Why do I do this again?

Lot’s of people look at me cross-eyed when I mention I ran a half marathon recently. Some smile nicely as if to keep the crazy girl calm and quietly slip away. But many slap me on the shoulder and say, “Great Job!”

Talking about sports, especially some of the things I do (long distance cycling, speed skating, etc), sometimes draws mixed reactions. Especially when I talk about my dad (climbed Kilimanjaro & Rainer, biked 3100 miles across the country, etc).

It’s genetic. And I’m okay with that.

Although this past weekend, I might have questioned it once or twice.

I ran the Sedona half marathon Saturday.

Any athlete knows that some races just aren’t as good as others. Stomach trouble, freak cramping, or some other random issue.

Me and Stina at the start

Well, lucky me, I got a few of them. I still managed to enjoy the day and take one minute off my time last year, but it was painful.

At the start, with my friend, Christina, excitement hummed in the air. It was COLD (29 degrees) but the bright sun bounced off the beautiful red rocks. *sigh* I’ll never tire of that view.

Me chugging around the last corner toward the finish

By mile five I had a stitch in my side that burned like fire from hades. Couldn’t get a good deep breath and that just snowballed into fatigue, cramping and whole nine yards.

But, my good friend Christina kept my spirits up and chugged along with me. It was her first half marathon ever, so it was fun to share that with her.

I’ll be honest, I thought a few times, “Why do I do this again?” But the answer presented itself shortly thereafter.

A challenge.

What is life without challenges? Some we choose, such as running, extreme sports, etc, and some we don’t. My mother-in-law, while I was running this 13.1 mile race, was sitting in a chair getting ready to receive her very first chemo treatment. She didn’t ask for that challenge, but she’s facing it head on.

Stina and me at the finish with our medals and Sun Drop soda

Her finish line might not be lined with spectators cheering, tons of food, Sun Drop soda and a finisher’s medal, but she’s persevering, regardless.

The challenges we face, no matter what they are, we can grow from. Spiritually and mentally.

My race ended with me being a bit short of my goal time, and I was very sore, but I’m stronger because of it.

When I wanted to stop and walk, I thought of my mother-in-law.

When I wanted to stop and walk, I prayed to God for strength.

When I wanted to stop and walk, I thought of my sweet hubby cheering me along back in Phoenix.

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When you want to stop and walk, what do you do to keep going?

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Where do you ponder?

Where do you like to sit and ponder?

Overlooking an ocean or lake?

I’ve done that and loved it.

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How ’bout watching a sweet sunset.

I’ve seen plenty of those and totally love them. Sunrises work great too for me.

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If you’ve been visiting the Light of Truth blog for any time at all, you’ll know I’ve spent a bunch of time up on Sedona, Az.

I have done a couple writer retreats up there and pounded out some serious words on a few of my novels.

I mean, with a view like this, how could you NOT be inspired, right?

The beautiful red rocks.

The thrill of a great hike or trail run.

It’s among my top choices of where to go to write.

Some of us have favorite chairs we like to sit in. Heck I have a favorite sweatshirt I love to wear when I’m writing.

But where do you like to go to think? You know, to just think things through, whether you’re a writer or not.

Along with those mentioned above, another big one for me is my road bike.

Yep, the green, black and white Jamis and I have spent many hours on the road together.

I’ll pound out anywhere from 30-70 miles on that thing just thinking. It can be about anything, but mostly, it’s about what kind of funky situations I can throw at my characters. Plots. Conflicts. Tension.

There’s just something about being outside seeing the sites, busting my lungs, and getting fresh air to fuel the ideas.

This past Friday, I got another story idea. I didn’t necessarily want one quite yet since I’d just finished a novel a couple weeks ago. I was actually looking forward to some rest. But I can’t always control when the ideas come, that’s for sure.

Since it was just a little “trickle” of an idea, I figured I’d spend some time thinking on it to see if it went anywhere.

So, this past Saturday, I spent a couple hours in the saddle. Thirty miles later. . . the little trickle turned into a full blown idea.

Even thought of the names while on the ride. Trinity and Jayden.

Then, later that day, when I sat down at the computer, the flood gates opened.

So. . . we’ll see where the story goes.

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I’d love to hear about your favorite place (or places) to sit and ponder!

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Musical Monday

Okay, you might be wondering why I picked this song, Runner, by Manfred Mann . . . .

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tb8xkRuYf0]

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I have a reason–I promise.

Besides it being a great song, I thought it fitting since I ran a half marathon this past weekend while my dad ran a full marathon!

Yep, 64 years old, and my dad is still running marathons.

So, I had to pick this song.

I showed up on my dad’s doorstep the night before race day and surprised him by announcing I would run the half marathon while he ran the full.

I’d heard it might be his last one, so I had to go up there and celebrate this milestone with him. I mean, he’s been running marathons since the early 80s.

I’ll talk more about race day with my dad in tomorrow’s post, but let this song be a little warm up.

Tune in tomorrow for the details. It was such a great weekend!

Happy Monday, everyone!