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

Ten things I wish I would have known before running my first half marathon

Ten things I wish I would have known before running my first half marathon:

  1. Eat something light a couple of hours before the run (toast with jelly and green tea would have been good)
  2. Take a couple of energy blocks/chews an hour before the run
  3. Take an energy block, chew, or gel after the first mile
  4. Taken an energy block, chew, or gel at mile 3, 6, 9, and 12
  5. Choose music at a BPM that will keep me on pace
  6. Don’t carry a water bottle during the run— use a hydration belt or a “handy hydrator” instead
  7. If I want to take my phone, then use a runner’s waist pack instead of a fanny pack
  8. Wear the clothes I plan to use several days before the run to make sure it doesn’t chaff–  I’ll have time to find something else to wear if it doesn’t work
  9. Tuck the “aglets” under the laces on top of my feet so that they don’t jab my ankles as I run
  10. Be sure to take the drink at every water stop, and eat the food they give during the run.
Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Energy pack

About a week ago I ran my first half-marathon. It was something I had always wanted to do when I was a teenager, but gave up on it when I struggled to run 15 minutes on the treadmill as an adult.

Surprisingly, I was doing great for the first few miles—even though I hadn’t eaten anything, I was full of energy. When I got to mile 9 they were handing out energy gel packs.

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I thought to myself, “I don’t need this!” But I grabbed a couple anyway.

After a little while, I started to notice that I was running a little slower and my pace was dropping. I felt like a car that was sputtering because its gas tank was getting empty. By mile 11 it was like my legs stopped working— it took so much energy to just lift them. Then my stomach started to growl. I quickly grabbed one of the gel packs and ate it, but it was too late—my body was shutting down.

Although I was moving forward, I felt like I was standing still. It was the longest two miles ever. When I crossed the finish line I was extremely tired—I couldn’t even smile. I was also very hungry. I grabbed three bananas and ate it, and then I gulped down a PowerAid then a whole bottle of water. I ate energy bars and everything else they handed to me.

Today I thought about how that energy gel pack in mile 9 was like a Sunday morning worship service.

Although we went to Saddleback church during the half-marathon weekend, the service did not feed my soul.

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As this past weekend came closer, there was threat of snow in our area. Secretly I had hoped the worship service would be canceled so I could stay in my pajamas and curl up under my fleece blanket.

Worship service was not canceled so I went to church. I had no idea that I needed that “energy boost” of spiritual food.

It had been two weeks since I was at a real worship service and my soul was tired and hungry.

Whenever I feel like staying at home rather than going to church for Sunday morning worship, I will remember what it felt like to skip that energy pack and run the last two miles of the half-marathon on my own energy.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Making plans

I registered for my first half marathon today– the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland. I had planned on participating in the run for a few months now. The event is not until January 2014—six months away. Part of me is nervous about planning something so far in advance— anything could happen. What if I get sick or break my leg before then?

I also keep thinking about James 4:13-16,

“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil” (NLT).

I like to plan. In most cases I plan a year ahead. I had started planning my 30th wedding anniversary almost two years in advance (my special anniversary will be next year). I think it’s good to make plans, but I realize that we are not guaranteed tomorrow so it seems a little presumptuous to even make plans, so why make them?

I think the Scripture verses refer to people who go through life without even acknowledging that God is the reason they are able to make their plans. God is the one who bestows blessings on people (“For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike”- Matthew 5:45).

When I planned my last family vacation, I was so nervous that something might happen— the weather will be bad and our flight will be cancelled, we will have an accident and not be able to go on the trip, etc.

We have plans for October and plans for January. All I can do is pray that God will make it possible for us to keep our plan, and I have to thank Him for making it all possible.

So it’s ok to plan– just know that God is still in charge.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

What keeps you focused?

A few days ago I received the “Half-Marathon Special” Runner’s World magazine—it had articles like, “Your Perfect Plan: Run 13.1—Strong,” and “You Can Do a Half, Too!” It was what I needed to motivate me to workout.

I think the three weeks of recuperating from my surgery made me lazy. When I had the “green light” to start running again, I waited a few more days before starting; and I didn’t put much effort into the run on the first day.  I even thought that I should quit running all together.

I thought about how difficult it is to do something that we don’t want to do even though it’s good for us—like exercising, or eating healthy foods. 

Reading/studying the Bible and going to worship services is good for us also, but sometimes that’s difficult to do too. There have been times when I knew it was cold or rainy outside and all I wanted to do was stay in my warm bed—I had to fight internally to get up and go.

Romans 7:15 and 19 has the following: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate… I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (NLT).

I guess it’s “human nature” to do the opposite of what is good for us. I know it’s a constant battle for me to exercise and watch what I eat, and I have to be intentional about reading the Bible and going to church.

I ran for the fourth time today. It wasn’t my best run, but at least I ran. I am determined to keep running, and my goal is to prepare for the half marathon in January.

The upcoming half marathon keeps me focused to continue running, and Jesus keeps me focused to continue in studying God’s Word—“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord…” (Rom 7:24-25).

What keeps you focused?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti