Monday, February 18, 2013

18 miles

Every other week I surprise myself with each new distance I go. I’m learning that we’re stronger than we know…it just takes a little (or rather a lot) of effort. I’m feeling pretty good right about now. Come May 4th I’m going to be so ready. Today was 18 miles. I no longer feel bad that it takes me nearly 13 minutes a mile on my long runs. They’re HARD miles! Half of it is going up and I’m wearing a water back pack. I think I’m allowed to be impressed with myself. My pace today was just about the same as my pace 2 weeks ago on my 16 mile run, but it was 3 seconds a mile better and I went two more miles. Progress.

I kind of love it when I stop for traffic and realize I don’t need the breathing break I used to love traffic for. I no longer appreciate waiting for cars to pass. I never thought I’d be able to jog and comfortably breathe. It’s a feeling of accomplishment for me- only now I have to get my feet and legs to feel just as good as my lungs. My heart’s doing pretty ok too. My resting rate is in the mid 40’s. I never think to take it when I’m on a run or even right after. Right now, 2 hours later it’s 70.

Today I took 5 energy gels, ate 3 of them and brought 48 oz of water. I didn’t drink it all. I was exhausted by the end and had to lean on the counter while I was making my food, but I still don’t feel as awful or have such a hard time finishing my run as I did with my first 10 mile run. My feet hurt and are tired, but I don’t have any new blisters.

As a side note, the raspberry flavored power bar brand energy gel is a lot better than the vanilla flavor, and also doesn’t have caffeine. I bought a case (carton? Pack?) of 24 online at because it was cheaper than buying individual packets at sporting-goods stores.  I only use them on Mondays for my long runs when I’m going to be out for more than a couple hours. My shorter runs vary between 3.4-5.6 miles (and next week will go up to 6 miles), and the only thing I bring on those runs is my house key tied to my shoe.

On my 5.65 mile run on Saturday I was able to complete the whole thing, ginormo hills and all with no walking. It was a good week for breakthroughs. I also feel like I should give credit where credit is due: before my feet hit the pavement before every single one of my runs and sometimes another one in the middle I say a prayer. I don't think I could make it without that help

I’m very satisfied with my progress. I’ve got about another two and half months until my marathon. Coming from a girl who couldn’t even make it once around a quarter mile track in high school without walking, I’m feeling pretty good about myself lately.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Don't feed the animals

As I went to plug in my vacuum cleaner I noticed a ball of gray hanging out at my back door. Hello kitty! She meowed and ran away upon seeing me, but returned after I stepped outside and started talking to her. She was hesitant, took her time in approaching me, let me pet her only once, but was very colloquial and responded to everything I said. I had sat down on the concrete just outside my glass sliding door, and she walked passed me, poked her head through the door I had left ajar, and proceeded to cautiously let herself in through the vertical door blinds. At that moment, I named her Roomie. I waited a moment, then got up to follow her in when she didn't come right back out; she startled and ran back outside when I pulled the blinds to the side to enter. I thought my visitor might be thirsty (I was afraid of making a friend for life, even though I kinda sorta wanted to, so I wasn't going to feed her yet- I even told her I only had water for her and that was it. She responded with, "whatever, like I care"). I went to get her a bowl of water from my kitchen. When I came back outside, the neighbor’s dog barked at her through the fence. Roomie was not smart enough to realize the dog was not super enough to get past the fence and took off leaving me alone with a bowl of water. I should have named her Forrest. At this point in my life, as much as I think I would like it, a pet would be more trouble than it’s worth. I won’t actively go out looking for an animal, but if one ever adopted me I don’t think I could say no. I’m probably lucky that dog barked when he did because even though I told her otherwise, a can of tuna was surely next.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Getting strong now

Break through! I moved here a little more than a year and a half ago and when I did I mapped out a 3.4 mile route that I would jog maybe 1-3 times a week. I still use this route for my short 3 mile run on the day after my long run, and I use the start and finish of it and other alterations of it in my longer runs. My goal when I first started this route was to one day be able to jog the entire thing with out walking any of it, but never thought I’d be able to. When I first started I had to walk up every hill (even the smaller ones for a total of about 7 or 8 points I had to walk- there’s not a whole lot of flatness around here- usually I’m going up or down). I got to where I could jog the whole thing except for the last half of a ginormo hill at the beginning and the last half of an even more ginormous hill towards the end. Today, for the first time ever I jogged my whole original 3.4 mile route ginormous hills and all without walking and achieved my original goal! I sure can’t keep up with all the hills on my long runs, but today I won! My first run in this town with absolutely no walking. It was a big and significant event for me and I feel so good about it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week 12

I feel like I’m finally able to handle jogging just as well as some people are able to walk. You know, the kind of people with CHF on top of COPD. Ha, ok so maybe it's not that bad, and really my breathing is decent if I'm not going up hill but I'm still super duper slow. Sometimes I feel like I might as well be walking.  My pace is getting a little better (still slow though!) in my shorter runs, but I can’t keep it up in my longer runs with the hills. Today was 12.24 miles and I finished it only about a minute faster than I did a few weeks ago, which is an improvement, but barely, and still super duper slow. I'm curious to see how I'd feel running on a flat route.

I took 2 energy gels, used only one of them and a little over half a liter of water in my hydration pack that I finished off in my last half a mile. I weighed myself before and after, and even drinking about a pound of water on the run I still lost 3 pounds of water weight.

I haven’t been doing any other exercise on my non running days. I had a workout routine involving hand weights and some other exercises for my abs and back, but I’ve been so tired I just chill. I think I should start again though. My abs, back and right shoulder were getting tired in my last 4 miles.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My favorite sunday activity never

Guidance, comfort and confirmation of truth. We can find all three of these things in many different forms. We can be comforted by an amazing chocolate dessert. Guided by a gps ap on a smart phone telling us when to turn. And confirms all truth or lies. Right? Sure. Sometimes our need for truth, guidance and comfort extend beyond worldly measures, and for that how lucky are we to have the gift of the Holy Ghost?

Last October conference, Elder Craig C. Christensen gave a talk (that I will refer to throughout this talk) called, “An Unspeakable Gift from God,”where he describes who the Holy Ghost is,

“The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, and as such, like God the Father and Jesus Christ, He knows our thoughts and the intents of our hearts. The Holy Ghost loves us and wants us to be happy. Since He knows the challenges we will face, He can guide us and teach us all things we must do to return and live with our Heavenly Father once again.”

He goes on
“Unlike Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, who have glorified bodies of flesh and bones, the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit who communicates to our spirits through feelings and impressions. As a spirit being, He has the unique responsibility of being an agent through which personal revelation is received.”

The Holy Ghost is someone whose company we get to enjoy once we are baptized and are confirmed a member of this church and receive Him as a gift. Those who are not baptized may still feel the influence of the Holy Ghost from time to time, but when we are baptized we make promises to keep the commandments, take Christ’s name upon us and to always remember Him, and in return we will be blessed to ALWAYS have His Spirit with us. To have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost really is a special blessing. He can keep us safe, guide us to those we can help, allow our testimonies to grow as he confirms the things we are studying, pondering and praying about, bring us comfort when even that half a pan of brownies just doesn’t cut it (and even if it did at the time, it just makes us more sad later), and gives witness of God the Father and Jesus Christ, among other things. What better friend to keep around?

One of my first experiences I can remember in heeding the promptings of the Holy Ghost happened when I was about nine or ten. My family was friends with two other families in our ward who all had kids around the same age as my brothers and me. We spent one afternoon with all three of our families swimming together at one of their homes. When it was time to go my mom told me to go change out of my bathing suit and into my clothes in the bathroom. I went to the bathroom, locked the door behind me and something told me to not get undressed yet. I looked around. I couldn’t figure out why not. I stood there for a second, almost started changing, but then I felt so uncomfortable I stopped again to look around. The shower curtain was pulled so I went to it, and opened it, but there was nothing in the shower. It was quiet, and I couldn’t hear anything except the sounds of people getting ready to leave in the house. I still had the thought to not get undressed yet. I looked at the sink and noticed the cupboard underneath it, went to it and opened it.

Looking back at me was Joe (name has been changed) one of the older boys. I blinked at him and asked him what he was doing in there. He told me he thought David, my oldest brother would be coming in, and he was planning on scaring him when he came into the bathroom…but I came in instead. He crawled out, unlocked the door and left, and then I knew why I felt the way I did…and was glad I listened! That could have been really embarrassing.

There are other times when the spirit tells us things, and we don’t know what the outcome might have been if we hadn’t listened. When I was in high school I dropped my younger brother off at his school, and as I was driving to my school I felt that I shouldn’t go the way I always go. I wasn’t sure and I’ll probably never know why, and felt kind of weird changing my route. I always like to have a reason for things I do, but all I had was a feeling inside me that I shouldn’t go the way I normally go, and that had to be reason enough so I went an alternate way to school that day.

We should learn to recognize promptings of the spirit, and act on them when we receive them, even if we don’t know why and they seem insignificant so that we can continue to receive promptings that might turn out to be very significant either for us or someone who needs us.

In the same talk, Elder Christensen shared the story of when President Monson went to visit a member of his ward in the hospital to give her a blessing. There was another woman in the same room who covered her face as he approached the bed of the woman he came to visit. Before he left, he felt impressed to go see the woman who covered her face who turned out to be another woman in his ward who thought he had come to see her in response to her prayers but felt disappointed when she realized he had not come to see her. President Monson told her, “It does not matter that I didn’t know you were here. It is important, however, that our Heavenly Father knew and that you had prayed silently for a priesthood blessing. It was He who prompted me to intrude on your privacy.”

The Holy Ghost is also known as the Comforter. Moroni 8:26 reads: “…the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God.”

As most of you know, I work as an RN. I had one patient who, after I gave him his medications for the evening, began telling me about certain trials he was experiencing in his life. He asked me if I believed in God. I told him I did. He confided his increasing doubt, that he still had hope, but his prayers seemed to be fruitless. I felt strongly at that point that I should ask him if he would like to pray now. (I work at a 7th day Adventist hospital…so it’s ok…praying is allowed, even encouraged which is one thing I love about working there). He told me that he wouldn’t know what to say, so I asked him if he would like me to say a prayer for him. He seemed thankful and said he would. I kept it fairly general, gave thanks for what we have been blessed with, and asked for a blessing of comfort and peace, and a few other things. I don’t know how it went for my patient, but I hope he was able to feel some of what I was feeling. I was overwhelmed with the feelings of the spirit and could feel the difference in the room as I left compared to how it felt when I first entered. When the prayer was over we just sat there quietly for a minute and I didn’t want to leave, but I had other patients I needed to take care of. That is a special kind of comfort that even Morphine, Dilaudid, or Ambien can’t bring.

The Holy Ghost witnesses of Jesus Christ, Heavenly father and confirms truth. Through him we are taught what we need to do to return to our Heavenly Father. Every testimony building experience I’ve had is reflective of the primary song that says, “I know my Father lives, and loves me too. The spirit whispers this to me and tells me it is true, and tells me it is true.” When I attend my church meetings, the spirit whispers that what I’m hearing is true. When I read my scriptures, I receive the same feelings. When I’m given a priesthood blessing, attended the temple, listen to appropriate Sunday music I recognize the feelings that I have experienced before with good things as I have grown up and continue to grow in the Gospel, and I know that those feelings come from Heavenly Father through the Holy Ghost.  It is because of the Holy Ghost that we are able to recognize truth and feel as good as we do.

Elder Christensen spoke about how the Holy Ghost speaks to us. He said, “We all have experiences with the Holy Ghost, even though we may not always recognize them. As inspired thoughts come into our minds, we know them to be true by the spiritual feelings that enter into our hearts”. Elder Christensen then quotes  President Boyd K. Packer who taught: ‘The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear….While we speak of ‘listening’ to the whisperings of the spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying ‘I had a feeling…’ It is through these sacred feelings from the Holy Ghost that we come to know what God would have us do, for this, as stated in scripture, “is the spirit of revelation”.’

This is a time in our lives as young single adults when there are so many changes happening. There are so many decisions, choices and opportunities before us. We are in desperate need of guidance, truth, and comfort. And even though a pan of brownies, a gps ap and might help us momentarily, it’s not anywhere near enough, or good enough as what we could and do have. It is through the Holy Ghost that we receive personal revelation. In order to ensure we are entitled to the companionship of the Holy Ghost and enjoy all the blessings that come with that companionship we should keep ourselves worthy of it. Like it said in Moroni 8:26, remission of sins brings meekness and lowliness of heart, which then brings the comforter.  If we honor our baptismal covenants, and make regular use of the atonement to repent where we fall short, we can have the help, comfort and companionship of the spirit to be with us not just today or this week, but always.

I have a testimony of the Holy Ghost that was confirmed to me to be true through the Holy Ghost. He’s that good. I am grateful for his companionship, the good feelings, guidance I receive and truth I am taught through him. If it wasn’t for the Holy Ghost, we wouldn’t know the things we know, or even really know who we are. Because of the Holy Ghost, I know that we are children of God, and that he loves us. I know Jesus Christ is our Savior, and because of him we can be happy, repent, and live with our Father again. I know this church is true, and I’m glad to be a part of it here.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, February 4, 2013

16 miles

16.2 miles. I had to take a trip to a local hiking/outdoor sports store to pick up some energy gel this morning since I only had one left and the only brand they had was Gu. I picked up the vanilla flavor because I thought it said no caffeine when the rest said caffeine, but after I bought it, I realized it had caffeine too. Oh well. I needed something. I ate one 15 minutes before my run, my last power bar energy gel after my first 5 miles, and another Gu after the next 5 miles.That's all I was planning to use, but in my last lap (my route was my 5.6 mile route x3) I had to eat another one. I was breathing ok, but my body just wouldn’t go, and I felt so hungry and tired and couldn’t jog any more even though it was a descending part of my route. I was only planning on eating 2 energy gels on that run and brought the third as an emergency back up and was being stubborn at first about eating it, but I realized I wasn’t going to ever make it home without something. I was surprised at the relief I felt after I ate it, and I was able to continue to jog (at least the downhill and flats). I brought more water this time in my hydration pack (about 30 oz) and drank all of it before I finished with a couple miles to go.

My first 5 mile lap was great (I kept my pace slow), my second 5 mile lap was tolerable (my pace became a bit slower), my last 6 miles or so I had to endure (I didn’t know I could go any slower than I was when I started…but I can). I averaged about 13 minute miles and had to walk more in my last 5 mile lap than I did my first two times around. The whole 16.2 miles took me 3 ½ hours. Most people could probably power walk right next to me.

Compared to the Power Bar vanilla flavor energy gel, Gu is a freaking dessert. I was expecting nastiness, and was pleasantly surprised at the first one I ate before my run. During my run it was kind of hard to swallow because it was so sweet, but definitely more palatable than the power bar brand vanilla flavor. The caffeine didn't make me feel sick, but I still feel like I cheated using a drug. Haha.

Overall I feel ok. My feet were and are still tired like always and I’m tired now, and I’ll be hungry for the rest of the day like always, but I’m not dead. I’m feeling pretty good right now.