Posted in Lessons He Taught Me, Things That Make My Brain Happy

Connected

Something I like about writing is the time I’m able to take, reflecting on my life and processing the ways God has been blessing me. For me, writing is another way I spend time with God. Going on outdoor runs is another way I connect with him.  As I listen to music reminding me of his promises and run through beautiful terrain that has his “fingerprints” all over it, I’m praising him.  I’m keenly aware that he’s with me.  There’s so much evidence in the trees, mountains, the rain and the rainbows, the sun showers that I’ve run through thanking him because he knows how much I love them. He’s smiling down at me as I’m smiling and looking up to Him, praising Him for giving me rest for my soul, filling me with light especially as I do these 2 things.

ARCO IRIS Chuva Sol Natureza Casa Colorido Desktop Backgrounds

In what ways do you feel even more connected to Him than normal? You’ll know what they are when you look forward to it each day.

Posted in Mom Life, Things That Make My Brain Happy

Race Day

Well, I’m not quite sure what happened but my last post posted today rather than a couple weeks ago when I wrote it from my mobile phone.  Don’t mean to confuse readers when you all see 2 posts on the same day. One talking about an upcoming race and the second talking about a race that happened yesterday.  Another one of life’s little mysteries, I suppose.

Hope everyone is doing well! I took the day off from work because I can’t put weight on my left leg. Despite that, I’m in great spirits! Yesterday, was a great day!  I woke up at 5:30 in the morning pumped and ready to run my first half-marathon.  I was especially happy because the night before I felt some pain behind and alongside my left leg, near the knee, but when I woke up it was almost entirely gone.  My boyfriend and I had prayed for healing the night before and he also gave me a leg massage to loosen things up a bit.  That combination of things worked well because I was feeling great and so, so relieved that all my training and efforts weren’t sabotaged by stubborn hamstrings.

As I got ready for the race, I listened to praise & worship music by Charity Gayle, Hillsong and a few others.  All I wanted to do was praise my God for healing me and hearing my prayer.  My worries about not being able to get through the race were dissipated.  There’s nothing better than having your hope renewed, right?

Once we arrived to the race site, it was so good to see everyone in my group, all stoked and ready to get their run on!  We planned on doing the 2018 New Paltz Challenge in part to support a woman from church who was recently diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease. It would be her first 5k.  Our pastor had t-shirts made that read, “Team Sabrina Parkinson’s Awareness” with 2 people running in the background and a large tulip overtop, which is the symbol for PD. Our running together was a message to Sabrina and all of us, that we’re in this together.  We do life together, fighting the good fight and running the race faithfully, until completion. (literally & figuratively)

Hebrews 12:1 New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

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We looked pretty excited, did we not? In our group, though not everyone arrived in time for this particular picture, we had 9 people running the 5k and 3 of us ran the half-marathon.  Pastor Scott, his wife and I started our race at 7:30 AM.  Now, can I just mention how happy I am that races this long, start so early before it gets extremely hot outside?!  We couldn’t ask for a better morning to run.  It was nice and cool out. No humidity. Breathing was not a challenge.  We were almost taken out by a senile, old man trying to exit his apartment complex, however.  He slowly drove the front end of his car right towards 600 runners heading for the starting line, but luckily a few volunteers stepped out, insisting that he turn around and exit another way.  It was sort of an interesting way to start out.  I was silently worried about him, wondering if he should really be driving anymore.

Anyhow, the half-marathon went well! The course was definitely more challenging than expected but I kept my pace (something I worked hard on during the last couple months of training) and didn’t let the hills scare me.  I developed a new strategy I call “looking down at the ground while running uphill” so I wouldn’t focus on how far I still had to run uphill and just focused on keeping pace.  It worked! That and thinking about the movie Finding Nemo, reminding myself to “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” My strategies were very technical.

When I finally completed 13.1 miles, I was just so relieved to cross that finish line and hear the DJ (is that what I should call him?) announce, “Angela Phillips finishes the race at 2:21:5! Great job!” I saw my boyfriend, my daughter and my friend Heather standing on a hill smiling and waving at me. I mustered up an exhausted smile and walked over to a volunteer who handed me a bottle of water (oh, thank, God!) and my first medal for running.  I tried to keep walking so that I could cool down properly like I normally do, but I felt a little strange.  I tried to fight it and push through but my legs were weak. a I was also light-headed.  Cooling down was not going to happen. Standing was good enough as Makayla walked over and gave me a loving hug.  Then, Drew was there and we were laughing, “I made it…” And he said, “I know, I can’t believe you did it!” He looked so proud and happy for me.  Then, my father was standing next to me, “Ange! I can’t believe you did it either!” More laughter from all of us, mostly because we were relieved and the look on their faces really meant so much to me.

So, I should probably end this post with the paragraph above but that’s not quite how the race ended. (I’m laughing, just so you know.)  After the race, I was so tired, all I wanted to do was sit down to stretch, drink some water and use my first GU energy gel. I was in serious need of electrolytes and amino acids.  My leg muscles were tight and I was afraid I might faint.  Thanking God again, for something else–GU energy gel. It came to the rescue like nobody’s business.

While the GU helped with the lightheadedness, it didn’t help with my legs.  When I tried to stand up, my left leg was suddenly in so much pain, I almost collapsed! My father and Drew caught me.  My hamstrings were so tight I couldn’t straighten out my leg while putting weight on it.  Has this ever happened to you? If so, what do you do for it?  I’ve been icing that leg for 20 minutes on and off, resting, doing light leg exercises in my sister’s pool and laughing at myself as I crawl from room to room.  Despite the pain, we all had a great Father’s Day with family.  It actually made the rest of our day pretty hilarious!

 

img_20180617_105540_499-506224250441429640.jpg                                  This is a picture of my daughter & I before my near collapse.

img_20180617_113312_491-1-1770915349.jpgAnd, this is the sweet, nurturing guy who went to get his car and move it as close to me as possible while my awesome father and daughter helped me slowly hop over on the good leg.

It was all good! God answered my prayers for healing so I could run the whole race I had set out to do months ago AND he provided many opportunities for laughter and bonding afterwards.  God Bless!

 

 

Posted in Things That Make My Brain Happy, Uncategorized

Running a Half-Marathon

I’ve been slacking with my writing for the last month or so. Today, I’m commuting to work by train and thought I would work on a post. For the last five months, I’ve been training for my first half-marathon. It’s happening in less than 2 weeks so most of my focus has been on running when I’m not working or helping my daughter with homework. I’m stoked for this next challenge in my life!

A pastor at my church, who is also a runner, has given me some good advice for training and the actual day of the race. He recommended using GU, an energy gel packed with amino acids, 20 mg of caffeine and electrolytes. It works great! I had never heard of it before and did most of my runs without it. The first time I tried it I felt a big difference in my run. My legs felt stronger and capable of running longer. Amazing! There’s also another energy gel for athletes that I’ve tried by Clif. Loved that one, too! I’m planning on stuffing a couple GUs in my flip belt on race day. I’ll take one with water before the race and the second after 8 miles. They help so much as you’re sweating so much and need to replenish your electrolytes. The amino acids help with recovery after the race and of course, the caffeine helps with energy to keep you moving all the way to the finish line. Such a blessing that he told me about that!

I started watching videos on YouTube on tips for running, other forms of energy for your body on a long run and found some other great ideas as well. You know, those long, skinny tubes of honey people use in their tea? That’s another option and fits well in a flip belt. Saltine crackers was another idea and dried fruit. There’s so much great information there that I hadn’t thought of looking up until Pastor Scott told me about the GUs. I was just following the half-marathon training plan I signed up for on Runtopia.

For breakfast before the race, I’ve heard a couple pieces of toast with peanut butter and honey is a good option. What do you do if you have a gluten intolerance? I was thinking maybe celery with peanut butter & honey but that’s going to be a lot of celery! (Laughing) Do you have any other ideas for me for dinner the night before and breakfast the day of the race?

I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say in the comments section.

Posted in Mom Life, Photo Inspiration

Having Fun And Staying Active In The Winter Months

 

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Every year, during the winter season, I feel that pull to start staying indoors more and go out less.  Especially when the short days of winter begin.  Most of us are effected by it.  Right around 5 o’clock, it’s so dark outside my body feels like it’s almost time for bed and it shocks me that all I want to do is put on pajamas and curl up on the couch. I’m typically a pretty active person. All summer long and into the fall, I’m out and about either working or taking my daughter on fun excursions and in search of new adventures.  Suddenly it begins getting dark at 4 and my body physiologically feels the difference.  It’s kind of an amazing phenomenon when you think about it. So what do you do when you feel this way? Do you succumb to the overwhelming urge to just lay down and do nothing?  Do you force yourself to do a few odds and ends around the house and then lay down to relax? Maybe you do that in the beginning and then decide you have to fight this slothful feeling and find ways to energize yourself despite the lack of sunlight.

This year, the time change really seemed to hit me worse than other years.  I was really feeling unmotivated by the time I got home from work.  I decided to leave things where they were instead of making the place immaculate.  I started liking the way it looked to leave my projects out with balls of lacing thread lined up on my bookshelf in varying colors, a pair of scissors, a yarn needle, pencils and crochet hooks popping out the tops of the thread like it was a pin cushion. My handwritten snowflake and earring patterns could be found stuffed underneath.  All of our scrapbooking supplies with a Shutterfly envelope stuffed full of pictures sat stacked on top of a small table near the couch. I’d leave the dishes in the sink for a couple days or put off getting to all of the mail at once.  These weren’t things I’d do as much before the time change, but I realized I just needed to ease into the season and rest more than usual until I got used to it.  I’ve talked to other people about the effects of the time change and a lot of people have said they feel more tired than previous years. Maybe we’re getting old?

Now, that I’ve had time to adjust, I’ve been finding more exciting ways to get out to do new things and make fun memories with my daughter, family & friends.  Before Christmas, we made plans to go to NYC with a close friend and explore the city during Christmas time.  Occasionally, I work out there and I love walking back to Grand Central Station at night after work.  I have a new appreciation for Christmas window displays at Macy’s and just how beautifully decorated everything is. I love the Christmas lights, the wreaths and walking through Bryant Park at night to watch the ice skaters and to just take in the view of happy people enjoying themselves. For all those reasons, I decided this year that I wanted to wander around and share these special things with people I loved. It was cold out and somehow that made it even more fun. We went to Saks Fifth Avenue, saw St. Patrick’s Cathedral all decorated for Christmas–it was the first time seeing that for each of us, we accidentally walked passed Trump Towers–not realizing until we saw a female police officer dressed in full riot gear with a huge gun almost the same height as her.  We milled around the inside of the Rockefeller Center, not knowing NBC records the news & the Today Show there or that it was built like a mall with lots of interesting stores and places to eat.  Really, we saw and did so much while we were there and it was all a blast.  Even stopping at a Starbucks to get coffee and a lemonade for my daughter was so much more fun to do than in upstate NY because it was different than our everyday routines.  Really, going out to try different things or to share things you love with people who are important to you breathes more life into your soul. So, what else have I gone out to do that may help you to think of things that you can do to get more into that happy frame of mind?

Exercise, especially running or cardio strength training, helps me to get a little spunk back.  I started tracking my runs with an app called Runtopia last July.  Again, since the dark days of winter started, I’ve been feeling less desire to workout.  Yesterday, I was feeling apprehensive and I knew I needed to get back on my treadmill to pound out the stress. Part of what got me on that treadmill was remembering the endorphin release when I run and part of it was that I thought it would be really cool to do one last run for 2017 and record it with Runtopia.  Let me tell you, it helped me to feel so much better. God knows what we need and He gave us exercise to keep us healthy mentally & physically.  Did you know that exercise is the most potent and underutilized antidepressant? And it’s free… I read this meme posted on Instagram and I said to myself, “Amen! That is so true!”

Something else that helps is starting new traditions that you love so much you would rather do them than sit on the couch. Particularly, something that challenges you in a way that you enjoy because you have fun, you impress yourself with your ability to do it and it comes with a great reward that is healthy for your mind, body and soul.  Last, New Year’s Day, my daughter and I bundled ourselves up to go hiking up a mountain that was mostly vertical.  This year, we made a tradition out of it and went back again to start our year out with an adventure. Wow, we forgot how breathless this climb would be!  We invited someone special to come with us this time and we got the cardio endurance work out of the year.  This time we went with ice cleats on our boots and made it to the top much faster.  The view, the feat and the fact that we made it to the top was so uplifting.  We were all smiling despite our sore legs.  And we learned some great things from that hike like how to work as a team, to look out for each other in order to keep each other safe, outdoor survival skills, how to have fun in the cold and to be prepared for anything.  Traditions like this build great relationships and give us more things we can look forward to doing as a family.  They make great memories and definitely help me to stay active in the winter.  If you want to chase away the winter blues and start laughing more again, I encourage you to try out some of these ideas.