Letter #667: Choose Discipline

 

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Dear running,

A year ago today I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon. 13.1 miles. Today, I’m not really sure I could run a 5K.

What a clear picture of what our bodies are capable of but also of how quickly they change.

I was thinking about last year today and what the difference was. The only thing I can come up with is choice.

I chose and committed to running 13.1 miles. Because of that, I put in the training it took to accomplish it. Discipline.

Today, I haven’t chosen. I’m not aiming to run multiple miles. Could I do it again? Sure. [I think!] But it starts with a choice.

This isn’t only true of running. We must choose. Choose to pursue. Choose to love. Choose joy. Choose our attitudes. Choose selflessness. Choose discipline.

When I think back to a year ago, my life was disciplined. Far more so than it is now. I’ve learned discipline breeds discipline. If I’m running/exercising regularly, I eat better. If I’m going to bed at the right time, I wake up easier. If I abide by my social media boundaries, I am more productive.

Discipline breeds discipline. I don’t know if I’ll ever run a half again. I do know running one helped me understand the need for choice, commitment and discipline in order to live with purpose.

Reflecting on what once was,

Out of shape

Letter #614: 13.1…Check.

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Dear OKC Marathon,

Wow. You are one of the neatest experiences I’ve ever been part of. 25,000 runners. Thousands of additional spectators. 6:30am start time which meant 5:30am church and memorial services. All in memory of one 1995 bombing that took 168 lives and really changed Oklahoma forever.

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In the corrals minutes before the run…it looks light, but the sun hadn’t even risen yet.

I had toyed with the idea of running a half marathon for a couple years, and in January I decided I was doing it in 2013. I quickly chose you for my race and started training. I have to admit, I was nervous leading up to the start. Would I be able to make it? Was I in good enough shape? Did I eat the right things to give me the right amount of energy? Would I find the right place to start?

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Seas of people. Yes, I was running while taking pictures. Sunrise.

I had trained for months. It’s not like I just showed up and hoped to finish. I had lots of time, effort and energy invested. Training: 4 months. 8 states. 1 goal: finish.

After 168 seconds of silence (this was awesome and honestly felt like an eternity) in honor of those lost in the OKC bombing and another three seconds of silence for the Boston victims, the race began. I could see people running as far as I could see in front of me and people waiting to start running behind me. Seas of people continued for at least the first five miles.

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My favorite leg of the run…besides the finish line of course! The Capital Building.

I ran this race solo. I did some of my training with a friend, but I even did most of my long runs solo. I loved the time to process and honestly when push comes to shove running is an individual sport. It’s all mental. I’d enjoy having people I knew to run the race with if I ever did another one, but I loved accomplishing this myself in my first race.

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Mama and Papa Roth were at mile 12 to cheer me on and take this picture!!!

For the first seven miles, I felt awesome. I loved every second of it. People watching was prime. The spectators were so encouraging and their signs and chants were hilarious. I was killing it, feeling good and having fun. Then reality sank in. About mile 8.5 I started feeling it. It wasn’t so awesome anymore. I hit the wall. But I kept running. I felt like this all the way through mile 11. By that point you know you’re almost done and can’t really feel the pain anymore :). I was thankful to see familiar faces during mile 12 in my parents and a dear college friend. I kept running. One last turn and a home stretch the street volunteer told me. I picked up my pace. Something I had worked toward for months was being completed. The crowd grew with every step to the finish. Strangers cheered and thanked me for running. Two hours and 15 minutes later at 8:50am I could finally stop running. 13.1 miles…I did it!

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Needed some kind of documentation at the finish line!
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Mama & Papa Roth: The greatest supporters at not just my race but in all of life.
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Even ran into an old kamp friend…it was unreal how many people I saw from college, kamp and just life in general! #smallworld

There have been few times in life I’ve been impressed with or proud of myself. When I crossed that finish line I accomplished something I had worked toward for months and dreamed of for years. I had finished a race that will remind me in hard times of life that anything is possible. Will I run another race? I don’t know yet, but I do know I crossed something off my bucket list I never thought I actually would.

You were so much fun and really well done. Meaningful. Well-executed. Honoring. Exciting. I don’t know what classifies a good or a bad race, but I loved being part of what you’re doing. Thanks for honoring those lost and being a way to aid people in their grief as well as accomplish life goals.

Maybe one day we’ll meet again,

Half marathon completer

Letter #605: Live & Die

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Dear Easter,

Where do I even begin? Without what you symbolize, my life is completely meaningless.

Good Friday: A) I work for a ministry, so today is a holiday! B) I ran nine miles this morning. In the rain. Nine. I was an athlete my whole life, but I’ve never done something like this.

In my 26 years of life, this is probably the closest I’ve ever been to experiencing “grueling pain’ on Good Friday. And running nine miles is a joke compared to what Jesus went through. Whipped. Flogged. Beaten. Mocked. Carried a cross. Crucified. Nine miles is an afternoon stroll in the park.

As I was going to sleep last night I prayed for sweet time with the Lord today. That my mind would be able to pray and reflect and listen to the Lord rather than be consumed with how miserable and hard the task at hand was. I prayed to learn perseverance like never before.

For an hour and a half I went headphone’less.’ I come from a generation where silence and solitude are tough. Time to simply think and be without constant noise and information was such a blessing.

Did I mention it was raining the whole time?! A little annoying but mostly awesome. I kept thinking about the rain and how it could symbolize the great mourning today represents. Today’s the day we recognize as Jesus’ death”…an event worthy of sadness, grieving and hopelessness. This is Friday.

But friends, don’t ever forget Sunday is coming. If Jesus’ story had ended at death, grief and mourning would be appropriate. But friends, His story doesn’t end there. Easter is coming because crucifixion and death couldn’t contain the Son of God. He was buried, but on the third day He rose again. We can rejoice because Jesus’ resurrection brings hope. Peace. Joy. Salvation. Forgiveness for my sin.

Friends, we live and die. He died and LIVES. Don’t miss this. What we celebrate this weekend isn’t merely a historical event we acknowledge or a family gathering. It is the only reason we can ever hope to have eternal life. Jesus, in His fullness of being sinless, being crucified and raising from the dead, is “the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through [Him].” (John 14:6)

We live and die. He died and lives. He died so I can live. For this, I am grateful.

Not only did I get to reflect on the goodness of God during my rainy run, but I was also reminded that God always has a Sunday on the horizon in my life. Whether it’s Easter Sunday coming to redeem the brutal crucifixion on Friday or the end result of a random trial I happen to be walking through, Sunday is coming. Hope lies ahead. God isn’t going to leave us in our Friday forever. He will redeem our sufferings. Praise God.

Praying we understand the depth of Good Friday so we can understand even more the hope that lies in Christ through Easter Sunday,

Running reflector

***Photo Attribution: Heidi Sonnenschein, you can go to here site here and download it for yourself!

Letter #446: ‘Hurts So Good’

Dear running,

It’s been a LONG time. I picked up my tennies and laced ’em up for the first time in awhile yesterday afternoon. Outside in 30 degree temperatures on Branson hills. You know that burning in your chest…Ahhh! HELLO out of shape! The only description I could come up with is John Mellencamp’s song, “Hurts So Good.” Yes, I know it’s actually about sex, but what better description for working out. Good night, it hurts, but it always ends up being good. Hurts so good…potentially becoming my new mantra for you.

Getting back into shape,  

Hurting so good this morning

Letter #110: Road Bikes, Running, Relationships

Dear relationships,

Last night, I experienced my first snow of 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. I missed last week’s snow when I was in West Texas…I don’t think it snows in the desert.  Anyways, as I was driving downtown, I couldn’t help noticing the bike lane. It was in the center of the road. A lane of traffic, vehicles, on each side. We crossed over the bike lane to switch lanes. Death trap if you ask me.

So, here I am, standing in the middle of the road in the middle of the bike lane in the snow and freezing Nebraska temperatures. Why?! Well, for whatever reason, these lanes got me thinking about you. Strange, I know, but roll with me.

This weekend, I got to have relationship 101 with one of my favorite married couples. They’re 65 and 57 and have been married for 35+ years. I spend a good amount of time with them, but this was different. You quickly became the center of conversation. Every question imaginable was thrown out. Interested in anybody? What type of guy are you interested in? Who was dateable in your Institute class? Anybody in this Institute class? Do you want to be married? Does it freak you out that you’re not even close to marriage? What do you expect marriage to be like? No boundaries.

Then, the couple weighed in. We agreed I needed a strong leader to offset my strong will but not to the point of butting heads. The husband informed me I needed someone I trusted to lead. If I trusted, then I would willingly master the “S’ word……get your head out of the gutter (mid convo, mine was there too), he meant submission.

Their biggest advice about you were unselfishness and not taking the other for granted. Simple enough right? Hah. I take things for granted daily and am the only person affected when I make decisions. I fail in both of these single. I have a lot of work to do.

So where does this bike lane come into play. After nearly two hours of talking about you, the husband told me a friend of his decided he was simply going to run during his singleness. He would go about his business and run toward the Lord. As he was running, he’d look left, then right and see who was running with him. If he saw girl running toward the Lord, then maybe, just maybe, they could run together. They’re still running together today.

So, as I observed the death trap, all I envisioned was someone running in the middle of the street with purpose. The world surrounding, distractions everywhere, but the runner staying the course. Every once in awhile, seldomly, the head turned right, then left, then straight back ahead. Nobody to run with yet.

The runner was me.

Running with purpose, but remaining aware,

Risker of life to stand in the middle of roads to take blog worthy pics