Run in the Race!

Last year my running had dwindled down because we bought a duplex then we had to fix it, and then clean and clear the other house so that we could downsize; on top of that I still had to work. I had to give up something so I cut down on my running. Every once in a while I ran a 10K, but mostly I ran a couple of miles or ran an occasional 5K.

This year, I decided to start running again. It was hard. I struggled to run a couple of miles. I felt like giving up and using the time to do other things, but I persevered. Today I ran 12 miles. It wasn’t a fast time, but my time didn’t really matter; what mattered was that I didn’t give up.

I think it’s the same way with our Christian walk. Sometimes things come up in our lives and we feel like we have to give up something so we give up church. Then we get used to staying in bed on Sunday mornings and doing other things with the time that used to be spent in going to church.

It’s hard to go back to church after being away for several months or several years, but we start by going to one worship service. Then the following week, we go to another worship service; and even though we might feel like staying at home, we have to get up and go to church.

Why go to church? We go to church because we need to be encouraged by other believers; we need to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Also, as a believer and follower of Christ, we are all a part of His body and a body cannot function if some part of it is missing—we all need each other (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

So if you have been away from the church for a while, then my encouragement to you is to start going. Let this Sunday be the first of many Sundays to come! Remember that our Christian life is like a race— it doesn’t matter how fast you run, all that matters is that you stay in the race and that you finish!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

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.

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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

The Flying Pig Half Marathon

Today I ran my second half marathon. I knew going in that there would be hills—I even heard that there was a three mile incline. I was nervous. Conquering the hills, though, was something I needed to do.

I was on the cross country team in my senior year of high school. I joined the team because I wanted to be active and that was the sport I could do that time of the year.

Before cross country, I had never run. I started with running one mile, then slowly working my way up to running 6 miles. I wasn’t a very fast runner, and my biggest achievement was placing 20th on one of our meets (I actually got a ribbon for it).

One of the worst meets I had was at our home meet. I was doing fine until I came upon a very large hill. I tried my best to run it, but I couldn’t. I cried because I was so disappointed in myself.

I felt that running the Flying Pig Half Marathon was a way of redeeming me for that disappointing run back in high school.

The half marathon started with a run over the bridge into Kentucky and back.

ImageI ran it! There was another bridge and I ran that. Then there was a small hill, and I ran that too. There were more minor hills, but I ran those.

Eventually, I faced the “king of all hills”—the hill that leads up to Eden Park. I started running this hill and I was fine for a little while but two-thirds of the way up I had to walk because I felt like I was going to pass out. Finally, I reached the top. It was so beautiful to see the river below. I started to run again. Going downhill was incredible—I sprinted.

There were more hills, all relatively smaller than the one I just climbed and I ran those. Then I came to the 12 mile mark. I was tired but it was almost over. I tried to keep my pace but I was slowing down. I was jogging now.

That felt like the longest mile, but then I saw the “Finish Swine” (aka “Finish Line”) in the distance. There was a slight incline to get there but I kept going forward and I sped up.

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I heard the crowd cheering and wondered what was going on. I looked to my left and saw the first marathon runner arriving. That was neat.

I crossed the “finish swine” and got my medal. I felt like crying because I was so happy.

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I may not have finished at the time I wanted, but I felt I accomplished a lot—I finally felt vindicated. I ran several hills and I made it to the finish line!

Image“…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary” (Hebrews 12:1-2, Isaiah 40:31, NLT).

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

It happened slowly…

It happened slowly. First it was just a taste… a sliver, then what started out as a bite became several mouthfuls. That’s what happened during the days between Christmas and New Year Day. Not only did I eat things I vowed not to eat, but I didn’t work out like I should have. I fell behind on my exercises and I gained some weight.

Now I am trying hard to get back to the point of where I was before Christmas.

As I was running today, I realized that what I was doing should have been done all along, and not because the “big run” is in two weeks.

I should have been well prepared so that I could run a half marathon tomorrow; instead, I was eating like a glutton and wallowing around like a sloth. I think the same thing can happen with our spiritual life.

In Matthew 24:38-39 and 44, it says, “In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes… You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (NLT).

I am scrambling right now to increase my endurance because of my upcoming run, and in the same way if people knew when Jesus was coming back, I think more people would be scrambling to read the Bible and to study His Word.

“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should…” (1 Cor 9:25-27).

Running is hard, and studying the Bible can be hard too but we should discipline ourselves to do this. I need to be physically fit now so that I can run a race today; and I need to be spiritually fit today so that I can be ready for Christ’s return.

I need to train myself to read God’s Word the same way I am training myself for a run—with intentionality and determination.

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

Be steadfast

I ran today. I was hoping to run/jog about 9 miles. During my workout I kept thinking about the idea of being “steadfast.” I think of “steadfast” as sticking to something—even if you mess up, you keep going. First Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (NASB).

Even though the passage doesn’t refer to running, I can apply the basic principle—“be steadfast… knowing that your toil is not in vain”—to me this means, keep going… your hard work will result in something positive.  I applied the Scripture verse for running, but I can also use it for my Christian growth.  I have not become the Christian that I want to be yet. I might say something or do something that I will regret, but I have to give it to God and keep pressing forward.

Today I ran 10.25 miles—I read the Bible this morning and prayed.

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Be steadfast in all that you do.

Copyright © 2013 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