Monday, January 27, 2014

That Volunteer Spirit!

It's not a secret that I live in Knoxville, TN- the home of the Tennessee Volunteers.  I have participated in countless races locally without a thought to the amount of work it takes to put on the race and even now, I doubt I fully comprehend the actual undertaking of the job.  However, today (Saturday) I had an opportunity to volunteer at a race.  Some thoughts on this race- it was a 10 mile race that was an out and back route.  We have been in the throes of Polar Vortex #2 (with #3 to arrive next week) so it was COLD.  The race was about 35-40 minutes away from my house (probably not really but I missed my turn which meant I had to go WAY out of my way to turn around LOL).  Start time was for 7:30 with my volunteer check in time being 7:15.  I ended up volunteering for the finish line.  I bundled up (seriously, I had a TON of layers on) with hand warmers in my gloves, toe warmers in my shoes (although I don't think I used them right), and bigger body warmers in my jacket pockets.  My job- untie those little twist ties to remove the shoe tags (side note- I much prefer the chips on the bibs but gained a new appreciation for the volunteers who have to remove them- having to chase people down is not fun when they are barely walking).  Along with the cold temps- this morning we had some fierce winds.  Like the temp was 27 but the feels like was 15 type of winds, and for the runners it was a headwind on the way back.

So, what lessons did I learn from the simple act of volunteering?

1. To say thank you and acknowledge them.  They are giving of their time and that encouragement may lead to more volunteer spots (I know it will for me).  But seriously, I had runners thanking me for coming out in the cold and standing there to get their tags off.  These runners who had run a brutal run (apparently about mile 8 the headwind got really strong and several came in hurting- ones who are strong runners!)

2. That a simple word of encouragement goes a long way.  Some of them were bummed about their time and it showed in their expression.  I tried to encourage them (hopefully I did some) by reminding them that- hey, they got out there and ran it!  They accomplished what they set out to do by crossing and they did in rough conditions.

3. I learned a little trick for my phone- now, this may seem obvious to some but it was a DUH moment when I saw a guy do it.  Put my phone in my case upside down so I don't have to twist it to look at it (this race discouraged headphones because it was an open course- obviously this would not work as well with headphones attached but if I went with my shuffle for the race and just used my phone as the gps it would work great.)  Like I said, this may not be a new trick but for me it was a light bulb moment!

4. The last runner to cross needs support and encouragement just like everyone else.  I may not be able to stay until the end of every race but I am going to try to do better at this to encourage those coming through.  The smile on her face and thanks she spoke for standing out there waiting on her were priceless!

5. Volunteering rocks!  I will admit that our local track club sweetens the deal with coupons off of future races and this race netted two of them because of the cold and such but regardless I gained a new appreciation for those who volunteer and am going to make more of an effort to do so.  When I am running a race it's definitely easier to volunteer before but even day of would be okay as well.  I am already looking ahead to figure out when I can volunteer next (more than likely it will be the Covenant Health marathon/half marathon because they have all kinds of volunteer spots (at the expo, stuffing bags, etc).

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Little Inspiration for your Sunday

For your viewing/listening pleasure- I am not a huge Crowder fan (I like some of the songs) and he has written some amazing worship songs through the year but when I heard this song a week or so ago on the radio I absolutely loved it.  Interestingly enough it's on my running playlist because the tempo and message get me moving!  And it makes me want to throw my hands up in praise and dance when I run LOL!

This is one of those quotes that just really resonates with me- and where I am in my life.  Every time I read it I think of that scene in Indiana Jones where he has to cross the ravine to get to the holy grail and he has to step out in faith and trust that there is a bridge there.

I am rereading Made to Crave for the 3rd time right now.  Taking it slow (was planning on participating in an online study but I have a lot of other stuff going on so decided I need to take it at my speed) but this little nugget of wisdom has been my prayer this week.

Never give up!

Don't wait- start NOW- think Long Term (saying these words to myself).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dear Beautiful One,

Yes you, don't look around- I am talking to you.  I am telling you what I need to hear myself.  You- you are beautiful, you are loved, you are created in His image.  During this time of year we are bombarded with images of what we (as society) think beauty is.  We are covered by infomercials, commercials, and advertisements of products that will help us be fit, healthy, and therefore beautiful.  But since when did fit and healthy mean beautiful?  It's only because we have let it!  Beauty, true beauty, YOUR true beauty comes from within.  It comes from strength in times of adversity.  It comes from seeking God's direction when the path seems to be taking you in circles.  It comes from your character when nobody else is looking.  It comes from the light of Christ shining through your actions.  It comes from the words you speak to build another up.  So yes, you are beautiful my sweet friend and please don't forget that!

Back in November 2012 I wrote this post and then this week right before I saw Holley's next prompt I saw several pictures/blog posts about this same subject.  This is something I have been struggling with these past few weeks so it was quite timely and therapeutic to write.  It was a good reminder to myself that beauty defined by the world is not how God defines beauty and I need to decide which one I am striving for.  

**I am linking up with Holley's series on Coffee for Your Heart

Monday, January 20, 2014

5 years

I decided I wanted to go ahead and post after all because I wanted to share something else and they work together so… :)

Anyway, 5 years ago this past November I started having some medical problems.  While they were minor when I went to follow up on them it led to a CT scan and a doctor visit one week before Christmas that scared me out of my mind.  What were these problems?  Kidney stones- lots of them in both of my kidneys.  At the doctor visit- she said she wasn't a specialist but that the CT scan showed lots of stones in both kidneys and the doctor may want to take one or both of my kidneys (see- scary).  I had about 3 weeks before I could get into the urologist so in that three weeks I cried lots of tears, prayed, begged, and pleaded.  In the downtime- I also researched and came across what I thought it could be but since it was supposedly rare I doubted that it was the case.  Finally, in early January I made it to the urologist where my research was confirmed.  I was diagnosed with that "rare" kidney disorder (I use that in quotes because it isn't AS rare as once thought but still not common)- Medullary Sponge Kidney.  Basically what happens is that my body makes kidney stones all the time and they are collecting in the spongey part of my kidneys.  Sometimes they will move their way out and other times they will stay.  He gave me a very outdated food list (at least 4 years old) of things that I needed to cut out. Things such as nuts and nut products, chocolate, spinach, celery, etc.  These are all things that I had been eating quite a bit of.  It was rough and within the 2 years I passed two more stones (that I felt), however, I was also feeling lots of twinges where the stones were moving.  Finally in spring of 2012 I had a test done that showed elevated levels (of which the doctor said were fine- blech) and then I adjusted some more eating and did a retest at the end of the June that showed all were normal but one.  Since July 2012 I have had very few issues (and I mean like only one or two twinges)- in this I know I am blessed.  I know several people who have had this disease advance to kidney failure, multiple surgeries, stents, and much more.

This is just one part of that journey that led me to the pursue the health coaching and the desire to work with others who deal with the same struggles as I do.

What have I learned through all of this?

 I have learned to fight for my right to medical care.  I will be requesting another CT scan when I go back in February.  I have asked for one before but he said that since they weren't showing in a regular x-ray then it wasn't a big deal and they don't like to do all of that radiation.  I am requesting it anyway because I want a comparison from my very first one.

I have learned that sometimes I will have to do my own research- and in doing so- I may know more than the doctor or the nurse practitioner- and that's okay.

I have learned that trusting God was the only way that I survived those three weeks in limbo and the last 5 years.

I have learned that while I trust- I am still called to walk the path with eyes facing forward (and up) and hands ready to work.

I have learned that one person's food can be another's poison.  While I can eat some of those foods in moderation (with major adjustments elsewhere) I try to steer clear of them if I can.

Why now?  Because on March 8, I will have the opportunity to participate in a local Kidney Run.  I was not able to run this last year because it was the first weekend of Spring Break.  This year, they moved it up a week and I am able to participate.  This will be a cause that I support every year because the cause is near and dear to my heart.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Disappointment to Joy, 5 Years and Victory!

This is probably my hardest goal to keep up with- the blogging.  I have all kinds of things I WANT to say- but the time- oh my time has been crazy (even with the unexpected snow/cold days from school). I'm going to break each of these down and each has a great story so I hope you tag along for the ride :)

Disappointment to Joy;

If you read THIS post back in November you saw that I was going to participate in a inaugural 5K called Run for their Lives.

Did you know- human trafficking is a $32 billion industry that affects 161 countries worldwide.
Did you know that an estimated 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year and an estimated 80% of these victims are women and girls.
Did you know- that 1 million children are exploited by the global commercial sex trade each year and there are an estimated 100,000 children who are victimized through prostitution in the U.S. annually.
Did you know- the upcoming Super Bowl will be one of the biggest human trafficking incidents/events in the U.S.  Here's an article from last year

Run for the Lives was putting on their event in Knoxville and the city told them not to expect more than 100 people to sign up.  HA!  I was so excited to run and participate in this race and then… New Year's Day happened.  I ran my race (which I still need to post about) and then came home to warm up.  I was sitting on my foot trying to get it warm and my timer went off.  I didn't realize how asleep my foot was (like dead asleep- not tingly) until I stepped down, my foot rolled and I ended up across the room from where I started and my plate ended up in another part of the room.  I cried, I got mad, but in the end- nothing changed- I still had a swollen and painful foot.  On those snow days I finally gave in and went to have it x-rayed- diagnosis- not broken but a sprained foot.  I could walk the 5K but no running.  Okay, I could handle that but then Thursday night I walked on my treadmill at a very slow pace for 2.5 miles.  The next day I woke up with a swollen and bruised foot.  I decided that walking was not in my best interest and it was best if I just volunteer.  I was so disappointed.  I cried, I got mad- but again, in the end, nothing changed.  So, I put on my smile and headed to volunteer in the pouring rain.  When I left at 6:00 it was lightning and thundering, then it poured even more until finally it let up… just a little… in time for the 9:00 start time.  Oh, by the way- the final numbers Over 600 registered to run and walk including 100 walk up registrations in the pouring rain!  And with the volunteers that made over 800 participants.  Plus, they raised more than enough money through corporate sponsorships before the race that they are going to be able to use all race fee to go directly to the ministries!  To be a part of that- well that turned my disappointment into joy!

5 Years: While writing this post I decided that that deserves a post of it's own but it will probably won't happen until late February (I have my reasons) :)

Victory- you know that bum foot?  Today I was able to do a walk/jog 1/4 mile intervals on the treadmill.  I dug up my KT Tape, taped my foot up for stability and laced up.  While it was slow- it was good to do it.  I am imagining I will be a little stiff tomorrow but the pain has finally dissipated and I can walk fairly normal!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

14 SMART goals for 2014

(and I heard all of my teacher friends just groan since SMART goals are the buzzwords we hear daily/weekly- LOL)  And even though hearing those terms every week it really hit just how much they need to be applied to my goals for this year.

So, what are SMART goals?  Well, rather than typing it out- just check out the image below.  I am going to have 14 smart goals for the year- I know that seems like a lot but I am going to have it broken down into fitness, personal, and professional goals.

So- in no particular order:

1. Participate in at least one challenge every month.  My goal would be to participate daily but I am willing to just participate in one consistently.  This month- the Squat and push up 31 day boot camp.

2. Participate in 14 races in 2014.  I did this in 2013 and want to do it again in 2014.  I ran my first one this morning- it wasn't pretty but as I told someone it was my 2014 beginning and hopefully I have nowhere to go but up.  I have three more races already scheduled between now and the end of March but am looking at adding 2 more at least in that time frame.  

3. Establish my 6 month program for clients, finish my health coaching website, order business cards, brochures, and other things.  Bottom line is that I need to put it on paper and get the materials needed to get going.  The end goal for this is the end of March. Graduate from Institute of Integrative Nutrition and begin seeing clients.  I should graduate at the end of April.  I would love to start having paying clients lined up before the end of May.

4. Spend more time with God- this should really be my number 1 goal and it is (but these are in no particular order).  I know that my walk with Him directly correlates to the rest of my life and the rest of these goals being fulfilled.  I will spend time in the mornings in my Bible, in prayer, and just seeking His will for my life.  This includes weekends (which is where I struggle)  Every day I post a scripture on FB- I think I will also be writing it down and placing them in the jar with the date and a short explanation of why- at the end of the year I can go back and look at them and see the promises fulfilled.

5. Blog regularly- for me- at this point in my life that means 2-3 times a week.  Some weeks may be more but hopefully a minimum of 2.

6. Lose weight- I know this is a "generic" goal and I am more than a number- BUT the bottom line is that I am not at a healthy weight right now.  By the end of 2014 I would like to have lost 30-35 lbs.  With that I will be within 10-15 lbs of MY goal.  By June I would like to lose 20 lbs (that's when I go back to the doctor for my physical).

7. Save money and work on eliminating debt- to achieve an unnamed goal that means I need to make a plan and stick with it- so that will mean setting up a monthly budget (and understanding that it could change month to month).  It looks like I will have a second "job" (but it's not really a job) starting that will help bring in a little extra money per month- for now I will focus on putting that aside and getting the budget established.

8. I am "borrowing" this from my friend Glenneth- try one new thing a month.  All kinds of things- rock climbing, ziplining, paddleboarding, etc.  It may even be one new fitness class a month.  This month I am going to check and see if the local Y has a beginners yoga class- I have sore muscles and think that might be a good place to start.

9. Implement at least one healthy habit change a month- my change for this month- no fast food.  I am not saying no restaurants- but no fast food.  It is WAY too easy to swing through the drive thru for food then to come home and cook it so that means I need to be prepared- fully prepared!  AND: Drink more water!  Right now I don't drink enough- my goal, at the end of every day is to drink between 80-100 oz.  I need to crowd out the diet sodas and reintroduce water.  One way I am getting water in is to drink a glass of lemon water every morning.  It's a good way to introduce a cleanse and here are some benefits (and might I just say that of the two mornings I started out with this it definitely worked- LOL)

10.  Read!  I love to read- it relaxes me.  I would like to read at least one "fun" book a month (for example: a mystery, Christian fiction, etc) and one "health/nutrition" book a month.  These can be "hold in your hand books" or books that I have downloaded to my Kindle on my iPad

11. Simplify.  I have a small house- it is just how my life has worked and for the most part it works BUT I have an abundance of "stuff".  It's time to declutter- I have not stamped in about 6 months therefore, my first order of business is to pare down on that.  I still want to keep some things but there are some I just need to let go of.  I will be putting them up for sale (and if anyone wants any let me know and I'll send you the link when I do so).  I will also need to just get rid of things I am not using.  My goal is to have this simplified and cut down on by the end of May

12.  Stay on top of my "school" work (aka my teaching stuff).  Spend time each week putting in anecdotal notes and such so I am not stressed at the end of the semester.  Work on lesson plans through the week and not letting them take over my weekend.  Yes, I am planning on my life looking a LOT different this semester.

13. Exercise more consistently- You'll notice that I didn't include a specific number of days for exercise, etc.  Well, the reason for that is simple- I don't want to be tied down to it.  I am supposed to be training for the half marathon so that will be a bulk of it- BUT I also plan on incorporating strength into my life as well.  Life twists and turns on a dime so some weeks may only get a minimum while other weeks may be filled with an excess of training time- I need to take it as it comes and watch my diet.

14. LIVE- this goes back to my "One Word" post.  My goal is to truly live- to do so that might mean saying yes to outings, spending time with friends, and getting out of my comfort zone.  It also might mean saying no when needed.

There's another goal that I can't share YET- the time will come but at this point in time I need to keep it close to the vest.

So there you go- 14 goals for 2014- I hope to revisit these every month and update on how they are going.