Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Year

It's crazy to think that this is the last blog I will write in 2012. 

Crazy to think how fast this year has gone. 

Crazy to think that I have no idea where I'll be living or what school I will be going to next year. 

2012 has had it's fair share of surprises, bumps, challenges, and victories, but God' grace has carried me through all of it. 

This year I want to love more. Stress less. Spend more time reading the Bible. Give more extravagantly. Enjoy life. Put less pressure on myself. Have balance. 

I'm so excited to see what 2013 has in store!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Highlights

The last week has been a lovely mess of family, friends, and delicious food. 

I honestly cannot remember everything that happened, and I don't intend to write it all down. I have been so busy just living. Relaxing. Embracing life and little moments and holiday bliss. 

I had two Christmases, really. 

One on Christmas Eve, since my brother and sister in law could only be home that night...

And one on Christmas day. 

On Christmas, while we were sitting around the tree opening presents, a random lady walked through our door with arms full of presents. After staring at us for a few seconds (our tree is right by the door) she said "Oh, wrong house!" And went on her merry way. 

My sister and I decided to go see Les Mis that night, but we didn't think about how it would obviously be sold out if we got there only five minutes early. So we saw Lincoln instead. 
Definitely deep for Christmas, but still a fantastic movie!
The last few days have included my dad's birthday, my little sister's birthday, 
some shopping, and snow!!!!!! 

We also made it to Les Miserables eventually.. 

I have pretty much lived off of sugar the last week, and I have been having to get early morning runs in (in the dark and snow) for them to actually happen. But its all working out! I still have tons of family in town, but everything will chill out around New Year's. I'm loving the spontaneity life has brought me lately, though. I'm unorganized and not in control of everything. 
And I love it!!! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Favorites!

This past week, I have written about eight really good blog posts in my head... 
But none of them actually got written down. 

It's not like I haven't had time to blog. In fact, I have been journaling pretty much every night. But I'm just really enjoying resting - and everything that comes with it. Which includes being spontaneous with my days and sometimes forgetting to blog. 

Anyway, I really feel like blogging today. 
And I thought I would join the bandwagon and do a Friday Favorites post! 

My favorites this week??

1. Baking sugar cookies with my best friend. 

2. My yellow blazer. And scarves!

3. Eggnog lattes. I seriously love eggnog. Like, can't get enough of the stuff. My sister in law told me that once she took a sip of eggnog and there was a whole egg yoke in it. 
Didn't change my sentiments in the least. 

Also, Starbucks should probably start sponsoring bloggers. The blog world is obsessed with it and there is no better advertisement than a picture of a steaming hot extra foamy latte on a blog post. Just saying.

4. This book. I've read it before, but it's life-changing every time. This is what I'm passionate about. 

5. Fitness classes at the gym. After I finished my really hard cross training bike workout Tues (yes, still dealing with my achilles issues), I got inspired to try out a Piyo class. I was exhausted, but I have always wanted to take a fitness class, and it was just starting. Result? So much fun. I love working out with a whole bunch of older ladies and doing strength/ballet/yoga/cardio stuff. 
Honestly, I don't know what it was. But how fun!!!

6. This picture of my nephew. I miss him, and my sister and bro in law, terribly.

7. And lastly, this:

Have a lovely Friday!!!


Friday, December 14, 2012

On Light.

John 8:12

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Today was a good day, for me

I got to do a running workout for the first time in two weeks, and my achilles didn't have any pain. I went to an amazing Bible study, and then to lunch at Whole Foods with friends. After that I did some Christmas shopping. 
Pretty great day, I'd say. 

But on the other side of the country, 
it was the absolute worst day for some people. 

The shooting in Connecticut that occurred this morning 
is being called the worst school tragedy in this nation's history. 

Isn't it crazy how it could simultaneously be the best day of one person's life and the worst day of someone else's? 

I cannot help but feel sick about this. The world has so much darkness, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed by it. 

But I cannot help but think about the analogy of darkness and light. The darker it gets, the brighter a candle glows. The darkness does not diminish it. It makes it grow brighter. And when light enters a room, darkness disappears. 

God's love is like that light. 

I am going to put to rest right now any argument that God caused this horrible tragedy to happen. He did not. Some confused and hurt individual made a choice that cost the lives of others. 

But God does promise that He is our rock in the midst of turmoil. Our light in the darkness. 
And His love burns deeply for every single person in that situation. 

His light burns brighter in this darkness we encountered today. And He will make everything work together for the good... 
which only He could ever possibly do. 

I watched a documentary two nights ago called "Furious Love", and it seriously changed my life. God literally loves every single person. And His love has nothing to do with our faith. And His love transforms hearts and rescues people. And it is light to this world

For some people, today is the darkest day of their lives. I pray with all my heart that God's love overwhelms them. 

Psalm 61:1-4 

O God, listen to my cry!
    Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,
    I cry to you for help
    when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
    for you are my safe refuge,
    a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
    safe beneath the shelter of your wings! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Survey!

The last few days, I have been really in the Christmas mood. 
Not like I haven't been in the Christmas mood since August, but the thing is, when you start listening to Christmas music in the summer it's hard to keep the momentum going. Christmas cheer is back in my heart, though, thanks to Delilah on 107.9 light fm and some Elf watching/peppermint bark making. 

And so I thought I would do a fun Christmas survey that I have seen floating around out in the blog world. Here goes!!

1.  Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song?
I really love the classics. Like "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" and songs like that. 

But I used to be a ballerina, for like nine years....

And now that I think about it though- the Nutcracker music is better than all of it!!!

2.  Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?
I'll be taking the day off for sure! I think my training schedule has me doing a long run on Christmas Eve, anyway. I'm not doing anything on Christmas!

3.  What do you usually eat on Christmas morning?
We always have a big breakfast. Usually there are eggs, coffee cake, and other brunch items. 
This year I really want cinnamon rolls!!!

4.  Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition?
When Liberty and I were little girls, we would always set our alarms for 3 a.m. on Christmas morning and wake up and open our stockings. Then we would hang around for awhile until we eventually crashed. One year, we tried to make breakfast in bed for our family and delivered toast with orange juice to all of their rooms promptly at 4 a.m. They were thrilled.

We are so cute thought, they couldn't say no!!

5.  Real tree, fake tree or no tree?
We always have a fake tree. Less mess. And you can keep it up for longer! 
I have absolutely no problem with that!

6.  Christmas pajamas… yay or nay?
Sure! Anything festive is right up my alley. Although I don't have any.

7.  Where do you spend the holidays?  Your own house, your parents’ house, extended family, in-laws, friends?
I spend it at my house with my parents and siblings and grandma. 
I would always prefer to be with family on Christmas.

We are missing a few members in this picture... last Christmas.

8.  Food that you always have during the holiday season?  Favorite Christmas food/treat?
We always make these AMAZING cookie bars called nanaimo bars (I always make up the spelling). They are unreal good and have so many ingredients they cannot help but be bad for you! But my favorite Christmas treat is always peppermint ice cream which they only ever sell around Christmas time. This is silly to me because during Christmas it's freezing and pepperminty creamy goodness should be available year round. 

9. Open presents all at once or take turns?  Stockings… yes or no?
Take turns. It extends it that way... and I want to watch people's expressions when they open their presents! Much more special. 

10.  Favorite Christmas(ish) movie?
I'd have to say White Christmas because it is a classic, and I know all the songs and watch it every year. 
But I love The Holiday SOOOO much, and it sort of has to do with Christmas :) 

Monday, December 10, 2012

I'm Proud of Myself

I'm proud of myself. 

Because today, I went out on a run. And I had absolutely no idea how long I would go. I was just going to listen to my body (or my achilles at this point) and stop when I felt irritation.

And at nine minutes, I felt it. Oh yes, I did. 

Unfortunately, I was still about 3/4 miles from the house. So I didn't have very many options except to walk back... in the cold. I jogged a little bit, but I mostly walked. 
I didn't want to screw up my achilles in any way. 

When I got home I spent some quality time with a rolling pin that is going to become my best friend while I'm on break, seeing as I have limited access to a 
marshmallow roller (or what ever those things are called). 

And then I went to the gym to cross train. Oh, the joys of cross training. Secretly I really like it, but I feel like I'm never doing enough, so it freaks me out. 

But another reason why I'm proud of myself...? 

I have been strangely calm about this whole situation. 

Old Susanna would have been freaking out that she couldn't run and her first 10k of the season is not too far away. But I have learned so much this year, and I realize that worrying about something I can't change is wasted energy. 

I'd rather spend that energy getting better. 

And shopping with my mom. 

And going to church!

And at fun Christmas parties!!!

It's all going to be okay. And I'm not just saying that. I know it!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ask And You Shall Receive

Oh hey, Christmas Break!
I barely recognized you, considering it's been 62 degrees outside (in Idaho??) the last week.

But seriously, it's about time.
I did well on all my finals, I packed my bags, and now I'm home!!!

I have a whole month off, and nothing puts you in the holiday mood more than a month of no school!!!
What will occupy my time, you ask? 

College applications, visits with coaches, and the likes. 

Catching up with old friends. 

Jury duty.

An end of the world party. 

Hallmark Christmas movies. 

And a lot of cross training - and hopefully running again soon. 

      Which brings me to today's story:
When I got home today, I went to my family's gym to donate a toy so I could get a month's membership (They did this deal last year, and especially since I'm injured and can't use my school's gym, I need a place to bike and lift weights). Well, they told me the deal wasn't in existence this year. That it was $50 for a month long membership!!!!

So what did I do? 
I simply went home, called one of the manager's, and very sweetly explained my situation to him. I didn't even ask for any favors... 
I just asked what my options were. 
But he gave me a free, month long pass!!!!

A similar thing happened a few weeks ago.

 I bought a pair of boots and only wore them a few times before they got ruined. It had been awhile since I had purchased them, but I decided to go in to the store and simply ask nicely if there was any way I could exchange them. I would not have been upset if they said no. I was just asking. And they were more than happy to exchange the pair!!! So I got new boots. 

The point is, if I would have never called the manager or never gone back to the store for the boots, I would be out about $100 right now. But I was nice and simply asked, and things worked out for me. 

The key is being nice, I suppose. 
But also, ask and you shall (sometimes) receive. 

At least, you'll receive more than if you never asked in the first place!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Biggest Mistake a Runner Can Make

What is the biggest mistake a runner can make, you ask? 

Well, today I made it. 

Not listening to your body. 

I went out for an hour-long run this morning. After a week of not running due to my achilles tendonitis, I was so thrilled to get out and run with the sunrise. I felt fantastic - for about ten minutes. Then my achilles felt... slightly irritated. 

I emphasized slightly because it really was just that. I thought to myself "maybe I should just go a half an hour today and turn around?"... But no. The training schedule said an hour. It was beautiful out. I had a whole river loop planned. So I kept going. 

Needless to say, by the end of my run, I was not doing well. 

I went to my trainer. He yelled at me. 

I really should have known better. But it's so hard. I feel like I'm getting behind. My coach has been out of town and we won't have practice all of Christmas break, so we are just supposed to follow a training schedule. But I can't even do that. 

For anyone who knows me, this is the hardest thing. If my training schedule said to wake up at three a.m. and go run twenty miles followed by three hours of push ups, I would do it. (I exaggerate, but you get the point). 

I feel so... weak. So helpless. So... out of control. 
The worst part is, it's my fault. Because I didn't listen to my body today. 

But it's okay. I guess I'll just go back to biking tomorrow. I have to simulate a hill workout... so it will be an intense session!!!

Any other athletes understand what I'm talking about? 
Any non athletes that have had similar experiences out there? 
I'd love to hear your advice. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Two Days

Just two days, friends. 

Just two days, one guitar class, one test, one oral report, and two practices stand between me and Christmas break. A month long Christmas break. It will be glorious!!!!!

I had a lovely and refreshing weekend, and I'm now ready to power out these last two days of the term. 

Saturday, I got up super to swim at the local pool. When you can't run, and the school gym is closed, that's your option. But I loved it. I was the only one there under 65 (because what kind of college student gets up at six a.m. on a Saturday to go swim laps?), but it was so fun! Great cardio. 

Then I went and got free coffee (courtesy of my friend at our new Dutch Bros) and drove to watch my best friend Christi (who goes to college in Portland) race at the indoor track about an hour away from my school but only fifteen minutes away from my parents' house. Her team was here for the first indoor meet of the season. She is a sprinter, and she is REALLY fast. I love it because we always get to 

She's my favorite. This picture is not. Haha. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon studying and finishing up papers at Starbucks. But I mean, if you are going to study, it might as well be at your favorite coffee shop. 

I decided to go home (to my parents') after that, since I was just a few minutes away. I didn't really feel like going back to school or driving a long time. 
I spent the evening relaxing with my mom under the Christmas tree. 

And today, before I headed back to good old O-town, I did some Christmas shopping/studying in downtown Boise. I love it there so much. I may have grown up in a small town, but I love exploring cities. I think that's why I want to move to London so badly. 

Anyway, my achilles seems to be healing up, it's finally December, and I absolutely cannot wait for a month of Christmas cookie baking, sleeping in, and hanging out with this beautiful girl! 

I love my little sister.

Have a lovely Monday!!!! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Good Day

I must admit, I have been in kind of a funk lately. 

Maybe it's the cold. 
Maybe it's that I have a nagging achilles problem.
Maybe it's because it's dead week. 
I don't know. 

Whatever it is, though, I have spent my week counting down the days until Christmas break instead of enjoying the moments and living in the present. 

But today - today was a good day. 

Today I had the last science lab that I will ever have. 
And today I sat through the last Biology lecture I will ever sit through. 
And I took the half hour I had between classes to go treat myself an extra hot latte, just because.

And I did a killer work on the stationary bike and with weights. 

And I got together with new some friends for a worship session
 in a room we rented out on our campus. And it was wonderful.

And I am just pretty blessed. 

So, funk or not, I'm grateful for today. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To Run, or Not to Run?

The problem with having a minor injury as a runner (such as tendonitis) is that you are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils: 

1. Not running, and potentially losing fitness and being slower later...

2. Or running, and potentially screwing yourself up so badly that you won't be able to run later when it counts. 

Achilles tendonitis hit me hard this week. Actually, I felt it after last week's intense hills and lifting... and I felt it a little on the day of the Turkey Day 5k

I REALLY felt it on Saturday's long run. 

And Monday, I was beat. I haven't run for the last three days. I have been biking instead. Biking is better for my fitness right now anyway - because I can barely get my heart rate up during runs due to my achilles, and so it's pretty much a waste of time. 

I learned last year that pushing myself too hard and not listening to my body and having balance can lead to further injury, so I'm doing my best to baby this....

but in the meantime, I feel like a baby. 

I'm sure other runners understand this feeling. I have some teammates that are having issues as well.

And even though I'm secretly glad to not have to go out in the cold, its frustrating. 

Looks like it's going to be the bike for me again today. 
I want to try the elliptical, but I think that would stress the tendon out more...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Dreams

Today I realized something. 

I'm allowed to have whatever dreams I want to for my life. 

My main dream for a long time has been to be a fast collegiate runner... but my dreams are not limited to that in any way. 

I have always known that, but I guess it just really hit me today. 

You know a really cool dream I have? To live in London. I want to study abroad there. I want to fall in love with a British guy and drink tea every day and live happily ever after. 

But I would settle for just living in London, too ;) 

If I really want to, I can probably make that happen. A lot of the colleges I am looking at have study abroad programs at Oxford. How amazing would that be? I know I have gotten to experience living in Paris already, but London? I would die for that experience. 

So why not? Well, for one, it is outside of the "plan". You know, the whole "transfer to a new college where you can run with an athletic scholarship and compete at a higher level while finishing up your degree" plan. 

But I can have a different dream, if I want to. 

If I wanted to drop everything and go to culinary school right now, I could. Not that I would ever want to go to culinary school, but that's beside the point. 

True, it wouldn't necessarily be wise. But what I'm trying to say is that I have the right to dream whatever I want. And right now, I have a new dream. To go back to London - and to live there.

 I'm going to do my best to make this happen in the next two years. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Trotting and Tofurkey

Good morning world!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! I know I did!!! 

At six thirty a.m., I headed downtown with my mom and little sister for a turkey trot 5k fun run. 


We ran into some friends there, too!

While I definitely understand the appeal of sleeping in and lounging around in pajamas all day on Thanksgiving, I love the atmosphere of this race. 

I did it last year, and it is so much fun that it's totally worth it!

It was freezing, and the gun went off bright and early at 8 a.m. 

There were over 3,000 people that participated, including tons of walkers and families and people in crazy costumes. 

I sort of raced it... I am really comfortable at 6:30 per mile pace (or a little faster), so I always kind of sit there. Anything faster is actually kind of difficult for me, but I can (and do all the time) run 6:30 pace for an hour or more. Maybe I just don't have that much speed?

If I really push, I can go way faster. 5:30 pace per mile. But yesterday was about having fun running. So that's what I did. 

My mom loved the experience so much, she cried. 
She said we needed to make it a new tradition every year :) 

And my little sister likes running now too. It makes me excited!

I got a free jacket from my favorite running store that had a booth there :) 
And they were handing out free coffee and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins!

We were home before ten a.m.!!! When we got home, my brother and his wife were there. 
And it was a nonstop party from then on. 

The rest of the day consisted of lots of coffee (Starbucks AND Dutch Bros)

 lots of football, board games..... and of course.....

Lots of eating. 

Meet our Thanksgiving dinner. To-furkey. 

My brother and sister in law are vegetarians, so we had a to-furkey along with our turkey breast this year. I must admit, it wasn't half bad. 

At the end of the night, we decided to brave the madness for some Black Friday shopping!

It was my first time ever participating in this craziness, and it was definitely a little overwhelming. 
But totally worth the memories.

I slept in this morning, and I woke up feeling totally blessed. How could you not after such a good day?

And now I'm getting ready to start my day. I have to run at some point... my training schedule says fifty minutes, but I'm so not feeling it... but we have some family things planned tonight and I get to catch up with some friends, so I'm excited!!

Enjoy your long weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Best Way to Fuel for a 5k

The best night-before fuel for a 5k race you ask? 

Probably peppermint ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and sugary Starbuck's coffee. 

Yep. I might be feeling all this is the morning... 

Luckily, it's just a fun run. So no sweat! I'm fully planning on winning, though :) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Coffee Shop Tangents

Currently I am sitting in our campus coffee shop studying Biology. 

At least I was up until now. 

I met a girl here earlier to go over notes before our Biology test today, but she went to class. 
And I got distracted. 

It's a big and important test, but I just can't study anymore. I'm so excited to be done with this class!

I spent a good amount of time studying on Sunday night, anyway. 
My little sister and I went to Starbucks. She did a Bible study, I studied Biology. 
We drank Christmas drinks and chatted and got free oatmeal cookies from the barista. 

There is something about Starbucks that I just love. No other coffee shop can match its atmosphere. Even when I lived in Paris, the coffee capital of the world, I found myself in Starbucks quite often. 

Last night, I started missing Europe again. This emotion sweeps over me occasionally, and it surprises me every time. Not like Europe was terrible or anything, but I spent so much of my year there missing home that it is almost laughable to experience the opposite!!! 

Mostly, I missed London. I love it there. I want to live there one day. 

And marry a British guy that calls me "lovely" all the time. 

I know I have talked about this a lot on this blog, but that is just because I'm serious about it. 

Did you know that different Starbucks around the world offer different menu items? Peppermint mocha's don't exist in London or Paris, because they don't really do peppermint. Their holiday beverages include toffee nut lattes and praline mochas. Those were the best holiday drinks I have ever tasted, and it just recently occurred to me that I could request them at an American Starbucks as well. Not the same, though. 

This is my sister and I in a Paris Starbucks two years ago!

In London, you can have your toffee nut latte while nibbling on a Starbucks' mince pie. Or, you could go to McDonald's and order a mince pie instead of an apple pie. 

I'm so fascinated by even those little differences in culture. 

Anyway, I'm sitting here, "studying", and I'm incredibly sore. 

Yesterday we had our first practice after our week-long running break. It was just an easy fifty minute run - but then I lifted. And I'm a little too enthusiastic about lifting... and I may have overdone it :)

So practice today might be a little rough. But no matter. Because I get to go home tonight. 
And then its Thanksgiving :) 

I better get back to Biology. One more test stands between me and my long weekend!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

(Almost) - Home for the Holidays

It's been a pretty fantastic weekend. 

First, let me say that I am thrilled about Thanksgiving break coming up. 
I have to go to school/practice tomorrow and Tuesday, but after that I'll have a lovely five days off. Then dead week, then finals, then Christmas!!! 

I have been listening to Christmas music nonstop, overdosing on all things pumpkin, and loving the seasonal peppermint ice cream I discovered in our fridge at my parent's house (it's my favorite kind!).

 I have also been busy planning what presents I'm going to get everyone. I'm thinking that about 90% of them will come from World Market. I mean, have you been there? So cool. 

I came home this weekend - even though I'm going to be home all next week- because I had a couple appointments I had to go to. And plus, let's be honest, I love it here. 

Right now, I have coconut flour pumpkin cookies in the oven. 
I'm sipping coffee. 
My mom's watching tv and grading papers, and my dad is busy doing something in his office. 
I think my little sister is taking a nap. 
It's just- so peaceful here!

This weekend was full of fun.

This weekend I got to go to GCD (my college youth group), meet up with a friend I haven't seen in years, skype a dear friend who lives quite far from me, and have a girl's night with another dear friend. I went out Friday night with my mom, and I caught up with my little sister.

It also had a little drama. 

I accidentally (and BARELY) hit a car on Saturday. There was the tiniest little scratch, and I was devastated. I made it clear to the owner how sorry I was, and obviously I was going to provide my insurance info (even though insurance would never cover something that little)- but he wouldn't have any of it. He and his wife yelled at me and made me cry in front of their little daughter, and they would not hear my apology. -That got me thinking about how everyone is not really sunshine and roses like I always think they are. It's shocking to me, every time. 

This weekend DID NOT include:

Any running. Or homework. Or stressing. 

But it had plenty of: 

 Bonding time and discussions about God. This lovely lady treated me to dinner, and we spent the whole time talking about how amazing God is and our futures and the wonderful things about life. We finished off the evening watching movies with another friend. 

Two days until I'm truly home for the holidays. Can't wait!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Decision Time

I find myself to be the absolute most indecisive person in the world. 
Maybe someone out there has this problem as well? 

But soon I am supposed to make a pretty major decision... what college I am going to transfer to after this year. 

I can't even decide what I want for breakfast in the morning- let alone what I want to do with the rest of my life!!! 

This decision has a lot of different factors that play in to it. 

For example, I have to decide for sure if I want to continue running. I think I do, but it will be a new commitment to a new team and a new program. 

I have to look at the majors offered at each university (which means I have to narrow down what I'm going to major in).

I have to decide what city/state I want to live in... weather, distance from home, etc.

I have to consider finances. 

Is anyone else stressed out about this???

Well, actually, I'm choosing not to stress. Because I'm going to give it to God. I have had to make a lot of big decisions this far in my life, and I have always felt peace about my choices after a lot of prayer. 

It still is difficult, though. I have about ten different schools on my choice list at the moment. 

Wish me luck! ;) 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Season That Wasn't...

This season wasn’t what I expected it to be.
It wasn’t full of success and glory.
It wasn’t a step up from last year.
It wasn’t a reflection of all of my hard work

But it was a whole bunch of other things.
It was a learning experience.
It was an opportunity to grow.
It was a chance to develop new relationships and encourage and inspire my teammates.

Cross country has come and gone. The hundreds upon hundreds of miles I have run, the ice baths and healthy eating and lifting weights all led up to Saturday’s race.

It was nothing like I expected it to be. First of all, it was freezing. The day before our race, we ran the course in a blizzard/snow storm!  It was sunny on Saturday, but there was still snow on the ground, and I couldn’t feel my body for the majority of the race. It was so cold, in fact, that I wore arm sleeves.
Yes, arm sleeves. I promised myself I would never wear them.
 Being warm was way more important than feeling cool, though.

I went in to the race with the potential to win, and somehow I found myself decently far behind the first pack at the end of mile one. I was so discouraged, and I started having so many negative thoughts. Like “do I really want to do this again after I transfer?” and “I’m just not fast anymore” and “I just want to be done”. Honestly, it was miserable. My body language shifted from “attack” to “just finish”.
But then, with about four hundred meters to go, I heard my coach yelling at me that the girl in front of me was the tenth runner. That meant that I was one place away from being All American, and I had a chance to redeem myself.

So I kicked. And hard, And I passed her.
And I’m proud of myself for that… because I have a hard time with speed and kicking. And normally when I have a bad race, I don’t go hard across the finish line.

But I shook myself out of it, and I came back.
My dad told me afterword (in the nicest way possible) that I could have kicked two minutes earlier and taken fifth or something. He was right….

So 10th  place. My two teammates took 8th and 9th, right in front of me. I was so happy for them, but they never beat me….  And the whole thing was a pretty humbling experience.

I went from 4th place last year to 10th this year. I ran almost a minute slower that I did last year at NWAACCS (I have been about a minute off all season).
I don’t know why this season turned out the way it did.

I think mentally I am just wrecked this year. Maybe physically I am not as strong…

 But I still hold the same attitude that I did before the race – I am so thankful I made it through this season. And I can bring God glory in both victory and defeat. And not every season is the same. And how I placed at one race does not define me.

Our girl’s team walked away with third, which is decent.

The best part of the whole day was that my parents drove all the way from Boise to watch me, and my amazing grandma and my friend Cheyenne that live near Spokane came as well!!! 
I am so grateful to have such amazing support.

So now, I have the week off. And I don’t want to think about running... just for a little while. 
I need a mental break (running is really all I think about during the season).

But after this week, I’m ready to come back. I’m going to keep getting stronger and put in more mileage and get myself together mentally. My coach still has not given up on me, and he was so sweet to me yesterday. I feel like I disappointed him, but he did not act like it at all.

I’m still sort of upset, and I am having a hard time working through everything… but I have learned so much this season. God has taught me so much.

This season wasn’t everything I hoped it would be.

But it was a learning experience. And that’s what life is about. 

*Edited to add pictures

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It All Comes Down to This..

Running for me... it's been quite a journey.

I want to share it with you guys, 
but I'm just warning you that I have a lot to say, 
and this post might be a little long! 

I began running cross country my freshman year of high school, and being the girl that always challenged boys to races in grade school pretty much guaranteed my love for the sport. 

 My memories of cross country and track during high school are wonderful. I had an incredible coach who I am still close with and the best teammates. 

But I always struggled with self confidence in running. I ran for an incredibly competitive district and had very talented teammates. I was a decent runner, but I never saw any incredible success, despite all of my hard work.

I spent a lot of time feeling bad about myself if I had a less than ideal race.... my identity was caught up way too much in my success or failure. 

My senior year, I began to think about where I would go to college. Many of the girls on my team were going off to universities to run at the collegiate level, and I had the same desire to do so. 

I never had any plans to do anything but go off to college after graduating, but I ended up being given an amazing opportunity to spend a year in Paris, France. Though it was the chance of a lifetime, I found myself struggling to choose between running and what I felt God was leading me to do. I was jealous of my friends who had "made it" in the athletic world, but ultimately, I followed God's leading to Paris. 

My first month or so in Paris, I didn't run at all. I got out of shape, but who can blame me- I was in a completely new country and exposed to a realm of brand new experiences. 

I still had dreams of being a collegiate runner one day, however, and I eventually began to train very intensely. I developed a new love for running- on days that I was stressed out because I couldn't speak French or I missed my family, running became an outlet for me. I ran all around the French countryside, and I did plenty of workouts and strength training. I wanted to run in college, and I began contacting coaches to make it  happen.

Enter Treasure Valley Community College, and my first collegiate race above. God worked everything out for me to run in college, somehow. I was given a spot and a scholarship despite the year I had taken off.  I was so nervous to see how my solo training would pay off, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my 5k time decreased by nearly two minutes!

 I think I was mentally reset in France, and I came back in great shape and ready to compete.

I had a great freshman cross country season, and NWAACCS was everything I could have hoped for.

Little did I know, however, that I had already begun overtraining at this point. The rest of the year with running went okay, but I was slowly losing weight and pushing myself way too hard with extra practice, long weight sessions, and not nearly enough nourishment or rest.

I suppose I had a somewhat perfectionist mindset. I was the most dedicated of the dedicated. I wanted it more than anyone. I was going to push harder, drink more water, eat healthier, and lift more than anyone else. But I didn't have enough balance.

I ended track season successfully (with another All American title), but almost ready to break. I was two steps away from an injury and SO tired. But after a few weeks off, I jumped right back in to training for cross country. 

And then, this summer.... Well, this summer was a rough one for me. I haven't really shared much about it with anyone, but basically- I almost didn't run cross country. 

I went in for a physical, and my doctor was furious with me for how much weight I had lost. And I was surprised... I had no idea that I had lost that much either. I had paid little attention to my weight (except people had been telling me how skinny I looked). I just thought I was in shape, and I couldn't see how it is possible to have "too much of a good thing". It all happened in the midst of me pushing myself so hard every day. I was shocked at what the scale said.

But I was furious, too. I didn't want anyone to take running away from me. I had worked so hard.  had put in two hour runs and ran during vacation and had big dreams.

And I was scared. I was stubborn at first, but I finally recognized that I needed to take a step back and re-examine things.

So I gave it to God. I was so thankful he had helped me get that far without getting injured (I really had not been taking care of myself very well), and I was thankful that he had given me talent and allowed me to blossom in college. 

I really felt like I was supposed to run for TVCC this year still, but I had to give up my "striving" mindset and fully lay running down at his feet.

And He gave it right back to me.

Looking back, I cannot believe how much He blessed me. I got in contact with the best sport's nutritionist who has since helped me get way stronger and healthier. My coach fully understood and tailored my workouts to help me gain strength. My family came beside me and helped me and supported me.

I have run every race this season without an issue. I am healthy and don't look like I'm going to get a stress fracture anymore. And though I'm not nearly as fast as I was last year, I'm so thankful for how evident God's hand has been in my life- and my running journey.

SO here is what I have decided. I'm going to run this Saturday with an attitude of gratefulness. I'm going to run because God has blessed me so much. His grace has been so sufficient for me. And I truly believe that He has planted the desire to run and be successful at it in my heart. 

Maybe I'm just here to be a friend to the people on my team. Maybe I won't win Saturday. But I know that when God watches me run, He delights in it. Because I am doing what I was created to do 
- for His glory.

I'm not going to lie. This week has been hard, and I have felt heavy. When you allow your identity to be wrapped up in success or failure, you live in constant fear. I'm fearful of failing on Saturday. 

But I'm giving it to God. I want to run with joy. I want to run as if it were impossible to fail. Because this is just the beginning of my running journey. Because if I go out there and give everything I have... utilize the gifts He has given me and run for His glory with gratefulness... I cannot fail. I will be happy! That's true victory.

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
Romans 8:37