Friday, February 15, 2013

Monitoring the Heart...

These are not just random numbers.  These are the number of beats of  my heart at different times of the day.  I am a little bit of a running geek, I will fully admit, and I have a heart monitor that I can strap around my chest, tuck under my sports bra-and it syncs with my watch-and VIOLA my heart beat shows up on my watch.  A little heart on the screen beats from a small to large heart at every thump of this important muscle. 52-the beats when I am sitting on the couch ding nothing but moving my finger over my ipad.  71...walking around the house-doing a variety of things from laundry, homework with the boys to making dinner. out time! 

For a little experiment last week, I wore my heart monitor for the majority of the day.  I figure it's the week of Valentines why not check out what my little beater is doing and what causes it to beat faster and what calms it down.  Well...sitting at my desk with little activity-was only about 60-65 beats/min.  However, all it took was for someone to come into my office with a challenge or get an email that frustrated me and BOOM that heart rate jumped!  At times it jumped a full 10 beats/min within seconds!  Apart from the everyday of life-there are other things that really get my heart going-some good some bad.  

 My awesome little heart monitor at work!  58 beats/min at 3:55 pm on a Friday afternoon...

The good things would be like-seeing my boys after I have been up country, the excitement of seeing family after a long year in the field, the pride I feel for my friends and staff as the accomplish great things for God...The bad-could be anything from a taxi cutting me off or someone yelling inappropriate things to me as I run. And then there are world issues... for example Gender Based Violence-or GBV.  I can almost say that this issue almost drives me to the point of wanting to seek violent revenge on those who have hurt, beat, scarred young girls and women.  Don't worry I don't seek that revenge -I don't believe that violence should be answered with more violence.  But it gets my heart rate going-like really going-as in I am about to explode!  Although there are so many abuses against women in this world-yesterday (Valentine's Day) I was able to get my heart rate going in a good way to raise awareness for GBV.

Another organization organized a Valentines 5k run for GBV programs and awareness.  Yes, it was a great day and a great cause and I love running-but you know what made it even better?  I got to do it with my sons.  I got to run with my family and friends who all live in Liberia and see and hear women who are victims of GBV. We have a GBV program this year-along with our other Child Protection programs-led by Danielle and her great staff.

The 'unofficial' mascot of the run!

 I have stated many times on this blog that I run with a purpose-and one of those is to be an example to my two boys, Isaac and Felix.  Yesterday I was reminded that they are growing up so fast and as I ran with Isaac (who led for part of the race and turns 10 today!), I realized that they are not going to be around much longer!  When I saw Kendell and Felix cross the finish line I was thankful that my boys have a father who teaches them how to respect and treat women how God intended them to. To be men who seek after God-and learn about His love so that they may learn what real love is-whenever they are in a relationship with a girl (eek!).  That my boys are surrounded by 'aunties' and 'uncles' that are great examples-of respect and love for each other.
 Everyone after the race-well done!

I saw many of our staff, and was so thankful that we at SP take this issue seriously-that we have put resources towards helping those women that don't have a voice, that have suffered for years at the hand of a violent relationship, for those women and girls that have been raped and for the many women who have paid the ultimate price, their life.
 Alisa finishing strong-the first woman to finish!
 Next was Joni!  

 One of my new favorite pictures...Isaac did so well!

The Word talks a lot about protecting your heart-for many reasons. It talks about how much God cares about our heart and what we let in and out of it.  God wants our heart rate to rise and be active for change when we think about things that break His heart.  Gender based violence breaks God's heart-I am pretty sure of it-it's not what He originally planned for men and women. 

Tired but happy!

Running+great people+great cause= the above happy smiles! :)

If you have sons like I do, teach your sons the importance of respecting women-there is never a good reason to hit a woman. Never. If you have daughters-pray for them-that God would protect their hearts from those who would want to hurt them. What gets your heart rate going?  Hopefully it is running and great causes that you can be a part of!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Anyone who has trained for a running event-no matter what the distance-has probably heard of, if not done, interval training.  Interval training is simply alternating bursts of intense activity (like sprinting) with intervals of lighter activity (like jogging or walking).  In layman's terms-it is going back and forth from going really fast to going slow.  Since I am not sure when my next marathon or race will be -I have decided to try some new training techniques.  Running intervals has become my new favorite training day! 

Interval training is improving my over all cardiovascular output for long runs.  It also trains my body and mind on when and how to conserve energy and when to open up the throttle and push myself to be faster for a final "kick" at the end of the race.  You also burn more calories in this type of training-which helps me stay within running weight ( my love of chocolate and food in general magnifies this need to do intervals!).  

On Monday - I went for an interval training run.  I had a crazy busy day and the week was just going to get busier-never mind what the whole month looked like!  As I ran I was struck with how running intervals is a lot like life.  Sometimes we are sprinting-just trying to keep up, we have deadlines, projects to go see, staff to meet with, visitors to host-kids to take care of, meals to cook...the list goes on and on!  And then there are times when we slow down, we sit at the beach for an afternoon with friends and family, watch a movie, read a book-even sit on the porch and watch the sunset..or catch a little nap on the chopper!

 One of my favorite places to rest...

Like interval training-in life, we need to have both to improve our longevity and impact.  If all we did was sprint through life -going a million miles an hour with our hair on fire-we wouldn't last...we would eventually keel over in exhaustion, or as society calls it, "burnout".  If we just walked slowly through life, we would maybe miss the opportunities God has put in our lives to move forward. In a practical sense, we would get nothing done!

 Busy day on the field-meeting beneficiaries at a fish pond harvest

God has given us many examples in His Word of people who rested when they needed to - and sprinted when God needed them to.  Jesus spent time praying and resting -He also went on for days walking from town to town preaching, healing and meeting people.  Moses literally sprinted out of Egypt-went and became a shepard, a time of rest. Then God called him to go back to Egypt where he once again literally sprinted leading the people of Israel out of slavery.  Sometimes our interval of rest is long-sometimes it feels like it's not long enough.  In our work here-I feel like I am sprinting all the time-when in reality God is providing 'little' rest intervals for me everyday.  

 Hard work through the farming season=being able to rest and enjoy the harvest!

God knows what we need to run and finish the race He has set before us.  Much like a marathon-if we want to finish we have to know how to train-we have to incorporate intervals-little burst of fast and slow running to help us get through the longer race.  At last year's London marathon-I used this method to help run what has been my best marathon to date (granted I have only run 3!).  I ran for 9 min.  and walked for  1 minute.  In the end my last 10km -the last 6.2 miles that are usually the hardest, slowest and most painful-was fastest, best and most enjoyable. 

I have learned that to finish a marathon race and the marathon of life-you need to train and live a life of 'intervals'.   Know when to rest and know when to sprint!