So I ran 26.2 miles…..

I am in the process of writing my recap of my first marathon…..but until I can wrap my brain around the feelings and get them into words on the page, I’ll leave you with this! Yes….I RAN a MARATHON!!!

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Check back in the next day or two for the full update. Ya’ll, putting this into words is hard. I’m still tear up just writing it. Can’t wait to share it with you.

-Jackie, the marathoner 🙂

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Runners Holiday Wish List:

As the holidays are almost here, I thought I’d make a quick list for those who are looking to buy a gift for their special runner/athlete in their life 🙂 I’ve come across some great products that I think every single runner should own.

Here’s my top must have running gifts this Christmas:

1) A FlipBelt :
Y’all I have used so many different types of belts and this one, for one, stays put when I run. Plus, it has so much space to store things. My favorite part is flip the belt (hence the name) and everything is locked in safe…no losing things out of the pockets. These are great. Your runner will thank you!

** I have special discount codes for 33% off a flip belt. Comment below with your email address and I’ll send you one. Limited number, so don’t wait! OR use code Sweat10 for 10% off your whole purchase…but 33% is better 🙂

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2) Huma Chia Gel:
I finally found a gel that is light on my stomach for those long runs, but that gives me the carbs/boost that I need while out on a run. The consistency is smooth and goes down so easy and the tastes are great. You won’t regret this one!

3) Feetures Socks:
I am logging a ton of miles….and my feet are taking a pounding. But these socks are AMAZING. They hug my feet, prevent blisters and keep my feet cool in the summer and warm in the winter. LOVE THESE.

4) Garmin 220 Watch:
This is so helpful with my training. To be able to see my pace/time/distance all on one screen is awesome. I had the Forerunner 10 before this and am so glad I upgraded. Love the longer battery life as well!

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Running the Race….physically and spiritually

There’s no hiding that I am a Christian, God is first and foremost in my life, and I make no apologies for that. Next comes my family and after that comes time for things I enjoy, including my running. I’m in a Bible study right now and we’re studying 2 Timothy. In 2 Timothy Paul writes to Timothy about being prepared, as an athlete is prepared, and that an athlete does not “win” unless he competes according to the rules.

When we got to this point in the study we were talking about what attributes make up an athlete. Our teacher said that when she was doing this lesson, she thought of me, and my new endeavor in running and training as an athlete. A what?!? I thought, I’m not an athlete….and then the whole class started throwing out attributes of an athlete on the board and talking about what makes up an athlete.

Here’s a short list of words that were thrown out there: dedicated, passionate, driven, committed, determined, disciplined, patient, persistent, self-controlled, etc., etc. I sat there and listened and thought about the short running journey I have embarked on, coming up on a year in late November. I was almost in tears, because while I’ve never considered myself an athlete, I identified with every one of those words in terms of my running and in terms of my life.

For me running has not come easy. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but it takes all I have at each new endeavor. I’m not a natural born athlete, anyone who knows me can attest to that. I’m probably safer wrapped in bubble wrap, then let loose on a concrete road in shorts, graceful isn’t an attribute I’ve ever claimed, if you know what I mean. But once I began running, something in me desired to keep going, even with it being tough, more often than not. I’ve realized so much about myself and about life when I’m running.

Physically running is so very much like running the race of life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out there running in a race and everything in my mind, my body, my whole being wants to just give up. It’s hard, my legs ache, my lungs burn, I’m tired.

This happened to me yesterday at my race. From the first step I seemed to have a terrible ache in my right side, nothing made it go away and throughout the race it would get worse (to the point of stopping and curling over in pain) and then gradually better, but it never went away. I had 13.1 miles ahead of me and by mile 3 I was hurting so much I had no idea how I could possibly finish the race. At one point I ran right past my car, I could see it and for a split second I thought, I’ll just jump in my car and leave, no one will care. (I didn’t.) and I pressed on….step by step, mile by mile, walking for 10-20 seconds when the pain got too great, until it would let up, then running again. It hurt the whole time. I kept saying, just keep going, you’ll see the next mile marker, just focus on the mile you are in. I prayed, I almost cried, I just kept running….always looking for the next mile marker.

When we hit mile 8, we turned around to run back into downtown Houston and the sun was blinding (forgot the sunglasses.) I couldn’t see anything in front of me. I couldn’t look up, I had to stare at the ground in front my feet and just focus on the steps, I missed mile markers 9, 10, and 11 because the sun was so strong. When we got to mile 12 all I could think was…..so soon that finish line will be in sight, no matter how much it hurts, its so close, just one foot in front of the other, I couldn’t think of anything else. Then it came, I could hear the music and the cheers before I could see the finish chute. I didn’t have anyone waiting at the end to say good job, but at that point it didn’t matter, I ran to finish and finish strong. I did…and I am happy to say I am SO glad that race is over (and my side is still sore today- no idea what’s with that.) 😦

Running that (not so great) race yesterday made me think of life in general as I was running, of those things that come at us in the midst of the “race” of life and hurt so bad we just want to stop. We can’t see the finish line, we can’t see the next mile marker, we are blinded and in the dark. I have been there before, if we are honest with ourselves, we all have. This life is hard, without the hope in Jesus I don’t know how people make it.

If you are in a relationship with Christ, we are told that there will be trials and tribulations, but that we will always be given a way out. But that doesn’t mean we don’t suffer. Our society today teaches that suffering is bad, and that if you are suffering its because you have done something wrong. I’m not going to pretend that I like suffering, who would say that, but I do know that some of my most amazing growth as a person and as child of God has come in times of suffering. I am who I am because I have walked in the darkness. Because I have been there, acquainted with the darkness, I intimately know the light. I stay acquainted with my suffering because of the lessons it has taught me, it has became ingrained in the fibers of who I am. While my human nature is to avoid hurting, I know that suffering produces a result in me that, while its painful to get there, its a gift to me in the end. Just like running that race that hurts to get through, when you cross the finish line, you know you have done well and you take with you the lessons of that run, that trial, and grow from them.

We each have our own race (good and bad ones,) our own darkness and our own struggles. I guess I write all this to say that if you are there, in the dark, running that hard race and that pain keeps hitting you in the side, hang on….the next mile marker is just ahead, and each leads you to the finish line. When you get there, it will be worth it…you may not see it right away, but you will be better, stronger and more capable the next time.

PS- on a side not, I read today that it takes your body 2 weeks to reap the physical benefits of a hard workout. Isn’t that just life….we get to that finish line, but the results take time to come back. Its not instantaneous like we wish…all good things come with waiting. 🙂

Hang in there wherever you are today. If you are in the dark…keep one foot in front of the other, you’ll get there. And if that isn’t you today, join hands with someone who is…no one needs to walk the hard stuff alone, God created us to be in community, to help one another as we struggle, no one is exempt.

Running for the Ronald McDonald House-Houston

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I have signed up to run my 1st official FULL marathon! 26.2 miles of Houston roads I am going to train to run in January 2015. I decided to sign up to run for a charity to give special meaning to my 26.2 mile journey and to run for someone other than myself.
I chose to run for the Ronald McDonald House of Houston. An organization that has helped me at times and one that is dear to my heart. I believe in what they do and how they help so many families, mine included.

I am not required to raise money. I CHOOSE to for this great organization and ask that if you would like, please help me in reaching my goals.

I hope you will sponsor my efforts, so together, we can make a difference. Please consider a donation of $35 or $70, $100 or more. Your donation is tax-deductible and will make a tremendous impact.

Please visit the link below to donate to this cause:
http://www.ChevronHoustonMarathon.com/Donate/PersonalPage.cfm?MID=12000&CID=520

Every donation – large or small – brings me one step closer to reaching my goals. One step closer to helping another family as they walk through unknown battles with their loved ones.
I thank you for each and every dollar….it fuels my passion for running!!

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