Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunburned and Tired - but breaking records!

Just a quick note to let any interested parties know that I officially ran for 20 whole minutes today. If anyone had ever told me that I'd be running for 20 straight minutes, I would have laughed in their faces a month and a half ago. But today I did it! In the hot, hot sun no less. lol. And I have a nice little shoulder sunburn to prove it. Tip for future reference: Tank tops and sports bras with different styles of sleeves make for a strange and awkward sunburn... wear sunscreen next time. :)

I did it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I ran for 8 minutes... what?

So last Sunday I accidentally did the first run of week 5. I thought that it'd be fun to mess with myself - and try to get around my mental block of thinking I can't possibly run for 20 minutes - by going straight to day 2, instead of starting on day 1 when I went to the gym on Tuesday.

Short version - I ran for 8 minutes - twice! - and had only minimal doubts about my ability to complete it. I credit my endurance and my confidence to my decision to pace myself. Instead of running as hard as I can, I picked a comfortable pace that almost felt a little too slow. In order to finish the Disney Half-Marathon and stay qualified, I have to keep a 16 minute per mile pace. The treadmill at the gym has a 4mph option that feels nice and slow, and just happens to be a 15 minute mile pace. Woohoo!

I'm looking forward to running my first race in July and getting my first "race time" so I can see what sort of training plan to do next. Apparently you base your training plans on your previous race times so you can prepare for longer distances AND faster times. OooooooOOOoh!

Monday, May 25, 2009

4th of July Race - Oregon Road Runners Club

I signed up for my first race! I will be running a 5k race on the 4th of July out in Wilsonville. The Oregon Road Runners Club is having their 10th annual 4th of July Run/Walk. In addition to the 5k, they'll also have a 10k and a kids 1/2 mile.

If you're interested in signing up for the race yourself, you can check it out here;

If you'd like to join Daniel and Ethan near the finish line to cheer me on, let us know!

Oh - and the ORRC is doing a coat drive for the homeless during this race, so if you decide to come - bring any of your old/extra coats and give them to a good cause.


I finished week 4!

Just a quick update - I finished week 4 today... sort of. :)

I usually do my 3rd run of the week on Sundays, which I did today. However, instead of running the week 4 workout (which I published a couple posts ago) I accidently set my i-pod to the week 5 session. Oops.

It just to happens that I've actually been really intimidated about week 5. So it's amusing to me that I accidentally ran the first set and didn't worry about it. It just goes to show how much of training really is mental!

I am still a little intimidated by the schedule for this week, though. For some reason instead of doing the same workout for the entire week (like the previous four weeks), week 5 and week 6 have a different workout for each day. Here's what week 5 has in store for me;

Run 1:
Run 5
Walk 3
Run 5
Walk 3
Run 5

Run 2:
Run 8
Walk 5
Run 8

Run 3:
20 minute run... AAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

It's got to be some sort of mental game to get you used to running longer times. Working on my mental game will probably mean there'll be some entertaining updates coming down the line next week. So stay tuned!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thinking about Pledging?

Someone posted a great question on the SloSerb Fundraiser post - how much is a typical pledge? Here's my response - in case anyone else is wondering as well.

That's a great question. I guess you could figure out how much maximum you'd be willing to give and divide that by the number of miles I'm hoping to run. I'm shooting to log 30 miles in June. So you could pledge $1 per mile if you want to give $30, or $2 to give $60, etc. If you're really rolling in dough that you'd like to part with for the Kingdom's sake... you could pledge $125 per mile and send a whole team member to Slovenia/Serbia if I reach my goal. Haha.

Let me know! I'm going to create a little tracker to help me keep track of how much people are pledging, too. And if you're the first to pledge... I'll run a free mile in your honor. :D

Week 4... Working on my mental game

Yesterday I finally started Week 4. Usually I run Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Last week my weights routine was a little thrown off and I ended up doing legs on Monday (instead of on Fridays so I know I'll have a rest day before running again) and doing the workout that Trainer Dana gave me. She warned me that if I did the workout like I was supposed to, I would have trouble sitting. She wasn't joking! Dana gave me a set of exercises to do on some sort of reclined-on-the-floor-on-your-back leg press thing to help me build muscle endurance in my legs. She calls it Triple Sets. I do 20 regular squats (upside down, mind you) at 60lbs, 20 froggie squats at 40lbs, and 15 one-leg squats on each leg at 20lbs. I have to have someone take the weights off because I'm not allowed to stop in between those sets, except to change the weight. And I'm supposed to do all of that three times. Poor Daniel was on weight-switching duty and got his own upper body workout by unstacking and restacking my weights. He's a trooper. He kept asking if I was okay... apparently my "focusing really hard to finish what I started" face looks a lot like my "holy crap I'm going to pass out and throw up" face, which he saw regularly when I was pregnant with Ethan.

After that lovely booty-kicking workout on Monday, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to run on Tuesday. Should I take a rest day and let my muscles recover? Would running count as not resting? I'm still learning a lot about cross-training and how our bodies work to get stronger. So I chose to skip the gym on Tuesday, which turned out to be a bad idea. What I should have done is at least do some sort of cardio to keep the blood flowing and my muscles loose. Why I did instead was baby my legs - lots of sitting and napping and such. By the end of the day I was so stiff that I was shuffling everywhere and grunting whenever I went to sit down. Lesson learned: recovery does NOT equal opting out. Opting out = cramping and looking like a ninny.

When I finally got around to my run on Wednesday I was so "itching" to run that I got off to a pretty aggressive start. My easy jog is about 4 mph at this point, and when I'm really warmed up and feeling good I usually work my way up to about 5 mph. I started into my first running interval right at 5 mph after a not-so-impressive warm up and quickly reached my "this is uncomfortable" point somewhere in the middle of my first set of 3 minutes.

Here's the intervals for week 4:

5 Minute Warm-Up
3 Minutes Jog
90 Second Walk
5 Minute Jog
2.5 Minute Walk
(Repeat 3/90/5/2.5)
5 Minute Cool Down.

Having only a minute and a half to walk before the "big scary 5 minute jog" was really messing with my head. When I finally started into the five minutes the "ohmigosh we can't do this we're going to pass out and fall off in front of all these people" voices started immediately. I've discovered that the thing I say to myself the most often during runs is, "quit thinking about how far/long you have to go and BE HERE NOW." When I'm watching the clock or counting down in my head the mental game gets so much harder. It's actually easier for me to sort of tune everything out and just focus on my breathing. I've found myself following a sort of 3 step rhythm, three steps while breathing in, three steps while breathing out. The only sound I focus on is the sound of my breathing, and I focus on that. Just keep breathing. Just keep moving. That concept sounds a lot like the child birth tips we heard in our birth class. When I was constantly being prodded and talked to and nagged at during labor, it made the whole process seem so much more painful. But in the few moments where it was just me and Daniel and I could focus just on breathing and moving (I was rocking for a bit) the pain seemed much more manageable. When we have our next baby, I look forward to using these principles to help me stay focused and present for an unmedicated labor. As well as the whole, "I CAN do this, I AM doing this" message I've been using for running as well.

I finished the run! I ran all the parts I was supposed to, and walked the parts I was supposed to. For some reason afterwards instead of the usual "runners high" that I've enjoyed so far, I actually was feeling a sort of "runner's funk." I think pushing myself to run so fast in the beginning pushed me so far outside of my "good burn" zone that I was stressing myself out. When I lowered my mph to 4 for the last 5 minutes of running, part of me felt disappointed. After talking this out with Daniel, I decided that critiquing my runs is just as much a part of the mental game. I did what I set out to do. So I'm not going to beat myself up for what I "could have" done better.

I'll try to keep that in mind when I'm critiquing myself a little too harshly in other areas as well.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Week 3... OWNED!!

I have officially completed three weeks of 5k training. Woohoo! Today's workout was with Heidi and Sheri, a couple amazing friends from church who I recently learned are training to run as well. It's a huge blessing to push myself in their presence, to feel their support and to support them as well. It's a very healing experience, since I opted out of connecting with other people over physical fitness back in junior high. LOL.

Jesus is really something... He can even redeem junior-high inflicted PE wounds. He's not messing around! :)

I'm already excited for week 4, which I will officially start on Tuesday. It will consist of;

3 minutes running
90 second walking
5 minutes running
2.5 minutes walking

And then all of that twice... WOOT!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Plodding Along!

I managed to make it through Week 3 - Day 2 today, and am eagerly anticipating a Sunday run to finish out Week 3. This is an entire week longer than I made it the last time I started this C25K program, and I'm feeling great!

It's funny to listen to all of the things that go through my head when I'm running, especially during the longer intervals. I'm discovering that running is just as much of a mental sport as it is a physical one. I was so pumped to start my run today, because I missed it yesterday and my body was actually craving it. The first 90 second interval went by smoothly and felt great. Then when I was half way through the first of two 3 minute intervals I was thinking, "AH! Did I really WANT to do this?!" Which is exactly what I said to myself during my run on Tuesday. I'm learning to keep putting one foot in front of the other when things get hard, with the knowledge that as soon as I make it through the hard part, there will be that wonderful reward waiting for me at the end; a warmed-up body that is strong and actually enjoying the run. Today that happened once I finished the second 3 minute interval. I had two "laps" to go (the treadmill keeps track of laps for you so you can see how far you've run) before I hit two miles, and even though I was in the cool-down phase of the C25K podcast, I figured I'd run one more lap. It felt great! It's amazing to find out that I'm capable of a lot more than I might initially think - if I'll just stick with it!

It makes me think of the same process in spiritual growth. When things get difficult and I feel like giving up on the Lord because of life circumstances, I've learned to just be in the moment and do what needs to be done. The hard parts do pass, and on the other side I always come out with a bigger understanding of God's love and His holiness. And I always find myself feeling much stronger than I initially thought. It's crazy how spiritual principles parallel the physical ones, huh?

Scripture calls us to cast all of our cares on Jesus and assures us that He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). That encouragement is in context of Scripture calling us to humble ourselves under God's mighty hand, because He gives grace to those who are humble but He opposes the proud. I pray that as you find yourself up against the difficult life circumstances that might come your way, that you would trust your heart to Jesus and allow Him to sustain you moment to moment. He wants your whole heart, and He deserves it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Mama Sue Slo-Serb Fundraiser!

God calls us to be on mission to spread His gospel to the world. The Scriptures talk about people either being "go-ers" or "senders" and there is no middle ground. At this season in our lives, Daniel and I are senders. This summer our church is sending a team of students to Slovenia and Serbia to conduct English Camps as an opportunity to build relationships and share the love of Christ and the truth of the gospel. Caring for a toddler hardly makes me an ideal candidate to be a "goer" on this specific trip - but I can be a sender! Now, Daniel and I don't have tons of money flowing in - sort of a side effect of rejecting the American dream and living on one income so that I can raise the kiddo the Lord has blessed us with - but we forked it over along with fellow members of Coram Deo Fellowship a couple weeks ago. Our small church of 200ish people put together over $7,000 in one offering. Way to go Coram! This helps to put the team about 1/3 of the way towards their goal - and I have a great idea for how to help them along even more!

Between June 1st and June 27th , I will be logging each mile I do while I'm training with the Couch to 5k program. In June I'll be working through week 6 through 9 of the Couch t 5k, and I estimate that I'll log about 30 miles during my training runs. I'm inviting you to consider pledging an amount per mile that will go directly the to Slovenia/Serbia 2009 Team. How can you get involved? Here are some easy steps;

  1. Email me at to make your pledge
  2. Receive a confirmation email which will include a projected total pledge
  3. Tell all your friends!
  4. Keep checking back here in June to chart my progress
  5. June 28th: check your email for an official mileage report and friendly pledge reminder
  6. Fork it over for global missions!

It's that simple!

It wouldn't be a blog without the Gospel

This is the point in my blog where I tell you that God designed you to be in relationship with Him, to love Him with your whole heart and to worship and trust Him. Great news, right? Bad news - we all fail at loving God with our whole heart. We all love ourselves first - if we're honest. Since God is infinitely worthy of all of our worship, the fact that we love ourselves first is really a cosmic tradgedy and infinite crime. But the best news is that God sent Jesus Christ to pay the punishment for our crime and raised Him from the dead so that we could be reconciled to God. In Jesus we have the free gift of God's grace, we're set free from slavery to sin, and we're given a new heart to love God like we should. We joyfully await the return of our King Jesus, when we will finally live in His presence face to face. Why the wait? Because God is patient and kind and wants many to come to salvation.

There - short story. Now, repent and trust Jesus! If you're already trusting in Him - woohoo! Now don't waste your life, go out and live each moment on mission to spread the good news of His grace and His soon coming return.

Why running - AKA - The Journey So Far

To explain why I'm on this journey - I'll have to share a little of my background.

When I was growing up and going through grade school and junior high, I was always the fat kid. I was extremely embarrassed about my weight and very shy. As a young child I had experienced sexual abuse, and I grew up with a general assumption that there must be something "off" or broken about me, and especially about my body. I did try a good number of different sports as a kid, but I quit more than I finished. I just never really understood exactly what was happening and didn't see the point. PE class was my own personal hell. Every time we had class I got cold sweats just thinking about the possibility of humiliation in front of my peers. All of my gradeschool PE memories involve me getting hit in the face with a ball. I can still see them coming at my face; a soccer ball in 2nd grade, a volleyball in 3rd, a basketball... but I don't know when that was. It seemed like all the other kids knew what they were doing and were strong and fast and scary. I opted out of physical fitness somewhere in junior high, and would fake that I was sick so I didn't have to listen to my peers mocking my pathetic attempts at badminton, basketball, softball, etc.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it to jump, throw, run or whatever fast enough to spare me from being made fun of. As far as I was concerned, my body and I were not friends. Food was my friend, though, and I would eat instead of deal with my feelings of shame, confusion and loneliness. Somewhere around 7th grade I finally got the memo that being a fat kid was never going to get me a boyfriend. I actually had a close guy friend tell me that I'd be the perfect girlfriend if I weren't so fat. The summer before my 8th grade year, I'd finally had enough. I spent the summer exercising in my room, using workouts from Seventeen Magazine. I also developed a very serious eating disorder. By the time 8th grade started I was down 30 lbs from the beginning of the summer and all of the kids at school noticed. The popular girls asked me to be their friend, and I started getting attention from boys. Unfortunately, it was the wrong kind of attention. During 8th grade I was sexually assaulted by a friend's older brother, and I blamed myself. I was the one who had wanted to be thin and attractive; my body had betrayed me yet again.

During my 9th grade year I started reading the Bible and encountered Jesus Christ there. I was drawn to the promise of new life, and especially to the idea of being dead to my old self. In my heart I took that a little too far and jsut told myself that the "old Becca Sue" was dead. All the icky things that had happened to me could just be stuffed in a box and forgotten. Which is exactly what I did. I gave up the purging and obsessive exercise that had gotten me down to 130 lbs, but I still ran to food to comfort the lagging anxiety and confusion I was feeling. Between freshman year and high school graduation I gained 20 lbs and hated every minute of it.

Fast forward to college. I'm a student at Multnomah Bible College. Our cafeteria had an all-you-can-eat buffet for every meal, which was bad news. In my first year I ate my way into an extra 25 lbs. Then during my sophomore year I managed to put on another 15lbs. In less than two years at school I'd gained 40 lbs because I was trying to cover up all of the hurt and confusion from my past. During my sophomore year I had a psychology class with a professor who also happened to be a sexual abuse recovery counselor. Upon his advice I started seeing someone in his office. A three year journey of examining my story and doing my life work really allowed me to face the abuse I had experienced, and to see that I could be honest with the Lord and trust Him to love and care for my innermost needs. The actual life skills of personal fitness and health were still a little outside of my reach though. I'd felt reconciled in my heart to the Lord, but still didn't really feel like I wanted to be friends with my body.

During that season I met and married my husband. Three months into our marriage we got pregnant. That's a lot of change for a girl who isn't quite comfortable in her own skin. Needless to say, my pregnancy was rough. All the emotional baggage that I'd carried about my body wore heavy on my shoulders as I tried to prepare for being a mother. Daniel and I tried to prepare for a natural labor but were both clueless first-timers. I tried to ignore the nagging doubts and fears in my mind, but underneath I knew that I saw my body as my enemy and feared that somehow it would fail me again.

The story of my son's birth is a long one, which I will save for another time. I will tell you that after choosing an unnecessary induction and ending up with a cesarean delivery because the hospital needed the room I was in and I'd taken too long - I had the final wake-up call that I needed to start dealing with the hate I had for my body. When I was finally able to hold my son, I was actually proud of what my body had been able to do in forming and nourishing and protecting him. I celebrated the beautiful new life that the Lord had formed in me.

I also mourned the loss of what could have been a beautiful and empowering birth experience. In researching to prepare for a future VBAC, I realized that the most foundational problem I faced during my first labor was that I was painfully disconnected from and afraid of my body.
I've spent all of my life pretending like it doesn't matter if I take care of my body. I've spent all f my life pretending like I don't care if I'm strong, and that it doesn't matter if I try or not. But the cesarean was a big slap in the face. It really does not glorify the Lord for me to ignore by body so hard that someone has to surgically deliver my babies. It's not fair to them and it doesn't bring glory to the Lord. In September of 2008 I joined a Curves gym and started working out. I've started the process of reconciling with, healing, and surrendering my body to the Lord as a living sacrifice.

I chose to start running because the old me believed that I couldn't do it. It's a way of defying all the lies that I've believed in my life that I'm too fat, slow, and weak. It's one small way of living my life on mission for Jesus. Children look to their parents as an example, and we're called in Scripture to teach them the way they should go. I don't want my son to grow up with a Mom who ignores, mistreats and abuses her body - I want my son to have a Mom who praises the Lord for creating her body and who nourishes and cares for her body and works hard to keep it strong and healthy. I don't want him to learn that food is an escape when things get too hard - I want him to have a Mom who takes her whole heart to the Lord and finds strength and courage in His arms. I don't want him to learn that being afraid and hiding from the world is an option in this life - I want my son to live his life on purpose, and to run hard after the Lord.

With all of that out there - I'd like to invite you to continue with me on this journey!

See Mama Sue Run!

Welcome to See Mama Run!

I finally managed to figure out this whole blog deal - and would like to invite you to follow me on a journey. Earlier this year I chose to start training for a 5k. I chose the "Couch to 5K" running program to get me started. Round one involved me and Babyman in a jogging stroller, jogging around Glendoveer Fitness Trail. I got shoes and a stroller for Christmas, and dreamed of someday running in a Disney World marathon.

By Day 2 of Week 2, thanks to some emberassingly ridiculous running form, my knees were absolutely toast. I hobbled around like a granny for almost two weeks and finally gave up all hope of ever being a runner. That is - until a couple weeks into our membership at LA Fitness. During my cardio workouts I was using the heart monitor on the treadmill to keep my heart in the correct "target range," and noticed that every time I went to do cardio I was having to work even harder to get my heart rate up. I saw my body getting stronger! One day I had to turn the speed up to 3mph, and I realized that I was jogging. Which got me thinking that I might just give the Couch to 5K thing a try again. I made it through week 1 without injury, and was actually feeling really strong. Then I found out in one of my online running groups that a bunch of the ladies were going to sign up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in March 2010. It seemed like a long shot, but I talked to Daniel about it and he encouraged me to sign up for it and promised to support me along the way.

So that's the short version! I'll be using this blog to share my journey with all of you (friends and family). I'm less than a third of the way through the program, but the Lord is already teaching me some really valuable lessons about what it means to run hard after Him. I look forward to sharing all of those lessons with you in the days to come!