Get Up and Run!

My first half marathon was a little disappointing for me because my body crashed at mile 10 and I felt I could have made a much better time, but my time in subsequent runs kept getting worse. The one I ran last month was my worst, granted I wore shoes I usually don’t wear and it was cold and rainy and I had leg cramps during the run, but it discouraged me so much.

I didn’t want to run again because I had such a horrible experience, but about a couple of weeks afterwards, I realized that I couldn’t let that last run stop me from running—I had to keep going. Now I am learning how to run all over again, starting slowly and finding the joy in running.

I thought about how our Christian walk can falter— maybe we had a bad experience with someone at church and we stopped attending worship, maybe we had the intention of reading through the Bible in a year and after a few months we stopped— anything we wanted to do to grow but the opposite happened. Sure, we can “quit” but how is that beneficial?

There’s no coincidence that running and finishing the race is often mentioned in the Bible:

The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race… in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize… So run to win… run with purpose in every step… let us strip off every weight that slows us down… And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary…

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize… on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless… I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race…” (Ecc 9:11, 1 Cor 9:24, 26, Hebrews 12:1, Isa 40:31, Phil 3:14, Phil 2:16, 2 Tim 4:7).

The New Year is fastly approaching— get up and run!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

My worst run ever!

A couple nights ago I was in a half marathon. It was part of a “coast to coast” event where the first leg of the competition was to run a half marathon in Disneyland, California then the second part, to run in a half marathon at Disney World, Florida in the same year.

I had several concerns going into this last half marathon— it started at 10 pm (going past my bed time), I was diagnosed with a UTI the day before, and the weather was supposed to be cold and rainy throughout the whole event.

Our night started out with us driving to EPCOT at 7:15 pm to catch a shuttle to the ESPN complex.

IMG_20141108_193344313We arrived at the starting line area at around 8 pm. They had a DJ playing music, so we danced a little, used the bathroom a couple of times, and took pictures. At around 9:45 pm, we headed to our corrals (I was assigned to “E” and my husband was in “F”). I took off at about 10:10 pm.

IMG_20141108_221104486Even though it had started to rain while I was waiting in the corral, I did well on the first six miles or so.

http://youtu.be/WgleTVDI0ww

The rain became steadier and large puddles started to form in the streets. I stepped on a couple of them, making my feet soaking wet. I was drenched from the constant rain, and I became extremely cold.

Both my legs and feet muscles started to cramp and I panicked because that had never happened to me before. I fumbled with my phone to call my husband; I only got his voice mail so I left him a message.

I slowed my pace, hoping that my husband would catch up to me. For the first time, I walked during a run— I felt defeated and I wanted to quit. After a couple of miles, I saw my husband. I was so relieved. He walked with me.

As we walked a little, he would encourage me to run. I would run until my muscles became tight again then we would slow our pace. As we arrived in Hollywood Studios, we decided to get our pictures taken— it gave me a chance to rest.

IMG_20141109_241448841IMG_20141109_243757771IMG_20141109_243847283Afterwards, we picked up the pace again. This pattern of slowing down and picking up the pace continued for a few more miles.  Then finally, we were at EPCOT. We knew we were getting closer to the finish line so we ran the last 1.1 mile. We crossed it together. My husband could have completed his first half marathon with a good finishing time, but he sacrificed that to help me cross the finish line.

RunFinishAs we ended the run and had our pictures taken with our metals, I thought about Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer…” (NLT). I am so thankful for my husband, but most especially for God— I wouldn’t have my husband if it wasn’t for Him, “…Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecc 4:12).

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Run with a purpose

For a while now I have known about my first half marathon run in January but I did not train for it like I should have. After getting back from my vacation in late October, it was difficult for me to get back into a routine.

I should have taken my training more seriously months ago—even training during my vacation, but I kept thinking that January was so far away and that I had a lot of time to prepare for it. Now we are nearing the end of November, which means that I only have a month and a half to train.

I thought about the Scripture verses that referenced running and training:

1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “All athletes are disciplined in their training… So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”

Hebrews 12:1, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Many times I do not take my spiritual training very seriously. I am lax in my Bible reading and prayer because I get busy with other things.

I am pressured to push myself and run now even when I don’t feel like running because I know when my race will take place, but I think I am not as serious in my spiritual training because there is no set day when Jesus will return:

“…be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him… Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt 24:44, 42).

I think I have to change my mindset—I’m not just training for Christ’s return, I am currently in the race—I am being timed and I need to  finish strong.

Every waking moment is time on the spiritual track and I can’t stop or quit—I have to keep running. I now have a different understanding of Isaiah 40:28-31,

“The Lord is the everlasting God… He will not grow tired or weary… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… they will run and not grow weary.”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Keep improving!

Yesterday my husband and I ran a 5K—it was to benefit the local food bank. I was a little worried about it since I hadn’t ran this whole week— I was swamped with work (told a week or so ago to have 14 slide presentations completed before I leave for vacation, plus I had two courses I had to manage. I stayed up late almost every night to complete the work). All I could do was try my best.

I had little hope that I would exceed my time from the last 5K (31:12). I chose the fastest song I had and I played it repeatedly during the run. I remember feeling my lungs starting to burn and my legs began to feel heavy. People ran past me—an old man, a 9-year-old girl, an old woman, a guy with a stroller, and then a woman with a small dog. I felt so pathetic. I had no idea how fast (or slow) I was going, but I just kept going. 

I tried to remember the mistakes I did in my last run so that I wouldn’t do them again— I tried to use my abdominal muscles to pick up my legs, I kept my back straight, and I ran fast down the hills to make up for the time it took to “run” up the hills. Instead of focusing on how tired I was getting, I thought about my form and what I could do to improve it.

Finally, I came to the 3-mile point—the point where everyone “gives it their all,” but the problem was that I had already given it “my all” that whole time. As I got closer to the finish line, though, and I saw the time on the clock, I told myself that I needed to go faster— every second counts. I didn’t know my exact time when I actually crossed the finish line, but afterwards I saw my time— 29:30— my personal best.

This morning I realized that I was only 31 seconds away from clocking in at 28 minutes and some seconds.

There is always room for improvement. Even as a Christian, we never get to the point where we can say that we’ve “made it”— “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain… for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God” (Revelations 3:2, NASB); “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit…” (Romans 12:11, ESV). There is always something about our way of thinking or doing that can be changed, and there is always something about God that we can discover. Keep improving!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Keep going

I run every other day and today is the day I have to run. I woke up thinking about a run I did when I was 17-years-old. I told my cross country coach that I was going to participate in the 2-mile MLK run in Clark Air Base and he gave me a look like, “Are you kidding me?”

A friend and her father drove us to the airbase and I stood at the starting line. The pistol went off and I was the only one standing at the line, so I started to run. The people ahead of me were passing me on their second then third lap. After a little while I heard the announcer say, “Well, that’s the end of the race.” I thought, “What should I do—should I just step off the track or keep going?” I decided to keep going (I had about a half lap to go). Then the announcer said, “Wait, there’s another runner on the track.” So as I ran closer to the finish line, I heard people clapping and the announcer encouraging me to finish.

ImageAfter the run I met my friend and her father in the bleachers and a man walked up to me asking me my name. I told him and then he asked if I was a student at Wagner (the high school on the air base). I told him that I was a student at George Dewey (the naval base). He said, “That’s too bad. I could use more people like you.” It turned out that he was the girls’ soccer coach.

While I was running today I felt like stopping after only a couple of miles— I was just struggling so much. I then thought about the Scripture verses that have encouraged me these past few years— “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken.  We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit… We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going” (2 Cor 4:8-9), and “…with God everything is possible” (Matt 19:26).

I only ran/jogged 7.55 miles (my goal for today was 8.5 miles), but I will not give up. What do you feel like giving up—your marriage… life in general? Don’t give up—keep going!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti