Sunday, March 9, 2014

A New Season

    The tar on my driveway peeked out today…after chopping the ice off with a metal garden shovel, that is…but signs of Spring came today! It is hard to believe, but a new season is upon us. Tomorrow high school track practice begins! I have the amazing opportunity to coach at St Louis Park High School again, so I will be thrust into the spring weather each day at 3:30 PM. I am eager to get started with the returnees from last year and to meet some new young athletes that are eager to explore the glorious sport of track and field, where they will hopefully learn more than just about a sport.
It is a new season for me as well! I recently joined a new team, Twin Cities Track Club, and I am feeling so blessed and excited.  After much discussion with the people I love and prayer, I decided that it was a good fit for me. The team has goals of supporting post-collegiate athletes that want to continue to train and compete. Also, they want to promote health and wellness through the sport of track and field in the Twin Cities. I was initially attracted to the team because it connects me with many athletes that are faster than me and can hopefully pull me to better performances. It is incredibly motivating to be surrounded by people that are dedicated to their own training. I am excited to get to know the women on the team and to train with them. When I found out they also have a goal to serve and unite the running community, I was so excited. It truly amazes me how running can unite people and I am excited to see how TCTC can facilitate the uniting of people of all ages and abilities in the community. The team is fairly new and I am excited to be a part of it as it continues to grow and develop!
Upon joining the team, I started working with Chris Lundstrom. I have great respect for what he does and think he has a lot of great wisdom and insight. I have always entertained the idea of Chris Lundstrom coaching me in the back of my mind, but didn’t know how the opportunity would arise. For the last year and a half, I have been blessed to have my sister Bekah Metzdorff coach me. She helped me to learn to listen to my body, allowed me to communicate with her and partner with her in my training, and kept me healthy! It is hard to justify leaving a good situation. After Bekah assured me that that she will continue to advise and support me, recognizing that she is busy with her new store, Mill City Running, and thinking something a little different might be just what I need to stay focused on my training, I jumped at the opportunity to be coached by Chris. It all happened so fast and I am so grateful to have this chance to work with such a gifted coach!
As I begin this new season, there is always a sense of anxiety and excited anticipation. Two weeks ago I was sitting in mass and heard the reading, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:33.I was so encouraged and convicted to remember that all I can do is seek the Lord each day and trust the next day will take care of itself. I don’t want to be so worried about what the next season will bring and miss out on the current one. I wont deny that I can’t wait for the days of the dry hot pavement of summer, but I don’t want to miss out on the present season filled with the simple joys like the ice melting and tossing its huge chunks aside!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"You do half marathons?" ... "Yes, Tomorrow I do!" ~ Houston Half Marathon Championships

This year I became an aunt for the first time to a beautiful little girl, Daniella. She came to Minnesota to visit over Christmas and I fell in love with her. I can’t imagine what I am going to do when I am a parent of my own children, because I am so in love with her… Maybe when I am sleep deprived with my own, my joy will be quelled! When I was with her, there was nothing she could have done that would have made me love her more or less (she could have giggled at my stupid songs or pooped all over and it wouldn’t matter). It gave me but a mere squinting glimpse of how God looks at me; there is nothing I can do to be more or less loved by my creator.
            I believe it is a lifelong process to truly discover and believe with my heart that nothing I can do can change the love that God has for me. I can say that I believe with my mind, but when I see that I approach many of my endeavors with a fear of not meeting expectations, I know my heart has not fully embraced this truth. I consider myself so blessed to have the opportunity to use my sport as a means to grow and learn that my performance has nothing to do with how well I am loved. This weekend I am running a half marathon in Houston, and I look forward to running a longer race that will give me many opportunities to be courageous and trust in the Lord’s strength. I want to be clear that I am not striving to use the Lord as a tool to make me run fast, but the point is that if I believe that my performance doesn’t change how much God loves me, then taking a risk and potentially dying, but leaning a little more into the dependence of God is well worth it. I am overwhelmed with this freeing idea, but it is incredibly scary. I feel weak even admitting this.
I am overjoyed and very eager when I consider this sense of freedom, but I know that the idea is far easier to entertain than to actually put it into practice! I would love prayer for courage. This week I was reading in the Gospel about Peter walking on water. Jesus approaches the disciples in a storm and they were very afraid. They think Jesus is a ghost and Peter says, "Jesus if it is really you, let me come out to you." Peter gets out of the boat and starts to walk towards him on the water, but gets scared and loses faith for but a moment and starts to sink. He calls out to Jesus and says, “Jesus, save me,” and immediately Jesus scooped him up. My prayer is that I will be like Peter; I am eager to step out of the boat, yet know that I will lose faith over and over in this race. I admire that Peter did not try to swim and tread water on his own when he started sinking, but called out to Jesus!

When the gun goes off I will take my first step depending on the Lord’s strength and each small doubt that crosses my mind, I will call on the name of Jesus Christ. Of course I hope to have a fast time in this race, but my ultimate evaluation of success in this race will be if I abandoned my own understanding and let myself trust in the Lord, because I know that is what truly matters in eternity!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Boldness and Confidence!

Here is a glimpse of the course...But it is now covered in snow...

Bend, Oregon…Here I come! This weekend I am racing in Club Cross Country Championships! I am racing with a beautiful group of women; some are old college teammates, some are even old high school teammates, and some are new friends. I was blessed this fall to get to run some workouts with them- a key ingredient I find that I need to stay motivated and truly experience the gift of training and racing! I look forward to a weekend of quality time with these great people!

The race is a 6K and from what I understand, it is “true European cross country”- full of mud, hay bales, snow, and any other challenging element that is bound to challenge me mentally. In my head, I love the idea of being a warrior and getting to run a “hard-core” race and race to see who has the most guts. When I am really honest with myself, however, I realize that I am inwardly a coward and easily give into the temptation to let go of the fleeting opportunities in a race to make a move or take a risk. I have been trying to prepare mentally for this race by repeating to myself that this is a sweet chance to be tough and that it is way more fun to really engage and give all I have than to be a chicken. I even chose the corny theme song “Roar” by Katy Perry in order to inundate my mind with the belief that I am tough. I believe that this approach is helpful and that I do have to build up a stock of mental ammunition, but I think there has to be something deeper than just figuring out how to trick your mind.

I truly believe God’s timing is impeccable and he provides all my needs in a way that I feel completely undeserving. This week I experienced God’s grace in a letter. I love mail by the way…This letter was from Jodi, the leader of the trip I took this summer to Europe with Athlete’s in Action. Throughout the summer I chose a truth about who I am because of what Jesus did for me, and it became my theme for my races. I chose the truth “I have boldness and confidence,” referencing Proverbs 3:26 “For the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.” I opened the letter and inside was a scrap-booked card with the verse and the truth! I couldn’t believe how impeccable the timing of receiving this letter was! It was an instant heart check prompting me to remember that it is the Lord that will enable me to be mentally tough. It is the Lord’s strength that will allow me to take the momentary opportunities to compete and to embrace being a warrior. It is the Lord that will give me boldness and confidence! And so, I head into this race with an awareness of my cowardice, but also a sense of gratitude that the Lord is with me and I will be a cross country warrior for him!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Our Greatest Fear

The school year is well under way, and as fairly new math teacher, my mind is constantly pondering how I can best motivate students to desire to learn and work hard. My goal is to help students become the best version of themselves, but I have recognized that many of us are seemingly afraid to try; for fear that if they try and fail they will be embarrassed because it will reflect on their permanent ability or some students are afraid of realizing their true potential! I realize I can relate to much of this with my own racing and other life endeavors.

 I came across a great poem by Mary Williamson:

Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson
it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Last week I was sitting at Starbucks doing some lesson planning and a gentleman biked by on a recumbent bike with a stuffed Cat in the Hat on the back. He stopped his bike at my table and asked if I was working on my homework- assuming I was in high school- CLASSIC! I told him I was actually planning homework for my students and he was baffled that I could be of age to teach... He got off his bike, sat down at my table, and started asking questions. Through our conversation I learned much about him including his passion to learn. He shared that he used to be a pharmacist because his father had owned a drug store, so that was the natural job to take over, but now that he is retired, he is pursing his passion to learn through a DVD curriculum. You could tell that he had an uncanny drive to explore what the world has to offer and had no fear of being the best he could be. At the end of the conversation, he told me I could look him up by searching for “94 year old takes trampoline lessons!!!!” I have attached the link, if you want to link
            Walking away from the conversation, I was so inspired by this gentleman who has experienced so much of life, that he does not fear taking risks and trying to reach his potential. I wonder what you and I are not doing for fear of what we may really achieve or for fear of failure… and what could be accomplished if, as Mary Williamson says, we believed we were children of God and lived in freedom; would we really be “liberating others?”

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My last week in Europe

A view of one of the cities in Cinque Terre
I promised this blog would be lighter... And it is. The week after I left my team in Blegium, I travelled a little extra. Here is a glimpse of my travels:

I went to Cinque Terre, Florence, and Rome in Italy. I travelled with my dear friend Jamie Cheever and a new friend from Jodi, who led our team in Belgium, to Cinque Terre. We were overwhelmed with the beauty and quaint cities. You can hike between 5 small towns that are set along the cliffs of the Ligurian sea.

I spent a day and a half with them and then Jamie and I went toFlorence where we met my parents. We enjoyed seeing the huge statue of David by Michelangelo after waiting in line for almost two hours, but it was more than  worth it. I was overwhelmed by the magnitude and the engineering of this huge statue. After the David statue we were rewarded with a half day tour to a Chianti Vineyard tour. It was beautiful to see the olive and grape trees in the Tuscany region and the wine was awesome. Jamie modeled how to get more than you pay for by enjoying other's dare anyone not drink their wine! Needless to say it was a great time of laughter and awesome company. That evening Jamie headed back to Cinque Terre and I traveled to Rome with my lovely parents.
Jamie enjoying leftovers...


Although it may sound lame to travel with your parents, I absolutely loved it. Fortunately for me, I get along great with my parents and this trip is one that I will remember for a lifetime! In Rome we had an amazing tour of the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and Vatican City with the Sistine chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. We were amazed to see such beauty but especially to learn the history behind everything we saw. Not only that, but to realize that much of what we were seeing was from the beginning of the Christian Church. Everything there seems to scream God's name. Although there has been much history of corruption, hate, and selfishness, the fact that much still remains and that so many people come to see it reminded me that God always triumphs and will make himself know.

My great parents
 My parents left and I had one day on my own. It is super hot in Italy, so I took a train to the Mediterranean for some relief! Despite getting stuck alone on a train by myself and the Italians had to pry the doors open to get me out, the day turned out to be quite an adventure! I would have loved company, but really enjoyed some solitude with God. I swam frantically in the ocean...I have a new respect for triathletes that swim in the ocean, jumped off what I perceived to be a cliff but was more like a rock,  and enjoyed reading on the rocks. I am now preparing to come home and get back to reality. It has been a wonderful trip and opened my eyes to the joy of traveling, but nothing can beat my home where my wonderful family and friends live.
Dad and I in a Roman Plaza