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

My worst run ever!

A couple nights ago I was in a half marathon. It was part of a “coast to coast” event where the first leg of the competition was to run a half marathon in Disneyland, California then the second part, to run in a half marathon at Disney World, Florida in the same year.

I had several concerns going into this last half marathon— it started at 10 pm (going past my bed time), I was diagnosed with a UTI the day before, and the weather was supposed to be cold and rainy throughout the whole event.

Our night started out with us driving to EPCOT at 7:15 pm to catch a shuttle to the ESPN complex.

IMG_20141108_193344313We arrived at the starting line area at around 8 pm. They had a DJ playing music, so we danced a little, used the bathroom a couple of times, and took pictures. At around 9:45 pm, we headed to our corrals (I was assigned to “E” and my husband was in “F”). I took off at about 10:10 pm.

IMG_20141108_221104486Even though it had started to rain while I was waiting in the corral, I did well on the first six miles or so.

http://youtu.be/WgleTVDI0ww

The rain became steadier and large puddles started to form in the streets. I stepped on a couple of them, making my feet soaking wet. I was drenched from the constant rain, and I became extremely cold.

Both my legs and feet muscles started to cramp and I panicked because that had never happened to me before. I fumbled with my phone to call my husband; I only got his voice mail so I left him a message.

I slowed my pace, hoping that my husband would catch up to me. For the first time, I walked during a run— I felt defeated and I wanted to quit. After a couple of miles, I saw my husband. I was so relieved. He walked with me.

As we walked a little, he would encourage me to run. I would run until my muscles became tight again then we would slow our pace. As we arrived in Hollywood Studios, we decided to get our pictures taken— it gave me a chance to rest.

IMG_20141109_241448841IMG_20141109_243757771IMG_20141109_243847283Afterwards, we picked up the pace again. This pattern of slowing down and picking up the pace continued for a few more miles.  Then finally, we were at EPCOT. We knew we were getting closer to the finish line so we ran the last 1.1 mile. We crossed it together. My husband could have completed his first half marathon with a good finishing time, but he sacrificed that to help me cross the finish line.

RunFinishAs we ended the run and had our pictures taken with our metals, I thought about Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer…” (NLT). I am so thankful for my husband, but most especially for God— I wouldn’t have my husband if it wasn’t for Him, “…Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecc 4:12).

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Ten things I wish I would have known before running my first half marathon

Ten things I wish I would have known before running my first half marathon:

  1. Eat something light a couple of hours before the run (toast with jelly and green tea would have been good)
  2. Take a couple of energy blocks/chews an hour before the run
  3. Take an energy block, chew, or gel after the first mile
  4. Taken an energy block, chew, or gel at mile 3, 6, 9, and 12
  5. Choose music at a BPM that will keep me on pace
  6. Don’t carry a water bottle during the run— use a hydration belt or a “handy hydrator” instead
  7. If I want to take my phone, then use a runner’s waist pack instead of a fanny pack
  8. Wear the clothes I plan to use several days before the run to make sure it doesn’t chaff–  I’ll have time to find something else to wear if it doesn’t work
  9. Tuck the “aglets” under the laces on top of my feet so that they don’t jab my ankles as I run
  10. Be sure to take the drink at every water stop, and eat the food they give during the run.
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

Calories and Fat Calories explained

My husband and I are facilitating a study at the church on Wednesday nights—The Daniel Plan. Last week we discussed exercise and food.

I have always been a “calorie counter.” When I was in Jr. High School (now known as “Middle School”), I had a really good health teacher. He told us the importance of counting calories. Not only was it important to look at the calorie number on foods, but it was also important to look at the “Calories from Fat” or “Fat Calories” (products will use one or the other).

He explained to us that calories are good—we need calories to function. Calories were like gas for a car. We use calories even when we’re not doing anything—like sitting or just breathing. If we don’t have enough calories then we start to forget things or feel really weak.

When I look at foods, I look at both the “Calories” and the “Calories from Fat.” Everyone should consume a certain amount of calories per day: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/estimated-calorie-requirement

The calories in food tells me how many calories will count towards my daily intake. For example, if I am supposed to have 2,000 calories a day, then this candy bar will account for 210 of it.

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The problem though, is that 110 of those calories are fatty.

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The way I explain this is that “Calories” in general are like wood you burn in a fireplace. The higher number of “Fat Calories” or “Calories from Fat” indicates how wet the wood is that you are trying to burn. Wood is supposed to be dry so it can burn better, but if the wood is saturated with water then it will not burn very well—this is “Calories from Fat.” The lower the “Calories from Fat” the better your body will “burn” and use it– the higher the number, the wetter the wood.

Here is a picture of the calories for a particular cereal.

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The amount of calories per serving with milk is about the same as the candy bar, but the “Calories from Fat” or “Fat Calories” is much lower. This means that I can run a couple of miles to burn the 200 calories from the cereal, but since the candy bar has 110 “Fat Calories,” then that means I will have to run about four miles to burn off the candy bar.

My body will burn around 100 calories for one mile of running, but it will burn only about 25 “Calories from Fat” for each mile. In a way, my body will need to heat up to a point where it dries the wood (“Fat Calories”) so that it can be burned– that’s why I will need to run double the distance if I eat the candy bar. So it’s important to choose foods that are low in “Calories from Fat”/ “Fat Calories.”

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Energy pack

About a week ago I ran my first half-marathon. It was something I had always wanted to do when I was a teenager, but gave up on it when I struggled to run 15 minutes on the treadmill as an adult.

Surprisingly, I was doing great for the first few miles—even though I hadn’t eaten anything, I was full of energy. When I got to mile 9 they were handing out energy gel packs.

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I thought to myself, “I don’t need this!” But I grabbed a couple anyway.

After a little while, I started to notice that I was running a little slower and my pace was dropping. I felt like a car that was sputtering because its gas tank was getting empty. By mile 11 it was like my legs stopped working— it took so much energy to just lift them. Then my stomach started to growl. I quickly grabbed one of the gel packs and ate it, but it was too late—my body was shutting down.

Although I was moving forward, I felt like I was standing still. It was the longest two miles ever. When I crossed the finish line I was extremely tired—I couldn’t even smile. I was also very hungry. I grabbed three bananas and ate it, and then I gulped down a PowerAid then a whole bottle of water. I ate energy bars and everything else they handed to me.

Today I thought about how that energy gel pack in mile 9 was like a Sunday morning worship service.

Although we went to Saddleback church during the half-marathon weekend, the service did not feed my soul.

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As this past weekend came closer, there was threat of snow in our area. Secretly I had hoped the worship service would be canceled so I could stay in my pajamas and curl up under my fleece blanket.

Worship service was not canceled so I went to church. I had no idea that I needed that “energy boost” of spiritual food.

It had been two weeks since I was at a real worship service and my soul was tired and hungry.

Whenever I feel like staying at home rather than going to church for Sunday morning worship, I will remember what it felt like to skip that energy pack and run the last two miles of the half-marathon on my own energy.

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