Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Learn How To Climb...

    N.O. Limits, on first glance it looks like "NO Limits" not abbreviated "North Ogden Limits". For me this start line means a lot of things. The first time I crossed this start line was April 27th 2013, it was my first 5k, I had been running just a month. Coming into the finish line I was glad I survived, much less made the podium!
    Now it has been almost a year and this start line means many more things to me. Now I see it more as "NO Limits", because this year, on May 3rd, I am running the Half Marathon. Now, I've run a half marathon already, so the distance isn't necessarily the milestone, but what it has taken to train for this one. The route for this race is full of massive hills, over 500ft uphill climb between kilometer 2 and kilometer 7, 4.5 miles of rocky trails. When I first signed up for this race all my friends, runners and non-runners, told me I was crazy because of the route difficulty, and at the time I agreed! I simply wanted to do it as a milestone of having been racing a year. I have been working on running hills once a week every week since the beginning of February, and after 10 weeks of training I have learned not only new things about running and training, but new things about myself.
     1) Hills are HARD! The first week I stared up the "one mile hill" that is only 2.5km into the race route I thought I was gonna die. Heading up the hill, gaining about 250ft in elevation, I had to walk several times. That day was just a short 8k, so when I got to the top I turned around and ran back down it as I headed back to the car. That day almost did me in mentally, I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't realize how hard.
    2) Hills get EASIER with consistent practice. After two weeks of going to run parts of the route (adding a km in length each week) I made it up the first hill without walking! It wasn't anything fast, but I did it!
    3) Unexpected hills can be demoralizing. About 5 weeks in I switched from out and backs to loops since my distance was getting long enough to allow it. The first week I did a loop I made it up the first hill strong, headed past where I normally turn around, and was suddenly faced with a second HUGE uphill (another 250ft climb) that I wasn't ready for. It zapped me mentally, which killed my run.
    4) Knowing what's coming and being prepared for it is the best way to handle hills. After the demoralizing week I knew what was ahead and started carrying extra GU gel, water, and mentally knew what I was facing, and it has gotten way easier.
    5) Consistent work and preparation take you from not being able to go up 1 hill, to being able to handle a course with several massive hills. This route has 3, and after today I can say I am prepared for them.

Now, I've learned a lot about training and running and getting stronger on my runs, but it also has taught me a lot about handling the hard stuff in life. "Hills" in life usually are some form of trial, but can also be something as simple as allowing myself to fall into a trap of not hearing God's voice and listening to Satan's lies. Just as I have to have discipline in my running to handle hills on a route, I also have to have discipline in my personal life to handle the trials that come.

Running - - - - - Life
Eat Healthy - - - Don't listen to or watch junk
Get Coaching - - Spend time in the presence of God and Godly people
Practice - - - - - Memorize scripture
Don't Let The Bad Runs Keep You Down - - - I have bad days, days that life gets to me, but they can't keep me down. Getting back up is the important part.
Rest Well - - - Take time when I need it to get away from life and recharge spiritually and emotionally
Be Consistent - - - Little pieces of time with God on a consistent basis keep life more stable than just mega-dosing in a crisis.

So, after 10 weeks of training, only 2.5 weeks from today is race day, N.O. Limits has really come to mean "NO Limits" for me. Not only can I do things physically I never thought, but with a right relationship with God there are no limits to how He can use my life.

Hebrews 12:1-3 "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Here Am I Lord, Send Me...

         April first, for most it is a day of practical jokes and picking fun at one another, but for myself it signifies so much more. As I was sitting on the family room floor on March 31st, my 25th birthday, I was doing my devotions and reflecting on the past couple of years and came to reflect on the last few birthdays. Every birthday for the last 3 years God has done something huge in my personal life. Each one leading up to this year, and it is so incredible to look back on how He has brought me to this point. For my 23rd birthday I started a new job at an equine veterinary clinic doing what I had gone to college for and doing something I really loved. For my 24th birthday, just a year ago, I decided to start running. To most that might not seem like much, but in July of last year I lost my job at the vet clinic, and God used running as my time alone with him away from the frustrations of dealing with being unemployed.
            Through those months of running and struggling with questioning God and asking him “why?” I learned how truly powerful it is to be able to share Christ through the avenue of sports. Last fall God taught me many things about perseverance, discipline, diligence, and dedication through my running. I would run every morning and then come home and do job applications, day in and day out. I applied for jobs all over the country, over 3 dozen applications in 15 states. As each positive response came I would pray over each job, and every time I just didn’t have a peace about taking offers that I would have otherwise jumped on. After several months of this process I came to the conclusion that God wanted me to stay here in Utah. I couldn’t explain why, I had what appeared to be no leads here, but it was the only place I had a peace.
Throughout last year I had kept up with what was going on with Utah Fellowship of Christian Athletes and when I attended the President’s Reception in November the pieces started to come together. I had the pleasure of sitting with the State Director and his wife as well as the Regional Director and after several athletes and coaches spoke and the directors gave the vision for the next year of FCA here in Utah I had a peace and excitement I could not explain. Bill Schorr, our State Director, sat back down at the end and he looked at me and all he had to say was “You ready?” and I didn’t even have to think twice, my immediate answer was “Yes”. After several months of prayer and training at the beginning of this year April first was my official start date of coming on staff with Utah FCA.
This is a huge leap of faith, we are non-profit, so all of my expenses and salary must be raised. But God is moving in so many ways. In a population of 3.9 million only 3%(ish) are Bible believing Christians. FCA launched chapters in foreign countries before coming to Utah because of how hard it is here. But, in Utah FCA’s first year (Jan 2013 – current) we have seen 46 athletes and 2 coaches accept Christ. My primary responsibility is going to be our highschool and junior high campus ministry. In the last month we have begun compiling a group of high school and junior high athletes from over a dozen schools across the area to start a Northern Utah huddle over the summer. The goal of the huddle is to lead and train these athletes to use their platforms of sport for God’s glory through FCA. Teaching them the ins and outs of FCA and Gods word, we will also prepare them to run huddles at their own schools starting this fall.  I will assist their leadership teams along the way. We also want to send 30 plus athletes to camp in Idaho this summer.
But none of this can happen without the financial support. We provide each huddle with Bible’s designed for athletes. These Bibles are full of devotions geared directly towards their needs and they use sports terms in the devotions and studies that the athletes can relate with. Not only are our supplies provided through your generous support, but so is the pay of all of our staff. If I don’t raise my support I don’t get paid and I don’t have money in the account to drive to the schools to work with the athletes. I’m asking you to pray about financially supporting the ministry of sharing Christ through sports. The harvest is ready here in Utah, but the workers are few. If you feel led to support this ministry you can by clicking this link.
If you have any questions you can contact me at 585-455-8107 or