08 January 2016


Alright, y'all.  I need to tell you something.  And for reasons I can't quite explain I feel a little weird about telling you.  But today is the day, so here goes...  

In November I started training for a half-marathon. Race day is January 30, 2016.

There are a bunch of reasons that I decided to do it. One being that I had started out to do it before but never made it.  I wrestled a lot with the decision.  Back in October while I was weighing it out, I was running with a couple friends frequently as we powered through the Couch-to-5k program.  I realized that the way I encouraged my friend, Amanda, as she ran was so very different from the way I spoke to myself when I ran.  Its probably no coincidence that Andrew Peterson's new album had been playing on repeat for weeks at that point and the song "Be Kind to Yourself" was slowly becoming an anthem for me.  

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law, Dunia, wanted to run a half too, and the timing of this January 30 race was perfect for her because it'd be before she started nursing school. So we looked for a training plan and got started.  After her first week of training she realized she needed foot surgery.  So I was down a running partner.  I discussed with Brad about whether or not I should go ahead and keep training.  It seemed like a terrible time for me -- weather-wise anyway.  If you have known me for a minute you know I don't like the cold.  Even southern cold. But I decided to pray about it anyway.

And had the distinct feeling that I should keep on training.  Even in the winter.  I told Jesus He was going to have to meet me on those long runs if He expected me to do this.  And He said I would need to be kind to myself.

Quite honestly, I kept giving myself an out.  The registration price doesn't increase until next week so I reasoned that I might as well wait to register.  Those first few weeks each long run had been preceeded with this declaration, "If I feel too bad after this I will just train for a later race."

I had felt a bit disappointed all along that this half-marathon wasn't for a "good cause."  It wasn't until I read this blog post by Kristen Welch that I finally decided I was really going to aim for this January 30 half-marathon.  When the opportunity came along to pair my goal with fundraising for Mercy House I knew it was just-right.  [You can read the post here.  Kristen could still use more people to join her in this fundraising adventure.]

I've been following Kristen probably ever since The Mercy House started.  I love the work they are doing with pregnant women and new mommas in Kenya as they partner with local churches.  Also, Fair Trade Friday is a global ministry of Mercy House that empowers women around the world.  Artisans create beautifully crafted fair trade products that are shipped off to monthly subscribers.  I love, love, love this model, its a win-win in so many ways!

Ten days before Christmas I decided to do this for real.  And I told a few folks about it.  And set-up a fundraising page too.  {Click here to find the fundraisisng page.}

But I waited a bit to tell all y'all.  Because sometimes goal-sharing can feel a little braggy to me.  Is that just me?  Or can you relate?  Maybe its because I am the opposite of Type A?  Also, sometimes all the goal-setting-talk in January can feel like a little much, right?

Either way, I am telling you now because I wanted to tell you about something I learned this week. As I stepped out the door to run on Monday, I said out loud {to God + myself} "I do NOT want to do this."

I really did NOT want to do it.  But it was on my Hal Higdon Half Marathon Novice 1 training plan.  So I ran 5 miles anyway.

And as I ran, God kindly pointed out that its important to do training runs if you plan on running a half-marathon.  Of course, I agreed and I knew He was right. But God, in His kindness, always teaches us about more than just the obvious.  He reminded me that I need to do the work for other goals too, whether I feel like it or not.  While I maybe wouldn't call some of my creative ventures "goals," He kinda nudged me toward thinking of it that way.  So I thought about how often I think I should write more, but I don't really "feel like it."  Or think I should get out my sketch book and hand-letter while the boys nap, but scroll Facebook instead because I am not "feeling inspired."  I put off these things waiting until "I feel like it", instead of getting in the practice when I have the time.  Granted, there aren't printable "Novice Training Plans" available for every goal, but there are so many resources available to me in 2016, I  can't really use that as an excuse.  So I had a little shift in my thinking as I finished that cold run that I did NOT want to do.  And wondered if it might help some of you as you think about some of your dreams for 2016.

So I am telling you about my half-marathon + I am asking you to consider donating to the fundraising page because I believe in Mercy House and the work they are doing in Jesus' name.

But I am also telling you because you might have a thing you want to do.  Call it a goal if you want. You might need to make a training plan. I promise there will be days you don't feel like doing the training, but you might just do it because you planned it.  As you keep training, you might find further incentive to keep heading toward your goal {like I did with the post from Kristen about Miles for Mercy!} And eventually you might be brave enough to share your goal because you think someone else might be inspired to set up a training plan of their own.  Let's do this!

This is a link-rich post, so I am listing the links down here too, if that makes it easier to find what you are looking for.

My fundraising page: https://www.crowdrise.com/amandasmilesformercy
Mercy House:  http://mercyhousekenya.org/
Kristen's post about Miles for Mercy: http://wearethatfamily.com/2015/12/im-feeling-43-help-me-celebrate-with-a-run/
Miles for Mercy page: http://www.mercyhousekenya.org/node/634
Be Kind to Yourself video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYiM-sOC6nE
Buy the song here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014M2KA4W?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

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