What Religion and Science Have to Say About Our Bodies

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about religion and science. There’s this myth that the two aren’t compatible.

A story to prove it: I remember telling my graduate adviser that I was in the process of discerning if I was called to be a priest in the Episcopal Church. (Turns out both the committee and I felt it wasn’t what I was called to. And now I’m Catholic, so it’s certainly not what I’m called to. But I digress.) My adviser – a pro-science and oft-mocker of religion – laughed that the department must not be doing it’s job if it was teaching students science and sending them into religious life.

I’m sure he was joking, but also sure he thought I couldn’t be both a scientist and a Christian. Probably because whenever he hears those words together, the meaning is different than the person than I am. Just Google “Christian scientist”. I am not that. But I am a scientist who is Christian. A social scientist who is Christian, at least. Sad that there is such a distinction between the way those words are ordered.

In the last few years of undergrad, and in graduate school, my science focus was on embodiment. For me, with my anthropology background, that means the process in which people “literally incorporate biologically, the social and material world in which we live.” Social influences impact the physical body. Human beings are biological and social beings.

Uh, sounds exactly like a lot of Theology of the Body quotes to me. Here are some examples (all from John Paul II unless otherwise noted):

  • “Once you realize that you are a human being with a body and soul, it should change how you use your body. What you do with your body, you do with your soul.” -Jackie Francois
  • “Through the ages, many philosophers have spoken of man as though he were divided into two distinct parts: soul and body. This isn’t the biblical view, though. In Genesis, the fundamental division is not between body and soul, but between dust and breath (life)—between unformed matter and living beings.”
  • “Yes, man is a physical being. But already, on the first page of the Bible, we learn that man can’t be explained as a merely physical being—a collection of cells, tissues, and organs. Human beings transcend the categories of chemistry and biology. Ultimately, man can only be understood in relation to God. This great mystery of creation—that we are created in God’s image—is the key reference point for understanding all aspects of humanity, including our sexuality.”
  • “The body reveals the person. This phrase tells us all there is to know about the body. Science can examine our flesh in minute detail, down to our cells and even our DNA. But no amount of scientific exploration can replace the truth that our bodies reveal us, giving form to our innermost being and unique personality. Our bodies are sacramental—they make the invisible visible.”

Okay, so maybe these quotes use “soul” instead of “social”. And there is a difference between soul, society, culture, etc. But they need to be brought together more often than they are. Because to me, medical anthropologist and Theology of the Body scholars are speaking the same language.

So I’m on a mission to really study, ponder, pray about, and figure out how to bring religion and science together on the issue of sex and sexuality. Particularly with women’s bodies. I found courses that looked really interesting to me about these sorts of things at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute. Like this, this, this, and this. Since there’s a list of books in the descriptions of those courses, I might try to read those and write about my thoughts here.

I’m afraid things will be difficult to read. And that I won’t truly digest them until I’ve had discussions with others about them. So…follow along and comment if you’re interested? Please?! Also let me know if there any other books or articles I should read related to this topic!

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True Greatness

NOTE: I wrote this and then never published it! This was a reflection on the daily readings from months ago. Ooops…

Readings today from my Ignatius Study Bible have two headings: “Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection” and “True Greatness”. At first I was looking at them separately, but then I realized they must go together for some reason. Why else would these readings be attached for one day?

My first thought was that this was a story I read during my training period of the job I just left. I’ve even written about it before in this blog. So I felt guilty, since this reading was the first one without this job, and I had such a strong memory of reading this and loving it for my job.

Until I eased into the discomfort and asked God to show me what He wanted me to learn from that experience. Clearly He gave me that season of life for a reason. And I didn’t need to feel guilt for not being in that season anymore. After all, it was God Himself who brought me into this new season.

So what kept coming up for me was family. It’s why I left my old job and took this new job, with much more normal hours. And what struck me about these readings was that Jesus took a child and said that anyone who received a child accepted Him and the Father. My Ignatius Bible notes said that this was a figurative expression for the weak and helpless. But in my life, Jesus’ statement is literal. Having children and focusing on family first is true greatness for me.

This helped me see the connection between the two headings much more clearly. Because as I read the passages over again with this idea of family and children stuck in my head, I was struck by the statement that the “Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him.” With the framework of family and children, I just imagined how much anxiety I will probably have when I have children and send them into the world. There are so many scary things that could lead children in the wrong path. I can’t shield them from it all, because I can’t be there with them all the time. And even if I could, my future children will have this beautiful gift of free will and could still choose a path that hurts them, even with me standing right there with them. I do it to God all the time. I’m sure my kids will do it to me.

And yet there will be hope. There is always resurrection. I’ve seen it in my own life. I could definitely say my dignity and worth was harmed by many of my own decisions and actions. And these decisions and actions were based on the dominant culture and world…the things that were not truth and beauty. But, I have been redeemed. And I can only have hope that if my future children make decisions that harm them like I did, the Spirit will move in them so that they can use their free will to turn back to God.

I didn’t understand how the sentence that transitions between the two headings went together, yet I felt they did. “But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him.” Which then led to a discussion about who was great. Huh?

This is where the Drum Major Instinct came in, but in a different way than I read it in my last job. Y’all, fear leads to comparison and striving to be the best…and if that’s not reigned in for God, it leads to problems. We all have desires for recognition and importance. Desires for attention, to be praised, to be first. People who live their lives out of fear try to keep up with everyone else. Get this coat because it’s better, buy this house because it’s bigger, drive this car because it’s more expensive. They want so much to matter that they grasp to matter in ways that…well, don’t matter. And when this desire to matter goes too far without God, it ends up with people trying to push other people down in order to push themselves up. Because they are so afraid that they aren’t worthy and don’t matter.

This could lead to exclusivism. Yes, I am afraid of sending my kids into a world that doesn’t love and obey Jesus Christ. But I don’t want to shield any future kids from the world so much that they become isolated. Or worse, self-righteous. This is what my fiance experienced growing up in a Catholic home. Anyone who wasn’t deemed a good Catholic was deemed unworthy to interact with…but since no one was a “good Catholic,” that meant very little interactions outside of the family. God does not want us to live our faith in isolation. God wants us to be in community. Even if it means being in community with people who will kill us. Because being in community allows His light and truth and beauty to shine in a place that needs it the most.

And now here’s what true greatness is, what our drum major instinct should be geared towards – service. Jesus says that in order to be the greatest, we must be first in love, moral excellence, generosity…and we must serve. And as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “True greatness comes not by favoritism, but by fitness.” A statement that struck me since this was the first day in a month that I have exercised. I told myself I was resting after my last half marathon, and a few days of that is fine. But a month…no, I had just started giving into my tendency to be lazy. But after I worked out, I had the thought to spend some time in prayer and in the word of God. And later I will go to Adoration and then to Mass. So this highlights what I have understood so clearly the last few years – physical self-discipline can truly strengthen spiritual self-discipline.

And that leads to the other thing I was confused about in these readings. Why would Jesus tell the apostles…who were males that never married and never had kids…that having a family is what would make them truly great? I was very certain that Jesus was saying that the family was the true way to be great. And I felt confident this was correct when I read the first part of Letter to Families by St. John Paul II. There was even a line that said “the family is the first and the most important.” Well then, why tell men who would never have a family that that’s what they needed to be great?

Until I realized that having a family in the way I was imagining is not what true greatness looks like for everyone. What vocation will strengthen my self-discipline? What will increase my fitness in love and service? I can already tell that being married and having kids is what it will take for me to learn what it means to put myself last and serve others. And that looks like a family in the sense of marriage and kids. BUT maybe it’s another family that strengthens someone in love and service. Like, the family of a parish. A priest is the father to his church members. A bishop is a father to his diocese. A nun is a mother in a family that just looks different than mine.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Every person is a child of God, and we must receive them. For me, that means (hopefully receiving a biological child). For a priest, that means receiving the children God gives him in his parish. For nuns who serve those in need, it means receiving any person who is placed in their care.

We are all called to love and serve, and that is true greatness.

Please Forgive Me

Clearly I haven’t been on here in a while. The last post was an early week of my half marathon training…and I finished that half marathon two months ago.

I’m not even going to pretend that I totally meant to post and things just got crazy. I didn’t. I decided to put this little blog on the side while I focused on my full-time work, Catholic Women Run, and wedding planning.

…oh yeah, was I even engaged by the last time I wrote a post on here? Well, I’m engaged. Yay! Been so for about five months. And we’re getting married in October, so I’m already over halfway through the engagement. Yet this little piece of the internet hasn’t heard anything about it.

In yet another life change that I haven’t mentioned here yet, I got a new job. That change I don’t feel as bad about not writing about, since it was pretty sudden. I had been looking for a new job since January, without much luck. And then a job I applied to on a whim got back to me and I had an phone interview that day, then an in-person interview four days later, then an offer one day later. The next Monday I had to give my two-weeks’ notice to my current workplace, and now I’m just twiddling my thumbs in the office since I’ve wrapped up a lot but have two more days of work before I start my new job.

Lots of changes. All of which I am so eternally grateful for.

So why back to this blog? Well, I’m reading Jennifer Fulwiler‘s newest book, One Beautiful Dream. In it, she talks about balancing her family life with her passion for writing. And just today, I read a post from Maria over at Running Myself Together about just writing, and not letting perfection get in the way of that. And while listening to the Pray As You Go app in my car on the way to work today, which I try to do every day but most of the time happens sporadically, I had an itch to write about my reaction to the readings. And the only place I could think of to do that was here.

Yes, I have a space for my writing on Catholic Women Run. But that space is no longer just mine, since it’s for so many Catholic women who have decided to share why their faith and fitness go hand in hand. And that’s great. I love that God has helped me to carve out that space.

But I also just need a place to be me. Sometimes that means talking about running. Sometimes that doesn’t. I was trying to move this blog in the direction of a running blog. Talking about how many miles I ran, how fast, and that journey. But running isn’t my passion. Connecting my faith to ordinary things is my passion. Running just happens to be one of the ordinary things I connect to my faith.

The only certain thing in my life are my constant thoughts about my Catholic faith and how it relates to my everyday life. So that’s what this blog will me. Random thoughts. Word vomit. Writing that allows me to just get down what I’m thinking, so that I can process it somehow.

And I didn’t even write about my reaction to the readings today. Which was my original intent for this post. Maybe tomorrow. 😛

Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon Training: Week 2

Did you notice the difference in that title? That’s right! I’ve decided that my half marathon for the Catholic Women Run challenge will be Run the Bluegrass in March, right here in Lexington, KY. I also already know that I’ll be doing the Horse Capital Marathon in May. But we’ll ignore that for now. 😉

This post is also quite a few days late. I want to post my week every Sunday. But this weekend was crazy. Just like this week has been. And last week. Somehow, the holiday season is always like that, even if I don’t even go all out.

But anyway, here was my week. At least as much as I can remember.

Monday: This time I went to Pilates at the Y, rather than yoga. Part of that was because it’s earlier, and I actually needed to get to work at a certain time. The other reason because I just wanted to try the new class out.

But…I honestly don’t remember how it was now. Except for the fact that I realized how much I slouch throughout the day after we had to stand in pilates pose for a while. I really need to work on my posture!

Tuesday: Group run! I’m starting a local group of the Catholic Women Run challenge for women at my parish. Last week no one came but myself. This week, two people came! Double the amount!

Distance – 3.15 miles; Duration – 39:36; Average Pace – 12:35; Splits – 14:37, 12:54, 13:29, 11:26; Weather – cold (but I forgot to write down the exact temperature). CD: 4. How I felt – Besides cold, great! Prayer takeaway: God knows what I need more than I do. I was super stressed and anxious about work, and really hoped no one would show up for this run so I could just run by myself. But running with people really helped me to get my mind off everything. Probably more so than if I had run by myself and still been thinking about what was stressing me out.

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I forgot that group runs tend to be slower. Plus it was dark. And it was very cold. I didn’t really start warming up until the first mile and a half. And that was WITH about three layers, gloves, and a hat. Since I’m doing this every Tuesday, I’ll just need to remember that Tuesday will be my easy run day. Then I’ll push myself harder on Thursdays.

Wednesday: I did some sort of strength routine. Don’t remember off the top of my head what it was, though. Oops.

Thursday: Another run! This one on the treadmill so I could push myself. Although the stats suggest that I didn’t really push myself. Hmmm….

Distance – 3 miles; Duration – 31:07; Average Pace – 10:20; Splits – unfortunately can’t figure this out for the treadmill; Weather – N/A. CD: 6. Prayer takeaway: I don’t remember, since I didn’t jot anything down. JEEZ, I need to work on keeping track of things!

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This isn’t a picture of my run. But it is a picture of my post-run stretch!

I used this 3 mile treadmill speed workout that I found on Pinterest. I had my warm-up pace be 5.5, and my recovery pace be 5, though. I also only started at 6, then worked my way up to 6.6. I think next time I should just follow the blogger’s exact times. That probably would challenge me, without being too difficult.

Friday: A glorious rest day! Which actually was sort of rough, since I found this new Runner’s World My Run Plan that might be able to help me with my running. And all I wanted to do after I downloaded it was go run.

Saturday: Finally got to input something into my new Run Plan app. But, alas, not a run. I found my workout on Pinterest again. This time it was a 20 minute stairmaster workout.

I was going to add a 10 minute core workout to it, but I felt really dizzy and nauseous after this routine. I didn’t sleep well because of some pain in what I think was my ovaries…it was on the lower right side of my abdomen, below my belly button. So it was either my ovaries or my appendix. And if it had been appendicitis, I would have known. So I think it was either a cyst that burst…or this is something I can expect moving forward around cycle day 8. Good thing I’m starting to track it so I can keep an eye on it.

Sunday: A run that I could input into my Runner’s World plan! It was pretty rough since it was cold and rainy outside. I was pretty disappointed with my time.

Distance – 5 miles; Duration – 54:02; Average Pace – 10:48; Splits – 10:47, 10:25, 10:51, 11:03, 11:06; Weather – rainy, but no exact temperature for you. CD: 9. Prayer takeaway: The theme this run seemed to be living in the present moment. Both of the podcasts I listened to (Another Mother Runner and The Crunch) used that phrase. Plus the Gospel passage at Mass today that caught my attention was making the way straight to the Lord. I can do all the planning in the world, but the most virtuous thing I can do is actually have faith in God to form my path. Jesus, I trust in you.

sunday

The first 3 or so miles were fine. Either because I’m used to that mileage, or because it wasn’t raining as hard, I’m not sure. But by the last mile or two, I felt soaked. And I was ready to be done with the run. My split times clearly indicate this fatigue.

And, of course, in the last quarter of a mile, I stepped into a big enough puddle that my left shoe and sock was soaked through. I guess I should be happy it was at the end of the run and not the beginning.

Off topic but…about three people have reached out to me about being a Beachbody coach. This is probably silly, but I actually am torn about whether or not to do it. On the one hand, I totally want to help people achieve their health and fitness goals, as well as deepen their faith. And it would be great to earn some extra money while doing that.

On the other hand, I don’t want to have to be pushing a product, even if it is something I love. Not that I even know if I love Beachbody products or not. I haven’t tried them yet. I’m willing to try them, but I don’t want to if I would just be pressured to become a coach. And actually, I really don’t want to pay for products if I’m doing just fine without them.

I’m thinking about just being a coach myself. Running. Or strength. Or both. But I do like the idea of having a team to work with if I do it through Beachbody. I need accountability and support to reach my goals. I know this about myself. Is there anything like that out there for people who are just coaches?

Any thoughts appreciated! Either on my workouts or on the coach idea. 🙂

Advent 2017 Half Marathon Training: Week 1

I’ll be posting my workouts and runs for the week during my half marathon training. I haven’t even picked a half marathon to do at the end of the 12 weeks yet. I should probably get on that! But for now, I’ll just name these posts Advent 2017. 😛

Monday: I always start off the week with yoga, since Mondays are just a struggle for me in general. I live really close to a YMCA, so instead of doing a video at home, I decided to go to a class there.

yoga

I could definitely tell I haven’t exercised regularly in at least a month. My muscles were super tight and shakier than I’m used to. I couldn’t put my heels all the way down during my downward dog until the end of the class. And the downward dog was less of a resting pose than it normally is for me. Overall, though, it was good to be back on the mat, and back in the training mindset in general.

Also, the class was perfect when it came to my faith. Although I don’t quite understand the “no yoga” stance that a lot of Catholics are taking now, I can understand why going to a class with a heavy emphasis on the spiritual aspects of another religion would be undesirable. The teacher for this yoga class didn’t do ANY sort of spiritual stuff, though. It was all about the stretches – which is what I do yoga for anyway.

Tuesday: First run of my training! Also first one since Thanksgiving Day. And the Thanksgiving Day run was the first run since – pretty soon after the Bourbon Chase. Which was in October. So, clearly, I’ll need to work back up to my best running ability.

I went to my parish to see if anyone would show up for the group run I’m trying to start every Tuesday night for Catholic Women Run. I was all prepared – headlamp, reflective vest, warm clothes, Bible. But no on showed up. I’m expecting some this week, but no dice this time. So instead of running outside in the cold and dark by myself, I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill.

Here are the stats for that (and my lame picture for it). These stats are what everyone else seems to keep track of. Anything else I should note for every run?

treadmill

Distance – 3 miles; Duration – 33:15; Average Pace – 11:00; Splits – No idea; Weather – N/A. I’m also going to keep track of the day of my cycle, since I track that anyway. I imagine it will affect my runs, so I think it would be good to know how. I was on cycle day 25 for this run. How I felt – Eh. First run in a while. So I couldn’t go as fast as I would have when I was training for the Bourbon Chase.

Prayer takeaway – There was a male trainer talking a young girl through a workout on the rowing machine right next to me. I started thinking that, of all the names I use to name God, one I’ve never used before is trainer or coach. But God was there for me during the run in the same way that trainer was there to coach the young girl. Encouraging me, pushing me when I was being too complacent, correcting me. I’ll be listening to what the greatest coach of all is saying to me for the rest of this Advent season.

Wednesday: Strength day! Here’s what I did (3 sets of 10):

  • Squats
  • Single arm press (on both sides)
  • Burpees + press
  • Plank twists
  • Leg lifts + crunch
  • Deadlifts

I felt pretty good and strong when I finished the circuits…and then I could barely sit down the next day. My hamstrings and lower back were SO SORE. But, again, that’s what I get for taking such a long sabbatical from a regular workout routine. I only have myself to blame!

Thursday: Second run day! Still didn’t feel like running outside in the cold, so I went to the Y to run on the treadmill again. I did my normal 4:1 run/walk instead of looking for an interval on Pinterest.

This is about when I decided to be more serious about my running. So I actually have a better picture for y’all! Still not of me running…but hey, it’s better than just a picture of the treadmill!

thursday run

Distance – 3 miles; Duration – 31:41; Average Pace – 10:20; Splits – No idea; Weather – N/A. Cycle day – 27. How I felt – Better! Which is reflected in the faster average pace. But still not as strong as I’m used to. Prayer takeaway – Consistency is key, in fitness AND in faith.

Friday: Rest day! Which I really needed, since the second day soreness from the strength day was in full swing. I foam rolled instead. Which was both painful and heavenly. Like most foam rolling sessions are.

foam roll

Here’s the picture I made Adam take of my. My question is how popular runners take such perfect foam rolling photos for Instagram?! Because this is very much not Instagram-worthy. And yet I still posted it…

Saturday: Cross training day! So I did the stairmaster for 30 minutes. I used this workout that I found on Pinterest.

The stairmaster is one of my new favorite ways to get my heart rate up (besides running, of course). I started using it after my hike to the top of El Capitan this summer when I realized how dreadfully unprepared I was for hiking high elevations. My boyfriend and his two friends seemed to have no trouble at all going up…and up…and up…and I was dying. I mean, I got to the top and back down even though there were times when I didn’t think I could. And it took like 10 hours. But I was embarrassed by how out of shape I was compared to the guys. So, being my competitive self, I decided to create a half marathon/14er training plan for myself. (If you don’t know, like I didn’t, 14er means a 14,000 elevation hike.) The plan included a lot more hiking and stairmaster workouts than I had ever done before, as well as my normal running.

stairmaster

In the few months since I’ve added the stairmaster into my routine, I’ve seen my running performance improve as well. I was very worried about the hills in the Bourbon Chase, which I mentioned in this post. My second leg of the race was one that people warned me was particularly brutal because of the hills. But then…I was totally fine. I attributed it to my stronger leg muscles. And those stronger leg muscles also made me faster on some of my runs. So now I’m hooked!

Also. my back muscles are looking very undefined in this picture. Clearly I need to add some moves for my back this week on my strength training day.

Sunday: Last run of the week! And the long one. Long meaning 4 miles at this point in training. So not too bad.

I was impressed that I did this one outside. I had to wear a sleeveless shirt with one of my long-sleeved shirts and one of Adam’s long-sleeved shirts, plus gloves and a hat, but it really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting! Maybe I can be a cold weather outdoor runner!

Since I’m trying to improve my times, I decided to spend the first mile of this run just running, so I can see how fast I am without the run/walk method. Pretty happy with the result. Although still unsure what my run/walk method should be based on that. I’ve only found a suggestion for 9 min/mile and 10 min/mile. Since I’m somewhere in between, I’m going to try 2 min/30 sec this week during my runs. Not sure if that will get me under 2 hours for my half, though. So I might need to try another timing. This will be an experiment!

Distance – 4 miles; Duration – 41:43; Average Pace – 10:25; Splits – 9:45, 10:42, 10:53, 10:19; Weather – 38 degrees. Cycle day – 2 (ugh). How I felt – A little off at the beginning of the run. Adam and I went to a game night at a friend’s last night and I may have had a bit too much to drink. I wasn’t sick or anything, but I did feel a little weird. The run helped (especially being out in the cold), but I still feel a little weird even writing this a few hours later. Also, we didn’t get home until around 1AM. Even though we slept in and I got a full 8 hours of sleep, my body may have just been thrown off. Still worried that I’m not fast enough to run a half marathon under 2 hours. But it is only the 3rd run of the training. And I wasn’t even on my A game. So maybe it will get better.

Prayer takeaway – Honestly didn’t think about much except how cold it was, how fast I was, and whether or not I could take a running selfie. Ha. But it is Sunday! So here’s what my Mass takeaway was, at least. The podcast I was listening to on this Sunday run, as well as the homily, had to do with evangelizing. Namely, that any interaction we Catholics have – whether in real life or over social media – reflects our faith and, more importantly, Jesus Christ himself. As my priest said, we may be the only Gospel some of the people in our lives will ever know. So every time I see someone, or talk to someone, or even if someone sees me or talks to me, I need to remember Who I am representing in their eyes.

I took multiple pictures of this run. Testing out the running selfie, the selfie with the phone propped against something, and the active picture of me running past the phone. There were some good ones, actually! Hopefully I get better at this as I go. 😛

How were your workouts this week? What theme(s) kept coming up in terms of your faith? What’s your favorite form of cross training? What run statistics do you keep track of? I’d love to hear your answers, so leave me a comment!

Year of Running 2017

Since I’m trying to get more serious about running, I’ve started looking for other female runners to follow on Instagram and Facebook. I noticed that there’s this thing going around where you can join a link up about your running in 2017. It looked like fun, so I’m jumping in!

I found this over on Eat Pray Run DC, so I’m linking up with her.

This wasn’t the best year for me in terms of running. But I have to know where I am if I want to move forward.

  • Best race experience: The Bourbon Chase! Which is crazy, since I didn’t think I’d ever run a relay race. I ended up running the fastest I’ve ever run in a race, though. And it was so fun to have a team to commiserate with.

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  • Best run: The second leg of the Bourbon Chase. It was hilly, and a little over 8 miles, at about 3 in the morning. But it was perfect running weather, it was nice to zone out since I was running by myself, and I was impressed by how well I handled the hills! Probably because I had made up a 14er training plan for hiking in the months leading up to it!
  • Best new piece of running gear: I haven’t really gotten any new running gear. I got new shoes, of course, since I do that every 300 miles or so. But other than that, nothing. Maybe this is a good reason to get myself some running gear for Christmas…
  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: Commit. When I asked people on my Instagram how I could get serious about running, someone responded that I just have to commit. So simple. Now to follow instructions…
  • Most inspirational runner: Probably Maria Abbe from Running Myself Together. She has an awesome blog, talks a lot about how running has helped with her mental health, and just generally has created a running community that I’m striving for. Give me some tips, girl!
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: Hated the race, loved the picture.

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  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: I don’t really have a lot of options since I only did two this year. The full marathon in January was a disaster. The Bourbon Chase was amazing. Still, even if I did have more options, I think I’d still choose the Bourbon Chase.

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  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Sabbatical. My January marathon made me feel so bad that I didn’t really start running again until August or September. But now I’m back! And hopefully better than ever.

Join me! Link up and share your year of running. Just answer the questions above, then link back.

Getting serious

Today on my run I started thinking about my vocation.

At first, it was a thought about whether or not my desire to be married is my own desire or God’s. But throughout the day, the thoughts turned to evangelizing. That is everyone’s vocation, after all.

The biggest way I am evangelizing right now is with my running ministry. So then I started thinking about my preparation for this ministry. Yes, I am a runner. Yes, running led me to the Catholic Church (and even to Christianity in general, really). Yes, running has changed my life in numerous ways. Yes, it is a gift that God has given to me. And God has given me the opportunity to give that gift to others.

But.

I also haven’t treated it as a gift. If anything, I have gotten complacent about running. Or maybe I always have been.

I tell others I will never run competitively. Which is true, right? I can’t be an elite. Or maybe that’s just a story I’m telling myself. I could at least try. Like my faith – if I said I could never be a saint, and then didn’t even try, what would be the point?

And if I’m further along on the running path than other women who I’m guiding and coaching…what help would I be if I remained the same? God is demanding of us. Whenever I overcome a spiritual challenge, He wants me to overcome another. So even though it would be nice to coast along like I always have been, it’s not what I’m called to do.

For once, my faith is informing my running, rather than vice versa.

God has placed a running ministry on my heart. I’ve been taking the ministry part seriously. Now I need to take the running part seriously.

This blog will still have thoughts about how running is connected to TOB and the feminine genius (especially since I’m getting some new TOB books in the mail!). But I also want to start putting typical running blog stuff on here to hold myself accountable (and for anyone reading this to hold me accountable). Race recaps, run logs, etc.

Pretty excited about getting more obsessed with my faith AND running, actually…