Angels all Around

Today I am taking this blog post on a different journey. I am going to talk gratitude in times of struggle. You see, I feel this is important for a variety of reasons. First, with so much negativity in the world it is nice to spread good cheer. Second, maybe you are struggling and need a little encouragement. And third, it will serve as a reminder to me to never lose faith.

Last week I had a day that started out pretty much the same as any other summer day. I took darling daughter to camp, conveniently located at my work, and before we left I almost told her to pack extra slippers (or flip flops for those who use that terminology) in case hers broke. I didn't. I stopped myself thinking I didn't want to be one of those moms. I should have said something. Her slippers broke. We chuckled about it and I told her next time I get a random thought I would listen as maybe God is trying to direct me.

After camp and work, we started heading up the mountain to get a Starbucks treat prior to horse lessons. My check tire pressure light popped on and I looked at it slightly puzzled but didn't pay much mind. It has come on many times, I get around to checking the pressure, add air, and move on with life. We parked the car, got our drinks, walked back out and oh my! My back left tire was in dire need.

With a prayer to God to help me I slowly backed out and made the 5 minute or so drive to the closest gas station to get air, hopefully, if it is working. I get there and realize I don't have one dime in my purse so I grabbed my wallet hoping for a cash machine and a nice cashier. I step out and look at my tire and oh nelly! Flat as a pancake. On the rim dead flat. I felt equally deflated.

I look to the door hoping to find good luck inside and a man about to go in stopped, turned, and looked towards us. I asked for help and he came. This is about the time I was wishing my car came with a spare tire versus the flat repair strange kit machine that the nice man figured out for me and got me set up. It instructed me on what to do and after spending a good chunk of time helping me, when on his way with lots of thank you's from me.

When the pressure in my tire got to an acceptable level I stopped the air and leak fixing pump only to immediately discern that there was a constant stream of air coming out where the screw pierced my tire. Yes, I could discern the issue. Darling daughter was worried about her horse lesson that we were trying to make and I was thinking this is not where I want to leave my car oddly parked at this gas station. I was debating if I should move on or stay.

I was leaning towards just go but worried and as I was weighing my options another gentleman pulled up to get gas, saw me, and offered help. I told him my predicament, my concerns, and what I was hoping to accomplish. He said go for it if I can get where I need to be in 10 minutes. That was close to the driving time.

Since I was wedged into place and a car pulled up behind him, he talked me through backing up and squeezing out and as I drove off with my window still down, he called out words of encouragement. "You got this!" "You will be okay!" "Good job!" "Everything will be okay!"

And I drove off praying to God to guide me telling darling daughter we will make it but will stop if needed to add more air. And I did stop about halfway there as I felt the tug on my heart to do so. It was a safe pull off spot so why not. And we made it to horse lessons just on time.

But I still had a flat tire but was beyond thankful for the two gentlemen, complete strangers, who came to my assistance with no hesitation.

Once at the stables I then focused on tire repair. My car needed one and we were now up the mountain with the only help down in town a good 45 minutes away. I was adding air every 10 minutes. I was obviously worried but dear hubby came to my rescue .and got my car down, tire replaced, and home safely and I got to watch darling ride.

What could have been an awful afternoon tuned out wonderful. I was beyond thankful for the help that came my way, thanks be to God, and for God giving me calmness in a situation that would normally stress me completely. Plus, I am thankful that my new budgeting strategy I started just this past month allowed me to have the emergency funds saved to cover the cost of my new tire.

And this is why I wanted to share my story. God is beyond amazing and sometimes struggles, or screws in your tire, can just be avenues to show you all the many splendors in the world.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all those who helped me yesterday.

Daily Bible Verse: Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. ~ Exodus 23:20


Finding My Strength on the Treadmill: Emotional, Physical & Spiritual

Over the years the treadmill has been my go to for running.

It hasn't always been easy. In fact, it has been extremely boring and discouraging at times. But I did what I needed to do to get my runs in over the past 10.5 or so years of being a mom.

I have run on hotel treadmills with darling nearby, or on treadmills in the gym while she is in their childcare, or on the treadmill at home while she slept, play, or ate her snack. In fact, it has become a routine and a natural way of life for us. That and my cross training but today it hit me.

The treadmill is not to be dreaded or looked upon with disgust. It has strengthened me in so many ways that go beyond physical fitness.

You see, actively working out is one of my best fighting elements in the battle against depression. I have found I have a sweet spot of around an hour of working out a day to keep symptoms at bay. It doesn't always happen or have the desired effects but it helps. I just need to remember the times I least feel like doing anything are the times I need to do it the most.....especially if those down feeling days are in a row that seems to be growing longer each and every day.

But in the past year or so the treadmill has become my spiritual combat zone and I mean that in a positive way. I can do my daily mass readings and other devotionals while running in place and not only does it help pass the time away, it gets me focus on what really matters in life....and that is not my running pace.

One of my favorite things to do while running, especially on the treadmill, is say the rosary. I use my fingers for the Hail Mary beads. And as I move through each decade on the treadmill, I increase my pace. I make my rosary prayers a sign of faith and effort as I trust in the Lord to carry me through and promise to not slack in life. Or at least do my best to not slack.

Some days are faster than others and  that is okay. Some days I do a much better job at listening for God's guidance and hearing it through the clutter of my mind. Those days propel me forward in the same ways of getting a new race PR or placing in a race. You know, the icing on the cake days of fitness.

To me, spiritual fitness matters most. My physical fitness is a gift from God and I thank Him for giving me the ability to run every day and cross train most days to help keep my emotional fitness in check. And He gives me blogging inspiration on the run and I wish I had a better way to document those inspirational moments than relying on remembering them. Maybe the posts I remember are the only ones I am meant to share. Maybe I am slacking and need to make a greater effort to document those AHA moments. I. really don't know.

But I do know this.....

The treadmill is my battle zone. My area to grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I have broke down and cried for so many reasons. I have cried out for help. I have "danced" for joy.....at least the best way I can dance while running on the treadmill.

The treadmill is my discovery zone. I have found forgiveness...most importantly being me forgiving me. I have found determination, worth, and value in life. I have found peace, comfort, and acceptance. I have found God always there by my side and nothing can top that.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I have a treadmill at home.

Daily Bible Verse: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. ~ Matthew 5:6


Saint of the Month - Global Running Day edition: Saint Sebastian

With it being global or national running day and so many runners reaching out to other runners wishing them a good running day it crept into my mind.

Is there a patron saint for runners?

Well, yes, there is! Well kinda. This saint isn't just for runners. He is actually the patron saint of athletes and archers. Meet Saint Sebastian!

He is depicted on this post in a way he is often depicted - tied to a tree and shot with arrows. But why? This imagery is said to be symbolic of virtues and gifts needed in times of adversity: strength, stamina, perseverance, courage, and justice.

But who is Saint Sebastian?

Sebastian was born into a wealthy Roman family. He was was an early Christian saint and martyr and according to traditionally belief, he was killed during the Roman persecution of Christians many years ago in 288 AD. As much as he tried to conceal his faith, it was discovered in 286 that he was indeed a Christian. Diocletian, the Roman emperor, took action and commanded that Sebastian be led to a field, bound to a stake, and archers shoot him with arrows. He was shot by so many arrows but yet, the arrows did not kill him.

Irene of Rome found him still alive and took him home to nurse him back to health. When Sebastian later bad mouthed Diocletian for his cruelties to Christian, Diocletian was not only shocked Sebastian was still alive but also ordered that he be sieged and cudgeled to death.

Since Saint Sebastian is considered a champion of Christ, he is the patron saint of athletes and again, the patron saint of archers. He is also considered a protector from the bubonic plague and so much more.

Perhaps this is a good saint to learn more about.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for all the saints who have modeled how to live a good life following God.

Daily Bible Verse: To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints; grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 1:7


Cross Training Calendar for June 2018

I did it! I put together a June 2018 cross training plan on a lovely calendar that I have already posted up on my freezer door.

Typically, I am ahead of the ball with training plans and create them before the start date but this month, not so much. It was a spur of the moment decision yesterday to get fully back into cross training mode in addition to my regular running. I realized how necessary this was when I typed up my May training report.

And I promised you I would share the calendar so here it is.

I did add in those oldie but goodies I planned to but also added in some new workouts. 11 if I remember right and I can't easily glance right now because this momma is blogging on the go.

Yep, I am sitting at the stables blogging while darling daughter tacks up. My tablet is a good carry along device for when I am writing on the go and my June 2018 cross training plan is at home on the laptop and freezer door. Ironically, I created that and printed it while on my laptop sitting on the driveway at our first attempt to do a yard sale style craft sale. That was a flop.

But my plan wasn't but today's execution of the plan almost was as when I was trying to gear up to cross train I crumbled apart emotionally. Gosh that depression!

I am happy to say I did cross train. I recognized the depression symptoms and know they make me want to not work out but working out alleviates the symptoms especially when I do Core de Force, which was exactly what I had on the schedule for today.

And darling daughter helped me. She showered me with kisses and let me use the TV for streaming my sweaty attempt to punch the bazigons out of depression. And yes, I just now created the word bazigons. Call it creative writing freedom. Gotta love that! But seriously, there is something about MMA workouts that work extraordinarily well at decreasing the symptoms of depression and anxiety in me and perhaps my lack of cross training in May is correlated to the increase in symptoms I have noted.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my daughter's love.

Daily Bible Verse: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10


May 2018 Training Report

It's that time again. A new month, time to review what has happened, and a fresh start.

My 2018 goals are 1,170 miles and 70 new workouts and I knew I was doing good and off par before I even looked at the data. I knew I did a great job getting more miles in....and more runs in outside. Yay! I got to thank Fitbit friends and workweek hustle challenges to keep me going Monday through Friday but I also am learning to rein in the pride and desire to "win" the game and enjoy cheering everyone on. Risking injury is not worth it and sometimes life has other demands that rise to the top.

With their help, I ran an amazing 169 miles in May! I am certain that isn't my biggest mileage in a month ever but it is my best month so far in 2018 and that, my friend, is worth celebrating. And I am with a delicious cup of coffee while I type up this blog post. I am talking a nice huge cup of caramel creme flavored coffee from a local Hawaiian coffee company. It is the the little things in life that make me smile.

I also knew prior to my analysis that I have flopped on my cross training and doing new workouts. I mean I flopped to the point that I only cross trained twice in May! Running extra takes time but I was still down on myself for not making it happen until I did my analysis and that is why I stress reflecting back on what you have achieved.

I trained 34 hours in May, which means, I averaged more than an hour of sweat time per day. And no, it wasn't split evenly over the days but this is the most time committed to sweating so far in 2018. Check it out!

This is exciting news as working out and sweating helps keep my depression and anxiety at bay. I wish it was enough. I have had some tough days emotionally and I have already established a plan to help me get back on track. Really focus on what I am putting into my body. Increase my fruits and veggies again. Stock up on easy to grab healthy foods and commit to taking care of me....even to the point of enjoying a delicious cup of coffee and taking good long soaks in the tub. These things matter.

And so does hydration. With my love of coffee it may be easy to get to the point of running around dehydrated, especially with my logging more running and workout hours. So I have started logging my water intake on my Fitbit app to help me stay accountable. It is harder to reach for a cup of coffee when I realize I haven't logged any water. 

I will also get cross training back on my calendar in June and successfully completed an oldie but goodie workout today. At this point, I would rather nail cross training days of any sort even if they aren't a new workout. If I know I can squeeze in an oldie but goodie via my phone so darling daughter can use the TV, I will.

And how am I doing overall in my mileage goal? With 546 miles so far this year I have 624 miles to go. That is only 89.14 miles per month. I think I have nailed this goal, God willing, if I keep running strong and happy.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the ability to focus on what really matters in life.

Daily Bible Verse: We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5