The Promise of Easter Sunday

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With death comes the promise of new life. With sadness comes the promise of restored joy. With pain and sickness comes the promise of healing. 

That is the promise of Easter morning – the promise of hope despite the present difficulties and tribulations.

The apostles and the rest of Jesus’ followers and friends waited; they waited three long, depressing, agonizing days. In fact, they had locked themselves in a room out of fear after Jesus died. All was bleak. All was dark.

We live through many dark and bleak moments here on this earth. A lost loved one. A broken heart. A failed relationship. A lost job. A financial crisis. An addiction. Psychological trauma. Physical handicap. Depression. Anxiety.

The list goes one.

In our own lives, we experience death – a metaphorical three days before the resurrection, locked in our own room of fear and sorrow, not daring to hope for the impossible, doubt and unbelief at the helm. 

I was locked in my own room of fear and depression for the better part of 3 years. All was bleak; all was dark. I lived in a world of pain, sadness, and shame.

And then… JESUS.

Jesus walked through the walls of the room and back into my world, just as he walked through the walls of the room the disciples were hiding in, bringing them peace. He had come back into the world, three days later; Jesus was alive! He is alive; HE IS RISEN!

The impossible happened. Life conquered death. JESUS IS ALIVE.

Whatever your present difficulty is right now, whatever dark and bleak moment you may be walking through, Easter is your hope that is WILL end. There IS life. There IS healing. There IS hope.

Jesus DIED; three days later, he came back – he fought the battle that none of us could ever fathom winning AND WON.

And he gave us the power to defeat death in our own lives – the same power that raised him from the dead.  

He is risen. He is risen indeed.

HAPPY EASTER!

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Blooms to Brews: 10 Reasons Why You Need to Sign up for This Race

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If you’re hailing from Washington or Oregon or need any reason to sign up for your first race, THIS IS FOR YOU.

As you may already know, I am a runner. I run in the rain, the heat, the freezing cold, the hellish humidity. I run uphill, downhill; and I use Nike Plus to track it all. I’m not a professional or anything, but I do know that signing up for my first race was key to getting me going; and the internet provided me with a ton of resources and training schedules and other running tips, so I never felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. I am now about to shamelessly promote a race that could very well be the first race you sign up for to get you going and possibly keep you going for the rest of your life! So let’s run!

Blooms to Brews

The Top 10 Reasons Why You Need to Sign up for This Race (SIGN UP NOW

REASON #10: It’s almost February. That means January is almost over (there’s only one more day left of January, to be exact), and if you haven’t started running yet or need motivation to get back on your feet, it’s time.

You have a little over 2 months to train (70 hours, 16 hours, 33 minutes, and 48 seconds according to the countdown as I type these words – countdown running on the race website) for race day, which is totally possible if you’re going for the 10k or 4-person marathon relay (which would be a little more than a 10k each). If you already have some miles under your belt and really feel like getting your run on, reaching 13.1 miles is not impossible in 2 months! And if you just need a marathon to run come April, sign up for this one. This is a Boston Qualifier, and there’s beer after the finish line. Need I say more!?

I trained for my first marathon in 13 weeks. If you’re already putting in the mileage, it might just be possible to jump into a marathon training schedule and make it to mile 26.2 on Race Day! And just to leave you with no excuse, here are some training plans that I have used in the past to get me to the finish line, along with a couple others to get you started: 

16weekmarathonschedule

This is the plan I used for my first marathon. (I jumped in at week 4.) I made Fridays my strength-training days and rested on Sundays. To visit this plan’s website, visit marathonrookie.com.

Half Marathon in 8 weeks

I used this for my last half marathon to increase speed. For more information about this schedule, check out this article.

Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training Schedule

Hal Higdon Half plan for your FIRST half!

Hal Higdon 10k Training Schedule

Hal Higdon plan for your FIRST 10k!

Hal Higdon has some great plans for all kinds of distances and levels. As you can see at the bottom of each plan, there are programs for intermediate, advanced, and even for walking! Check them all out halhigdon.com.

REASON #9: The cool gear and other awesome stuff. 

Let’s be honest, if you’re a runner, you have your collection of bibs and finisher medals going; and if you don’t have any of these yet, you need to experience how awesome it feels to have a medal around your neck BECAUSE YOU DID IT! Plus, there’s the dri-fit tech shirt and snacks and yummy food items and discount coupons and – for this race – BEER! Blooms to Brews even throws a post party with a DJ. These people (these people being Get Bold Events) know how to run. Seriously, having a cool race t-shirt to wear to the gym or any other recreational event or BBQ makes a statement. It’s impressive. I’m not telling you to run to impress other people, but when it comes to pounding the pavement for miles and miles and miles, every bit of motivation counts!

REASON #8: Compelling Scenery

Get out of the city and run. The fresh air and rural landscape does a ton of good for your soul. And your soles (forgive the pun).

I personally prefer rural marathons over urban ones. I have run half-marathons in cities, but for 26.2 miles, I prefer to to be surrounded by fresh air and beauty.

Whether you run the 10k, the half, or the full in the Blooms to Brews race, you will be surrounded by fresh air and beauty. The race event takes place in Woodland, Washington, at Horseshoe Lake Park (the lake really does look like a horseshoe, check out google maps) and the route take you through the Woodland Bottoms DURING TULIP AND LILAC SEASON. Talk about fresh air and beauty. And it’s a flat course, so no hills to take out your already hard-working legs.

Check out this video of last year’s race (from the race website):

REASON #7: It’s college campus-crowded, not big city-crowded. Do you know what I mean?

In some of the really popular races (i.e, The Color Run, The Hot Chocolate Run, any race with a big brand attached to it), you can feel jostled all the way to the finish line. A lot of people, but not a lot of space; and then it takes you forever to find your friends after the race. Yes, you get really cool gear and clothing from the popular races, but races like Blooms to Brews give you a better people experience.

That guy in the suit from the video, the race director, Elba? Don’t be surprised if you get a selfie taken with him or a hug or high-five or all three! You have FUN after the finish line with all the other people who crossed it, because that’s when the party starts! Which leads me to reason number six…

REASON #6: BEER!!!

The name of this race, in case you haven’t noticed, is BLOOMS TO BREWS. You are literally running through flowers to drink beer. Did someone say “hippie”?! Because I AM A HIPPIE and that idea sounds fabulous to me!

I KNOW I’m not the only runner out there who enjoys a cold one after a run. Go get your run on and drink beer! Sign up now!

REASON #5: The distance is NOT too far. 

I’ve already provided training schedules in my first reason, so you have no excuses there. But if you’re a beginner at this whole running thing and want to push yourself past the 5k mark, SIGN UP FOR THE 10K. 10 kilometers is 6.2 miles. That is a milestone distance anyone can be proud of, and this is your chance to make it happen. There are people who only dream of running 6 miles. You make dreams come true. Crossing the finish line WILL FEEL AWESOME, no matter what. 

If you’re already an active runner, you know if you’ll be able to handle the half or the full by April. And it’s too beautiful and unique a race to pass up. DO IT!

REASON #4: Your participation in this race supports a non-profit organization. 

Get Bold Events is based in Battle Ground, Washington; and this organization is dedicated to organizing professional races that leave all participants feeling counted, accomplished, and awesome. That guy in the suit who is the race director for these events really does get excited about every single person who turns out for these races. My friends and I got a picture with him at the Get Bold Events Resolution Run (a race you should probably sign up for in January 2017!) in January:

IMG_2767The proceeds from each race go back to the community and support local charities. The beneficiary of the 2016 Blooms to Brews Marathon is the Scott Hill Parks & Sports Complex in Woodland, Washington. You can read about this beneficiary, register for the race, and more on the race website.

 

 

REASON #3: Roadtrip/mini vacay! 

Washington is a beautiful state, and the Pacific Northwest is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PART OF THIS COUNTRY. (Can I get an “AMEN!”?) If you live in Washington or Oregon, this race is your excuse to get away, enjoy the scenery by yourself or with friends, and have an awesome race weekend. Woodland, Washington, is a beautiful place to be at the beginning of April. Just ask Google Images

REASON #2: Signing up for this race puts the pressure on. 

We all need some amount of healthy pressure to push us towards our goals. I alluded to this in reason #10, but registering for a race can be all it takes to get you on your feet, put in the miles, and accomplish your fitness goals for 2016.

And finally, you need to sign up for this race because…

REASON #1: You won’t regret it. 

Be honest with yourself. How many times have you looked at people’s race pictures, congratulating them with an encouraging comment or “like” while thinking to yourself that this might be something you could do… some day. Well, I’m here to tell that some day is coming up, and it’s Sunday, April 10; so get your running shoes on, run around the block (or around the town or on the trail or down the road or wherever there are sidewalks), and SIGN UP FOR THIS YEAR’S BLOOMS TO BREWS MARATHON.

You got this. Don’t forget: there’s the 10k, the half-marathon, the 4-person marathon relay, along with the full 26.2 monty. And also, you can walk the 10k or half marathon distances as well. LET’S GO! 

Personal Rewards System

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I have this huge jar of “Chocolates of the World.” It was one of my Christmas presents. The serving size is 3 pieces, at 210 calories per serving. That’s right, I count calories.

These last two weeks, I was on “cleanse” diet, complete with fiber pills, probiotics, vitamins and and dietary restrictions which prevented me from indulging in any of my international chocolates. Now that those two weeks are over and the restrictions have been lifted, I can have as many chocolates as I want!   

Actually, I can’t. No, it’s not because I count calories. In fact, let’s scrap the term “calorie-counting” all together and apply this rule: “Burn more than you consume.” (That’s the motto of OolaFitness. Read more of my Oola thoughts here.)

Also, I LOVE chocolate. I enjoy every bite I take of some chocolatey substance. And the number one way to kill enjoyment is over-indulgence. Over-indulgence leads the way to addiction and impulsive behavior, and soon the very thing we once enjoyed is making us hate ourselves. This applies to a lot more than just chocolate.

Sound extreme? Well, over-indulgence is an extreme thing.

So here’s what I’ve set up for myself: a personal rewards system. These types of systems are practiced in all kinds of organizations, classrooms, and bureaucracies, so why can’t it work in my personal life?

Here’s what is:

(These rewards are given on a daily basis. No rollover allowed.)

  1. To-do list completed – one piece of chocolate
  2. To-do list + blog post written and published – two pieces of chocolate
  3. To-do list + blog post written and published + at least 1,000 calories burned during my work out – three pieces of chocolate.

Rewarding ourselves is key to personal motivation. Everyone responds to incentives. How are you going to reward yourself for what you’ve accomplished?

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