Thursday, March 27, 2014

#Maximize


The M2C action plan includes knowing some information about your health which is always a great starting point. My numbers are all pretty good, so my goal is to keep them that way! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My L.A. Marathon Story


I can't believe it finally came and went... 


September 2013: a man named John from Team World Vision came to Sandals Church and gave a short shpeal about running a marathon and raising money to provide clean water in Africa. I'd already ran a 1/2 marathon a few years back with the organization and it was a pleasant experience. I figured, why not? It's a great organization, I'll be helping save lives (Every $50 raised provides clean water for life for 1 person) and I felt the Holy Spirit tugging on my heart to sign up. And I figured the training would help me stay in shape through the holiday season. The training program provided was 26 weeks long, so it would be plenty of time. 

October: I had just completed the running portion of the Canyon Lake 1/2 Ironman relay in September, I ran the Mission Inn 1/2 marathon with my friend Kristen at the beginning of November and then I participated in the Ragnar Trail run in November with Colin and some buddies from the So Cal Ragnar Team as well, so training for LA kicked up at the end of November. A friend of ours from the Canyon Lake Triathlon club, Steven Bustos, was kind enough to provide me with a training plan that would help me beat my previous marathon time from 2010. My goal for that marathon was to break 4 hours, and I missed it by 4 minutes. My goal for this marathon was pretty much the same... The training plan he provided was much more intense than my previous training and I was looking forward to the challenge.

By mid January I had run over 350 miles, and was stoked when I finished an 18 mile long run in under two hours and thirty minutes. I felt strong and confident that the training plan was working and that I would be able to make my goal time a reality. 

January 25th: my period was a few days late and I decided to take a pregnancy test. Colin and I decided to start trying for baby number 2 since we were within two months of being debt free, we figured it would take a little time since I was running so much. Well, it didn't. The pregnancy test was very positive. I had just made an annual check up with my doctor a few days prior, so the appointment was also to confirm my pregnancy. That was February 5th. By this time I was 6 weeks pregnant. I told my doctor about my training and she said it was safe to continue running since I had already been running pretty hard. I set up my next appointment, the 8 week check up and ultra sound to confirm the due date, which had been set for September 26th of this year. At this point, I had only told a handful of people, we decided to wait to announce the pregnancy until we had a photo to show off.

February 19th: my second check up turned out to be much more dramatic than planned. Colin took the day off to go with me to the ultra sound. I had been bleeding a little bit a few days prior, which apparently is normal, even though it never happened when I was pregnant with Kellen. I was very nervous, but continued to pray that God would give me peace. I had run 13 miles the previous weekend and when the bleeding started, I decided to wait until I could confirm everything was ok with the baby before I was planning on running again. We had two appointments that day, first, the ultrasound and second, the check up. When we went in for the Ultra sound, I knew something was wrong when the technician continued to search and search. I did see a very small little baby in my belly. She started with a tummy ultrasound and then did a vaginal ultrasound which seemed weird. When it was all done, the only information she was allowed to give me was that the baby was measuring at 6 weeks (not nine, like it was supposed to) and she could not find a heart beat. Emotion overwhelmed me and I began to cry. She apologized over and over and then left. I was thankful that Colin was with me to hold. I wasn't sure what to think at this point, I just cried a lot. This was all at 11:30am...

My next appointment wasn't until 1:30. We didn't have all the information until that next appointment. We decided to get some lunch and go sit at the park until we could get more answers. Of course while getting our food we saw a very pregnant woman and I began to cry in the restaurant...

After lunch we made our way to the doctors office where she confirmed that the baby did not have a heart beat and was already pulling away from the outer lining of the placenta. (At least I think that was what she said.) Since the baby had not grown for about two weeks, they were concerned of possible infection and suggested I schedule a D & C if I wanted to. We waited at the doctors office for a return phone call from the hospital, and it was taking a little while. As we sat there a brand new baby started to cry in another waiting room, so of course I began to cry. 

We finally left and the hospital was suppose to call us to schedule to procedure. We drove home and picked up Kellen for school, and then I dropped both of them off at lakeside to watch the girls CIF soccer game and I headed home. I had to use the restroom as soon as I got there... And at 3:30pm I miscarried. I was shaking, screaming, and crying. Home alone, with nothing but tears and prayers to Jesus for comfort. My stomach had been bothering me, but the painful cramping came after the miscarriage. I called Colin and picked up the boys and then called the doctors office. We no longer needed to schedule the D & C, just a check up at the doctors office. Once we got home, the bleeding and cramping continued. I called the on call doctor because all the bleeding made me nervous, she suggested going to the emergency room just to be safe. We headed out there around 6pm, and after sitting with all the colds, flus, and other minori injuries, finally made it through. After more blood work, ultrasounds, pelvic exams, and bleeding it was confirmed that my miscarriage was completed. The term used on my discharge papers was, "spontaneous abortion." That sounds so awful... When I think of the term abortion, I think of the word, unwanted. And this little one was very much wanted. 

February 20th: The hardest part, was telling everyone. Reliving the nightmare. I took the rest of the week off from work, (my coworkers are the bomb.) I pretty much just cried and slept for two days. Every time I thought I was ok, I'd hear a song or see something on tv that made me sad. The boys stayed home with me the first day, and I felt so much love from them. Kellen cuddled with me, Colin took care of me and they just let me cry and sleep. 

Our community group- our AMAZING friends from Sandals Church, brought us meals, prayed with me and for us, and I was looking forward to being with them that Sunday at church. Saturday night I started to get a sore throat, achy body and by Sunday morning I had the flu. (I'm sure I got it from someone in the emergency room). So, I stayed home and slept all day. By this time I was getting pretty good at that. Monday morning I wasn't quite ready to go back to work, so I stayed home one more day. By the end of the day Monday I was ready to be around people and distract myself from the events that had happened. I went back to work to my super supportive school family, and life moved on. I was required to take 2 weeks off of running to allow my body to heal... This wasn't helping me get back to normal, but I followed orders. 

March 4th: After two weeks off from running and missing it terribly, and missing at least 70+ miles of training, I ran this passed week, two days. It was hard and I was achy, and nervous about the marathon. Not only was this going to be emotionally hard, it was also a very busy week. Colin's soccer team was doing very well in the CIF playoffs. His missed most of the first round game to stay with me, and the kids rallied and won their first game 4-0. They eventually made it to the semi-finals which were this past Tuesday. He was pleased with the season and ready to rest. My brother and his fiancĂ© came into town from Reno, and we all went to Disneyland on Friday... Walking all day, two days before the race. We had a blast and I got 7 hours of sleep that night, not bad. 

Saturday: after dropping Kellen off with nana and papa, we headed to Los Angeles. Colin had SAT testing at 5 am. Even though he had a busy morning, he drove us to LA. Traffic was a nightmare, we headed straight for the expo to get my bib. Then, to Pasadena for the Team dinner, and then to our hotel. We set our clocks ahead an hour, set out my racing gear and then turned in for the night. 

Sunday, 4:15am: rise and shine, I got ready for the race, and we headed down to the shuttle around the corner from the hotel. Once I got on the shuttle, I was less nervous. I am always afraid I'm going to miss some sort of transportation and miss the race. Right after I sat down, a familiar face sat next to me! Michelle Henricks, a co-worker of Colin's, was also running, so we were able to chat on the way to the race. 

I had decided to take my phone- since I forgot my headphones- yikes, and it was a huge blessing. Another friend met up with me at the start area, Lily Christensen. After the team rally, about 8 pre-race random photos by "official" race photographers offering to take our picture, we headed to start line, sort of. There were over 25,000 people running, hand wheel chair racing and do regular racing. We lined up outside the start line corral area and waited. After the race officially started we sat there for a while and finally crossed the start line 13 minutes and 30 seconds after the official start of he the race. There was no way to get a good pace going. We ranged from 12 minute pace to 9 minute pace. Lily was running the 1/2 marathon relay, so I stayed with her the entire first half of the race. We crossed the half way point at just over two hours. 

I then picked up Kristen Wild and we ran together until about mile 19. I had a little bit of an energy surge- with sore quads, achy knees and hips. I actually took a small shot of beer at mile 20, and then proceeded to burp really loud. By mile 24 I was really hurting, I got water at every stop and walked though the water stops, and actually walked parts of the race. By this time I felt extremely overwhelmed with emotion. I kept thinking about my missed training, which made me think about the miscarriage and I cried several times during the end of the race. I pushed through the race, thankful for the spectators encouragement, and finished in four hours and twenty six minutes, unofficially. 


After more pictures, I met up with Colin and we headed to the car. I was ready to go home. Our belongings were still at the hotel, (and parking cost $30 every time you leave- nightmare!) so he ran up to our room while I stayed in the waiting area with the car to save some money, lol, and then we headed home. 
My only injury... A bloody toe:


Colin hadn't had anything to eat all day, and I figured since I'd burned over 2800 calories we should head to In N Out burger. We made our way out of LA (that place is not my favorite... Too expensive, busy and uninviting.) I fell asleep in the car and then enjoyed a double double with animall fries and a lemonade.... All of it. 

So, considering the miscarriage, missed training, Disneyland, and the time change, I guess I did ok. I feel like I'm closing a chapter on the beginning of my 2014. My head and heart have been through a lot. I was thankful to be running this race with a purpose. Team world vision raised $700,000 for clean water. 14,000 people will now have clean water for life because of the generosity of those that gave. Pretty amazing. They have decided to leave the donation pages open for another two weeks. If you'd like to donate, you can click here to give: 


Thank you everyone for your support, prayers and encouragement the last few months. They have been a huge blessing. Not sure what adventure I'll be signing up for next, but I'm looking forward to cheering  on my husband on March 29th. He will be racing in the Oceanside 1/2 Ironman. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi There Friends!
If you've read any of my blogs in the past about life, including finances, you know that we've been on this intense journey to get rid of all our debt for the last three years.

In October of 2010 we were encouraged by a friend to take a course at church called, "Financial Peace University." Over the course of 13 weeks we were taught about the importance of an emergency fund, budgeting monthly, investing, insurance, giving, the dangers of credit cards, getting out of debt AND staying out of debt. 



Our entire marriage we've had student loans, car payments, credit card debt, and expenses that were just silly (furniture and electronic debts- yikes). Silly, but oh so common. At one point our unsecured debt (secure being a house- because it can increase in value) was well over $100,000. By the time we started financial peace university, we paid off a car, eliminated some credit card debt and had a student loan forgiven so we were looking at a little over $80,000 of debt. I was now staying at home with our son Kellen and so on one income we started our new plan to get out of debt as quickly as we could. Prior to taking the class, we lost our condo- foreclosure- long story, horrible experience, not intentional, but eventually became a blessing in disguise. We moved, like four times, and finally I was able to go back to work to help speed up the process. When we started our debt snowball, our projected debt free date was somewhere in like 2020 I think. Thanks to my job, and the intentional budgeting and most of my paycheck going directly to debt, we were able to speed up the process a few years! 

Over the last three years, we've sacrificed quite a bit. We've moved in with "house mates," (which we actually enjoy) sold stuff, and said no to several invites for extra curricular activities (not all, lol, but some). We knew we were tired of being slaves to debt. In Proverbs 22:7 it says,

 "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." 

This verse was brought up several times in class, and we posted it near our desk, on the fridge, and around the house to remind us of our goal to be debt free. Regardless of the ridicule- it's amazing how much you can get made fun of when you bring your lunch to work (poor Colin) weird looks, and some interesting advice along the way, we stuck to the plan and we made it!! After living with the fear and anxiety that we would always have debt, it's all GONE!

One thing I have learned on our journey is that God never promises to bless us with "more money," if we don't have debt. However, when you handle money Gods way- and trust me he has A LOT to say about money, he does promise to bless your life. I definitely want to be a part of Gods plan and receive blessings!

So, at the end of this debt journey I'd like to say thank you to the Bilton family for practically demanding we take this class. Thank you to friends and family that were supportive along the way, (especially our babysitters that gave us free date nights to stay sane) and thank you to Dave Ramsey and friends for sharing this information with us... and allowing us to share it with others through FPU. 

NOW WHAT? Well, now the fun begins! We start saving, investing, and planning. We will continue to give and we will start facilitating our 6th class at Sandals Church on March 12th. 

So, in the words of Dave Ramsey, "Live like no one else, so that later you can LIVE like no one else." Thank you for such great words Dave. Can't wait to start living debt free.��

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Made to Crave

I just started a new online bible study on Monday on the book, "Made to Crave." I signed up online with over 42,000 other women through the Proverbs 31 Ministries. Each week they do what is called a, "Blog Hop." You write a blog about a specific topic related to this weeks study, and then you go to their site, enter your blog information and you can share what you are learning with all the ladies of the study. I think this week I am just going to blog and maybe next week I will be more brave and share it on the blog hop. 

These first two chapters in the book help you figure out what the real problem is. As a Christian woman, my food cravings are a spiritual battle. If I crave anything more than God, then there is something more to the story... She talks about the fact that God put the desire to crave into our hearts, because we were made to crave Him. But the enemy wants to distract us from this desire and puts other cravings in our path. So, we have to replace our cravings, which requires a shift in our attitude. We must come to God in prayer and kneel before him when we are struggling. And one way she suggests doing this is with scripture memory... And a very effective way to memorize scripture is to do what the study calls, "verse mapping." I'm blogging from my iPad, and I can't seem to figure out how to make links look pretty, but here is a link to a bloga about scripture mapping... 

http://heatherbleier.com/2012/06/13/a-day-with-jesus/

Each week we have a verse to dive into and a word to challenge us. This weeks verse is:
Psalm 84:2, "My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." This is truly a desire- to crave God, and nothing else.

The word for the week is: #EMPOWERED. I have really appreciated this word. God's Word has really made me feel empowered in many ways this week. I'm still struggling in many areas, but im thankful for him helping me feel empowered in some. For example, I'm training for a marathon, and Monday I had to run 18 miles in 2:30. Which is faster than I've been training. But, I continued to quote Philippians 4:13 and remember that my focus and prayer should be to rely on God, and thank him that I am able to run. I am running with team world vision for clean water in Uganda. And thinking about them helps me to be thankful for clean water, food and shelter- stuff I take for granted. And wouldn't you know I finished the mileage on time. 

Any way, God has also helped me feel empowered in my food choices this week. I don't feel like I've stuffed my face or given in to large cravings... And glory be to God!