My First Marathon

Listen to this week’s blog on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

It is the day after my first marathon. I hobbled down the stairs, made a cup of coffee and grabbed my laptop. While I doubt I will ever forget the events that transpired yesterday, I decided I wanted to get them down while they were fresh.

They say finishing a marathon will change your and they, whoever they are, were not wrong. While I am not even a full day removed from the marathon, the experience definitely changed me.

I got to the race at about 6:15am and found the team I was running with, Team World Vision. It was nice to not be alone and I got to meet all of the online people I’d been interacting with for the past several months.

After a quick prayer and gathering, we headed to the start line. Oddly, I didn’t feel nervous at all. I was ready to run and pretty excited.

The gun went off and we ran. I felt fresh and ready. My training went ok considering all of the interruptions I had during it. Three funerals, an injury, and three colds (one of which I was still shaking). But I felt good!

The first few miles were quite pleasant. The weather seemed to be holding up well and the expected snow seemed to be a possible wrong prediction. But around mile 8, the heavens opened.

Despite the snow/sleet and the brutal winds, I was still feeling ok and was on pace. Miles 1-13 flew by and before I knew it I was at mile 18, which was the longest run I’d done in training. With a wet face and feet, I kept pushing forward.

I could tell that these 18 miles were much more difficult than my training run of the same distance. The snow lasted from about mile 8-17 and was accompanied by some very intense wind gusts. By 18 miles, I felt physically drained. The snow and wind beat at my body for almost 10 miles and I was feeling it.

Luckily, a wonderful man named Mohammed, whom I will NEVER EVER forget was running close by and we began talking and encouraging each other.

I stopped at about 18.5 miles to take some pebbles out of my shoe, but when I slid my ankle back into my shoe, my left calf seized up as tight as a rock! I had never gotten a cramp during running so this was new territory.

With tears forming in my eyes, I began to message my calf and told it “Loosen up, right now!”. I used my mom voice to tell it who was in charge. I stood up and continued to remind my leg of its responsibility to keep me moving.

The cramp left, but the exhaustion stayed. My legs felt decent but my feet felt like lead. I knew as long as I could keep my mind strong, I’d be ok.

My family called to find me and as I approached about 19 miles, they drove by. I smiled and yelled at the kids from the road and it really brightened up the atmosphere. It’s amazing what being around the right people can do! (Another blog for another time!)

I pressed on and a bit before the 20 mile mark, my family had parked and were waiting for me. I stopped to hug my kids and to tell my husband that I was struggling. To this point I was still on my target pace, but I could see the crew removing the 20 mile tracking strip that’s used to update spectators of where there runner is. I literally had to run around the person removing it!

When I got to mile 21, the proverbial wheels fell off. I stopped to use the bathroom, hoping the change would bring on a second wind. It did not.

At this point, it crossed my mind to quit. I’d seen a lot of people drop out back when the weather got rough. It would be understandable. These running conditions were not ideal. I’d like to say that I fought hard the whole way through. I was mentally tough and nothing was going to break me down. But truthfully, I considered it.

As I sat in the port-a-potty, I had a decision to make. I can keep going or I can give up. But truthfully, I had already decided I was going to finish. I decided when I signed up for the marathon. I decided when I did the training. I decided when I pre-purchased the 26.2 sticker for my car!

I came out of the bathroom and kept going. I was doing ok, walking/running with my new friend. We talked about our running, families and got excited as we could see the capitol building in the near distance, which was the finish.

Feeling confident, I kept moving. Around mile 23, disaster knocked on my door again. And I let it in. The race crew was beginning to pick up the cones. One of the guys came to us to let us know that they needed to pick up the cones and mile markers so we needed to stay on the sidewalk to finish.

I’d been using the cones to guide me to the finish, and as a directionally challenged person, I knew if I had to read a map to get pack, I was toast. I burst into tears. Like, my dog just died tears.

Mohammed immediately checked on me. He thought I was hurt or something bad had happened. through my sobs I explained that I was scared I wouldn’t know the way to finish. He reassured me that we would follow the map and finish the last few miles together.

I wiped my tears and thanked God for sending me someone to help me when I was struggling. I apologized to Mohammed for falling apart and let him know I was ok!

My family called me at around 25 miles because the race was no longer tracking me since I would not make the cut off. I assured them I was doing fine and was on my way. The race crew had radioed in that we were coming so they left the finish line up.

At this point, I knew it was a good time to open the letter my daughter gave me days before the race. “See you at the finish line!”

I picked up my pace a bit and as I turned the corner onto the street where the finish line was, I could see my family. Tears welled up in my eyes. I knew I was almost done.

The workers who were still there cheered me on like I was running for gold! As my feet crossed the finish line, the floodgates opened and I couldn’t contain my emotions. I’d finished a marathon!

It was harder than I thought and I’d ran slower than I’d hoped, but I finished. I didn’t quit. I didn’t give up.

At the beginning of this year, I couldn’t run a mile and a when I finally could, it took me 15 minutes. I’d come so far and felt so proud. Since I didn’t finish the course by the cutoff time, I got a DQ by my name in the results. It stands for Disqualified. But for me, it means Didn’t Quit.

I felt like the psalmist in Psalm 27. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.” ‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭27:13‬)

I learned so much from running 26.2 miles about me, life and what I hope to give in the time I have on this earth. I’m excited to see what’s next!

Run YOUR Race

Head over to my podcast for 5 ways to RUN YOUR RACE!! Seeking God, Loving Others.

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In 48 hours, I’ll be running my first marathon. I can’t believe that after almost 8 months of training it’s time. It’s time to run my race. My training has been interrupted more times than I care to remember but I’ve made it through.

I’ve learned so much over the past few months about both running and life. Many of the blog posts I’ve written were worked out during a run on the trails.

As I’ve been preparing for this race, I’ve come across Hebrews 12:1 quite a bit. In fact, the planner I use has a monthly verse and this month’s verse was Hebrews 12:1! Coincidence? I don’t think so.

This verse is such a powerful reminder that each of us has our own race to run that God has marked out for us. But many of us are too busy looking at other people’s races and envying their results.

I’ve found it so freeing actually running my own race. Both physically and spiritually. I use a running app that is basically like Facebook but for runners. We can see our friends’ runs and comment and like but I’ve heard many people say they feel bad about their own run after seeing others’ stats.

When we compare ourselves to others, it actually slows us down in our own race. We end up doing too much too soon or losing focus on what God wants us to do.

If I look at and envy the free time my friend has while her kids are at school, I won’t be content in homeschooling my children even though it’s the race God has marked for me.

If I envy the lavish vacation someone on Facebook posts, I won’t be content with sticking to the financial goals God has marked out for my family.

When we run the race that God has marked out for us in our homes, business, career or family, we can trust that he has everything figured out.

I know a few people who have a running coach. If ever I win the lottery, that will be one of my splurges. A running coach can create a plan tailored specific to your goals. You don’t have to think about what workout you need to do or how far you need to run; you just look at your plan. And if something comes up that interferes with your training, your running coach adjusts things and moves them around.

Now, a running coach is not in my budget (yet) but I do have access to someone who has created a tailored plan for my life. I don’t have to worry about what city to live in or what job to take, I can just look at his plan. I don’t have to know how long it will take for my blog to get noticed or my book to get published. I can look at his plan and know that “he who began a good work will carry it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

When something interferes with my race, he can move things around so that “all things are working together for my good” (Romana 8:28). If you haven’t caught on, I’m talking about God! God has every detail of my life, and yours, mapped out and when we stay in our lane, stay in his word and stay in his presence, we WILL run our race and run it well.

Mileage that Meets Needs

Find more inspiration and hopefully a few laughs on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

This Tuesday, I ran the longest I’ve ever run and will run until I complete my marathon in a few weeks. I’ve been training since May and while I’ve been met with a few setbacks, things have gone pretty well. My 18.5 mile run went surprisingly well and left me feeling confident and ready for my race.

I am running my first marathon with Team World Vision, an organization that my husband and I have supported for almost 13 years. I was made aware just this year that I could raise money for World Vision to provide clean water for people who otherwise don’t have access to it.

I also learned that 6 kilometers was the average distance that a person walked without access to clean water. That’s 3.5 miles of walking for dirty water to bath in, wash with and cook with.

I knew immediately that I had to be a part of this. I saw that I could run with a team in Madison, WI. When I went to sign up for the half marathon, a. Slight hesitation caused me to consider the full marathon. I had run a half before and just felt a pull to go a little further. I signed up for the full.

As I’ve been training, I’ve tried to stay focused less on my stats and paces and more on the reason I’m doing this. I want to help people who need help. I want to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Jesus said this “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew‬ ‭25:40‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

It’s important to remember those who can’t help themselves. It’s important to be apart of something bigger than ourselves. I’m excited to run my race at my pace and for the hundreds of people who will benefit from us coming together to help provide clean water.

If you’d like to donate, click here to learn more about World Vision.

Training Tips

Check out my podcast, Seeking God, Loving Others! This weeks episode based on this blog: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/jasmine-lozano-seeking-god-loving-others/id1562418663?i=1000534243735

This week in my marathon training, I had a midweek 6 mile run and unintentionally chose a path that has a few hills. I’m a lazy runner if I’m being honest and typically, I try to find routes that stay pretty even or go down in elevation! But being that my November marathon does feature some intense hills, I know I have to get more effective at running them.

As I was running up a steep hill, I began to regret my decision. Hills are hard! Hills hurt. Hills take more effort. Hills slow you down. Why can’t all races be on a level course that requires little to no effort? You already know where I’m going with this, don’t you?!

Life does not progress on an even course. There are times when we are running well and times when all we can do is walk. There will be times when there is plenty and times when we get to practice contentment! We don’t always get to run downhill. Sometimes we will have to tackle hills.

Jesus told us this in John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Jesus wanted us to know that in this world, we will have trouble. Not we might have or could possibly have trouble. WILL. Look at his life! The Pharisees were constantly stalking his every move. The Sadduceus’ main mission in life was to try to trip him up. His own disciple turned him in to be arrested. The people laughed at and mocked him and don’t forget he was put on a cross by the same people who laid palm branches under him!

It’s easy to say we want to live like Jesus, but do we though!? Jesus was able to endure all of this and more because he had already put in the training. He had already practiced on the hills! 

Jesus spent time in prayer and fasting. He knew the Scriptures like no one else! He prioritized communion with his father. He surrounded himself with like minded people (although they sometimes got on his nerves!).

His life was neither smooth nor easy. And neither will ours be. I wish more than anything it could be, but instead of wishing for the impossible, I’d rather prepare for the inevitable. 

Just like I’m preparing my body to run 26.2 miles by eating properly, sleeping well, and training up for the distance, we can prepare our lives to weather the storms life will send. 

No matter what you are going through, know that God has given you everything you need to overcome. It won’t always be uphill.. But if you train for the difficult seasons by staying consistent in his word and staying connected to him, you will make it to the top. 

Keep Going

Sometimes you can’t see changes as they’re happening. I started taking a picture of this tree after every run starting in March. Good runs, bad runs: Same picture. The first picture is from March; the second from today. I didn’t notice much change in this once barren tree from day to day, but 4 months later it is full and providing shade and comfort.

I don’t always feel like I’m moving forward with my goals but one thing I know is that consistency will get me closer to them. I’m learning that I don’t have to sprint to the finish line. I can continue to move towards it at a sustainable pace.

We are becoming better each day. Each day is not perfect and it never will be. And that’s ok. But as long as we keep going, keep doing, keep loving, keep growing, we will see results!

Happy Monday!!

Run Your Race

I recently began running again after almost a year off due to the pandemic. I am a new runner. I started in 2018 and have run a few races, including a half marathon. When I started I could barely run a quarter of mile without feeling like a lung was going to fall out of my body, so when I ran 13.1 miles (well, 13.84 miles, the course was off #humblebrag), I couldn’t believe I had come so far.

Fast forward to 2021, and I feel like I’ve never run. EVER. In my life. I’m slower, I’m tired, and it is hard. I just want to wave a magic wand and go back to where I was this time last year. 

But I can’t. And sometimes, that’s discouraging. I looked at the numbers from my half-marathon and saw that my slowest mile of the 13+ plus miles was still faster than my current mile! I had to make a decision: Give up and just live in the past or keep moving and get better everyday.

I chose the latter. 

I was reminded of a verse in Philippians about what I was experiencing. The people who know me well know that I have a verse for everything! There’s no situation I’ve come across where I was unable to find comfort and guidance in the Bible.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (PHIL 3:13-14)

While it can be helpful to look back from time to time to remember and reflect, it is not always beneficial. It’s easy to get trapped in the mistakes or failures from years ago or envy a better time of your life. But the apostle Paul would tell us not to waste time on things that don’t propel us to our destination.

When I looked at my racing numbers through a different lens, I was encouraged to know that since I trained and got better before, I could do it again. And I could do it better. What’s in front of you is going to be better than what’s behind you.

We all go through ups and down but what matters is whether or not we move forward through them. Don’t allow yourself to get trapped in the closet of the past. Put one foot in front of the other and run your race.