Get Up and Run!

My first half marathon was a little disappointing for me because my body crashed at mile 10 and I felt I could have made a much better time, but my time in subsequent runs kept getting worse. The one I ran last month was my worst, granted I wore shoes I usually don’t wear and it was cold and rainy and I had leg cramps during the run, but it discouraged me so much.

I didn’t want to run again because I had such a horrible experience, but about a couple of weeks afterwards, I realized that I couldn’t let that last run stop me from running—I had to keep going. Now I am learning how to run all over again, starting slowly and finding the joy in running.

I thought about how our Christian walk can falter— maybe we had a bad experience with someone at church and we stopped attending worship, maybe we had the intention of reading through the Bible in a year and after a few months we stopped— anything we wanted to do to grow but the opposite happened. Sure, we can “quit” but how is that beneficial?

There’s no coincidence that running and finishing the race is often mentioned in the Bible:

The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race… in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize… So run to win… run with purpose in every step… let us strip off every weight that slows us down… And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary…

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize… on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless… I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race…” (Ecc 9:11, 1 Cor 9:24, 26, Hebrews 12:1, Isa 40:31, Phil 3:14, Phil 2:16, 2 Tim 4:7).

The New Year is fastly approaching— get up and run!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

GOD IS GREATER

I’ve read James 1:2-3 several times before, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow,” but I never really understood what it meant until now.

Our family is under major attack—it feels like the gates of hell have opened and Satan’s minions are in full force, but even though we are going through these trying times we know that God is greater. In fact, we are now even closer to God than we were several days ago.

I believe that there is a spiritual battle taking place in our churches, and some of our loved ones have been taken captive by the enemy, “We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).

With the strongest conviction I have ever had, I keep shouting within my being, “GOD IS GREATER!” Those who are spiritually dead in Him can be raised from the dead— dry bones can live again. Those who have shut their eyes, ears, and heart to God can again see, hear, and know Him. No one is too far lost that he/she cannot be found by Him.

We need to pray, “It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons… to knock down the devil’s strongholds… Pray in the Spirit at all times… Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers…” (2 Cor 10:3-4, Eph 6:18).

I don’t know what you are encountering today, but know that you are not alone: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life… Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you… Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Matt 6:25, Isa 41:10, Joshua 1:9).

GOD IS GREATER!!!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Flying Pig Half Marathon

Today I ran my second half marathon. I knew going in that there would be hills—I even heard that there was a three mile incline. I was nervous. Conquering the hills, though, was something I needed to do.

I was on the cross country team in my senior year of high school. I joined the team because I wanted to be active and that was the sport I could do that time of the year.

Before cross country, I had never run. I started with running one mile, then slowly working my way up to running 6 miles. I wasn’t a very fast runner, and my biggest achievement was placing 20th on one of our meets (I actually got a ribbon for it).

One of the worst meets I had was at our home meet. I was doing fine until I came upon a very large hill. I tried my best to run it, but I couldn’t. I cried because I was so disappointed in myself.

I felt that running the Flying Pig Half Marathon was a way of redeeming me for that disappointing run back in high school.

The half marathon started with a run over the bridge into Kentucky and back.

ImageI ran it! There was another bridge and I ran that. Then there was a small hill, and I ran that too. There were more minor hills, but I ran those.

Eventually, I faced the “king of all hills”—the hill that leads up to Eden Park. I started running this hill and I was fine for a little while but two-thirds of the way up I had to walk because I felt like I was going to pass out. Finally, I reached the top. It was so beautiful to see the river below. I started to run again. Going downhill was incredible—I sprinted.

There were more hills, all relatively smaller than the one I just climbed and I ran those. Then I came to the 12 mile mark. I was tired but it was almost over. I tried to keep my pace but I was slowing down. I was jogging now.

That felt like the longest mile, but then I saw the “Finish Swine” (aka “Finish Line”) in the distance. There was a slight incline to get there but I kept going forward and I sped up.

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I heard the crowd cheering and wondered what was going on. I looked to my left and saw the first marathon runner arriving. That was neat.

I crossed the “finish swine” and got my medal. I felt like crying because I was so happy.

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I may not have finished at the time I wanted, but I felt I accomplished a lot—I finally felt vindicated. I ran several hills and I made it to the finish line!

Image“…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary” (Hebrews 12:1-2, Isaiah 40:31, NLT).

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

It happened slowly…

It happened slowly. First it was just a taste… a sliver, then what started out as a bite became several mouthfuls. That’s what happened during the days between Christmas and New Year Day. Not only did I eat things I vowed not to eat, but I didn’t work out like I should have. I fell behind on my exercises and I gained some weight.

Now I am trying hard to get back to the point of where I was before Christmas.

As I was running today, I realized that what I was doing should have been done all along, and not because the “big run” is in two weeks.

I should have been well prepared so that I could run a half marathon tomorrow; instead, I was eating like a glutton and wallowing around like a sloth. I think the same thing can happen with our spiritual life.

In Matthew 24:38-39 and 44, it says, “In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes… You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (NLT).

I am scrambling right now to increase my endurance because of my upcoming run, and in the same way if people knew when Jesus was coming back, I think more people would be scrambling to read the Bible and to study His Word.

“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should…” (1 Cor 9:25-27).

Running is hard, and studying the Bible can be hard too but we should discipline ourselves to do this. I need to be physically fit now so that I can run a race today; and I need to be spiritually fit today so that I can be ready for Christ’s return.

I need to train myself to read God’s Word the same way I am training myself for a run—with intentionality and determination.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

A new day

I saw my doctor the other day—it was nothing serious. I had been running on my tread mill and felt my heart jump. Then after a couple more miles of running, I felt another jump. It was really hard for me to complete my run so I stopped.

Anyway, while at the doctor’s office, I was weighed. I had noticed that for the past several months that I had plateaued in my weight loss, in fact, it almost felt like I had even gained a little weight. Once I stepped on the scale I realized that I really had gained a few pounds from the last time I was there.

Since I was having an issue with my heart, the doctor ordered an EKG. When he saw the results he said that my heart was “perfect.” Then my husband’s physical appointment followed. I was there when the doctor explained to him about exercise and eating fresh vegetables and fruits.

After getting home, I looked for information about jump starting my weight loss and found an article online (http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/bob-harper-jumpstart-skinny).

The visit to the doctor’s office and the article made me realize that I had slowly slipped back to my old eating habits—eating more bread, eating more meats, eating desserts, etc. No wonder I had gained weight even though I was still running! So for the next three weeks, I will watch what I eat and follow the plan listed on the website.

I tried to start yesterday, but at the end of the day I had cake while celebrating my daughter-in-law’s graduation from nursing school.

“…we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day” (2 Cor. 4:16, NLT).

Today is a new day!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Run with a purpose

For a while now I have known about my first half marathon run in January but I did not train for it like I should have. After getting back from my vacation in late October, it was difficult for me to get back into a routine.

I should have taken my training more seriously months ago—even training during my vacation, but I kept thinking that January was so far away and that I had a lot of time to prepare for it. Now we are nearing the end of November, which means that I only have a month and a half to train.

I thought about the Scripture verses that referenced running and training:

1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “All athletes are disciplined in their training… So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”

Hebrews 12:1, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Many times I do not take my spiritual training very seriously. I am lax in my Bible reading and prayer because I get busy with other things.

I am pressured to push myself and run now even when I don’t feel like running because I know when my race will take place, but I think I am not as serious in my spiritual training because there is no set day when Jesus will return:

“…be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him… Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt 24:44, 42).

I think I have to change my mindset—I’m not just training for Christ’s return, I am currently in the race—I am being timed and I need to  finish strong.

Every waking moment is time on the spiritual track and I can’t stop or quit—I have to keep running. I now have a different understanding of Isaiah 40:28-31,

“The Lord is the everlasting God… He will not grow tired or weary… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… they will run and not grow weary.”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Pressing forward

I started actively running in early January of this year. Part of the reason I started was because I didn’t like the way I looked. I thought I had gained a lot of weight, and I was afraid that if I didn’t do something about it then I would continue to gain weight. I didn’t realize how much damage I had done to my body—I had eaten so many unhealthy foods– quarter-pound hotdogs, chocolates, cookies, ice cream, fried chicken, hamburgers, etc. I thought that since I had been running consistently for a couple of months (and I had stopped eating fatty foods) that I would have a flat stomach by now, but after years of gluttony I can’t expect to shed fat “overnight.”

Then I thought about how Christians are supposed to be like Jesus, but that process can take a long time. For many years, I barely read my Bible, and I did not have a desire to go to Sunday school—I only went to Sunday morning worship. Although I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 19-years-old, it’s only been since October of last year that I’ve been reading my Bible and praying consistently.  Progress takes time—sometimes a lot of time. We need to be patient with ourselves— we will fail and “mess up,” but we need to forgive ourselves; then we need to focus on the next day rather than looking back.

I may want a flat stomach now, but I have to be consistent with my workouts and not expect immediate results. In the same way, I have to keep pressing forward in my Christian walk—I can’t expect to be like Jesus unless I keep reading and studying His Word, and I have to keep in mind that change will be slow. I can’t get discouraged because things are not changing as fast as I would like—I just have to keep focused on the end goal. Hebrews 12:1-2 has the following, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…” (NLT).

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti