Thursday, December 13, 2018

Dreams over Doubt by Sara K. Parker - plus an Amazon giveaway!


Giveaway Update: My week REALLY got away from me, and I completely forgot about the drawing! I did it today using the list randomizer on Random.org, and the winner of the $20 Amazon gift card is Patricia Bond! Message me on Facebook @SaraKParker.author with your email address, and I'll send your gift card!

This past Sunday, I ran my fourth half marathon. 

http://bcsmarathon.com/

But before you start getting the idea that I’m currently munching on celery and sipping an organic protein smoothie with antioxidants and kale as I gear up for my next race, let me set the record straight: I hate celery. AND, until just a few years ago, I also hated running. Also, to be accurate, I don’t exactly run. No. I’m the half-marathoner at mile 11 who is thinking her legs might not carry her one more mile when all of the sudden she hears loud honking behind her and sees a police officer motioning for her to move-the-heck-over so that the FULL marathon winner can pass by unhindered by slow pokes. That's exactly what happened on Sunday. We had both started running at 7 a.m., the elite marathoner and I, but he had managed to cover 25 miles in the time it took me to cover 11 – and it looked effortless. In other words:



In some ways, watching that elite runner pass by reminded me of my own life and how it feels like so many around me are reaching new milestones and turning new corners and grasping hold of long-held or even surprisingly new dreams. Meanwhile, I mostly feel like I’m treading water and often recovering from another big wave: infertility, spousal chronic illness, childhood cancer – to name a few. I recently told a friend that I felt like I’d lived a decade in just two years. I feel like I LOOK like I’ve lived a decade in two years, too.

Speaking of, can we just talk about my finish line photo for a moment?  


First, am I even running? Second, why is my belt so high? Third, what is wrong with my FACE? Note to self: smile for the camera next time like the happy people coming up behind you.

I like my filtered phone photo better:

Anyway, I may not look pretty at the finish like the ecstatic runners behind me or the elite runners at the front with their toned bodies and running gear, but I celebrate finishing. After all, if there had been a high school superlative for least-likely-to-ever-run-a-half-marathon, I would have won. I’ve never been athletic. I absolutely hated PE as a kid. I was so terrible at ALL the sports that my PE teachers would often pull me to the side during group activities and give me individual practice and instruction. I froze in dodge ball, ducked in basketball, and took a ball to the face in “soft” ball when I got too busy talking to pay attention to the game. I resisted running at all costs. I hated the outdoors and was scared of all bugs. (Truth: I am still not a bug fan.) I was clumsy and awkward and saw no point in these games. I liked to read, write, and play the piano. I didn’t understand why we had to be forced to participate in PE.

But a few years ago, my metabolism slowed down as it tends to do when you hit your thirties. I realized I would need to either curb my eating or start exercising. I downloaded the Couch-to-5K app on my phone and started working the program. In twelve weeks, I was supposedly going to be able to run a full 5K without walking. Considering that I could barely run the 90-second intervals during the first week, I was skeptical. But, week after week, I saw progress until eventually I ran a 5K. From there, my goals kept expanding. I still remember the first time I ran five miles. It was so hard that at mile four, I broke out in chills and thought I was going to puke. But when I hit the fifth mile, I was incredibly proud of myself. I remember the first time I ran 10 miles, too. I finished at a lake in our neighborhood as the sun rose just perfectly on a cool fall morning, and I was in awe .


I honestly still don’t love running. But I do love how it makes me feel. I feel stronger, like I can accomplish anything. If a girl who was always first out in dodge ball can find her way to a 13.1-mile finish line, she can probably do anything she sets her mind to, God willing.

Still, I struggle with that belief. Doubt follows me whenever I conceive a new idea or project. I wonder if it’s silly or unrealistic or trite. I wonder if I can really pull it off. I wonder if it’s worth even trying, knowing I will probably fail. This way of thinking has limited me in many ways throughout my life.

This year, though, something changed. Maybe it’s because I’m in the last year of my thirties and I’ve been sitting on ideas and dreams for far too long. Or maybe it’s because nothing in life seems as scary or dramatic anymore since my daughter’s cancer battle. Maybe it’s because my faith is growing or my skin is getting thicker or my dreams are getting louder. Whatever the reason, 2018 has been a year of change for me. Slowly I have taken steps to fulfill dreams and explore ideas and find my voice and try new things – even at the risk of judgment, rejection, and failure.

I hope I’m even braver in 2019. And, since the first step to achieving goals is to name them, here are a few of mine: start a local writer’s group, finish the manuscript I’ve been fiddling with for years, write a new LIS book proposal that excites and inspires me, and achieve a new PR in my 5K and half marathon times.

What goal or dream have you been sitting on for too long? Comment below for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card. Drawing at 10 p.m. CST!


By the way, I still haven't found my groove when it comes to keeping up with social media, but I’d love to connect with you:

Click here to visit my Facebook author page
Hop over here to check out my occasionally updated Website.
Feel free to visit my rather silent Twitter account
And, here is even a link to my shamefully neglected Instagram account

Thanks for popping by to say hello!


20 comments:

  1. Sara, what an amazing and inspiring story. You've not only ran a marathon, you've climbed mountains!
    As I read your post, your childhood mirrored mine so much. I was not an athlete either. Thank you so much for this reminder that we have nothing to fear if we commit the desires of our heart to the Lord. I hope all your goals for 2019 come true. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thank you, Mary! May your Christmas be blessed!

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  2. I have friends who run marathons. I'm so proud of you for getting off the couch! They say "That which doesn't kill us, makes us strong."
    Wow, you're strong :)

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    1. :) Thank you! I don't know about strong, but I'm definitely not dead, so I'll take it. :)

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  3. Hey Sara!! You are amazing on all fronts. Seeing the pic of you crossing the finish line is so inspiring. I could neer do that in a million years. So proud of you. That really is a metaphor for many things in life...crossing that finish line. Wishing you all the best in 2019. Can't wait to see what you'll be producing. Blessings!

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    1. You are so right about crossing the finish line as a metaphor for many things. I had a lot of time to think about metaphors on my run because I'm a slowpoke and it took a long time to finish. haha.

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  4. Hi Sara! What an inspiring post. I could really relate. In elementary school, my PE teacher called my parents and politely suggested I quit the gymnastics team because I might hurt myself. The truth was, I sucked. I still can't do a somersault, much less vault over something. But I do remember how hurt I felt--until my mom bought me Misty of Chincoteague to make me feel better. Oddly enough, in college I seemed to find my grace and did quite well playing inter-mural football, basketball and baseball with my friends. You sound like you're well on your way to crossing new finishing lines. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

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    1. Oh my goodness. Your gymnastics story reminded me of the time in 9th grade when I thought I could just join the gymnastics club. I still have no idea how we had a gymnastics "club" that anyone could join, but we did - and I joined. I did not last long. I was attempting some kind of leap on the balance beam (with absolutely zero experience), and I missed the landing, straddling the beam as I fell, and then grabbing a hold of the beam as I spun down toward the ground, where I smacked my head on the metal leg of the beam. Only my pride was injured, and I did not return. :) I also recall my mom buying me Misty of Chincoteague when I was younger! I grew up in Maryland, and we actually took a day trip to Chincoteague Island in Virginia one time. I was so excited to go - but I remember mostly being miserable. It was very hot, and there were huge horse flies buzzing around that I was terrified of. :) Merry Christmas to you, too!

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  5. Hi Sara, you have not inspired me to start running marathons - my old knees couldn't take it, but your pluck inspires me. I've had a rough year with a child's illness followed by my husband's illness and passing, and I know it's easy to lose sight of personal goals. My "goal" is to find myself again in 2019 so I can begin pursuing again those dreams I've had to set aside for awhile - like finishing this LIS I've been working on for WAY too long.

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    1. Oh, Cate, I'm so sorry. Family health matters and the passing of a loved one are devastating, overwhelming and draining. During my prayer time today, I will pray for you. I well understand losing sight of personal goals in the midst of crisis and grief. May 2019 be full of blessings and comfort.

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  6. Sara, this is totally amazing.....love it! I walked 2 mi. daily for over 25 yrs. but came to a screeching halt due to health issues (discs!). I miss it so much and will never be able to get back to it, however, I do my PT exercises faithfully. I am an avid reader and would love to read your books!
    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hi Jackie - I can imagine how devastating it would be to suddenly not be able to do your daily walks after 25 years! Because of my husband's chronic health issues, I think I value my ability to run and walk far more than I ever did. I find myself just thanking God for the ability to run sometimes because I have realized how we never know what tomorrow will bring. I'm glad you faithfully do your PT exercises. It's so important to set and meet goals, even if we have to adjust them to unforeseen circumstances. You are resilient! Also, I just got my box of March 2019 books, and I'm doing a giveaway later today. I'm on Facebook @SaraKParker.author

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  7. I can remember how much I dreaded gymnastics when I was young. The most difficult thing I could do was a simple somersault and I didn't do that well. Congratulations for your achievements. I won't be running any half marathons in my future. The time has passed for even considering that as a goal. I would like to get back into a good exercise routine though.

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    1. Sherri - why do you live so far away? I have always thought we'd be the best of friends; we have so much in common! I never thought I'd be running half-marathons in a million years. It still surprises me. :) My favorite exercise is walking. I could walk all day every day. But it burns calories so much slower than running, and then I couldn't eat as much cake...

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  8. Love your inspiring post I used to walk every day but since I was in an auto accident about seven year ago I have been unable to do so Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas

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    1. I'm so sorry you haven't been able to do your daily walks since your accident. Cliche or not, life changes in a blink. I hope that in 2019, you will see some improvement in your physical abilities. I will pray for you today.

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    2. Congrats, Patricia! I just did the drawing (belatedly), and you are the winner of the $20 Amazon gift card! Message me on Facebook @SaraKParker.author, and send me your email address so I can get your gift card to you!

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  10. Great post! I am psyching myself up to start the 100 pushup challenge again in January.
    I tried it years ago. I hate pushups. But I was able to work up from doing a few pushups to doing 100 at a time in less than 2 months. I still hate pushups. But I love the increased upper body strength.

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