Monday, February 23, 2009

Countdown to Cowtown

Johnny and I are running in the Cowtown 5K this coming Saturday! I am so excited. 5K is just my starting place...maybe next year I'll do the whole marathon. Johnny and I do hope to run in a 10K that will be put on by my brother's running club later in the fall. But, for now, I'm just hoping to reach my goal of running the 5K in under 35 minutes. Now, for you seious runners, you may scoff at my 35 minute goal. Look, folks, when I signed up and started training I couldn't even run 1 mile without having to walk.

I was out running this morning and thinking about God and the outdoors and goal-setting. Sometimes I forget what it is that I love about running. First of all, I'm an outdoor-lovin' kind of gal. Second of all, I really like how I feel when I'm done. Thirdly, but not necessarily lastly cuz I could go on & on about running, I like the quietness, the communication with God, and the freedom of it. (was that 3 things under thirdly?) Here are my thoughts today, my last Monday of training before the big race:

Goal-setting is good. Our son told us yesterday at lunch that his college roommate has made goals for every part of his life for this semester. Goals keep us focused and moving forward in the right direction. They give us purpose. When I'm attempting to run but haven't set any particular goal, if I feel tired then I'll just walk. I won't necessarily push myself. But, when I've got a goal set that is looming before me, I'll still go out on that day that I don't particularly feel like it. I'll go to the gym and run on the treadmill even if I don't want to when the weather is bad.

Goals help us stay focused even when we have setbacks. If you were reading last week and know about my fall in the garage, then you might guess that I'm a bit off my training schedule since I didn't really run last week. Sometimes a setback might make us want to give up, think that our goal is unattainable. Getting off track can be really discouraging. But, the Cowtown is happening this weekend whether I fell or not. Will I let a little fall in the garage keep me from getting up Saturday morning, lacing up my running shoes, and accomplishing what I set out to accomplish?

Goals help us move forward. Sometimes when I'm running I'll get a sidestitch. If I'm not training I might just decide to walk (cause that's easier and makes me feel better). However, when I have a goal I'm trying to make for that day, then I will concentrate more on my breathing and keep running until the sidestitch goes away. When those hard times come, disappointments happen, it can be so easy to focus on the hard thing or the disappointment. That's when you gotta focus on the goal that's ahead instead.

It's a good idea to share your goals with someone. I really like running with Johnny. Even though I didn't have a great time today out on my run, I feel confident that I will reach my goal this weekend cuz I always run faster when I run with Johnny. He pushes me, he encourages me, he holds me accountable. Even on Saturday, I know he could run the Cowtown way faster than me. He's not doing it to see how fast he can run it -- he's doing it to help me reach my goal. Sometimes it seems safer to keep our goals to ourself. If we don't tell, then no one will know if we don't reach it, if we happen to fail along the way. The flip side is that we don't have the encouragement or the strength that another person gives us.

Be reasonable in goal-setting. I used to be able to run 3.1 miles in just under 28 minutes (and, kids, that's about the fastest ever for me....ok, I know I'm not burning up the road or setting any speed records but that was a good time for me) and I would have loved for my goal for this race to be 3.1 in under 30 minutes. I knew that was a pretty lofty goal for this season in my life. Make your goals attainable. Not easy or something that doesn't require effort, but something that is realistic. When I reach my goal of under 35 minutes this weekend, then it will inspire me to set a higher goal for the next time.

Keep God in focus in goal-setting. I love to talk to God when I'm out running. Where I used to run in Odessa I could talk out-loud and no one was around to hear me. I don't really have the luxury here....especially at the gym. Sometimes I am afraid that I've said something out loud that I didn't mean to. Anyway, my mind seems clear when I'm running. All the laundry or dirty dishes or dusty pieces of furniture are not distracting me. It's just me and Him. And, truthfully, the purpose of running is to stay healthy and fit -- especially at this stage in my life -- which makes me more useful in God's kingdom. The better I feel physically, the more I can accomplish for kingdom purposes.

So, tomorrow I'll be at the gym doing my speed workout cuz that's what I do on Tuesday when I'm training for a race, trying to reach my goal. What will you be doing tomorrow to reach your goals?

Stay focused, push through the hardships & distractions, find your accountability partner, talk to Your Heavenly Father about it.

Serving the King,


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