Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Hivities, Canaanites, and Hitties in my life

I know I haven't done much of an update lately, so I thought I would do one now...I tend to not feel like sitting down and writing a blog when I'm feeling good, so in this case, consider no news good news! Mostly...

I think I can always come up with something that's not going as well as I would like. If my stomach has been cooperating, chances are my MCAS is acting up and vice versa. Case in point: this past week I had 2 smoke incidences. The first happened while I was at one of my classes Wednesday night. During the break in between sessions I had been sitting with a friend just talking. A guy walked by who had very obviously been smoking. I started flushing and coughing almost immediately. My friend I had been talking with happened to be an ER nurse so she left the room with me to make sure I was going to be okay. Once I got away from the smoke I was fine, but the smell was so strong in our classroom that I ended up deciding to leave class early so I didn't get exposed to any more smoke. Episode 2 happened at school on Thursday while I was studying for my last final (!!!). Apparently the powers that be decided that we needed motion sensing lights (not new carpet after the toilets overflowed last year...new lights...) and the guys who were installing them would leave about every 30 minutes to go smoke. Again, REALLY??? I get that there is no smoking allowed in the building, but when smoking is allowed on campus, SMOKE GETS IN THE BUILDING. Sorry, mini-rant, but really. I don't think people understand how much of an issue this can be for some people....I get that some people want to smoke and that is there decision and I respect their choice even if I don't agree with it, but there needs to be some sort of regulation because there is a huge health risk (not just for me) with smoke being in the buildings. I couldn't even sit in my office on Friday because there was still a huge smoke smell lingering...

Anyway, enough of my ranting. Thankfully I was able to catch them early enough that I could get away and not going into a full reaction. I guess I'm learning something! But honestly, it can be frustrating. I feel like I'm standing on a balance board and trying to stand in the middle and keep either end from touching. When I get my GI issues "off the ground" the MCAS seems to flare or if my POTS symptoms are low then I'm having evening long dates with the porcelain throne...I just want to get everything in balance and feel like things are under control.

And there's the kicker...I was praying about this the other day. Not that God would take it away because I believe strongly that He is using this is so many ways to bless me and others in ways I can't fully see right now. I wasn't complaining (at least not that time) but asking for strength because I was feeling so worn down. And I did ask God why there always had to be something. I'm not questioning why I deal with these medical issues, but sometimes it just feels overwhelming. I didn't get an answer that day...but a few days later I was reading my Bible and came across these verses:

"I will send terror ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites.But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply and threaten you. I will drive them out a little at a time until your population has increased enough to take possession of the land."
Exodus 23:28-30

God is telling the Israelites that He will not forget His promise to give them the land and is going to drive out their enemies for them. Except He is not going to do it all at once...why? Because He knows they wouldn't be able to handle it  yet. There were not able to manage all the land God wanted to give them on their own yet so He was going to give it to them little by little and would prepare them step-by-step.

Now if I take this verse and apply it to myself...my GP can be the Hivites, my POTS the Canaanites, and MCAS the Hitties. God is saying He is not going to take them all away at once. Maybe He knows I'm not capable of dealing with whatever may come if I didn't have these struggles. Maybe He knows that without reminders of my weakness I would become prideful and strive to do everything in my own strength. Maybe He knows that if I was healed instantly (just like if the enemies were driven out immediately) I would have less of a reason to rely on Him for my daily strength. Maybe He knows how much I need to see His faithfulness over and over again, rather than all at once because I'm human and I forget so easily.

What's the common theme there?? MAYBE HE KNOWS - no maybe about it. The most incredible part of those verses for me is that God explained to the Israelites WHY He wasn't going to drive out their enemies all at once...and He didn't have to. God doesn't own us any explanations. He is God and we are not, end of story. But God loves us deeply and because of that love, sometimes (not always) gives us a glimpse of His plan. For us now it might be through the stories in the Bible like this one. It gives me a reminder that HE KNOWS and that is enough. 

I don't know why I can't seem to get my balance board perfectly balanced, but I know the One who can balance it for me and more importantly be there with me. I have seen times when things are in sync and it's great! I have also had times where it seems like I'm hitting the ground on every side and feeling like I'm falling off the board. But there is beauty in those times too...because while I'm flailing my arms wildly realizing how little control I have, my God is always right there to catch me and hold me in His arms.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Race Report: Hall of Fame Half Marathon

Sorry it has been so long since I've posted...life has been crazy! Lots has happened and maybe I'll have a chance to update on everything but for now I'm just going to do a race report for a half marathon I ran last weekend.

I went into this race a bit unsure of how things were going to go because I hadn't run more than 10 miles all year...and I had only run 10 miles ONCE. When I signed up for this race it wasn't to actually race it, but I had been hoping to be able to run well...NOPE! Plans change and I went into it hoping I would just finish and not have any issues during or after.

This race was in Canton, OH, and my parents came out and met me for the race. That was super fun, and I was really glad to see them. My mom and I used to run/workout together every day (literally, 6+ times a week). I miss that sooooo much, so being able to run races with her is really special. I was so looking forward to that I was able to more or less overlook my seriously low mileage and just hope for the best!

Packet pickup was okay. It was held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and that was the theme for the race. Finding the numbers and shirts was easy, and they had a mini NFL style combine set up on the football field you could go through. Then all participants got free admission to the HoF which is where the "expo" was. I put expo in quotes because it was not much at all. There were maybe 4-5 tables in a small room in the HoF and then a tent outside with race merchandise. This was a first year race so hopefully in the future it will be better, but we were seriously disappointed with the expo.

Getting to the race was a bit of a pain; we had to park about 15 minutes away and ride school buses to the start. Going TO the race was fine, there were plenty of buses and it was early in the morning so there was very little traffic. Trying to the leave the race was another story...for whatever reason the organizers decided to have the bus route CROSS the race course. It took us about 40 minutes to get back to the cars once we got on the bus to return because we sat for quite a long time to let runners pass. Now I just finished a race myself so I'm not arguing that the runners shouldn't have had the right of way...I'm just saying they needed to choose a different route for the buses!

The race itself was great, though! As with any race it was a bit chilly at the start; and just like any race I was concerned I was going to freeze...actually it probably wasn't as cold as some races have been, but it still felt frigid at the start. Once we were moving I was more or less fine. The course started and finished at the HoF and ran around and through Canton. In most areas the entire road was closed so all the runners were able to spread out across all lanes of traffic. They had repaved a lot of the course since winter so most places had brand new asphalt for running. That was really good news because when we drove the course maybe 6 weeks before the race, the pothole situation was serious!

There were 2 major parts of the course that stuck out to me before the finish on the football field. The first was around mile 5. The biggest hill on the course was somewhere between miles 5 and 6. It really wasn't much of a hill so the grade wasn't the issue, it was that the footing for this part of the course was on brick...and not smooth brick either...My mom had been dealing with a hip injury and having to watch your step the entire time we were on the brick was a bit nerve-wracking. Thankfully, the brick section was short-lived and soon we were back on asphalt.

The second part that I remember pretty clearly was miles 9-12 (ish). This part was down and back in a really cool park and then past the McKinley Memorial before returning to the HoF for the finish. The park was really nice and it was cool to see the other runners on the opposite side. It was nice having this section toward the end of the race, too, because once we finished the best part of the course, we were on our way to the finish.

The race ended back on the football field at the HoF. It was a good post-race celebration with lots of music and snacks for the runners. The race was a decent size, but didn't feel too crowded at the finish. We were all able to meet up easily after the race and find what we needed.

Overall, I really enjoyed this race. It was a first year event, so hopefully in future years some of the glitches will be fixed! I would definitely run this race again (especially if it means I get to see my parents!!) and maybe one day I'll be able to actually train and RACE instead of just running. We will see =)