Chicago: Enjoying.

I just raced Chicago marathon…two days ago. My brain is still in a fog and I’m tired from travel and walking around the city and people overload. I’m a mixture of emotions from happiness to disappointment to excitement to one million and a half questions and “what ifs” floating around in my head.

But, I’ve learned somethings in the past few years…

It involves celebrating and enjoying.

I’m barely starting to sort out the race in my head. Crossing the line on my feet is an accomplishment in itself. I think anyone who has ran a marathon can agree with that! You’re just happy to be done, to finish, to let your emotions and nerves finally calm down. After months of training, focused dedication, lots of sleep, and hammering out little details like nutrition and race day prep, crossing the line is a relief. I feel like I can breathe. Race day is a celebration.

So, I’ve learned: Celebrate.

Within the hours after the race, I received many encouraging texts, tweets, messages, FB shout outs..and also:

What’s next?

What did you think of the race?

What would you do differently?

What did you do well?

Do you think you’ll make an Olympic Team someday?

What is your greatest life ambition? (Just kidding…that’s a little far)

But, that’s kind of what it feels like. For being a planner and future-minded, when I finish a race like the marathon, here is a bit of what’s going on in my mind:

The energy it will take to walk to get a latte from Peet’s Coffee (and if I’ll have to walk any stairs).

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How I’m going to stand and shower (my legs hurt).

Do I have gatorade all over me?

My hair is a rat’s nest: do I have enough conditioner to detangle it? How long will that take? I don’t want to stand long.

FOOD

I just raced 26.2 miles…oh. my. goodness.

Coffee. Food. Need. Food.

I just want to sleep.

Or eat.

Or sit.

Call my mom. Call Seth. Oh my goodness…my phone is blowing up. Stressful. Make it stop!

FOOD.

Ok, I could go on, but you get the point.

I know other professionals are reading this and laughing; you know what I’m talking about.

So, right now, I’m enjoying and celebrating. This was my 2nd marathon and my first marathon major and I’m 24. I’ve got years ahead of me and a lot of learning to do. I know there are many things I can improve on and also things I did really well. There are things I feel really good about and things that I wish I did differently. But, I’m not quite there yet.

Life is about moments. Moments like crossing the line and seeing my team of people smiling, or pushing through the hard miles when I hear loved ones yell my name, or hugging my competitors who are also good friends because we did it. We finished. Or, the delicious dinner I ate post-race with my dear friends in downtown Chicago and the mound of sweet potato fries that I totally devoured and enjoyed. Or, walking around on tired legs and appreciating the beauty of the city. Those moments, I don’t want to miss out on. I don’t want to miss out on them in the midst of thinking about what’s next or what I can do better or if I’m happy with the race. I’ll get there, but I’m not there yet. I want my life to be full of God’s joy and celebration and slowing down to enjoy.

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On Self-Care.

This blog might seem a bit all over the place, but follow me; I promise I’m going somewhere. I usually write blogs in my mind when I’m running, but today, it was after I showered and was finally putting on normal clothes, curling my hair, spraying perfume…

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One of my high school coach’s wives used to say all the time, “Look good, feel good.”

No, it’s not all the way true all the time. But, part of it is. And, really, it’s deeper and wiser advice than you might initially think.

At the end of college, I was running around (literally) like a busy college girl. My schedule included: 80 miles a week, taking a full load of challenging classes and determined to maintain a high GPA, as well as working part-time at Starbucks and an internship. I had zero free time. And, the time I did have, I went to coffee with friends, went to frozen yogurt spontaneously with my roommates, and led a small group of freshman girls (best decision ever). Thus, I had little time to get ready or even change out of running clothes. When I finally would wear normal clothes, the usual comments included:

“Wow! Why are you so dressed up?”

“I didn’t even recognize you!”

“Where are you going? What’s the occasion?”

“You’re hair looks so nice down; you never wear it down.”

But, fast forward to freshman year in college: I’m pretty sure my teammates wondered if I was a real runner. Make up and too much of it. Short hair down when I ran. (I’m so glad that phase is over)

And, thank goodness I’m over the period of life where I had zero time to shower or sit down to eat or get ready. 

As an ASICS athlete, we do photo shoots to promote new products, running shoes, and awesome running gear. My teammate, Lauren Kleppin, and I, did a photo shoot awhile back. When ASICS posted the photo on social media, so many people commented on our hair and make-up, that we aren’t real runners, that we make it look easy.

I laughed and showed my teammate, Lauren, who also giggled.

I wear make-up to practice every day. And, I usually have my hair in curls in a pony tail. I put thought into my outfit, the shoes that will carry me the best for my run, the breakfast I’ll eat, the recovery food after, etc.

I take pride in how I look when I race, when I train; running is my job. But, I also take pride in myself, in the woman God has created me to be. I like taking care of myself. I think it’s important. I think it’s necessary. I know not everyone agrees and some think it’s silly that I get “ready” to run, but I don’t. It’s self-care for me.

I learned a lot in college and life lessons were some of the most valuable of my college experience:

Self-Care.

My college roommate, Kelsey, shared Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Yes, some people have controversy with the book. I get it. I understand. But, God has used it to speak life to me. It helped me grow spiritually when I had some rough patches in college; growing pains that were necessary.

On October 12, I’ll be racing CHICAGO Marathon. I’m thrilled and so excited to be home preparing for the race.

I looked up October 12 in Jesus Calling:

Beware of seeing yourself through other people’s eyes. There are several dangers to this practice. First of all, it is nearly impossible to discern what others actually think of you. Moreover, their views of you are variable: subject to each viewer;s spiritual, emotional, and physical condition. The major problem with letting others define you is that it borders idolatry. Your concern to please others dampers your desire to please Me, your Creator.

It is much more real to see yourself through My eyes. My gaze upon you is steady and sure, untainted by sin. Through My eyes you can see yourself as one who is deeply, eternally loved. Rest in My loving gaze, and you will receive deep Peace. Respond to My loving presence by worshiping Me in spirit and in truth.

Hebrews 11:6; John 4:23-24

So fitting for my marathon coming up: to have my eyes fixed on Christ, to not focus on others but to focus on him.

And, even when it comes to self-care: Yes, I do wear make-up and run. It’s me. It’s me taking care of myself.

And, when I toe the line at Chicago, my confidence will be in Christ, in who He has created me to be. He’s the life-giver, the one that pumps oxygen through my blood, who makes me: Me.

And, on self-care: It’s ok to take care of yourself, to take time making a delicious meal for yourself, to curl your hair for no reason, and to even spoil yourself with a spa date. God created us with purpose, with intention, and with love. So, treat yourself that way and take pride in it.

Also, my brother got baptized this weekend. So special to be a part of it.

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Fueled by Joy + CHICAGO.

It has been quite awhile since I last blogged! With writing running articles for The Active Times and for Competitor (Click the magazines for links to them!), I have been writing, sleeping, eating, and running. Plus, spending time cooking and enjoying life with my best friend and boyfriend, Seth, before he leaves Mammoth and finishes up school.

This summer has been filled with lots of joy, lots of laughter, and lots of training. And, lately, as I’ve logged my mileage in my training book…the sunny days of Mammoth training have also included some notes of “tired”… many ice baths in the creek, leisurely walking home from practice, and of course, many naps. And, the tiredness is worth it. The miles are worth it. The naps are definitely worth it. 

This summer has been packed with not just gorgeous trail runs, but hard tempos and focused attention. And, I am fueled by joy. I am fueled by the fact that I can run for God’s glory, that I can use my ability to bring honor and praise to him. As I’ve shared my story with high school teams, I am have also shared my ups and downs, how God has used running to humble me, to show me: He is God. I am not. Running is how I communicate best with our Creator. My story is the story that God has written for me.

Lake Mary at 9000 feet for my 2nd run.

Lake Mary at 9000 feet for my 2nd run.

 

Click HERE for our new ASICS Mammoth Track Club clip with our stories.

In 5 weeks I am racing CHICAGO MARATHON. Click the post for the elite athlete roster. 

It’s filled me with even more joy as I have received texts about friends from afar also running Chicago. Friends from out of state. APU community. Family friends that I consider family. And, I believe God is purposeful in that. We are created to cheer each other on, to encourage, to gather together. So, as I train and log the miles these next 5 weeks, especially the really big and tiring weeks like the one I’m in, I’m in prayer for teammates training, for friends, for family. In a hard and long tempo, it’s a time of serenity, of being amazed that God gives us bodies we can use at an amazing level to accomplish things like running 26.2 miles. 

My story, this summer, has included cooking with Seth, running on the Alper’s Ranch property (a gorgeous and private ranch in the Eastern Sierras), my family visiting Mammoth, running with Becky Wade (who joined us for a few months of summer training), a picnic at the Minarets, and many more adventures.

Picnic at our favorite place. Minaret Vista.

Picnic at our favorite place. Minaret Vista.

Dinner: Vegan Cashew Broccoli Salad, Brussel Sprout Bacon Kale Salad, Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with Goat Cheese, Dessert: Fresh Peaches with dates and walnuts.

Dinner: Vegan Cashew Broccoli Salad, Brussel Sprout Bacon Kale Salad, Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with Goat Cheese, Dessert: Fresh Peaches with dates and walnuts.

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Becky and I at Alper’s Ranch.

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Owen’s River/Alper’s Ranch.

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I also have some new nutrition sponsors that help fuel me nutritionally:

GoMacro Macrobars.

GoMacro Macrobars are my favorite on the go snack, quick pre-run breakfast, and also my go-to travel safety net. They are absolutely delicious. They are vegan, macrobiotic, wholesome, and also sustainable; they give back. I love their vision and I love what they do! I’m determined to get them in our local health food store because I strongly believe they are the best bars out there! And, the flavors are incredible. So, check them out!

 

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Siggi’s Yogurt.

Icelandic-Style protein packed yogurt with lots of protein and little sugar, and very few ingredients. It doesn’t get much better than that! It’s the creamiest and best yogurt I’ve ever tasted, so I am really excited to promote them!

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Recently, some protein companies have sent me some awesome product that I would love to give a shout out to: SLAP Nutrition. Simple whey protein and even, L-glutamine (helps repair muscle damage after you work out!) They are a fun company who were tired of getting slapped around by the nutrition industry. So, they created their own simple recipes and amazing products. I tried their Vanilla SLAP Whey Protein and Cinnamon Swirl SLAP Whey Protein. If you’re looking for a simple high quality whey to add to smoothies and post workouts, check out SLAP. They carry lots of different products and even apparel!

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But, really, my joy and fuel comes from the Lord. The last few weeks of training will be fueled with joy, determination and focus, as I prepare for Chicago Marathon! 

Like Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, I will work with all I have for the Lord. Off to work the land. AKA: Tempo on Green Church!

 

Coconut Bliss + Espresso Cacao Bars + Stories

God gives us each a story to tell. My mom and I are reading “A Million Little Ways” by Emily Freeman. Each of us are artists and God has created each of us uniquely to express ourselves with our gifts and abilities.

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My art is running. It’s also being able to share my love and passion and gift with others. This summer, so far, has been filled with some unique opportunities to share my running and faith with high school teams in Mammoth. And, I feel blessed to be helping at The Station, a camp that hosts teams coming to Mammoth, with my boyfriend Seth. It’s a beautiful tiny ranch with cabins and the world’s prettiest view of Mammoth Mountain. It’s peaceful and full of life, all at the same time, sitting right in the Meadow, a gorgeous trail and open land that sits right beneath the Mountain.

Last night, my team, ASICS Mammoth Track Club, spoke to a bunch of high school/middle school teams in Mammoth. Lucky to be a part of ASICS, and also to live and train in Mammoth, where God has put me to share and spread His Kingdom through my interactions and conversations as a professional runner, but first and foremost, as a follower of Christ. And, I’ve got this guy by my side to serve with me. He’s my best friend and a huge support to me as I pursue running and walking with faithfully with our Lord.

 

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And, I also wanted to share with you a new discovery. BIG TREE FARMS. A little about them:

“Why do we do what we do? Because food is at the heart of vital healthy living. More than any other contributing factor, diet and nutrition is our primary medicine for a happy and healthy life.

 

Our mission of working directly with thousands of marginalized smallholder farmers and improving their livelihoods by fair trade wages, sustainable living and organic agriculture, the food forests from which our ingredients come from provide nutrients rooted in uncompromised quality, honesty, transparency and traceability. We pride ourselves in providing our customers food products they can trust to be the purest and most nutritiously pure products in their respective category.

 

We take a “best in class” approach to everything we do and make. If we cannot be the best in category and provide our customers with a superior product, we don’t make it. We at Big Tree Farms are our first customers and if we don’t need it or won’t eat it, we won’t make it.

That’s right. They sent me some really cool products that I want to share with you! For awhile, I have been looking for coconut water to use during marathon training and racing. It’s my favorite hydrating drink and I want to fuel myself well. This product might just be the best discovery ever! (Thanks to my sweet boyfriend, Seth.)

Check out Coco Hydro. It’s brilliant. Coconut Water + Coconut Sugars + Carbs. Best combination.

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And, it comes in different flavors! I tried Lemon-Lime yesterday and Pomegranate-Raspberry this a.m. Both are delicious!

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Thanks to Coco Hydro Sport® you never have to settle for another over-dyed, over-sugared, over-packaged sports drink. It’s healthy hydration on-demand.”

 

  • AT A GLANCE
  • A high performance coconut water based hydrator
  • Higher electrolyte content than regular Coco Hydro®
  • Added mineralized sea salt supports extreme workouts and sports
  • Added natural chelated organic ionic trace minerals (98% faster absorption, no-synthetics, no gut-rot)
  • 30 servings per canister (480g)
  • No refined sugars
  • Grab-and-go portability

 

 

Not only did they send me awesome coconut water (in powder for), but also some other great products! Delicious Raw Cacao Nibs, Cashew-Cacao Clusters (SO GOOD), and Coconut Sugar. Seriously, I highly recommend all of it.

IMG_2038  As Big Tree Farms describes this delicious combo: Cashew-Cacao Clusters are a mix of our truly raw cacao nibs and truly raw cashews sweetened with our low-glycemic coconut nectar, then we add just a dash of our wild-harvested Balinese sea salt.”IMG_2025

 

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And the Cacao Nibs. I want to put them on everything.

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And…. COCONUT SUGAR.

 

 

 

"One of the lowest glycemic index sweeteners, our organic coconut sugar is highly nutritious, ecologically beneficial and provides sustained energy with a similar taste to soft brown sugar."

“One of the lowest glycemic index sweeteners, our organic coconut sugar is highly nutritious, ecologically beneficial and provides sustained energy with a similar taste to soft brown sugar.”

So, I had to find a way to combine some of these delicious things into one. That’s when I decided to make one of my favorite recipes: Flourless Chocolate Chip Blondies. But, since I’m allergic to peanut butter, I used Sunflower Seed Butter:

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Maranatha’s Sunflower Seed Butter

Then, I used the Blonde Coconut Sugar and Tru Ra Cacao Nibs. I also threw in some coffee grounds.

Delicious Espresso Cacao Blondies with Sunflower Seed Butter.

Delicious Espresso Cacao Blondies with Sunflower Seed Butter.

Magic happened.

Thanks Big Tree Farms for sending me delicious products to help fuel me on the run! And, thanks GoMacro for supporting me and sending me littles. The best snacks!

Go Macro

Go Macro

As I continue to “paint” by running, please share your story. Share the gifts God has given you with others. Remember that you were created with a purpose and for a purpose (Shauna Niequist). Your way of art might look so different from your best friend or family, or even the person you admire, but use your gifts to praise our Savior, to celebrate the life He has given uniquely to you. And, paint something beautiful with your life.

 

 

The Perfect Pancake + Marathons.

Post-Marathon season. A season of enjoying, resting, rebuilding.

One of my goals during Grandma’s Marathon was to enjoy it, to be motivated to train again after, and hopefully to start my career as a marathoner. At a young age, I thought the marathon would be the distance I would grow to love. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t run a marathon until I could race it. The marathon is a little bit of unknown combined with hoping that the dreams you dream of the marathon are a combination of pain + joy and not tears + panic.

With my confidence in Christ and a very healthy, exhausting, and season of focused hard work, I had the marathon debut that I hoped for. Nothing crazy. Consistent. Dedication. Focus.

And, I really loved it. I crossed the line and thought…this was what God made me for. He made me to run and to race a painful distance. The numbness that comes during the marathon was beautiful…the kind of pain I knew I would feel…that I had heard about, and when it came in the last half mile, my face had pain written all over it, but inside, I was thriving. I was at my best. God gave me strength to successfully race my first marathon, and to give me hope that I have a future of marathoning.

After taking a break, I am not slowly easing back into training, and am thrilled to say that I will be racing a fall marathon. I’m so excited for another marathon training season.

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And, this post isn’t just about marathons. It’s also about Pancakes.

Powered by Pancakes is the best! Rachel, the founder, created a protein pancake mix. And, lucky for me…she also created a wheat-free almond protein pancake mix:

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DELICIOUS to say the least. I love to make one giant pancake or a few mini pancakes then saving them for a bedtime snack. I made one for Seth after a hard workout and he really enjoyed it too!

Here are the ingredients:

Oat Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Flax Seed, Almond Meal, Whey Protein Isolate, Tapioca Flour, Stevia, Inulin, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Powder, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt.

All you have to do is mix a half cup of the protein mix with a half cup of water. So, make sure to check out this pancake mix. Currently, I even have some protein bars using this mix in the fridge. So excited to see how they turn out!

Oh, and something else I learned about the marathon:

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On Marathons and Fog.

I have been excited to write this blog for a long time. Processing through my first marathon is exciting, tiring, full of dreaming.

I joined ASICS Mammoth Track Club a year ago. Feeling like God wanted me to run full-time was a leap of faith at first, and now, in hindsight, I see His intricate way of revealing His plans. He has walked with me every step, showing me that when I say “yes” to Him, He will faithfully carry out all He has for me.

I’ve known that the marathon would be the distance I wanted to pursue for a long time. However, I never expected to race a marathon so young. At 23 years old, I feel so thrilled and excited to start my marathon career.

I picked Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, as my first marathon for many reasons. Firstly, I felt like it was the marathon that gave me peace, that made me excited. I’m all about scenic courses. I don’t really get to see much of it while I race; I’m grinding. But, I love racing new places, and in the Midwest or East Coast, despite sometimes difficult weather. Plus, I liked that it gave me a bit more time to train, versus an earlier race in the year. It also isn’t a major marathon, but it’s still competitive. Perfect combination for me. I like courses that let you have some peace and quiet. I love to focus, but also to feel the crowds at points. And, it’s the 16th oldest marathon in the US. The whole town takes it on, and it’s special. The marathon even takes over the local paper the day after the race.

My prep for my marathon and build up went perfectly, so I was fit and ready to go. The plan was to race conservatively the first 16 miles and to be patient.

I got to stay with a sweet friend when I flew into Minneapolis. We ate a trendy vegan restaurant downtown. It was the perfect way to end a long day of travel. After enjoying the next morning and running in a torrential downpour, I took a shuttle to Duluth. I was thankful I made it to Duluth safely and quickly. Many professional runners getting to the race were delayed or stuck in Duluth, due to weather.

When I got to my hotel, I found that my roommate had dropped out, giving me a quiet, peaceful, and clean room. The days leading up to the marathon went smoothly and were relaxing. More than anything, I felt like God was prepping me for a good race. However, truthfully, I was nervous about the distance and nervous I’d have to pee (sorry; TMI, but the truth is the truth). But, I also knew I was ready to go. I did all I could to prepare well, to put in more miles than I ever have. I was the fittest I’ve ever been in my entire life. So, I prayed that God would give me joy, that He would delight in me as I raced, that my confidence would be in Him alone.

Race morning, my Garmin was malfunctioning. I raced with a good friend, Brianne Nelson, from Adidas ADP, so she brought me an extra watch in the a.m. As I walked quickly to Starbucks in the a.m. for a few sips of coffee and plain oatmeal, I prayed that God would make my Garmin work. After completely reseting it, it read: “0%,” despite charging it the day before. Brianne and I got on the elite bus and I showed her my watch, continuing to beep and say, “low battery.” Then I prayed, “God…you can make my Garmin get through this marathon. I mean, even if it’s just the first few miles.”

And, as I raced, my Garmin functioning on “0%” battery made it through the entire race. And, as it beeped for every mile (and also that it was low on battery), I was reminded that God was giving me strength, that He was with me. I didn’t expect my Garmin to be God’s voice over and over, every mile, whispering to trust him, to focus on him, to praise him.

As Brianne and I raced next to each other, a few men in the race decided to act as pacers, helping us through mile 20, reading each mile split, pointing out the elite bottle table, and encouraging us. Racing the marathon with Brianne was encouraging and so helpful.  The men took pride as we passed Kenyan women that had gone out too fast. The entire race was in a fog cloud, as the lake water spewed it’s mist at us. For the majority of the race, we couldn’t see very far ahead, making it difficult to take tangents. But, just like faith, you can’t see what’s ahead. Instead, God asks us to faithfully trust him. Patiently we pushed. We rode the grind of the marathon. As we got further into the race, spectators let us know we were 4th and 5th women in the race. We then passed one more, making us 3rd and 4th.

I didn’t hit a wall, even though I started to feel the real fatigue in the last mile to half mile left. As I took the hairpin turn after mile 26, my legs decided they were done. Perfect timing with .2 to go. As I crossed the line, I felt excited and relieved, and joyful. Taking 4th with a time of 2:35.17, hitting the Olympic “A” standard, I feel confident that this is just the brim of marathons for me. A few days after the race, with tired legs and a tired body, I’m already thinking about what my racing schedule will be this next year and which marathon I’ll race next.

My sweet friend, Brittany, who I got to see before the race sent me an acoustic version of Jeremy Camp’s ‘My God’…

It played through my mind race morning.

All of who You are reaches the darkest parts
Lifting the weight and erasing the scars that had a hold on me
Here I am bearing all, tearing down every wall
So amazed by Your grace and the way You’re still holding me
Whoa whoa, whoa whoa

My God, You are the unchanging love
My God, Your heart sends hope from above
The great Creator, beautiful Savior
I’ve been redeemed
There is life now from Your victory
You are my God
You are my God

Now, it’s time to rest. rest. rest. And, repeat.

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On Creativity, Vulnerability, and Discernment.

I don’t think of myself as a highly creative person…

And, if it weren’t for Instagram and Pinterest, I would feel even less creative.

I’m one of those closet Pinterest people. I really like Pinterest. I do use some of the recipes I pin. Actually, I’ve used quite a few of them. But, besides pinning ideas and recipes, I have a secret Pinterest board (that I guess isn’t so secret anymore). I have this slight annoyance with people that pin away for their “dream house” or “dream wedding,” when a.) They aren’t buying a house anytime soon or b.) They aren’t getting married anytime soon. In fact, they aren’t even dating anyone at the moment. So, I pin my hopes and ideas for my wedding secretly like a scrapbook, holding it close like a journal. So, with pictures of lace, roses, and pearls tucked away, I feel more creative.

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(Nope, these aren’t from my secret board…then it would no longer be secret. I mean, I already gave away that I have a secret board.)

However, running makes me creative and vulnerable. God gave me a gift that I can use to praise him and to hear His voice more clearly. As my training partner, Lauren Kleppin, and I enjoyed our mid-week long run in Mammoth a few weeks ago, we talked about how running is a part of our day and always will be. Running doesn’t define me, but I love it. I love that it’s a channel for worship, creativity, joy, tears, frustration, grace. I love that God has used running to help me build some of my deepest relationships, make hard decisions, have genuine conversations, and grow in humbleness.

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You also get to decide how creative and full you want to life your life: God’s given you a gift…you have to choose if you use it. Without Pinterest, you are creative. And, without Instagram, you can still take beautiful pictures of the life God has given you. Of smiles, of laughter, of memories.

My mom has sweetly encouraged me to blog while I’m home. I’m tapering, meaning that I’m not running as much as usual, since my marathon is less than 2 weeks away. I’m resting. Eating. Sleeping. And, spending too much time at Whole Foods. I’ve told my mom, “I don’t write just to write. When something comes to mind, I’ll write.” I also told her that I choose my second runs my re-playing trails in my mind. I choose my locations by what I feel, what sounds fun, what makes sense for today. And, as I did my second run in 100 degrees today, I wrote away, ignoring the sun beating down on me. In fact, the run was a blur, as I typed away in my mind, flickering through memories and dreams, goals, conversations. I realized that I write when I run. My blog was already written by the time I finished my double.

Running has also taught me: bigger is not better. So many of my decisions have been made during runs. God has given me the gift of discernment, which I’ve known since I was young. When I visited different colleges, I had this dream of running at a Division I school, since I had gone to a small Christian college. I wanted to run fast, to grow, to be challenged. Venturing to Liberty University my junior year in HS, I was sure that’s where I’d run. But, it was far from what I wanted once I got there. So, I took a step back, prayed, waited. I would still go to a competitive Christian college, but it wouldn’t be Division I. It also wouldn’t be in Southern California, according to my plan. Then, God rocked my world. When I stepped onto APU’s campus, I knew that’s where I was supposed to go.

And, the same happened in choosing my first marathon. I was set on doing London Marathon or maybe Paris. Big. Competitive. International. Then, I took a step back, prayed, waited, listening for God’s whisper—for His voice instead of my own. And, I chose Grandma’s Marathon because God gave me peace over a smaller marathon, still competitive, and, where I know I’m supposed to race.

So, let God use your gift to make you creative, vulnerable, full of life. “There is nothing more creative than vulnerability.”-Brene Brown.

You are creative.

You may not be an artist, but you are creative. You are full of life. You are worthy of telling your story, of sharing your thoughts and voice. You don’t have to be a painter to make a creation.

And, I’ve learned, running is my art. What makes you thrive? What challenges you, makes you vulnerable? What helps you share your love for Christ? Your drive?

Also, on another note: my creativity for today in cookies: Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Cookies with coconut oil and almond butter.

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