Are You Going to Hurt Me?, A Response

Tim Challies recently wrote about his observations running in the early morning and the women whose path he crosses in his article Are You Going to Hurt Me?

The article resonated with me as a woman, Christian, and runner and I wrote a response. Tim posted my response in his Letters to the Editor. I’ve copied my response below for you:

Tim, thank you for writing the “Are You Going to Hurt Me” article. It brings to light the tension I have long felt as a woman, runner, (recovering) feminist, and friend of many good men.

As a woman, I walk around knowing that 50% of the population could hurt me if they so choose. Although I am strong for a girl, I am weak compared to men. Yes, I work out regularly, I lift heavy weights, I run, I do everything “right,” but I am weak. At best, I hope to be able to defend myself long enough to survive, to get away, or to get help; that is all.

As a believer, I walk around knowing I am equal in worth to men. I have strong parents who loved me and taught me true self-confidence, I am a daughter of the King. I have unique skills and talents because I am a woman that neither diminish nor are greater than a man’s unique skills and talents.

As a (recovering) feminist, I fight the lie that I have to be the same as men to be valuable. I fight the temptation to turn a blind eye to the unique image bearing of men and women. I want to be the strong, unafraid, woman confidently striding down the street or running down the dark path, but I am not. My ears are pricked, I eyes are peeled, and I’m always a little afraid.

As a friend, daughter, sister-in-Christ to many good men, I walk around with the security of knowing there are good, godly men who desire to protect me – even when I don’t want it. They care for me emotionally and yes, even physically. I know men who go out of their way to make me feel secure when I am running alone—they step to the side, they speak, their eyes do not linger with a lustful hunger. These men speak kindly, they walk me to my car, they hold doors—not because I am incapable, not because I can never walk alone to my car, but because they care. They remind me that my hope is not in myself, it’s not even in them, my hope is in the God who they reflect—the one who cares for me when I am alone and afraid.

Thank you for bringing this simple issue to light. It is a reality for many women and we need good men in all areas of our life.

2014 Goals: A Review

Doesn't this just make you want to travel?!?! I'll definitely have some travel goals in 2015.

Doesn’t this just make you want to travel?!?! I’ll definitely have some travel goals in 2015.

2014 was an ambitious year. I decided to set yearly and monthly goals, personal and professional goals, and reading and fitness goals – you can read the full list here. As an achiever, it is deeply satisfying for me to cross off a list. In fact, several times throughout the year I wanted to create sub-lists for my yearly goals just to cross them off!

Like most people, my resolve for some goals dwindled throughout the year and others I completely forgot about. Still, I was able to finish several of my big goals – like running a marathon and completing a monthly solitude each month. Both of these were long term goals requiring commitment and resolve and both required giving up many Saturdays to make time – sometimes both happened on the same Saturday. I finished my marathon in October and I’m already planning to run another one. One of the most surprising realizations how quickly I began to crave my solitude time. If too many weeks went by without me having a solitude time then I would feel agitated and restless until I made time to get away. This is definitely a habit I plan to continue – who knows maybe I’ll go for a whole week sometime. Maybe.

My biggest regrets of the year were not putting any effort into learning a new language and not memorizing 3 sequential chapters of Scripture. Those may go on my 2015 list. I still have to finish 1,000 pushups in December – right now I’m at 450 and I’m pretty confident I can make it to 1,000 by the end of the year.

Overall, I enjoyed the process. I found the most stressful part was not being able to cross off year long lists sooner! The acts of setting and then making time to complete goals was most valuable and I learned I have a lot more time than I thought I did. I liked having different categories of goals to accomplish – reading, writing, fitness, spiritual, etc, but I’m also toying with the idea of creating a theme of goals for 2015. I just don’t know what it would be!

Running the Race

Marathon Finisher

Almost there! Mile 26.1

Y’all, I did it! I finally finished a marathon*!!! Overall, it went about as good as could be expected. I had some AMAZING friends and family cheering me on – shout out to my family, Madei, Sloan, Torres, Carrie, and Alli – THANK YOU!!!

I’ve posted a few thoughts at the Grace Church Women’s Blog so pop on over to read more:

At one point during the race, around mile 18, my hips seized up and running became extremely painful. For the next 4 miles I did a walk/run combination and admittedly, felt a bit sorry for myself. I had already run farther than I ever run before and I still had more to go. Around mile 22 my attitude began to change. My hips hurt whether I ran or walked so I decided to run just to finish sooner. I remembered what I said previously – namely that miles 18-26 were going to be a gut check no matter what. I could still enjoy the process even in the pain.


*It’s not too late to support Astor’s adoption! You can click here to donate online – instructions on the left sidebar.

Selfies and Nerves

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I have a new theory – as nerves increase, so do selfies. OK, maybe not so much a theory, but a self-fulfilling prophesy. Tomorrow, I’m running a marathon to help bring this boy home*. Selfies are likely.

At the same time, other families I am connected to are experiencing loss, including miscarriage. There is joy, hope, excitement to bring home Astor, but the reality of loss and what could have been weighs heavy too.

With both excitement and grief, I will run this marathon tomorrow. For Astor, there is hope. Hope he will soon be home with his family. Hope he will grow strong in love and fear of the Lord. For the other families, there is hope, but it runs a little deeper and is a little harder to find. Hope in God who is sovereign and merciful. Hope for strength for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

I haven’t run more than 18 miles yet and I’m a little nervous about the last 8 miles, but regardless of the outcome there is a bigger purpose. As competitive as I am, I know I’m not running just to PR (though that is a guarantee since it’s my only marathon 😉 ) or break a certain time in my head, but I am running to support and raise awareness for a family to bring home their son. They work tirelessly filling out adoption papers, preparing for home study’s, traveling and leaving kids behind, and more than everything else carrying the emotional ups and downs of adoption.

So yes, I am nervous for tomorrow. It will be a long day. However, my 26.2 miles is nothing compared with the process of adoption and so, I will run.


*It’s not too late to support Astor’s adoption! You can click here to donate online – instructions on the left sidebar.

Things No One Tells You Before Running a Marathon

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Old age is fun, y’all.

I consider myself fairly athletic. I’ve been running since I was in elementary school – my dad and I used to go for Saturday morning runs before my soccer games. Still, training for a marathon has been a different beast.

Full discloser: when I say training, I mean a consistent effort to complete a long run 1x per week plus 1-2 other “training runs”. Also, this post should probably have a TMI label. Consider yourselves warned…

So in no particular order, I give you lessons from a marathon newbie.

  1. Chaffing. Who knew?!?! Not me. You will chaff in places you never expected like under arm aka arm pit chaffing…check.
  2. Your weekend will not start until after your long run is finished. Want to hang out with friends? Better join a running group because you will be busy for several hours every weekend and that’s not including recovery time. Speaking of recovery…
  3. Ice baths are your friend. Love ’em. Hate ’em. Your legs will thank you.
  4. Laundry. Drying racks. Not in that order. You’ll learn to dry your clothes BEFORE putting them in the dirty clothes basket. If not, prepare for the worst smell of your life. Middle School Boys locker rooms smell better. Consider yourselves warned.
  5. You should also be prepared for at least double the laundry. I’m not sure how this happens – especially if you’re already used to working out, but it’s a thing.
  6. If you’re not already, you will become very comfortable with discussing body functions, issues, etc. Kinda like those weirdos who post blog posts about all the weird things their bodies due during marathon training…
  7. Frozen peas, corn, fruit can double as ice packs in a pinch.
  8. There will be at least 1 long run you absolutely do NOT want to do. For me, it was this past weekend – 20 miler (in theory). I was coming off several really good runs, but for some reason it was not my day. I overslept through 3 alarms Saturday morning and I made it maybe 3 miles Sunday. Let’s just say, it was not my day. Lesson learned: You win some, you lose some.
  9. Eat food. Anything over 13 miles (or maybe less) requires refueling. I bring dried mango slices, banana, almond butter, or an apple in my car. I’m not yet proactive enough to hide them on my routes, but in a pinch I can loop back to my car. One morning, I ran 16.5 miles on 3 slices of mango and 4 sips of Gatorade and I could barely move by the end. Don’t be like me.
  10. You will have at least 1 run where everything feels perfect – the weather, your body, your pace, the course. Cherish it.

Are there any others I missed? What did you learn from training for a marathon? Do you have any advice for me?

And in case you missed it, I am doing all this to raise awareness and funds for a family who is adopting a little boy with special needs. You can learn more about their story and how to donate here.

This will also give me a chance to cross off a few of my goals for 2014.

Meet Astor and Why I’m Running a Marathon

472_photo1_Jul14-230x300I’d like to introduce you to Astor*. Astor is 5 years old and lives in an orphanage in Eastern Europe right now. But not for long!!! My friends, Eric and Blythe, are adopting sweet Astor!!! I am so excited for them, Astor, their family, and this crazy roller coaster they are already on.

If you follow this blog, you may have noticed I recently posted about my interest in Foster Care/Adoption and if you’ve seen my Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook you probably know I also love to run. On October 25, these two interests are coming together!

On this day, I will be running my first (yikes!) marathon in Greenville, SC. After my first half-marathon I swore I would never run a marathon – 13.1 was good enough for me! But, let’s be honest, I’ve never been satisfied with just doing half of anything in my life. Fast forward a couple of years to today and a couple of half-marathons later and I decided I wanted to do a full marathon. I also knew I wanted it to be more than just running. During my runs I would dream about different ideas and ways to raise awareness and funds for something I cared about.

During this time, my friends, C and J decided to adopt a little girl with special needs from Eastern Europe. You can read their story here. I approached J and asked if I could use my marathon to raise money for their adoption expenses. However, they are now FULLY FUNDED!!!!! Can you believe it?!?! I am ecstatic. Little K will be coming home soon!

In the meantime, I was constantly checking Reece’s Rainbow, a non-profit organization that connects potential families with children with special needs.

Still, I wanted to do something more. J told me about another family who was also adopting. Enter Eric and Blythe. Well, I already knew them, but I didn’t know they were adopting again. They are also using Reece’s Rainbow and will be adopting a little boy, Astor. To learn more about their story, be sure to follow their blog!

I am so excited to use this opportunity to connect more people to their story. They will need about $25,000 for the adoption. My goal is to raise $1,000 by October 25 towards those expenses.

This is where you come in. Will you help bring Astor home? You can donate online here or you can mail a check to me and I will give it to them.

My thought is to have people (this means you) donate per mile. So if you donated $1 per mile that would be $26 dollars. Of course, any amount would be great. There are several ways you can donate. All donations made to Reece’s Rainbow are tax deductible.

1. If I know you personally, you can mail or give me a check made out to Reece’s Rainbow and I will make sure it gets to Eric and Blythe.

2. You can mail a check directly to Reece’s Rainbow and put “Eric and Blythe-Astor” in the memo line. The address is

Reece’s Rainbow
PO Box 4024
Gaithersburg, MD 20885

3. You can donate online here via PayPal. PayPal takes 3% of the donation though so consider going old fashioned and mailing a check instead!

If you are going to be in the Greenville area on October 25 I would LOVE to see you at the race. It is always super encouraging for me to see people I know while running. Funny or encouraging signs are a bonus 🙂

*Not his real name.