Mile A Day Challenge Update

Pastor-Coach Nancy's Thanksgiving to Christmas Mile a Day Challenge-3 I started this challenge 4 years ago as a way to encourage activity. The idea was, and still is, that all of us can find at least 20 minutes a day for exercise. That is how long it takes for the average person to walk a mile

For the first three years the challenge was free to enter. Some would enter and never even start. This year I decided to charge an entry fee of $25, with $20 of it going to a local non-profit (in this case the Ventura Land Trust) in support of open space. Would people sign up?

Ultimately we had 31 challengers, and thus raised $610 for the VLT.

Of the 31 participants:

19 traveled the minimum mile a day
2 missed only 1 day each
4 missed a few days but kept trying

All together the challengers logged 2,772.41 miles. That’s an average of 81.54 miles a day!

Not bad!

A Nice Progress Marker – Gratitude 7/3

Today it was me, my husband, and my son. Here we are just before the start.
Five years ago my daughter, husband, and I ran our first 5k races at the Channel Islands Harbor 4th of July 5k and 10k. We’d started running earlier in the year. Megan and I were close together but she had a better kick and beat me at the end. She still has a better kick. We both remember our excitement at completing this first race. My time was 36:16. I’m very proud of that time because it is a marker on a new, fit way of life.

July 4, 2012. I’m so happy we were out there that day…and we all sure look different today
We don’t do the race every year because we sometimes travel for Independence Day, so my next race was in 2015, this time a 10k. I was training for my second marathon at the time and this race was in the middle of a longer run. I was absolutely thrilled with my time of 1:04:44. I remember finding one of the coaches for the training program and excitedly showing her my time.

I didn’t run this race in 2016, but ran a 10k on July 23rd in 55:22. I don’t remember the same level of excitement that day. Maybe it was because I was also running a 5k…and it was hot! But I was certainly pleased with the time.

Today I ran the 10k…just my third 10k. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I just started hard running last week, after my recovery from the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon (Recap here). I raced a 5k last Wednesday and was disappointed with how hard it was for me…and for my time. My coach thankfully told me I should be happy that a bad day was better than my best day a year ago.  Ok, I’ll take that!

Then on Saturday I had a nasty fall 1 mile ito a 9 mile run. I’m still battered and bruised…and I completed the run.

A friend took this photo somewhere around mile 5. I gave a thumbs up but not fast enough.
My goal today was to beat my 55:22 from last year…and not crash at the end the way I do in a 5k. I started a bit conservatively, felt good after the first mile, and pushed the pace a bit. Almost every mile felt good, with miles 5-6 being the hardest (as they should be). I got a cramp in my side for part of mile 6 but then it went away. I sprinted the last .2 and finished with a time of 51:56. That’s a 3:26 PR! WhooHoo!

A lesson in all this is that progress happens when you stick with it for the long haul. Another…enjoy the journey along the way.

Today I’m personally thankful for: community races; all the volunteers who were out there this morning; and FREEDOM, may we not squander it.

Happy Independence Day!

It’s Friday! Gratitude 6/30

I’ve been a bit out of sorts the past few days. I’m not sure why, but suspect it’s not due to any ONE thing. 

This is part of it: Politics bleh. I know that I should quit paying attention to the news because every time it seems as if we’ve hit bottom, it turns out we can go lower still. I fear the normalization of disrespectful and uncouth behavior. We had an incident at our Vacation Bible School, where one child called another “stupid” and things escalated from there. In talking to our youth director about it I wondered how we are to teach our young ones to respect one another when our national leader models disrespect. We must resist by modeling the command of Jesus to love one another.

And this: On a slightly related note, I continue struggling to understand how the majority of white Christians supported this person for president. And how can they continue to support someone who models the complete opposite of the teachings of Jesus. Many of my pastor friends, and many members of my church do oppose this ugliness. But I wonder if we are a minority among Christians, and if so, the church has completely lost its way. I struggle with this every day…and wish I didn’t have to.

And this: I’m tired this week…sleepy tired, heavy legs tired, wanting to eat tired.

Thankfully it’s Friday…a day off. I won’t be resting much as I’m going to start moving stuff from the garage to the POD (see Sometimes You’ve Gotta…). But still I’ll take a nice nap later, a nice bubble bath, and go with my daughter to get my first (and probably only) tattoo.

Today I’m personally thankful for: the gift of gratitude and the spiritual benefits of being grateful, even and especially when out of sorts; for the ability to exercise away frustrations- more spiritual benefits here; and for all those who are working very hard to save our country because it is worth saving.

My tattoo will sort of look like this, but with a silhouette running figure and better font for the words: gratitude, breathe, live, run.

A Good Workout – Gratitude 5/4

Sometimes…oftentimes even, the antidote to feeling anxious (or stressed) is a good dose of exercise. One of the many reasons I run is that I’ve experienced the wonderful physical benefits of a good workout. In some mysterious way, running hard results in a relaxed mind and body (even if the muscles are a bit tired).

Yesterday I posted about the anxiety of dealing with a troublesome issue. Today, I still have the challenge of the issue, but last night’s hard track workout removed the feelings of doom that accompany anxiety. Instead, today’s thoughts are of gathering with colleagues, writing a sermon about Jesus’ inclusiveness, and a possible bike ride this afternoon with my son.

Split 1 = 3200. Splits 3, 5, 7, and 9 = 400s

I’m also remembering last night’s track work because it shows that I’m finally learning to properly pace these types of efforts. The assignment last night was to run 3200m at 15k pace (my goal 8:30 mile) followed by 4 x 800’s at 5k pace (my goal 8:00/m or 4:00 per 800). I was able to hit these targets, and my last interval was my best interval. That was fun…and stress relieving!

Today I’m personally thankful for: Megan who paced me last night; my colleagues who I get to hang out with this morning; living in California.

Gratitude 2/17

Today was a lazy day…mostly. It started with a 6am full body workout, included a bit of shopping, a bubble bath, some laundry, cooking chili for dinner…but mostly watching the rain. Lazy days are good for the soul.

Today I’m personally thankful for: that Friday is my day off; a good fitness class this morning, and the realization that I don’t have to try and fix problems by myself.

Gratitude 2/13

I twisted me knee a bit during an exercise class on Friday. At the time I didn’t think of injury, but was very careful to not twist it again. On Saturday I had my glorious 9 mile run up and down a hill and felt to very brief stabs of pain (almost like a cramp) during the last couple miles, but no other pain. Sunday I went for a walk and it began to hurt a bit during the walk. I almost skipped this morning’s strength, just to be careful but decided that the upper body and core work would be beneficial. The knee was fine during class and so I did my six miles after…and it was fine for that. I think (and hope) everything is ok, but the potential for an injury is sure stressful!

The entire episode reminds me, and so I am reminding you, of the importance of strength work for endurance sports. Strength work helps to prevent injury (just be careful not to do any weird twisting-haha), it helps to correct imbalances, and of course properly done it makes you stronger and more efficient in your movement.

With all that in mind, today I am personally thankful for: the strong body that God has given me; the group exercise classes that I have been taking since November (this work is more fun in a group); and for all the evidence that shows you can start strength and endurance training at almost any age…ie, you’re almost never too old to start!

Happy Monday

Gratitude 2/11

This week I ran 25.5 miles, and except for the week of the Carlsbad Marathon, this was the most mileage for 2017. Taper and recovery account for all the other low mileage weeks. This 25.5 marks the first week of training for Mountains 2 Beach on May 28, only 15 weeks away. Yikes!

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Up up up and down down down is pretty fun!

Today’s long run of “only” 9 miles was and out and back that was also an up and down. I’m pleased that my climbing wasn’t too slow and that my heart rate pretty much stayed in the right training zone. I might even be able to quit saying sometime soon that “I suck at running up hills.”

Then the run down was glorious! It was at a perceived easy pace that was at or better than my goal marathon pace. As the next marathon is down the very same trail I’m thinking that I just need to get my legs used to that downhill for a much longer time and then I will have my BQ!

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My heart rate only went above 150 near the top of the climb and then when I was having a fun fast finish.

The best part of this week and today’s run is that in every other training re-start after marathon recovery (I’ve run 5 now) that first long run has made me ask myself while running, “how did I ever make it through a marathon?” This didn’t happen today and hopefully with won’t happen next week either!

So, today I am personally thankful for: a good start to training for marathon 6; for the beautiful sound of rushing water as I ran along a stream that was actually filled with water (a rarity here in SoCal); and for the mental and spiritual health benefits of endurance sports (especially in these trying times).