have dinner with someone. I did weigh myself at my grandparents’ on the 20th and it said I’d only gained three pounds. My jeans still fit, so I consider that a good sign.

I’m ready to get back into it. Eh, correction: I need to get back to running. Not only am I starting at a marathon in twelve weeks (how did THAT happen?! last I checked it was six months away!) but also at a trail race on February 12 and the Shamrock Shuffle on April 10. Then there’s of course my sanity saved by this insane act of torture. It’s my lifeline.

Here’s how my schedule looks. If I break up the time and stay crazy busy, the time will go faster:

January is almost over!!
February: trail run on the 12th, which is also my dad’s 50th birthday. Our niece Lena’s birthday is the 21st. And there are only 28 days.
March: always a long month as we wait for spring and more importantly spring break. The last week is my break.
April: Shamrock Shuffle on the 10th, my birthday on the 22nd (maybe Michelle, my cousin’s wife, and I should have a joint party? We’re counting by fives this year :)), and the marathon on the 30th.
May: Race for the Cure on the 7th. Last day of student attendance without snow days is May 18. I believe last day for teachers is the 20th.
June: Aaron’s done in Korea. We move (or maybe early July). And dear God, let it really happen this time. Kthxbai.

Here’s a daily breakdown:
Monday: rest day for running; every other is our Daniel study by Beth Moore, which takes us into June, I think.
Tuesday: run after work
Wednesday: run after work, most likely small group
Thursday: run after work (hmm, see a pattern?), teaching piano and worship practice
Friday: rest day for running
Saturday: loooooong runs, most likely. If not Saturdays, then Sundays.
Sunday: church, cross-training, every other is the college/young adult group at Petr and Gabi’s

And one last blurb before I post this insanely long entry. I am so blessed to have my aide job. I am loving having no lesson plans and hardly any stress with parents. This job fell into my lap. The Lord knows what we need when we need it. And the best part is that our budget from when I was teaching full-time is still intact as I’m bringing home the same amount of bacon.

So. In conclusion, other than being separated, life for us is really good right now. The IRS will make it even better soon when we get a sizable tax return to replenish our savings. (We hope it’s a decent return, anyway.)

Now, I’m going to bake cookies with Katie and Lena. Be jealous. I know you are.

>Marathon Training: Week 2

>Monday: rest (did cross-training today: 10 min elliptical, 15 min bike, tricep dips, pushups on my knees, and crunches)
Tuesday: 3 mi run (intervals) (did 3 mi in 29:15, avg pace 9:45 – slowest pace was 11:32/mi, fastest was 7:30/mi)
Wednesday: 5 mi run (tempo) (did 5 mi in 53 min: 1 mi warm, 3 @ 10:00 pace, 1 mi cool)
Thursday: 3 mi run (easy) (3 in 35.. I don’t think my HR topped 150-155.. very easy)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 9 mi (rested this day too since it was COLD!)
Sunday: cross (11.1 miles in 2 hrs, 8 min, avg pace of 11:32.. that’s right on the dot! Listened to music and finished listening to Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore. Beautiful winter day today.)

TOTAL MILEAGE: 22.1 miles, my highest ever I believe.

So there’s Week 2 at the Novice 2 level. All my runs this week are just specified as “run”, and not “pace” or whatever. But I think in the interest of improving my pace overall, I will make one three-miler a workout for intervals, and then one an easy run. The mid-week run will be a tempo run (1-mi warm up, 3-mi at a given pace, 1-mi cooldown). The pace for the tempo will be anywhere from 9:43-10:08, according to the McMillan running calculator.

The training schedule in itself might change a little as we go along due to life circumstances.. and also due to the fact that Gabi and I got a head start on marathon training with our 8, 10 and 12-mi runs.

Can you all tell that I love to crunch numbers? I loved math in school, and went as far as calculus in high school and then took Calculus 2 at Bradley. I couldn’t remember it now for the life of me, but I still love math.

Posting all this publicly keeps me accountable! Watch for updates as the week goes on!

Goals:
-Eat a lot of protein! (I’ve heard as much as 1g/1lb body weight… that’s a lot!)
-Be able to wear compression shorts on race day (marathon) and rock them!

>Disappointed and downtrodden

>I’m not quite sure how to start this entry. I’ve been wanting to write it for awhile now, but just haven’t had the right words or been in the right mindset.

I’m going to be straight-up honest. I have not been in the Word and praying like I should. Definitely not like I was, definitely not like I should be at this stage of my relationship with God. I’ve felt burned out with church activities, especially Christmas. I think I was on the edge of tears for two days that week. I’m so sick of having a long-distance relationship with my two-dimensional husband.

I try to analyze it all, and I know where I got off track. There’s no one to blame but myself. I act like I’m the only one going through disappointment. If I would just read my Bible (ahem!) I would see that there is a myriad of people who met big disappointment in their lives.

Throughout the time of waiting for Korea, I attributed every single thing to God’s will. I remember specifically one time I prayed in the shower (as good of a place as any, right?) for the list to move, and I checked it that day and it did. Therefore I thought that God was going to get me to Korea. Thing is, He never said that. I assumed. And we all know what happens when we assume that….

So, when it didn’t happen, when all my worst fears realized, I of course took it personally. Without saying it, but definitely acting like it, I blamed God for me not going to Korea. It was His fault.

It’s like in junior high when your best friend slights you, or says something behind your back, or tattles on you, and you give them the cold shoulder. Except God doesn’t ever act out of malice. But I’ve given Him the cold shoulder.

I don’t really understand what I’m trying to gain with this attitude. I’ve been going about my life.. work, running, watching my favorite shows on Netflix, reading, whatever and have purposely left Bible study and prayer out of it. I absolutely know what I’m doing, and what I think I’m doing is sticking it to the Man. Seriously, Elizabeth? Seriously? I shake my head at myself.

And of course on top of this, I have a hard time accepting that He will take us back again and again (exactly what Brian O. preached on Sunday). Like many of you, I grew up in a household where you were punished in some manner for bad behavior. Every time I did something wrong, I got in trouble until I could learn to not do it again. I sometimes feared being in trouble. Not for physical affliction, but just for that horrible sinking feeling when you know you’ve done something wrong.

I’m waiting for the spanking, for the disapproving look. And it hasn’t come. And I wonder why in the world I’m throwing my immensely imperfect perception of God onto God Himself. Why can’t I just accept His unconditional love for me, kiss and make up, and move on? Well… when you have a twisted view of you think who God should be, that’s who He will seem to look like. He will seem to act like that because that’s what you expect. Huh. Interesting concept.

I have to say, this has been one of the most disappointing experiences I’ve had as an adult. I don’t even compare life now to life as a teenager because circumstances are so different. I’ve never felt more bitterness towards an institution. 

I want to find a balance in living a spiritual life and living a life on earth, if that makes any sense. I go through seasons. My most recent one before this was full of only Christian/worship music, only nice words coming out of my mouth, only joy being felt. That is not practical. I will screw up and say something I shouldn’t. I don’t deny that I enjoy a lot of “secular” music. A lot. And of course, we don’t always feel joy. It shouldn’t be all or nothing, but instead a healthy balance. Am I making sense to anyone here?

I think once I get past this season, I will have a renewed perception of God, my God, who forever loves and cherishes and longs for the attention of His children. None of the major things have changed: I love Jesus, I’m still saved. He still loves me. What a lovely and redeeming truth!

>Marathon Training: Week 1

>I think I’m going to post what my schedule says, and then update later with what I really did. I will also continue to track my total mileage.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3 mi run (Actually did this on Sunday)
Wednesday: 5 mi pace (Did 4.57 mi)
Thursday: 3 mi run
Friday: rest (Did 3.02 mi)
Saturday: 8 mi (Did 8.02 mi)
Sunday: cross

“Run” means at an easy pace (~10:15/mi doesn’t stress me out too much)
“Pace” means at race pace for the marathon (~10:42/mi)
“Cross” means cross-training, which is absolutely essential. It allows your body to recover by using different muscles and also prevents injury.

On my long runs I should focus just on going the distance.

I will add strength training too, especially for the core.

I’m following Hal Hidgon’s Novice 2 Marathon Training.

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Forgive me for having this ridiculous obsession with blogging about running. I guess if ya don’t like it, don’t read it. 😉

Today I slept until about 10:15, having gone to sleep at 2 AM after talking to my love on the phone. I got up, made breakfast, made fresh orange juice with the juicer… oh my goodness… AMAZING. I did some dishes and whatnot and then got dressed to go outside for this run.

I wore a t-shirt, long-sleeve running shirt, and my fleece jacket on top… running tights and yoga pants on bottom. One pair of socks, my new Asics and I skipped the running belt and iPod armband as I had zip-up pockets on my jacket. I took a gel and Chapstick with me, put on gloves and an earband.

I almost wish I had had a face mask… it was very windy. There were gusts up to 27 MPH, according to The Weather Channel. However, I wonder if it’d make me too warm. If it hadn’t been windy, the fleece jacket would have been too much.

I ran part of my normal route down University with some exploring in the residential neighborhoods nearby. It was a beautiful day.. it’s cloudy now but it was sunny and we had blue skies. All the snow melted with the warm temps so it was dry. There wasn’t much traffic, either.

About mile five I ate the gel. I liked the consistency and the taste (Jet Blackberry, GU brand). I don’t know if it was mental or physical but I had a great last three miles. My muscles had limbered up and I had held back enough at the beginning to conserve energy. It was exhilarating.

My Nike+ app on my iPod tells me when I have 400m, 300m, etc left. After I hit the 8-mile mark I slowed down to a brisk walk. I ran the rent over to the office to walk it out some more, then came home and made a protein shake with banana, vanilla soy/whey protein powder, a packet of that effervescent vitamin supplement, ice and light vanilla soy milk. I haven’t even drank it all a couple hours later… it was rich!

I stretched really well and took a hot shower. I know I will inevitably be a little sore tomorrow but I still plan on doing some cross-training on Monday and then take tomorrow as my rest day. 

I have been so pleased with my motivation to get out there and pound the pavement this week. I was really going to start my training next week on Week 2 since Gabi and I had a good head start. I think I will still stick with the Novice 2 training schedule, but on short run days I’ll do interval and hill training.

I also want to be able to do real pushups by the end of this training. I basically plan on getting in the absolute best shape of my life over the next seventeen weeks. So watch out! 😉

My sister-in-law Katie and I are running another race together, with a couple of her friends, on April 10 in Chicago.. the Shamrock Shuffle. It’s an 8K, or 4.97 miles, and it’s perfect since it’s during my tapering for the marathon. I’m really excited to see how we both progress over the next few months.