Monday, April 21, 2014

26.2...I Did It!

Saturday I participated in the Wenatchee Marathon. I can't say "ran" because truth is, I ran/walked it. That certainly wasn't my intention and definitely not what I had trained for. My finishing time was certainly off of the goal I had set while training. But there were some obstacles that appeared that I hadn't trained for.

I hadn't trained for:

  • stomach issues that plagued me all week the week before the race.
  • said stomach issues rendering me useless about mile 14; fortunately there was a porta-pottie about that time where I spent a couple of minutes. From there on out I just had to run/walk as the cramps waxed and waned.
  • my nutrition totally not working for me. I had been very diligent in my training in regards to nutrition. I found a system that worked for me on all of my long runs. Unfortunately, on Saturday that regimen didn't work. Every time I took in some sort of nutrition I immediately began to feel sick. That was most likely due to the stomach issues during the week.
  • running 22 miles by myself. I am a social runner. I train with a large group. I don't run with music because our group usually spends the entirety of our long runs talking. Going into Saturday's marathon, the intention was to stick together. It became apparent by mile 3 that that wasn't going to happen. The race was relatively small in participants so there were times when it really felt as if I was the only one on the course. That was a little hard to mentally overcome.
From that description, it probably sounds like I had an awful race and experience. And at moments during the marathon I wouldn't have disagreed. There were moments that felt completely awful and discouraging. BUT, there were some great moments as well. Moments that I want to remember because they were wonderful learning and faith-building moments.

Friday night I had prayed that I would, 1) have a good race and meet my goal time; 2) if I couldn't meet my goal time that I would just be able finish the race; 3) that if things got tough I would have the mental fortitude to just push through them and 4) that I would always have a happy face and kind words when I saw my support crew of family members.

God is a god of miracles. He certainly could have healed my stomach issues and helped me meet my trained for goal finish time. However, He is also an omniscient God and knows how to best teach me. It would have been so easy for Him to have helped me achieve my goal. I think, though, He wanted me to learn a greater lesson.

 He knew that I once and for all needed to learn that I do have the mental fortitude to persevere even under difficult and trying circumstances. I have often told one of my running friends that she is mentally tougher than I am. I think at times I have used it as an excuse to not give a 100% effort, back off a training run, or even quit a run saying "I just can't". Well, finishing Saturday's marathon proved that I can. The way the course was configured we had to run by the finish line twice before we finished. Once was at mile 6, the other at mile 16. I got sick at mile 14. I spent the next 2 miles seriously contemplating just quitting when I reached mile 16. I was sick. I had an excuse. But I had prayed that Heavenly Father would help me finish the race. So as I approached mile 16, I said to myself  "Just keep going. Get past mile 16 and then you are past the point of no return." Mile 16 came and went. I had mentally willed myself beyond the easy quitting point. I can do hard things.

Now, I didn't feel significantly better, but I did notice that Heavenly Father was sending me blessings. So another lesson I learned was how to recognize blessing when things are really crappy. I noticed that the cloud cover came just as I was beginning to overheat. The wind always seemed to be at my back. My piriformis muscle that had been hurting on the last two long training runs and even the week leading up to the marathon was not an issue at all. Matter of fact, with the exception of a really bad calf cramp at mile 10 which worked itself out, I didn't have any problems with my legs until mile 25. My sweet husband always seemed to show up with just the right things to say when I needed him. And even though I was so discouraged, felt horrible, and really wanted to quit, I was still happy to see him and never got snippy or mean (I was really concerned about my ability to be nice when I was feeling crappy; that's why I prayed for that particular assistance).

Saturday I was pretty sure that I was one and done as far as marathons go. Even on Sunday I was still pretty sure that I wouldn't run another. Today? Well today I think another marathon is possible...

Monday, April 14, 2014

More News from Katelyn


My favorite talk was also Elder Holland's talk, he just kind of slaps you in the face. I love it!

Ok one of the biggest things that annoys me being out here are the members!! Each night when we have dinner, we share a message and challenge them to invite someone to something that's church related. When we do that a lot of people get super offended because they think we're just passing our work off to them! NO! We are asked to do that by general authorities! And people think the missionaries are more spiritually inclined than everyone else because we're wearing the name tag. The only difference between us and members is a name tag.. That's it. Don't expect the missionaries to do everything. We need help. I don't think people realize how much work we have to do each day. And when we're having dinner all the members want to do is sit and chat. That's another no-no. They need to allow us to share a message and talk about missionary work. We rely on the members to help give referrals. Members should offer to help in anyway they can.

~Sister Graham

She also sent a couple of pictures. The first is with her companion at the Mesa Temple Easter Pageant. The second is with her companion and the ashtray one of their investigators gave them when she committed to quit smoking.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kate Sent Pictures

This will be a brief blog up-date from Katelyn...just like her weekly e-mails, brief. I think she must have spent her computer time last week uploading pictures because that is about all we got.

First up, she wanted us to know that she wasn't starving and that her pantry is full. Apparently they love the dollar store there. But after looking at the food in her pantry, I know why she was wanting some dieting tips. I suggested she go to a more paleo diet. From the pictures, it looks like she didn't like that idea.

The next picture is one she titled "slightly embarrassing war wound". I think it is from when she crashed on her bike. She must have recovered sufficiently because there wasn't very much description with the picture or the story, just "I crashed"

Apologies for the sideways picture. Blogger wouldn't download the picture when I rotated it. Weird.

And final picture is a 3rd verse for the hymn "Called to Serve
So aside from a bike crash and too many processed foods (in my opinion), she seems to be doing great. She continues to enjoy the work and sharing the good news of Christ.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quotes for Today

I shared these quotes in the letter I wrote to Katelyn today. To me, they all were connected; although I did not draw the connection for Katelyn because I wanted her to come to her conclusions on what that connection might be.

Quote 1
Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't. --Steve Maraboli

Quote 2
As we temporarily endure the challenges we can solve and as we continue to endure the challenges we cannot solve, it is important to remember that the spiritual strength we develop will help us successfully endure all the challenges we face in life.-- Elder Richard J Maynes 

Quote 3
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
--Reinhold Niebuhr  

Scripture and Song:

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.

Lead, Kindly Light
Lead, kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead, thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distance scene, one step enough for me

So long the pow'r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since,
and lost awhile!

Where is the connection for all these? For me, it is simply in that the only things we can control is the things we have power over (like our choices, attitudes, faith, etc). Difficulties and challenges will arise that will often having us seeking control over things that we just don't have power over. We need God to help us accept that we don't have that power or control, endure those things and strengthen us along the way. If we seek for His guidance, He will guide us with his light and give us courage to face the dark. Our vision of how things might/should be is often clouded and skewed; God's vision is perfectly clear and we need to rely and trust in that.

So what do you think? What do you draw from these quotes, scripture and song? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

16 Felt Harder than 21

Last week I ran my longest ever run. I went 21 miles (well, technically 20.65 but close enough). I have to say that I felt pretty darn good for most of that run. I tried some new fueling techniques. Here's what I did:
  • Mile 3:  about 3 sips of flat Coke
  • Mile 6:  one Gu (vanilla, I think) and 3 sips of water
  • Somewhere between mile 9 and 10:  3 more sips of Coke
  • Mile 12:  another Gu (Jet Blackberry flavor)
  • Somewhere between mile 15 and 16:  more Coke
I think I took another Gu about mile 18, but I can't remember for sure. I really liked that routine and felt pretty good mentally (no cloudy thinking). I also didn't seem to have an GI issues following that routine. I was physically tired, but I suppose that is to be expected when you run almost 21 miles. Feeling that good running that far was a pretty good confidence booster.

I need to remember that run because this week's run sucked! It was only 16 so it shouldn't have felt so dang hard, but we picked a really tough route that kicked my trash today. The first mile and a half was good, but then we hit the hills going towards the county park and in the dark, they felt like they were never going to end! Instead of heading down into the county park, we stayed to the left and went up, up, up Idaho Road. We stayed on that until we hit Mission. I thought I had remembered that Mission was just down, down, down. It is mostly that but you do have to climb for about 1/2 mile before you get the nice down, down, down. Ugh! I was dying by time we hit the intersection of Mission and Molter and we still had 8 miles to go. Fortunately for the second 8 miles it was a flat route and I was able to finish, but man it was hard. Felt more tired today than last week.

I also was messing with my fueling a bit, too. I wanted to see how I would do without the Coke and all of the Gu's. I can tell you...not good. Having the sips of Coke every so often is like having a caffeine drip. And the fact that the Gu's I take also have caffeine, with the jet blackberry having a double shot. Anyway, today I was using Dots candies and water for most of the run. And while they were a good carb source I missed the boost of the caffeine. So for next week's 22-miler, I'll be carrying Coke, water and Gu's.

Oh, why the Dots you might be wondering? Well, those dang Gu's are about $1.50 a piece and I'm cheap so I was trying to find an alternative fuel source that would be cheaper. Plus I just like Dots and figured I could stand to eat a handful of  those every 3 miles.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Update from Kate

Katelyn makes furry friends everywhere she goes.

So yeah. Miracle baptism. There was this investigator named Dean and he had been an active nonmember for like 15 years. Crazy. He had refused all that time to join the church, not exactly sure why but that's what he did. His daughter turned 8 a few months ago and had a date set for her baptism but then refused to be baptized unless her dad would do it. Even after hearing this he still refused to convert. THEN all of a sudden he did a 180 flip. He talked to the bishop and asked if he could be baptized. (this was the crazy week one) but he never had the missionary discussions, so he wasn't ready (the interview went very badly). When people asked him if he'd had the lessons he said yes, because he thought they were talking about church lessons. So we started teaching him. Even in the week that we taught him he changed. BIG TIME!! So like I said, miracle baptism. It was funny. On the last lesson, his wife had called asking what it would be on, we told her it would be the commandments and Dean said "Yeah, I think I'm good on the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity, so you can just skip over those if you want." Well we did and at the end of the lesson he goes, "Umm... What about tattoos? Because I just got this one this morning.." I'll send you a pic of it. It was fake, obviously, but I died! I was laughing so hard! Weird to think that a few months previous he was slamming the door in my companion's face and now he's joking with us!

Can you tell what dog that is? I have another picture of it that I'll send. I'm allowed on Facebook 1 hour everyday except for Mondays. That's why I haven't been able to post any pictures on Facebook yet, because we only really have access to the computers on Mondays because that's when the Family History room is open. The person who's supposed to give us the key to it is very old and keeps forgetting. I didn't see that grandpa was learning how to quilt. I have to unfollow everyone except missionaries. The online rules are very strict.

I don't go to the Mission Home. With mail that's sent there they give it to the Zone leaders who cover my area. We have Zone meetings every Tuesday and Wednesday. I was starting to worry I had put the wrong address on the letters because I hadn't heard anything from you. Also, I need my inhaler.. Can you get a refill for me. We had to bike to Dean's interview, which was about a 4 mile bike, but we were running late so we were booking it and my asthma was acting up. Luckily the zone leader was there and he heard my breathing and it scored us 100 extra miles! So I guess asthma was a good thing this time.

The days are very busy. I'm running out of time for the computer, but I'll send you a pic of a typical day next week.

~Sister Graham

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Can You Relate?

I'm so very glad that today's technology wasn't available when I was in high school. I did enough damage without it. I also suffered enough at the hands of others without it.

Those experiences from high school (well really starting in junior high school) were painful and awful. But looking back I can see some lessons that I have learned.

First, the words you say spread like feathers on the wind and no matter how hard you try to gather them all in and make things better, you can't possibly gather them all. So it's better to be positive and uplifting with your words right from the start.

Second, the reputation you graduate from high school with will be the reputation you have when you return for high school reunions. You may have changed the path of your life and your behavior may have taken a 180 degree turn but that is not what your high school classmates will see. They will see you how they remember you.

But I have also learned that doing what is right is more important than fitting in. That's part of growing up, right? Now,I struggle to have patience with people who are exclusive and "cliquey". I try to be cognizant of those who are on the fringe and seek ways to help them feel understood and heard. I am learning to speak up for those who don't have the strongest voice and are overlooked.

I thank Heavenly Father every day for sending me Katelyn because she comes by love, grace and acceptance naturally. She is a wonderful example to me since I have to work on those things (love, grace, acceptance) every day; my high school self is always lurking in the background just waiting for an opportunity to be ugly and show how cool I am by bringing others down.