Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Sunday, July 25, 2010
2 miles
21 minutes

A whole month? Has it really been that long???

I know I've run between now and my last post, but I guess I wasn't feeling inspired enough to write anything.

Now I am inspired, though.

In my first post, I talked about God. I wrote about the separation that I felt, and that I wished desperately to listen to Him and feel his presence again. This last Sunday, all at once, I felt it.

I guess this narrative begins a few weeks back. Things started looking up for Germar and me. There are some job prospects on the horizon after months of uncertainty. Germar is excited to begin law school. And despite my lack of writing, I have been running frequently and feeling much healthier than I was feeling in June.

On Sunday, as I bowed my head in church to pray (although as I have previously stated, my connection with God did not feel very present) I felt overwhelmingly moved and tears sprung from my eyes. For the first time in more months than I care to recall, I felt the Holy Spirit inside of me. It was incredible; a mix between peace and joy and humility all at once. My heart is still so full from that feeling on Sunday morning.

The run was fairly uneventful. I was slow, but that's to be expected after taking a hiatus.

I hope to write more in the coming days about this reconnection, this kindling of faith that has sparked in my most needful hour. For now I will close with a simple "thanks." Thanks to Christ, for His mercy and grace in our lives. Thanks to family, thanks to friends.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Sunday, June 27, 2010
3 miles

It has been a while since my last post. I have run an additional three workouts between this one and the last one that I posted, but I've had little drive to write about them.

Shortly after my last post, I began having breathing problems. I felt like I could not get air into my lungs, and the feeling lasted over a week. Whether I was resting, working hard, or sleeping, I couldn't breathe. Finally, after about five days, I went to the emergency room. Five hours of CT scans, ultrasounds, and blood samples ended with no conclusion. The doctors were clueless, and finally, awkwardly, suggested panic attacks as the source. I had not ruled out the possibility myself, but I hoped that it was something more, that my chronic shortness of breath could be attributed to something more than stress and anxiety.

The next day, I had an appointment with a therapist and immediately following, with a psychiatrist. While my therapist gave me a diagnosis of panic and promised she would help me develop coping strategies for my stress, my psychiatrist decided that my labored breathing could be a side effect of a new drug I was on, so she stopped that treatment and gave me a new and more interesting set of prescriptions that require a day planner to manage their administration.

Anyway, since that incident, the breathing problems have, for the most part, ceased. I still do not know if I can say it is because I stopped taking a medication that i was allergic to, or if it is because the new medication is totally sedating me and preventing me from becoming too stressed out and reacting physiologically to increased anxiety.

So all that being said, I've felt a little unmotivated to run and even less motivated to write about it when I do manage to run. A few days before I went to the E.R., I ran a hill about a mile away from our church, which was great because I don't get a chance to run hills running in my neighborhood in the center of Tucson. I ran that same hill and got the same time a couple days after my evening in the hospital.

I ran about three miles last Wednesday, and I ran that same route tonight finishing 3 seconds faster. I am getting more accustomed to the heat, and if I begin my run at about dusk, 95 degrees does not seem to affect me as much as it did a month ago. I have completed my runs without stopping and maintained the same pace (albeit a slow one) for each mile.

I know that I have been a little redundant in my posts, but I am hoping by saying it out loud (or posting it in a blog) I will be more accountable and begin to gain more control over my body and mind through the discipline and satisfaction of running.

I'll end this post here, but I plan on posting in the next day of so about other changes I've begun to make in my life to promote my own health and well-being. More to come...

Monday, June 7, 2010


Monday, June 7, 2010
3.03 Miles

So, it definitely isn't record time for me to run 3 miles, but I hydrated last night, got up early, and ran 3.03 miles WITHOUT STOPPING!

The heat definitely affects me, and without the blazing sun and 104 degrees fighting against me, all I have to worry about is my own will, which I conquered today during my adventure.

I almost always run around my neighborhood, whether it is the perimeter or cutting through streets. Today I ran up the middle and around the outside, making my run an easily even 3 miles. Since I live about two blocks into my neighborhood from the perimeter, I actually have to pass my street and run along the perimeter in order to get an even number of miles.

Today being the first day of not stopping in a while, my confidence of finishing the entire route was low. On my final mile, I approached my street, and experienced an overwhelming urge to turn there instead of running the additional two blocks to the main road. I gave myself every excuse: "This is your first run you haven't stopped, you have to give yourself a break," "You can always run a little past your house and double back," and "You just can't make it that extra couple of blocks, it's too far and you might start to walk."

But somewhere, amidst those negative thoughts, I heard one soft cheer: "You can do this."

As I ran that one cheer got louder: "You can do this" and it was backed up by, "Keep going!"

By the time I actually reached my street, I strode past it without hesitation and made my way to the last short leg of my run, down the main street and back to my house.

It felt so good to have completed that run not only without stopping, but without cutting the route short, and therefore selling myself short.

It seems simple, but I think we all need a reminder every now and again that small cheers will help you so much more than discouraging noise, and we should be thankful and grateful for those "cheerleaders" in our lives. This post mainly focuses on my own confidence and encouragement, but it is also important to acknowledge those in our lives that cheer for us, even when we do not.

I'd like to close this post by thanking my lovely husband, Germar, for being my biggest cheerleader and best friend.

There are so many others that I could thank here, but I think I'll save those for a different story on another day.

Friday, June 4, 2010


In case you need a break from my "runner's anguish" posts, here's an article about hydration. Thanks, Molly!

Even healthy eaters often underestimate the importance of their water intake and wind up suffering from chronic, low-grade dehydration. Here are just a few reasons good hydration is essential to good health:

Energy: Suboptimal hydration slows the activity of enzymes, including those responsible for producing energy, leading to feelings of fatigue. Even a slight reduction in hydration can lower metabolism and reduce your ability to exercise efficiently.

Digestion: Our bodies produce an average of 7 liters of digestive juices daily. When we don’t drink enough liquid, our secretions are more limited and the digestive process is inhibited. (Note that drinking too much water all at once, particularly with food, can also dilute digestive juices, reducing their efficacy and leading to indigestion.)

Regularity: As partially digested food passes through the colon, the colon absorbs excess liquid and transfers it to the bloodstream so that a stool of normal consistency is formed. When the body is low on water, it extracts too much liquid from the stool, which then becomes hard, dry and difficult to eliminate. Slowed elimination contributes to bodywide toxicity and inflammation.

Blood Pressure: When we are chronically dehydrated, our blood becomes thicker and more viscous. Additionally, in response to reduced overall blood volume, the blood vessels contract. To compensate for the increased vein-wall tension and increased blood viscosity, the body must work harder to push blood through the veins, resulting in elevated blood pressure.

Stomach Health: Under normal circumstances, the stomach secretes a layer of mucus (which is composed of 98 percent water) to prevent its mucus membranes from being destroyed by the highly acidic digestive fluid it produces. Chronic dehydration, though, impedes mucus production and may irritate and produce ulcers in the stomach lining.

Respiration: The moist mucus membranes in the respiratory region are protective; however, in a state of chronic dehydration, they dry out and become vulnerable to attack from substances that might exist in inhaled air, such as dust and pollen.

Acid-Alkaline Balance: Dehydration causes enzymatic slowdown, interrupting important biochemical transformations, with acidifying results at the cellular level. The acidification of the body’s internal cellular environment can be further worsened when excretory organs responsible for eliminating acids (e.g., the skin and kidneys) don’t have enough liquid to do their jobs properly. An overly acidic biochemical environment can give rise to a host of inflammatory health conditions, as well as yeast and fungus growth.

Weight Management: Feelings of thirst can be confused with hunger, both because eating can soothe thirst and also because dehydration-induced fatigue is often misinterpreted as a lack of fuel (e.g., sugar). Both dynamics can lead to false sensations of hunger, triggering overeating and weight gain. Inadequate hydration can also promote the storage of inflammatory toxins, which can also promote weight gain.

Skin Health: Dehydrated skin loses elasticity and has a dry, flaky appearance and texture. But dehydration can also lead to skin irritation and rashes, including conditions like eczema. We need to sweat about 24 ounces a day to properly dilute and transport the toxins being eliminated through our skin. When we are chronically dehydrated, the sweat becomes more concentrated and toxins aren’t removed from our systems as readily, which can lead to skin irritation and inflammation.

Cholesterol: Cholesterol is an essential element in cell membrane construction. When we are in a state of chronic dehydration and too much liquid is removed from within the cell walls, the body tries to stop the loss by producing more cholesterol to shore up the cell membrane. Although the cholesterol protects the cell membrane from being so permeable, the overproduction introduces too much cholesterol into the bloodstream.

Kidney and Urinary Health: When we don’t drink enough liquid, our kidneys struggle to flush water-soluble toxins from our system. When we don’t adequately dilute the toxins in our urine, the toxins irritate the urinary mucus membranes and create a germ- and infection-friendly environment.

Joint Health: Dehydrated cartilage and ligaments are more brittle and prone to damage. Joints can also become painfully inflamed when irritants, usually toxins produced by the body and concentrated in our blood and cellular fluids, attack them, setting the stage for arthritis.

Aging: The normal aging process involves a gradual loss of cell volume and an imbalance of the extracellular and intracellular fluids. This loss of cellular water can be accelerated when we don’t ingest enough liquids, or when our cell membranes aren’t capable of maintaining a proper fluid balance.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Monday, May 31, 2010
2.1 miles

After my last post, I started a "training goal" on my training calendar website: mapmyrun.com. The training goal is to run 50 miles in thirty days. I felt like setting goal would be a good way to keep myself on track.

So far, I have run into the same difficulties that I had before: heat, motivation, energy. But now, I have a goal hanging over my head: run 50 miles. My training calendar on Map My Run politely reminds me when I run less one week than I did the last. It should be motivating, but it is not.

This post is pretty dismal. I hope I can post something more positive soon.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Friday, May 28, 2010
2.94 miles

I ran after work today, and I've never been so tired.

It is only the end of May and it is so hot! I've never been one to stop so frequently during a light run, but I just can't seemed to move my legs when it is so hot.

I tried to mix up my route here and there in order to keep going, but nothing seemed to help. As I ran past the high school, I remembered that there was a drinking fountain next to the tennis court.

"Thank God!" I thought as I picked up my pace to the fountain. I stopped at the fountain and pushed the button. Broken. Nothing came out. I could have wilted and blown away. I had about a half mile until I got home, and no energy at all.

Thankfully, what I did have was motivation. I forced myself to keep going by counting streets again. Just as my legs felt completely dead, I arrived home.

I am planning on carrying water with me from now on, so hopefully I can figure out this running in the desert business.

I'm hoping that my life will start to fold out like this: I defeat each obstacle one at a time and continue working on finishing the race.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

time for change

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
0.79 miles

Today I ran less than a mile after a week of almost no running. It is kind of demoralizing because it is more difficult to motivate myself than ever. I have tried to commit to running in the morning, because as anyone who lives in Tucson knows, starting in about a month it will be impossible to exercise outside after 9AM, but I'm just never feeling good enough to get out of bed each day. Eventually I get out of bed because I have a job that I must report to nine-to-five each day, but I haven't yet found the motivation to get out of bed to exercise.

I used to have a marathon schedule that said how much to run each day for 16 weeks. That would probably be helpful to have right about now, but I lent it to a co-worker two years ago, then moved two states away, so I do not think I will be getting that handy schedule back anytime soon...

I suppose since we are on the topic of that marathon schedule, and I am ranting about motivation, I could dive into the story behind the marathon that almost happened two years ago. I had decided that my senior year of college, I would run a marathon. I bought a marathon schedule, went to the wellness center at my school to read up on nutrition, bought a heart rate monitor and a Camelback, and began my journey. I felt really good, I ran faithfully each day before class or after work, and I was on track to finish the race at about 4 hours and 45 minutes. About midway through the 16 weeks, though, I started to burn out. I still did my runs and actually made decent times, but I didn't have any energy to do anything else, including homework and my job. Eventually the nutritionist at the wellness center informed me that it had to do with the fact that I was eating less than 2,000 calories per day when I needed to eat 3,000 calories daily to have the energy to train for a marathon. While I tried to make healthy additions to my diet, my training was going downhill fast, and on the day of the marathon I did not run the race.

Food has always been a bit of a vice for me. I would not say that I have an eating disorder or that I am afraid of food, but I guess in a way, I am afraid of weight gain. I somehow found myself in a place where I just did not have to eat a lot to be full, so I did not concern myself with eating three, healthy meals daily. Instead, I ate chips and salsa for one meal, cottage cheese for another, and a can of soda each day and fought off any hunger pangs in between. If I had time to cook a real meal, I made wild rice and seared chicken without seasoning and tried to eat it over the course of a week. So I guess when you look at that diet, on top of a 40 mile-a-week average, it makes a lot of sense that I could not finish my marathon training.

For most of my life, running has been this do-able activity to help me overcome anything else that was going on in my life. But when I trained for my marathon, I was not able to use running to get over my struggle with food. I ended up letting my food issues overtake my desire and determination to run a marathon. Similarly, I am struggling to find motivation to run because I am depressed, and running is supposed to help me overcome my depression. I am hoping and praying that this time will be different, and that I will find some way to conquer the barriers that are making my life so unlivable.

I will close now, but I definitely think it is important for me to note that while I am nervous and scared to talk openly and publicly about depression and how it affects my life, I am terrified to talk about food, and this is the first time that I have ever admitted (even to myself to a degree) that I have issues with food and that it has been an obstacle in my life.

I thought that was particularly noteworthy, and I hope that in recognizing and acknowledging a problem, I will come closer to overcoming it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

mile 1

Thursday, May 20, 2010
3 miles

Today is the first day of my "marathon" to freedom.

I felt exhausted and sweaty and slow, but I finished...

I'm going to be honest, I stopped twice in the last mile. I was discouraged and I didn't have the mental stamina to keep going.

Since I've been a runner for a long time, I have developed a few ways of dealing with stamina problems. One thing I've tried when running is taking a bad habit of the "run-walker" and flipping it: Sometimes a runner will start walking and say "I'll start running again when I get to that..." and "that" keeps moving more and more forward. When I get tired, I say "I'm going to start walking when I get to that... and I keep moving "that" forward because I can keep going.

This time, even though I tried to play this game in my head, I ended up stopping for a couple of moments. The first stop I cannot really explain... I just stopped.

The second one happened due to my poor memory: I was counting the streets until I got to the street where I live, and I forgot one. When I approached it and realized that I was one street ahead of myself in my head, it was so demoralizing that I just stopped.

I guess finishing my routes without stopping motivates me in a lot of ways. It builds my physical stamina, but it also strengthens my confidence in myself. It is kind of cliche, but it's like that saying "where there's a will, there's a way"; I just feel like when I can make myself believe I can keep going even when my body wants to stop, then I can make myself continue in my job, my friendships, and life, when quitting seems easier.

My next run will be the same route, and I hope that my body- and my mind- can find a will to make it from start to finish without stopping.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the beginning

I've never written a blog, but recently I have been compelled to do so. God may be trying to tell me something, and I am working hard to listen.

I'm trying so hard to listen because I feel as though I got out of the habit of doing so. I used to feel this intense connection to Jesus; I was so sure of His will for me and trusted Him so fully that however painful life got, I was always comforted by his immediate presence.

Sometime in the last year or two, I strayed from that path, and I am truly disconnected. It feels as though scar tissue formed between us, and I simply cannot feel His presence the way I used to.

Some might say that this is just part of growing up. I do not know whether those people are right or wrong. I guess that's why I'm writing this blog; there is no definitive answer, just me trying to work it all out.

I knew I wanted to name my first blog after something related to running, because running has been a huge part of my life since I was little. I ran track in high school, I've run 5k races in the six years since graduating from high school, and even trained to run a marathon during my last semester of college. I did not actually run the race, but that is a story for another day.

I have not been very active in the last year or so, and I know this is not good. Running, for me, is only a small percentage about physical fitness. Running has always been a mental game for me. How far can I go? How fast? What will I see while I run? What terrain is easy, medium, hard? What will I think about? What thoughts make me feel good? What thoughts make me feel tired?

So, starting now, I'm going to run. Pheidippides was the Athenian who ran 26.2 miles to announce victory (Nike) over Persia in the Battle of Marathon. Like Pheidippides, I have a goal in mind: to announce my victory over the paralyzing weight that will kill me if I don't do something about it.

I don't know if Pheidippides had any help along the way, but I know that I will need some. That is why this blog will not be solely about me, but about my relationships: God and friends and family that will (hopefully) cheer me on along the way.

So, there it all is. This is my journey, and I'm daring to do something that I never thought I would: lay it all out on the internet for the world to see... I hope along this journey I can find my salvation and a path to continue on as my life continues to change.

One final thought. Many people probably know that when Pheidippides announced the victory of the Greeks over the Persians, he collapsed and died from exhaustion. I'm planning to deviate from that part of the story. Just so we're clear... ;)