>Improvements

>Some of you may have already seen my post on Daily Mile about my great five-miler today. I have to say that I could not believe I ran that fast! I mean, I know I’ve been training hard, but by the way I was feeling as I was forcing myself to get out the door, I thought it would be a pace run or something.

I headed out with my new Garmin, which is AMAZING. The best money ever spent on an electronic device. I also got a heart rate monitor with it, and it fits much better than the Polar one I have. The watch itself is pretty big on my small wrist, but it’s solid. It came with a little USB drive that syncs wirelessly with the watch and uploads the data to connect.garmin.com.

Here are some snapshots of the data I have on my run…

 This has all the info on pace, elevation, etc. I can’t believe my best pace was 6:49.. I’ve never run that fast ever! At least, not that’s been recorded.

 This is a graph of my pace as it relates to time elapsed. You can see where I hit my peak.. right about the time I was sprinting to cross the street before the light turned.

 This is a graph of the elevation change. My normal route does have a few hills, so my pace would probably be better on flat ground.

 Here’s a graph of my heart rate as time elapsed. I love this because now I can track my SVT, if it happens while I run, and how long it lasts. My average HR was 171, which makes sense for how hard I was working!

This is one of my favorite features: splits. It seriously does not feel like I was running that fast, especially the last mile. I know that GPS is undoubtedly more accurate than the Nike+ iPod, which was just a fancy pedometer.

It also shows a map of the exact route and you can even play it back.

My final time was 47:30, which is just crazy. This summer I was running five miles in 55:00! My goal for the Shamrock Shuffle is 47:00, but I would have been stoked with my time today. Maybe the course will be more flat.

Let’s just say that it was totally worth it to get off my butt and out the door. I woke up at 6:30 this morning and laid in bed until 9:30… seriously. It seems that it’s always those reluctant times where I perform the best.

On a final note, the marathon is ONE MONTH from today and I feel total confidence in our ability to complete it, and complete it well! Tomorrow I run another five miles, and then rest/hydrate Friday in preparation for our last LDR (long distance run) of 20 miles.

>When will we be happy?

>I’m treating myself to Starbucks on this lovely spring break morning. My car is over at the shop getting new tires, new oil and new wiper blades, so I’ll be here for a little while. I did bring things to study, but unlike my life three or four years ago, it has nothing to do with conventional college classes, tests or projects.

And it’s refreshing. (My college “experience” was very stressful for me; I have no desire to relive it, unless of course I’m living on the Mediterranean in Spain and soaking in the sun whilst studying Spanish literature.)

I still consider myself a student, but one of the Word of God. There is so much to learn; the studies that can be done about the Bible are positively endless. How can we ever get to the bottom of it? I could study it my whole life and still not have a complete understanding.

Now, to get to the title of my post. I study the Word of God to 1) learn more about Him, 2) understand His will in many tough situations by studying the lives of His followers and 3) learn what I can do to have the “inexpressible and glorious joy” throughout my life (I Pet. 1:8)… see the following.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your soul.”

Peter purports (I love that word; it sounds like purple, but it’s not) that we can be filled with joy just by the realization that we are saved. In our lives, the defining moment or elaborated experience (mine was the latter) of salvation seems like such a small part of the story of our lives.

The fact that we are saved gives joy to sustain us. And everything else is gravy, right?

We get sucked into this Babylon’s (America’s) mindset that we will be happy when…

As we know, happiness cannot be equated to joy, although it can be a direct result of joy. Joy cannot be derived from happiness, as the feeling is fleeting.

Here is my list of “I will be happy when…”

  • I will be happy when Aaron and I are together again.
  • I will be happy when I become a mother.
  • I will be happy when my children accept Jesus.
  • I will be happy when we finally buy a house.
  • I will be happy when we can scream “We’re debt free!!!!” on Dave Ramsey’s show.
  • I will be happy when I have more defined ab muscles (seriously)
  • I will be happy when I have a new coffee maker.
  • I will be happy when I’m sitting on the Mediterranean, studying Spanish lit, and enjoying a drink with a little umbrella in the warm summer sun, speaking perfect Spanish to passersby……..or not.
  • I will be happy when my hair is longer.
  • I will be happy when the warm weather is here to stay.
  • I will be happy when school is over for the summer.
  • I will be happy when all relationships in my life are repaired and restored.
  • I will be happy when all the people I love accept Jesus.

What a slippery, muddy slope of false pretenses. It seems silly to focus on things that really could not make us happy (like my hair being longer… silly, right??) but we do. We compare ourselves with others and envy them their body, hair, marriage, house, coffee maker (a Cuisinart Grind and Brew would be awesome). We chase these things that are so fleeting. They evaporate before our eyes. What happens if only a few of those things come to pass? Then where would I be?

Well, the devil would like to convince me that “See? God really doesn’t want you to be happy. He hasn’t done anything for you.” To which I would boldly reply…

  • God has blessed me with an incredible, wonderful, amazing, sexy, loving husband. (Have I mentioned that my husband is incredibly attractive?!)
  • God has blessed me with another family with parents, brothers, and sisters.
  • God has blessed me with my immediate family.
  • God has blessed me with an amazing best friend.
  • God has blessed me with the ability to run.
  • God has delivered me from depression.
  • God has sustained our marriage throughout some hard times already!
  • God has protected me throughout my life (specifically the forming years of adolescence) from harmful experiences.
  • I really do love what I see in the mirror every morning.
  • God has blessed our finances.
  • God sent His Son to die for my sins because He loves me!

And the list goes on and on. We have to remember what God’s already done in our lives in order to keep the momentum of the joy of our salvation.

The LORD has done great things for us,
   and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 126:3

The Hebrew word for joy is sameach. It means “joyful, merry, glad, showing joy, those who rejoice.”

There was a really cute family with three adorable children when I first got to Starbucks. At the first twinge of envy, I remember that someday the Lord will bless us with children and we will be a cute family with adorable kids. Our children will love Jesus and we will raise them in a loving, warm, accepting environment. We will set a great example of a man and woman who love each other the way Christ loves the Church.

And really… once you think about all the promises that lay ahead in your life, how can you not be filled with joy for all that He has done, is doing and that is to come?

>Marathon Training: Week 13.. WHAT?!

>How in the world did this happen? Only five weeks left? I remember when I was getting excited because it was *only* six months away. Wow.

I ran only 18 miles this week… 

Sunday: one-hour hike with Becca
Monday: rest… again
Tuesday: 5-point-something miles… good pace (<10:00)
Wednesday: Nothing.. had an SVT episode at work and was just all around not feeling very well. The episode itself lasted less than 20 seconds, which was good.
Thursday: Had no time to run.. Thursdays are always very busy.
Friday: Came home early from work (early dismissal into SPRING BREAK!) and ran a half marathon at my goal pace of 10:18/mi for 13.07 miles.
Saturday: Nothing today.

Yesterday I looked like a nerd running through Peoria.. I was decked out with my ear band, gloves, heart rate monitor/watch, and Camelbak. I wore the Camelbak because 13 miles would take me over two hours and I wanted to stay hydrated. At one point I ran past some high school boys who were wearing t-shirts and shorts (it was only 35* or so)… I probably gave them something to laugh at with all my gear. It doesn’t look so silly when Gabi and I are running out on country roads in the wee hours of Saturday mornings.

Anyway, I felt pretty good for most of the run until the end when my calves really started cramping up. My Nike+ iPod sensor went kaput, so I just went by my watch and estimated if I was keeping a steady pace. I think I did… 10:18 is fabulous distance pace for me. That means I can step up my mile and 2-mile paces. Eek.

My average HR according to the monitor was 164, which is great. But the high HR was 203, and that concerns me. I don’t doubt that I’ve probably had SVT while I’ve been running. But it’s different because my HR is already high, so it’s hard to tell if I am or not. Unfortunately, I never caught the 203 on the screen when it happened. I’m not sure what else it could have been. I didn’t sprint at the end and hills give me a HR of about 180-185, never over 200.

I know it’s only been a month since I cut out all caffeine, drinking fluids like crazy, and taking the iron pills. Aaron suggested something that kind of makes sense.. that my sodium is too low. That totally makes sense. When I’m being careful about what I’m eating, I get only 1500-2000 mg of sodium daily. And if I’m sweating a lot while running and not replacing what I lost, I’m probably not absorbing enough water… it’s a thought. I will ask the doctor about it when I go back in a couple weeks for more bloodwork.

It’s amazing to me how all the systems in our bodies have to work together.. it’s amazing we’re all alive at all, much less functioning correctly. I am determined to get this under control because the last thing I want is to have to take medication to control it.

After the marathon, I will be decreasing my weekly mileage to probably 15-20 miles, and maybe take a break from long distance running for a couple months until we get settled in El Paso. I say this now, but I’ve heard once you run your first marathon, you’re hooked.. For. Ev. Er. We shall see!

I should get my new Garmin in the mail this week… an early birthday present from my amazing husband 😀

Mine will be green. It has GPS and a HR monitor.. it will tell me exactly how many miles I’ve run (the Nike+ iPod thing is only 90% accurate). Excited!

>Spiritual simplicity: rest.

>Chip Ingram’s podcasts (Living on the Edge) are some of my favorites, especially his recent series called Spiritual Simplicity. He talks biblically about how to go about simplifying your life by following two commandments: love God, and love others. He describes how when we’re so on-the-go all the time, we don’t have the time or energy to love God or others like we should. We don’t have time to bring our families closer in unity with Christ, and we don’t have time to cultivate a rich love relationship with Jesus.

It just confirms what I have been feeling for months now, that I need to slooowwww down. I’ve resigned from some activities, even though they’re good things. I’ve been approached with different opportunities to tutor or for extra work and have turned them down because I know that I don’t need to work more. I work full time, and my income is mostly supplemental. I don’t need more activity to make me stressed out.

I’ve found that since I’ve learned how to say “no”, I don’t have a high tolerance for being so crazy busy anymore, especially since I started my most recent job. I have a schedule of getting up around 5:30-5:40 (this week anyway, to do devotions before I’m even fully awake, haha) and getting to bed around 10. If I get less than seven hours of sleep, I’m sunk.

I need to have alone time to recharge. I mean, need. I get cranky and impatient when I don’t get this time. I don’t necessarily need to be reading the Bible or praying for all of my alone time, but I need silence. Sometimes I clean, sometimes I read, and a lot of times I sew or knit. It’s my chill time.

I honestly don’t know how I made it through college relatively unscathed. I was so incredibly busy literally all of the time between work, school and homework. Oh, and somehow maintaining a good relationship with Aaron that whole time.

I’m so glad I’ve learned how to say “no”. And I do find that I am a more patient and compassionate person, because I have energy left at the end of the day (or most days, haha).

Spring break is next week. I have a list of things that need to get done sometime in the next three months, some of which I will do next week. I consider cleaning and cooking as part of my chill time, simply because I’m able to be comfy at home.

The Lord created the Sabbath for a reason.. He’s ordained rest for us!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 
The Greek word for rest is anapausis. It means, “Intermission, cessation of any motion, business or labour”.

“I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.”
Psalm 16:8-9
The Hebrew word for rest is shakan, which means, “to settle down, to abide, to establish, lay, place, set”.
Sleep on that. 😉

Yeah, like that. Kittehz really know how to relax. 

{Check out the lexicon feature of Blue Letter Bible… it’s amazing and easy to use!}

>Hi. Me llamo Elizabeth y I speak Spanglish.

>While I am very excited about moving to El Paso, I can’t help but think my Spanish skills are lacking. I never experience a full study abroad program, though I have traveled to three countries. My longest stay was only ten days, just about the time you start feeling comfortable. I taught for two years, but besides using Spanish with the advanced levels, I read and heard a lot of Spanglish. That’s nothing against my students, of course, but I was expected to be the expert. Ha.

I had two great Peruvian professors at Bradley from whom I modeled my fluency and accent. Of course, I can speak it well enough to pass all the tests, and to have conversations, but honestly I’m self-conscious. I know it’s totally normal to feel that way about your second, third, fourth languages. But this was my major. I have a degree in Spanish.

I was perusing job openings in the school districts surrounding El Paso, and there were none for Spanish teachers. I wonder why! And who would an administrator choose: a Mexican-American who is fluent in both cultures and languages, or a white girl from the Midwest who learned a lot of her Spanish from a textbook? I know race/ethnicity should have nothing to do with it, but really.

The Lord knows the desires of my heart (Ps. 37:4) and I fully believe He placed me at my current job for such a time as this. I was not happy in the retail setting. I always said I’d rather work retail than sub, and boy was I wrong!

I have never been jobless in my life. Ever. He has always provided. I should trust that He will do the same in just a few months. There is no immediate financial pressure for landing a job. I pressure myself, compare myself to others, and I’m afraid to be that “stay-at-home-Army-wife”.

In general I’m very excited about whatever opportunity will come my way. I know that God has called me into education, and Spanish, for a reason. And it totally makes sense that I would be tempted to doubt myself. Don’t we all at some point? We are human. But God is God, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (II Cor. 12:9).

When I went to Honduras, I was asked to translate another team member’s testimony to a beautiful group of girls. I was so incredibly nervous. Here I was, newly graduated with a BA in Spanish, scared to translate when I had been doing it all week! However, I was able to somewhat graciously get the point across and their lives were touched, and one of most lovely prayer times followed. Why should that same manifestation of His strength in my weakness not happen again? Over and over?

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His…”

Another translation says that He will show Himself strong on our behalf. I think this verse is a keeper.

“Porque los ojos de Jehová contemplan toda la tierra, para mostrar su poder a favor de los que tienen corazón perfecto para con él.”

>Marathon Training: Week 12

>What a great week!! With caffeine and sweets not clouding my vision or fitness, I felt really good this week.

Monday: 3 mile recovery-ish run, strength training
Tuesday: 5 mile tempo run, strength training… this one felt great!! I love tempo runs.
Wednesday: 4 mile run
Thursday and Friday: rest, did a little stretching.
Saturday: 20-miler with Gabriela!!! Our pace was around 11:30. We started out at 5:30 in the morning and ran mostly on rural roads. Let me tell you, you cannot beat running into the sunrise while smelling signs of spring!
Sunday: Planning on a hike with Becca

I felt so good today on the run. I was hurting some after mile 10, but that’s normal when you’ve been running for close to two hours. I took my new Camelbak (50oz) and had one gel. I think the increase in hydration, plus doing 18 last Saturday, really made it a great run. I drank almost all the water. It wasn’t heavy and it didn’t cause any chafing.

We started out at 5:30 AM, and honestly it wasn’t too difficult to pull myself out of bed at 4:45. We were running for a good hour until we started to see sunlight. I wish I had a camera because it was a beautiful sunrise.

Post-run meal:

Whole grain pancakes w/ butter and lite syrup, mixed fruit and hardboiled egg.

I use the McMillan running calculator to see what my approximate marathon time will be. It says to put in your best time (4 miles in 36:36) and it says I will run 26.2 in 4:32. Seems a little fast to me, but I guess we’ll see. We have another month yet of training. And of course you have to factor in that I’m probably a little less anemic, and I drink more fluids. Plus, on race day, adrenaline is high… race days are so much fun.

>My budding culinary prowess…ish.

>

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to eat. Going to the grocery store is therapeutic, as long as I have the cash on hand. I treat it like a date with myself, really. I have my list and pen, and I wander up and down the aisles perusing everything. I’m not stressed because I shop for a couple to three weeks at a time, so I know I’m going to be spending a little time there. People who don’t say excuse me or seem exasperated by my strolling drive me batty. If you don’t like it, go around! Or say excuse me! Anyway. 
When I get home from the store, I unpack all the groceries from my reusable bags. When I worked grocery, I used to get annoyed at people who brought their own bags because honestly, it takes longer to bag their food. But since I live in the third floor of my apartment building, cloth bags carry much much more and I’m almost always able to get everything in one trip.
I usually spend a couple hours preparing food once I get home. I know if I just put everything away, I’ll forget what I have. I usually make my list based on what sounds good, and on food I can use in more than one dish. I try to clean out the fridge and do dishes before shopping so I can get right to slicing and dicing.
I thought I’d share with you some of the things I prepare “in bulk”. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I can’t seem to cook for just one person. It gets expensive and time-consuming. I grew up watching my mom, an amazing cook, prepare food for 5-6 people, and still have leftovers. I follow suit, and it works out for me. The other great thing about doing this is that when Aaron and I are living together again very soon (yay!!!), my grocery budget likely won’t go up much.
All the following items are healthy, but I haven’t taken the time to calculate the nutrition facts.

I always have fresh fruit on the table to munch on. Apples and bananas are a good snack to-go, and they stay good for a long time. As the bananas ripen, I use them in smoothies and when they’re almost too ripe, I use them in baking.

Fruit salad! One of my favorites. Apple, pineapple (canned), blackberries, strawberries, grapes.


HyVee has an amazing health food section complete with bulk foods like tea, spices, flour, candy, etc. I decided to get some muesli (oatmeal mix with dried berries and such) and steel-cut oats. I mixed them together with what I had left of the quick oats, some dried cranberries, raisins and ground flax seed. Flax seed is a great source of Omega-3’s, and with water you can use it as a substitute for oil in baking.

I’ve been obsessed lately with reusing containers. You can use this mix as oatmeal in the morning, in cookies, muffins, or pancakes.

 Mmm. Stir fry mix. Snow peas, bean sprouts, yellow onion, red pepper, leftover yellow squash and zucchini from the other night. You can use this over rice, noodles (I’m excited to try rice noodles!), in a salad, in a tortilla with grilled chicken.. the possibilities are endless.

I also put together a salad mix of spinach, bean sprouts, snow peas, radishes, and English cucumber. YUM.

Trail mix: Lightly salted peanuts, unsalted whole almonds, dried cranberries, raisins and a couple handfuls of honey roasted almonds.

So there ya go! It may be a little more expensive to buy all the produce, etc, but in the end I think it balances out when you don’t eat out so often or buy all the junk.