Tag Archive: Cross Country


First Cross-Country Meet

First Cross Country Meet

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a runner. And when I say I’m a runner, I don’t mean I like to go for an occasional run or I just really love my team (even though I do). Nope. That’s not it at all. When I say I’m a runner, I am implying that I have a deep love for the activity itself and everything that comes with it; even the aches and pains. Running is hard. As in when you finish practices or races, you want to drop to the ground and vomit. That kind of hard. The thing is, running brings me joy like few other things can do. I’m willing to fight through injuries, exhaustion, and 100+ degree weather to continue pursuing that passion.
Why the display running love (verging on obsession) today? I’m glad you asked. My team’s first meet was today, and it was terrific! Personally, I ran a time I was more than happy with. My goal was to run a time of about twenty-four minutes, but I ended up finishing at 22:58. That is a little more than a minute more than my personal best, and for a first meet, I could not be happier! Not to mention the small fact that I am fighting not one but two injuries right now (hips and one of my calves). In other words, once I heal, I am going to be able to do even better. All that in the beginning of my cross-country season.
But onto the larger picture: our team result. The goal of my girl’s team this year is to improve at phenomenal rates, and, hopefully, take down the team that has dominated the state championship for over ten years. I am glad to say that we are off to a good start. The meet we ran at today wasn’t big, but we placed incredibly well, and easily took first place. I am so proud of all of my teammates, especially our new runners who ran competitively for the very first time–honestly, they were more impressive than our top runners! More importantly, we ran for the glory of God. The race itself, for me, was beautiful. The song lyrics going through my head throughout the beginning of the race were simple: “all for the glory of you”, and the words were perfect. There is no better way to run a race than when your focus is on praising God. However, after the race was amazing too. As we were warming down, my friends and I took turns praying and thanking God for the blessings he has given us, and even thinking about it now brings a smile to my face!
I will leave you all with this: my first cross-country meet was great!
End of book quote: “Then he turned into Lee avenue and was gone.” —The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Walking And Reading

Walking And Reading

I’ve never understood how people can walk and read at the same time. It seems to be a far-fetched dream of book lovers that anyone would be able to multitask so efficiently. Unfortunately, while I like the idea, I just don’t see how it is possible.
There just aren’t many examples that I can look to for evidence. Sure, there are scenes in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Pride & Prejudice of the heroines successfully walking and reading at the same time, but those aren’t real occasions. Belle can’t prove if anything is possible because she’s an animated character, and the creators of the movie easily made it so that she could attempt such a strenuous task without running into anyone. I’m afraid Elizabeth Bennet doesn’t prove much either. She had the benefit of being an actress; therefore I can conclude that she probably was not truly reading the book she is shown to be scrutinizing in the opening scenes of the Keira Knightley version of the movie.
However, I can now say that I have seen a person read and walk in real life. My cross-country team meets for practice early every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at a park about fifteen minutes away from my house. On occasion, we end up exiting the park by the back way as part of our various runs. The back entrance leads out onto a pretty calm street about a quarter of a mile long. That same street is where I first saw a lady walking and reading at the same time. My friend and I have noticed her two or three times now: she is always going towards the park on the side of the road with a book in hand, and so far, she seems to have gotten by pretty well. How she’s managed that, I have absolutely no idea. Personally, I would be worried that a passing car would run over me or a snake that went unnoticed would bite me or some other tragic event would occur; but as far as I know, the superhuman lady has gone unharmed.
The only way I can find out for sure if walking and reading at the same time is possible is to try doing it myself; but as I mentioned before, I am afraid of being ran over or eaten. Maybe the answer to my question is like the one in the Tootsie Pop commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jhjb4P_jnKk&feature=related): “the world may never know”.
Before I post this, I want to give a shout out to Letizia and her blog “readinginterrupted” for inspiring me to blog about this in the first place. http://readinginterrupted.com/2012/07/19/library-to-go/
Also, a special happy birthday to my mom!
End of book quote: “But she smiled to herself.” —The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin

Faith Without Works

“This faith is not like a deed to a house in which one may live with full rights of possession. It is more like a kit of tools with which a man may build a house. The tools will be worth just what he does with them. When he lays them down, they will have no value until he takes them up again.” –The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

Faith in God is not the easy way to get to Heaven. It never has been, and it never will be. In fact, we are promised that we will suffer just as Christ himself did, but it is all worth it. Philippians 3:8 says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

That verse is beautiful to me because there is an all-powerful God who loves us enough to give his own son up to die for us. Nothing can ever separate us from that love if we should choose to accept it; not sin, not pain, not hardship, not our faults, or even all the mistakes we have ever made. It’s crazy to think anyone could love so selflessly, yet God proves us wrong time and time again.

There are so many pictures of his endless love painted in the Bible. The entire book of Hosea is a representation of God’s love for us. For any who does not know the story, God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer, and stay faithful to her even when she did not stay faithful to him. Symbolically, the relationship between Gomer and Hosea represents the relationship between God and his people; with the Lord constantly bringing his children home after they continuously stray back to their sin. The book of Hosea still applies to us today. We will never be perfect, but Christ pursues us anyway.

When we discover our love for God, it is easy to understand why James 2:14-17 is so true. [“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”] Faith prompts us to act in ways we never would otherwise. When a person dedicates their life to Christ, it is no small commitment because following God is not a simple task.

God does not hesitate to call us out of our comfort zones, but it is up to us to decide whether to obey or not. Lloyd C. Douglas put this idea into words excellently in the quote I used above. If we choose not to act upon our belief in God, then how can we claim to be wholly devoted to him? That being said, we will fail to act through faith over and over and over again, but God does not abandon us even though we can never measure up.

I am dwelling on these things tonight because of my baptism yesterday. It was an incredible time for me. My family and a few friends were able to attend, and their attendance meant the world to me. But more importantly, God proved to me once again that he is working in my life.

A few days ago, I blogged about my concerns for my upcoming baptism. I was stressed about not fully understanding what baptism meant, and went through an anxious period over the last week, but God did not leave me in that state of mind. He answered my prayers two days ago with only a short time left to spare before I was actually baptized.

I spoke with one of my good friends while we were on a run, and realized that God did not require me to fully understand what baptism meant. Instead, I firmly believe that he desired me to act on faith, and obey him no matter what my comfort level was. After I got home from Cross Country practice that morning, I felt at peace with my decision to go through with getting baptized. As I explained to my mom, I don’t think Abraham quite understood what he was doing when God commanded him to be circumcised [Genesis 17], and he didn’t need to. God worked through him even though his comprehension was limited, and I figured that God could easily do the same with me.

While I am still unclear about baptism in its entirety, I am overjoyed that I was baptized last night. It was the absolute perfect time, and God knew that and prepared me for it. I am immensely grateful to God for blessing me with such an incredible night with him and my friends and family, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

End of book quote: “And when the colt, nothing but a bundle of legs and wet fur as black as Enna’s hair, fell into her arms, Ani might hear a name.” —The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

A Different Perspective

A Different Perspective

People have always stereotyped each other. It’s not a particularly kind thing to do or an accurate way to measure an individual, but unfortunately it happens a lot.
The specific stereotype that has been bothering me recently is the doom and gloom outlook on the lives of all teenagers. Many find teenagers to be rude, unintelligent, unable to communicate well, and altogether well below the standards of previous generations. Personally, I am strongly against this stereotype.
My views are, as usual, rather strongly biased as I am a teenager myself, but I will state my thoughts anyways: I myself do not have a phone. I do not speak using texting terminology nor do I ever wish to. I love to write and read, and I take pleasure in overcoming challenges and difficulties. I am self-motivated and determined to do my best in everything I strive to accomplish even if I fail time and time again. I do not vandalize walls in my free time or anything else that falls into the same illegal sort of category. Basically, I feel that when I compare my activities with stereotypical teenage activities, I have found time and time again that they rarely match up.
The thing is, I’m not the only one who goes against the stereotypes. Most of my friends are nothing like your average teenager. They are smart, reasonable, and all around incredible people. I’ll admit, every now and then I’ll come across someone my age, and think they fit some of the stereotypes perfectly, but that is less common than most people expect.
One of the reasons I love cross-country and track meets so much is because I get to meet new people. Usually, I hate meeting strangers, but the runners I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know are unquestionably amazing. It doesn’t matter what kind of school they go to or how big their community is because almost everyone I’ve ever met at a meet has been fantastic.
I’m not saying that the stereotypes can’t be true. I’m just here to point out that, for the most part, teenagers do not fit into categories as well as most might believe.
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.” —A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Hardcore Inspiration

Hardcore Inspiration

When most people think of running, they think of misery, early death, copious amounts of pain, and other similarly themed events. There are some (like me) who think of beauty, perseverance, learning, fun, etc. rather than all of the negative aspects.
The people in the first group have probably never given running a chance (meaning they don’t try running for more than two weeks when they would then slowly become more in-shape and be able to enjoy it infinitely more). The people in the second group are usually those who adore running even though it has so many hard moments. Therefore, as a highly biased runner, I feel everyone can dismiss the ridiculous opinions of the first group and focus on the opinions of the second group.
However, despite which group a person might belong to, it is inevitable that if they ever end up running (forced or by their own free will), they will want a source of motivation to keep themselves going. People have a lot of different ideas of how to do this. In my running, for example,  I’ve repeated song lyrics to myself over and over and over again, recited memorized Bible verses, tried to ignore my pain (unfortunately, this one has never worked out too well), prayed for strength, counted steps to keep my feet hitting the ground in a consistent rhythm, and many other actions like that. More frequently than not, none of those things really help me perform better.
In fact, some have even caused me to perform worse than I otherwise would have. One day I was preparing to run the 1600m (or mile long race) at a track meet, and my friends started singing “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction and got it firmly stuck in my head. That mile was one of the worst mental races I have ever had. The lyrics kept playing back over and over again in my head, destroying my focus, and ruining that song for me forever (not that I was a big fan of it before).
However, there have been times when my methods of distraction have helped me. For instance, during a cross-country race, I repeated Psalm 130 to myself as I ran and was able to mostly ignore my body’s firm protests of my intense physical activity.
All of this to get around to pointing out that I have found a new running song! The song is “My Body” by Young the Giant (yes, I know it sounds sketchy, but it’s completely appropriate). I first heard the chorus of “My Body” at the REAL kite boarding school in North Carolina. I instantly thought that the words were perfect for running so I memorized the lyrics and determined to look the full lyrics up when I returned home. Well, surprisingly, I actually remembered to do that, and I am very glad I did. The lyrics to the chorus, in case you were wondering, are “my body tells me no, but I won’t quit, because I want more”. It’s truly a great song, and I am excited that I stumbled upon it.
Last line book quote: “Then the king commanded his servants to mind whatever Curdie should say to them, and after shaking hands with him and his father and mother, the king and the princess and all their company rode away down the side of the new stream, which had already devoured half the road, into the starry night.” —The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald