Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Today was just the second day back from our week long running break, and I accidentally went on a fifty minute steady/tempo run. I wanted to run a little faster, so I went with some of the guys on my team and a super fast redshirt girl (who didn't take a break). We flew pretty much the whole time, and while I loved the feeling, my body is completely exhausted now. 

I'm still trying to let go of a little (okay a lot) of mental baggage from the season, but I'm ready to tackle indoor season. 
I just need to take one day at a time. 
And I probably need to be careful not to overdo it my first week back :) 

This weekend I went out with friends for a much needed girls' night. After writing two papers and feeling like I had way too much energy because I didn't work out all week, it was so nice to catch up with old friends over kale salad and appetizers at a trendy downtown lounge. 

Classy, classy 

Yesterday my team had a Christmas party. We haven't even gotten through Thanksgiving, you say? Well I say it's never too early for some Christmas cheer. Since everyone will be going home for Christmas, and since this was the day that worked for my coaches to have us over, we brought out the holiday spirit a little early. It's not like the Hallmark channel hasn't been playing Christmas movies all week anyway. We wore ugly sweaters and did white elephants and had mini pumpkin pies to pay tribute to the turkey day holiday we skipped over. It was so wonderful, and I sat there thinking how blessed I am to be part of such an amazing team. 

LOVE this girl! 

That's all for tonight! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

En Fin

So cross country is over. 

En fin. 

And I don't really want to talk about how it ended, honestly, because I have been trying my best not to over-analyze every single thing in my life. 
(So difficult for me). 

And without going into detail, this season has been much different than what I expected. I didn't meet any of my goals... and, though I do feel like I progressed from last year, I am still not the runner that I used to be. I am still struggling so much mentally. And I still am a great runner and a terrible racer. So regionals was the same, old, disappointing story. 

I have spent this week taking a break from running. I am a huge believer that this is necessary after each  and every season. Running is such a mental sport, for one. And I need so badly to mentally reset. I throw myself heavily into my competitive seasons. I am one of those people who won't eat sugar for months and who will fall asleep thinking about my races. 
So the other night I ate a giant no-bake cookie for dinner and stayed up a little later than normal... just to say I could. 

But also, since I am a year-round athlete (the only season I don't compete is summer, and even then I'm training for xc),
  I know my body needs to recuperate and repair itself. 

So I have only run once this week (with a friend, so it was nothing major) and swam one day for fun. The rest of the week I have been lazy as ever. 

I have gotten less sleep than normal, I haven't been chugging water every other minute, and I have been throwing myself into homework in the hopes that I could actually be productive. 

Who am I kidding though? Instead of using the three to four hours each day that I would have spent at practice, I have done other fun things.
 Like going with friends on random excursions to World Market to buy exotic types of dark chocolate.

 And going to the club to sit in a steam room and completely relax. 

And getting buy one get one free Starbucks Christmas drinks (have you had a gingerbread latte? Spiced whip-cream and molasses drizzle... 
it will change your life). 

It has been a nice break, for sure, but I'm ready to get back into the swing of things. I haven't been taking care of myself, and I miss the routine and release of running. Not only that, but I'm still frustrated about this season and I'm ready to unleash in Indoor track. I have never competed in a true indoor season before (my old school didn't have an indoor season) so this will be new to me. 

I want to end this post by stating that I truly am grateful for this past cross country season, even if I am discouraged because of it. While I didn't perform up to my expectations, I am so blessed to be apart of my team. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful coaching staff and athletic department. Coming in as a transfer student, I could have easily run into tons of issues. Many of my friends who transferred to other schools and athletic programs did. But I feel like I mesh so well here, and I was completely accepted as a leader, a friend, and a teammate from the moment I arrived. 

So I'm going to enjoy the rest of this week and weekend, and then I'm ready to reset and get moving again. I still have a year and a half as a collegiate runner, and I'm going to make the most of it!

Also, thanks to my sweet grandmother and awesome cousin Danika who came out to support me in the freezing cold! 
It was such a wonderful thing to have them there cheering for me :) 

Oh hey it's been awhile

Last night I went to the college-age service my church puts on for the first time in what feels like years. In actuality, it has only been a month or two, but so much has happened the past few months! Because I have been so busy with school and cross country, and because I have gotten involved with ministry and church groups at my university, I have run out of time to go to the 
Thursday night services that I love so much. 

It was great to be back, but I have to admit... I kind of felt like a stranger in my own church. No one made me feel that way. No one made me feel guilty or acted weird or anything. But a little bit of distance had obviously formed. It had been a long time since I had played "catch up" with any of my friends there, and because of that we were uninformed about each others lives. You know when you have to keep saying (over and over again) "hey, it's been a long time!" and "yeah I have just been swamped"... As true as they may be, I feel like I wear them out sometimes. 

I spoke with my sister about this, and she said that this is why many people end up leaving churches. They miss one too many services 
and feel weird about going back. They feel like a distance has formed and they don't know how to face it. 

Sometimes blogging is like church. 
What I mean is, if you don't blog consistently, 
you feel like you have created a little bit of a distance with your readers. 
After a few weeks without blogging, 
the next blog post becomes intimidating. Do you catch everyone up on your life (with the longest post ever)
 in order to make what you are saying now relevant? 
Do you just post what you want, when you want, without explanation? 
Do you even try to keep blogging,
 or is there really no point after it has been so long? 

Well, I certainly don't think people should stop going to a 
church just because it has been a few (or many) services that they have missed. 
This is a poor analogy, of course, 
but I wanted to explain my sentiments toward blogging lately. 

I miss it. 

Sometimes, during my day, I have these thoughts that I feel I just need to share with the world. But I get too busy. I have a million papers to write and practice and church and I end up neglecting my blog. Then, three weeks later, I feel like I don't even know where to start. 

So I decided I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to keep the posts coming. I don't even think I'm going to put much effort into making them perfect or typo-free. I'm just going to express my thoughts and journal and every once-in-awhile produce something meaningful. 

Hopefully, anyway. :) 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lay Them Down

You know those days where you just feel weighed down and exhausted?

I had one of those days yesterday. Heaviness settled on me like the thick frost that covers the November ground each morning.

It began during cross-country practice. We are tapering this week leading up to Regional's, so our mileage is much lower than normal. It should have been a fairly easy practice, but the cold made it notably difficult.

Winter has come in with a biting cold, and trying to do an interval work out in forty-degree weather is not easy. After we adjust to it, it will not be a problem. But coming off of sixty-degree weather, the cold was a thorough shock. My entire team expressed how out of shape they felt, and our breathing was shallow and sharp.

So I didn’t have a great practice. And I want to blame my poor performance on the cold, but that wouldn’t be an entirely accurate claim. Everyone was running in the cold. And everyone else refused to let it slow them down.

I felt heavy though. Physically and mentally.

My mind was weighed down by so many things. By comparison. By doubt. By discouragement. By negativity. This season has not been what I wanted it to be, and I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself for this last race. A bad practice right before Regional's was the last thing I needed. 

And then, on top of all of that, I began to feel condemned for being so negative! There are so many more important things in the world to worry about. And I am so blessed… what right do I have to feel upset about my performance as a runner when people are starving and countries are war-torn and people don’t know about Jesus? How selfish could I be???

What a seriously depressing cycle of thoughts.

I know that I was being irrational. I know that how I perform as a runner is so unimportant compared to how many things are going on in the world. I know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ and that God loves me unconditionally and overwhelmingly.

But I just felt exhausted and discouraged. There was more going on in my mind than I could process. I even cried on the way home.

I am aware that this blog post has been incredibly depressing up until now, but I am sharing all of this with a purpose. I don’t want this to be a blog full of needless venting. Instead, I want it to be a documentation of how faithful God is in my life.

When I arrived home last night, I opened up to my mother about all of the negative thoughts I was experiencing. I knew they were not from God, but I didn’t know exactly how to combat them. I felt powerless.

My mother, who is incredibly wise and comforting, began to speak life over me and pray for me. She suggested that I go into my room and pray off the negative thoughts that were clouding over me.

So I prayed. And I woke up and prayed some more. 
I just spent time soaking in the love of God. 
And I felt peace settle over me.

Everything that seemed so complicated melted away in the warmth of His love and affection. And I felt SO much better.

And to top it off…
Right before I was about to get out of bed and get ready for the day, my sister came into my room and told me that my class was cancelled today!!! She had read it on facebook, and I wouldn’t have known if she hadn’t told me.

So this morning has been lovely. I made a nice breakfast, which is a luxury when I’m usually frantically shoving food into my mouth on the drive to school. I finished my statistics homework. And I am blogging now. I think I may even take a nap later. The only true responsibility I have all day is practice!

I am incredibly grateful at them moment. I still feel a little heavy, but I am going to continue to pray throughout this week. I am very intimidated by this weekend’s race, but I am aware how little it is in light of how good God is. My identity is not in my performance. I have to remind myself that every day.

This blog post has been slightly intense, I know, 
but I want to end it with promise.

Everything is so simple, really. God loves us and wants to fight our battles for us. In fact, He has already won all of our battles on the cross! 

We don’t need to feel overwhelmed, heavy, or weighted down – because we don’t need to do it on our own. Instead, we need to “strip off every weight that slows us down…” and “run with endurance the race God has set before us”. (Romans 21:1)

So this morning, and every morning, I want to lay down all of those weights and walk in the joy and light-heartedness and peace that has been promised to me. Today, with time to rest, this seems easy. But I want to do this every day. And I want to encourage anyone reading this to do it, too. 

Whatever it is that is holding you down – whatever mindset, worries, or doubts – 
Strip them off. Lay them down.