Motivation Monday - Who do you run for?

For some of you it may already be Tuesday as I am a wee bit behind on my Motivation Monday - but that is all part of life. Sometimes you hit road bumps, 900 + emails at work and a race series to plan, and your original intentions go to the wayside. But through all of this....I have running.

Running is my source of sanity, my reprieve from stress, my time to get my creative and/or problem-solving juices flowing, my time to reflect on my purpose in life. There is a lot that goes into my daily runs beyond putting one foot in front of the other and my runs have a higher purpose that goes beyond myself.

For some it may be scary to have so much riding on a run - but I run for many reasons all at once and all those reasons combined bring me to a higher place of happiness on my runs. Yes, I find extreme happiness even in the tough runs and even if I do not get that sought after adrenaline rush of runner's high.

First and foremost, I run to honor God. Without Him I would not be here running each and every day. I run for my family. Trust me, they want me to be more at peace. I run for Toby and Down syndrome awareness. It feels good running knowing that there is a boy and his family in Nebraska cheering you on each and every step. I look for things along my run to share with him, stories to tell, and just some plain updates on my life. I often question how he is doing, feeling, and experiencing in school. 

But we each have different reasons to why we run just like we each have different paces and different races. The reasons may vary but the end result is the same -- we are running to be better people and I honestly believe through running we each can make a HUGE positive impact on the world.

So tell me, who do you run for?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful we found a break from the rain yesterday to enjoy a whale watch.
Daily Bible VerseArise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it. ~ Ezra 10:4


Tuesday Tunes

Aloha and Happy Tuesday!

No deep thoughts today coming from me. In fact, all I can think of is running, running, running and this cough totally vanishing from my life. I will be heading out the door soon to hit the roads running a short little run today as I have TONS to do at work and I would not complain if this song popped up randomly on my play list today.....

Everything at Once by Lenka. In fact, even when we hear it before one of darling daughter's movies I stop want I am doing and dance along with the song and my daughter. LOVE IT!

Now help me build my play list, tell me a song that makes you want to head out the door and run?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for songs with a good, solid beat.
Daily Bible Verse: Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. ~ James 5:13


Motivation Monday: The Martin Luther King Version

I love that at Sunday School yesterday the teacher brought up Martin Luther King Jr. and asked the kids to think of him today when they were off of school. To remember him and to be kind and friendly to others. I also loved that when the teacher asked questions about the day that darling daughter raised her hand and did a great job explaining who Martin Luther King Jr. was. Way to go darling daughter! Yes, I sometimes hang out in the corner during her class doing my own bible study but it is hard not to listen in here and there.

With that said, I think today is the perfect day to remind myself, and others, that it is important to be kind to others and more importantly, sometimes we need to put others before ourselves. As a mom I am sure many other moms get this. We tend to do it to the extreme sometimes. I think mothers often forget that yes, they still do need to take care of themselves. I still cringe from the guilt I felt many times going out to run when darling daughter wanted me to stay. In fact, yesterday as I "mourned" the race I couldn't run darling daughter was quick to let me know we got to spend more time together. Yes, that was indeed wonderful and I was quick to remind her later that more time together doesn't mean more sass.

But seriously, I truly feel an individual can find more happiness and peace by putting others first, by thinking of what others need, by helping others, and by giving back to the community. If this wasn't the case, why would there be so many volunteer opportunities? Why would so many elders in our community volunteer after retirement? Why would I see on a daily basis a handful of volunteers coming back into my office to help day in and day out? Why? 

Because people do want to make a difference. We do! Don't you?

I know I do and if I focus too much on personal goals I begin to feel pretty empty inside. Yay! I achieved this goal but in all reality, does it matter? Does it make a real impact on society? At the end of the day (aka my life) will I be, yay! I achieved that personal goal? I'm not convinced.

I am more convinced that I will remember the people who came into my life and who made a change in me through their loving impact on my life. I really hope I will remember the times I gave to others in need and hopefully helped lift a soul that needed some extra love, patience, and kindness.

We are blessed to live when there is no more segregation but I can't say there is complete acceptance. To be honest, I was about to type we have integrated schools but do we? I couldn't help but pause my fingers over my keyboard when I thought of Toby and Down syndrome and the fight for inclusion for those with disabilities. We have come a long way, don't get me wrong, but we still have so much further to go.

Who will you reach out to today and help...even if it is just the gift of your smile?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to have Toby in my life as my running buddy.
Daily Bible Verse: We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. ~ Romans 15:1


Honolulu Marathon Race Report

It has been almost a month since I ran the Honolulu Marathon. Can you believe it? Can you believe I haven't written my race report yet? It isn't that I haven't wanted to, it is just because I have been crazy busy juggling a million things but with another marathon 5 sleeps away, I figured I better get this race report written.

Due to last minute childcare issues, dear hubby turned from runner to cheerleader to watch darling daughter while I ran the race. He won the "Husband of the Year" award, trust me, he did. And he may not realize it but it paid off in my Christmas shopping for him when I bought him new running shoes and a GPS running watch.

I knew rain was in the forecast but the percentage seemed low and I was optimistic, or in denial, as I was certain it would be a non-issue. As I walked out of the hotel with my family the morning of with nothing on but my race gear I realized how wrong I was. It was raining. Not too heavy but rain nonetheless. Thank goodness I did have enough sense to tuck a ziplock bag in my pocket just in case. I moved my phone into it. Yes, it has a water resistant case but I am the type of gal that wants to be double confident. Killing a phone isn't in my budget.

We got to the start just in time with some speed walking. No time for a final pit stop. Just get in place and get ready to go. I talked to a couple that were running their first marathon. They were excited and nervous and worried about time. I told them to relax, enjoy their journey, and that they are guaranteed a PR. No pressure. Have fun. That seemed to help them and I moved away a bit to get centered. I like to say a prayer or two before I run mainly to remember how lucky I am, that running is a blessing, and that so much is out of my control. With a bang the race started!

By that I mean, we started slowly moving forward walking to the start. I am sure somewhere way up the elites and others were running but not us. We were a mob of marathon runners walking and bumping to the start. I had my phone in my hand since I pocket it after I hit the start when I cross the starting mat and a text came in. It was from my buddy's mom. It took a few seconds for the message to sink fully into my brain. My buddy was on the way to the ER as he was throwing up blood! He just had surgery a week or so earlier and had a tough recovery and my prayers went straight out to him and his family. In that moment nothing mattered except Toby being okay. I told God I would gladly give up a PR for him to be okay. I would embrace each challenge and run strong for him and pray for him. I texted his mom back, crossed the starting mat, pocketed my phone, and started running. How lucky I felt that I had just given her my cell number in case she ever needed to get in touch with me in a hurry.

It was a zigzag due to the crowded course and the amazing number of runners who were already walking the start. The Honolulu Marathon has race time corrals but they are not "policed" and you always have groups of walking people at the start that become roadblocks. I have heard other runners complain about this for years but in the past two years it never bugged me much. I guess I never hit as may roadblocks. I was zigzagging like crazy for over 2 miles when it hit me. I am running fast and getting nowhere. I am wasting energy as my forward pace is nothing spectacular due to all the zigzagging and I had to be super careful on the wet roads. I accepted the slower pace hoping soon I would find a good flow.

On the bright side, once I got to Diamond Head and the climb up it wasn't as crowded as previous years but you still were in a mob of runners and maintaining the pace you want was difficult. And the rain continued. Yes, there were some breaks but at times it got heavier. I am not a rain loving gal and running a marathon in the rain was becoming a journey more than a race. I wanted to run strong and happy, I continued to pray for Toby, I knew I had another marathon coming up on January 18th, I consoled myself that at least it wasn't hot, and I ran on at a nice pace until around mile 9 when my stomach got mad. At mile 10 I took a pit stop, which is something I typically don't do. Since I was stopped anyhow to take care of business I texted my little sis to let her know about Toby and to extend his prayer circle. She said OK and I said, I gotta keep running. And I did. I ran on but slowed my pace to let my stomach settle. I have no idea what set it off that day and will never know. Sometimes things just happen.

The Honolulu Marathon always brings a smile to my face because in the midst of all the hardship you get to see the elites running back and that is always inspirational to me. The rain continued and there were some serious wind gusts here and there. At one time a gust created a mini tornado with all the cups on the road and I literally leaned forward with all my weight into the headwind to avoid getting knocked backwards...and I ran on. I didn't like the gusts much and not for what you would think. Yeah, headwinds are a bummer but I didn't like them because they left me chilled to the bone and it took awhile for my running to warm me back up again. I was cold and wet many times throughout the race. I thought happy, warm thoughts.

At mile 19 I received the best text ever. Toby was being released from the ER and was heading home! I texted I was on mile 19 and still running for him. I barely walked at all this race -- only to text here and a few minutes later when my buddy's mom texted back words of support. It felt great going into the final stretch with such great news! I knew I had to run as best as I could until the end. And I did.

Towards the end we did see a couple of spectacular rainbows and the sun did come out and bless us. Those were happy moments. Moments when language barriers melt and a Japanese man can turn to me, say something, and I can tell by the sound of his voice and the point of his hand that he was equally awed by the majestic rainbow that we were running "into".  

Once I was in the true final stretch I kept my eyes out for darling daughter and dear hubby. When I finally saw them, and darling daughter holding up our sign nice and high, I smiled and waved. At least I think I waved. My memory there is vague. And I ran forward quite happy to cross the finish line. I was ecstatic! I ran the best I could, I ran for Toby, I prayed for Toby, and my prayers were answered. My little buddy was okay. I didn't get a PR but I didn't care. I ran a marathon in the rain!!!!

My time was 4:20:37. I can't promise you all the photos I shared are in race order. I can guarantee the first at the start in the dark and the finish photos. Everything else in between, just go with the flow!

And on race day one particular song touched my heart like crazy as it made me think of my Dad. My eyes welled up with tears as I remembered this song playing at his memorial but I quickly dried my eyes knowing he was with me...running. In honor of Tuesday Tunes, the song was "On Eagle's Wings". It came on about mid-way in the race and was just what I needed to hear to lift me up and to remind me why I run....it is what my spirit is meant to do.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for every finish line I cross.
Daily Bible Verse: I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Writing today's report has brought happy tears to my eyes.