Heart and Mind: Craving the right things

A couple of years ago I read the book Made to Crave by Lysa Terkheurst, and it really influenced my thinking. I don’t think that I’m alone, especially amongst the runner population, when I recognize that there is something in me, a craving, that pushes me to keep chasing down the miles.  I love this quote, “God made us capable of craving so we’d have an unquenchable desire for more of Him, and Him alone. Nothing changes until we make the choice to redirect our misguided cravings to the only one capable of satisfying them.”

During the month of October, I am focusing more on croimg_20161021_224000ss training and letting my body recover from my 100 mile race, so I thought it would also be a good time to make sure that my heart and mind are in a healthy spot too.  (I also feel a lot more motivation to stay healthy on all fronts now that I am raising a little girl who is watching my every move.) The book is primarily written with a focus on food, and I have definitely been there too.  Food can be the perfect salve to a long day, and my candy shelf in the pantry is proof that I don’t have much discipline in that area. (I love the quote that is listed at the end of this post–wow, so true!)

But in this season of my life, my “craving” has definitely been more about getting faster, running longer, and pushing my body harder.  I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with the physical satisfaction that I feel with running, but it is important to know your heart in these things.  My identity is not in running. My identity is in Christ.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has had issues with overindulging, whether it’s overindulging in food, exercise, or trying to keep the perfect house.  We were designed to crave, but those desires are meant to be focused on our Creator.  And when we get the cravings directed to the right Purpose, all of the other desires seem to fit into place too.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • The more we operate in the truth of who we are and the reality that we were made for more, the closer to God we’ll become.
  • Food isn’t sinful. But when food is what Satan holds up in front of us and says, “You’ll never be free from this battle.  You will always bounce from feeling deprived when you’re dieting to feeling guilty when you’re splurging. Victory isn’t possible.
  • Being ruled by something other than God diminishes our commitment and will make us feel increasingly distant from Him.
  • Yes, eating healthy and exercising get our bodies into better shape, but we were never supposed to get the satisfaction our souls desire from our looks.
  • Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
  • It is good for God’s people to be put in a place of longing so they feel a slight desperation. Only then can we be empty enough and open enough to discover the holiness we were made for. When we are stuffed full of other things and never allow ourselves to be in a place of longing, we don’t recognize the deeper spiritual battle going on.
  • Some actions are not sinful in themselves, but they are not appropriate because they can control our lives and lead us away from God.
  • I was made for more than being stuck in a vicious cycle of defeat. I am not made to be a victim of my poor choices. I was made to be a victorious child of God.
  •  Life as a Christ follower will always be a learning process of depending less on our own strength and more on God’s power.
  • Obviously, the core of Eve’s temptation was she wanted to be like God, knowing good and evil. But we can’t ignore the fact that the serpent used food as a tool in the process. If the very downfall of humanity was caused when Eve surrendered to a temptation to eat something she wasn’t supposed to eat, I do think our struggles with food are important to God.

This little baby is definitely watching my every move.  That’s a scary responsibility, but I’m thankful that God gave us wonderful friends and family to be part of our village.

Do you have a craving that you sometimes need to redirect? 

 

Book Report: Fixing Your Feet

We all know that feet have a critical role in running, but in endurance running, feet problems can make a race miserable and potentially compromise the finish.  img_20161010_221749I read Fixing Your Feet by John Vonhof as preparation for my recent 100 mile race, and I understand why this book is like the bible for foot care.  It was actually a pretty interesting read, even though the topic was all about feet.  I recommend any endurance runner to add this book to the shelf for reference!

To start, just to give credit where credit is due–feet are pretty incredible.  The foot is comprised of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons.  One of the most basic and most critical objectives of foot care is to reduce friction.  Heat, friction, and moisture all contribute to blisters, so reducing any of these factors helps keep feet healthy to the finish.

Here are a few of my favorite takeaways:

PRE RACE PREPARATION:

  1. Trim toenails and file them smooth.  I always knew to keep toenails trim, but a great tip is to file the tops and edges of the toenails.
  2. Remove calluses with a callus file.  I always thought that calluses were a good thing, but they can actually create more opportunity for friction, thus leading to blisters.  Keeping feet soft and supple is most often the best option.
  3. Make sure that there is no lint in socks or shoes, and keep all lining smooth against the foot.  This seems like a no-brainer, but I’m guilty of feeling my sock bunched funny, yet continuing to run because I didn’t want to stop.  The author is also a big proponent of gaiters, but I have never worn them.  I have lots of runner friends who swear by them though!

RACE DAY:

  1. Apply a layer of lubricant. The book lists a lot of lubricant options, but my favorite is zinc oxide, which helps seal out wetness.  Check out Desitin or Butt Paste for easy zinc oxide lubricants.
  2. Make sure socks are smooth around feet with nothing that could rub.  Always img_20161009_155301avoid cotton socks.  Socks made from synthetic fabric breathe and wick away moisture from skin to the outer surface to evaporate.  The book recommends different sock brands and lists their attributes.  For my race, I ended up using Smartwool and Injinji.  I did have some blisters, but it was really quite minimal for the distance.  I actually really like Injinji socks more than I expected, and will probably stick to Injinji for all of my longer trail runs.
  3. Do not tie laces too tightly.

DURING THE RACE:

If a hot spot develops during a race, there are a few different options to try to reduce friction to the spot

  1. Apply a pad–moleskin is a great option.  Put a dab of lubricant or tissue over the blister so that the sticky part of the moleskin does not stick to the blister/hotspot
  2. Apply tape–the author recommends Kinesio Tex tape. Clean the area and then apply a toughening agent like the compound tincture of benzoin.
  3. Rub a dab of lubricant–this could be any lubricant such as vaseline, Bodyglide, or Desitin.  My favorite is Butt Paste because we already have it on hand for Cadence.
  4. Worst case, use an energy gel wrapper to reduce friction between the shoe, sock, and foot.

POST RACE:

  1. Soak in Epsom salts. If I’m traveling, I fill the bathtub and sit on the edge. If I’m at home, I have a little cooler that I dip one foot at a time in.
  2. Drain blisters if they are in a pressure area.  Be careful if there is blood in the blister not to get it infected.  Use proper care with sterilization.
  3. For swollen feet, elevate and ice.

WHAT’S IN MY ULTRA FOOT CARE KIT:img_20161010_221527

  1. Nail clippers
  2. Little scissors
  3. Nail file
  4. Tweezers
  5. Kinesio Tex Tape
  6. Tincture of Benzoin
  7. Butt Paste
  8. Vaseline
  9. Moleskin
  10. Wipes, preferably alcohol wipes (to clean feet of lubricant if applying tape)

 

Do you have any foot tricks that have worked well for you?

wp-1461031543707.jpg

Post- Boston Marathon Epsom Salt Bath!  Lost my first toenail to that race.

Book Report: First Ladies of Running

I just finished reading Amby Burfoot’s book First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries who changed the Sport Forever.  I didn’t expect for a book to change the way that I view my position as a female runner, but this book made me both proud and honored to be part of the lineage of such remarkable women.

First Ladies of Running chronicles 22 women and the stories that brought them to running in a time when running was a man’s activity.  Some of these ladies joined men’s running clubs (because that was the only option), and trained really hard to be excellent (I was really impressed to read how most of the men welcomed them).  Others seemed to just go out and run sub 3 hour marathons months after just picking up the sport.  Either way, all of these women did more than just run; they helped advance women’s opportunities and promote equality.

I highly recommend this book to any female (or male) runner who appreciates good history.  Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book, although all of the stories deserve special accolades.

IMG_20160614_222314.jpg

Grace Butcher: “I believe we’re all here to discover our life’s purpose, and then once you’ve discovered it, for Heaven’s sake, get on with it. The saddest words I know are, “If only…'”

Julia Chase: “Running puts you in touch with your primal self and your deepest resolve.  You learn how to deal with pain and other obstacles.  You realize that it’s not important to do conventional things.  You can do whatever feels worthwhile to you.”

Doris Brown: “When you don’t get what you want, you can let it drive you up or down. The more heart and soul you put into it, the better your chances.  Besides, the best things always take a while.”

Katherine Switzer: “It worked just the way my dad said it would. I didn’t have many skills, but no one could match me running up and down the field.  So I learned an important lesson: Running isn’t just about running.  It’s about the sense of empowerment you get from going the distance.  That empowerment can help you succeed in so many other activities.”

Katherine Switzer: “That race fulfilled all my dreams.  In fact, I think the Olympic Marathon was in many ways as important as giving women the vote.  Everyone had come to accept what women could do in the social and intellectual realms, but it took the Olympic Marathon to show the entire world how physical and powerful women could be.”

Sara Mae Berman: “I liked the way that running is different for girls than ice skating, where you have to be pretty, or swimming, where no one sees you sweating under the water, or equestrian events that are so very genteel.  Running takes a lot of hard effort and sweat, and you’re wearing clothes that aren’t much more than underwear. I didn’t run to promote myself, but to promote women’s running.”

Joan Ullyot: “Running gave me great health.  I feel so much better when I’m running.  How could anyone not exercise? It gets me outside every day to appreciate Mother Earth and Father Sky. I had grown up thinking I was terrible at sports, but running taught me that I could be an athlete.  I could be successful with my body as well as my mind.  And it made me so happy.”

Jackie Hensen: “The key is consistency and hard work.  You can’t pass the test unless you’ve done all your homework.  Things can go wrong, and things will go wrong.  You can’t control all the variables in your life. That’s why you have to prepare 100%. You’ve got to give it your absolute best.”

Miki Gorman: “Running gave me so much more self-confidence that my daily life became totally different.  I wasn’t timid anymore. I said what I believed in and what I wanted. I was still shy perhaps.  That is my nature. But I didn’t have fears any longer that kept me from speaking up for myself.”

Miki Gorman: “I learned that the looks and size of one’s body are not important, and that anyone can be competitive.  I gained so much confidence from my running.  I finally realized that being small didn’t have to hold me back.”

Marilyn Bevans: “All my life, I believed if you trained hard, you could get better.  You might never be the best, but at least, you could be learning. At Springfield, we trained hard, and I picked up lots of new training methods. When you have a solid work and learning ethic, it always pays off one way or another.”

Marilyn Bevans: “In my life, it also gave me peace, quiet, and thinking time. When there was a lot going on, it got me out into nature and away from the chaos. It makes you tough, too, from battling with the cold, the wind, the rain, the blizzards, the hills, the heat, and all.  You learn that you can get through stuff. It helps you see what else you can achieve in your life.”

Patti Catalano: “I’d like to think that I helped lay the bricks for other women to follow and to run on. I feel like I was a bridge from some of the earlier women to Joan Benoit. The progress we made is so amazing. When I began running, I didn’t know anything about women’s running. I didn’t even know that we weren’t supposed to be able to run distances. I just wanted to burn calories and get skinny legs.”

Grete Waitz: “The last part of the race in Central Park was very difficult. My legs were cramping, and I wanted to stop. But I didn’t know how to get to the finish except by running there, so I just kept going. It was hard, but at least I didn’t get lost.”

Grete Waitz: “I am in good form and I hope to run well on Sunday.” And after: “I knew I was in good condition, and I felt okay today, so I was able to win.”

Joan Benoit: “Faith is the key to everything. You can never let anyone or anything deter you from your best efforts. There are no shortcuts in life, or in the marathon. The marathon is a metaphor for life. You have to run your own race at your own pace.”

Oprah Winfrey: “Life is a lot like a marathon. If you can finish a marathon, you can do anything you want.”

Chris McKenzie: “If I can carry a baby for 9 months, I can run a 10-k.”

 I admit that I did not know who most of these women were before reading this book, but wow! What an inspiration!

Is there anyone who has been pivotal in helping you love the sport of running? After reading this book, there are a lot of names that I might need to add to my list!