Lisa’s Running the Race

Lisa taking 1st place in her age division in the Tempe, Arizona, Iron Girl 1/2 Marathon. She took 12th out of 880 women.

Lisa taking 1st place in her age division in the Tempe, Arizona, Iron Girl Ten Miler. She took 12th out of 880 women.

My sister Lisa is always on the run, literally. Not only is she the mother of 4 children who range in age from 10-15, she’s a long distance runner, a personal trainer, college cross country coach, Bible study leader and wife to a wonderful man named Russ. I didn’t mention that she has also written some beautiful choir and solo music in her spare time. I talked to Lisa recently about her interest in personal training and why she continues to run competitively. She said this:

“I love training people to run for a number of reasons – it gives me a great chance to build relationships, and as the Lord allows opportunity, to correlate the physical with the spiritual in conversation. I also work with a number of Christians which brings lots of great communication about caring for the temple God chooses to inhabit by His Holy Spirit.
So often I see Christians allowing themselves to indulge in careless or even obsessive eating habits and ignoring exercise, claiming that we should simply concentrate on “the spiritual”. We have been created as spiritual beings – yes – however that spirit dwells within a mortal frame that, unless cared for, will become unhealthy. If our bodies are in poor health and uncared for, how can we possibly serve the Lord with “all our strength”?

Simple scientific evidence has proven over and over the importance of exercise in promoting a healthy body and mind. Yet so often Christians avoid the issue for fear that keeping themselves fit may appear “carnal”.  Self control is a fruit of the spirit that can and must manifest itself in every arena of our lives, including the physical. Exercise is one of the wonderfully natural ways of maintaining health and gaining energy with which to serve our King.”

I asked her about the Bible study that she teaches and why she adds that to her already busy life.

“As I teach the Bible Study each week, I find nothing more fulfilling than encouraging my friends spiritually with the Word of God. There is surely no gain in having a “fit” body, and a spiritual life that is weak and falling apart. Our bodies will perish, but our spirits are eternal. My walk with my Lord MUST be my highest priority. Then, I must be careful to be a good steward of the body He has created for me – to keep it, as best I am able, fit to serve Him!”

After crossing the finish line...

After crossing the finish line...

Lisa runs40-45 miles a week and is running her first marathon in October. Her “normal” runs are 10 milers or 1/2 marathons. She generally finishes in the top 1-2% of women and in the top 3 in her age division, 35-39.

Lisa and I used to play tennis before school when we were teenagers, and I used to run with her when I graduated from high school. That was the extent of my athletic pursuits. She was always the powerhouse. Her strong arm would send the balls to kingdom come. I don’t think we ever did find some of those tennis balls!

Having a personal trainer for a sister comes in very handy. She set me up with some great exercises and actually has me using small weights and things to get me stronger. (I’m talking little weights here, not barbells, ha!)

I prefer walking, and this summer, I got serious about it. I like to do it twice a day, once in the morning and once when Tom comes home. It’s therapeutic, to say the least. It’s head clearing, calorie burning quiet time to sort out your day, pray or just think. It’s an antidote to depression and malaise like nothing else. So if you’re needing to get moving, I challenge you to do it. As we take care of ourselves physically, we are able to serve the Lord better and have more energy to serve those we love.


14 thoughts on “Lisa’s Running the Race

  1. Encouraging article! I appreciate your sister’s balanced approach to holy living and agree for the need to exercise. Our bodies are indeed temples of the Holy Spirit. I’ve been a walker for sometime and the beneficial effects of exercise are many. I currently haven’t been able to walk much because of some health concerns, but I miss it and look forward to getting back to it soon. Grateful for His Grace,
    Wendy

  2. I agree, walking is wonderful! Today I’m getting a brace, so I can hike again after tearing my left leg ACL. (This didn’t happen from playing rugby, or downhill skiing. It happened getting into my seat on a plane. What a scream!)

  3. Thank you for emphasizing the need to care for the body as well as spiritual needs. I have always been a large person bordering on morbidly obese. I happened upon the local VCY station a few years ago while commuting to work. Over time, the teaching on your station and my Bible reading convicted me of my use of food as an emotional crutch instead of relying on God for my peace. I believe God worked through my doctor in urging me to adopt a more healthy lifestyle about 17 months ago. I began walking daily, stopped drinking soda, and made healthier eating choices. I am now walking about 2 1/2 miles a day and have lost about 70 pounds so far. I still have a lot of bad habits the Holy Spirit is convicting me of (ice cream!), but I have found more energy, confidence, and joy in the past year and a half than I have ever had. I listen to audio Bible or hymns while I walk, which has increased my knowledge and understanding of the Word of God and what His plan for my life entails.

    Also, many thanks, Ingrid, for your tireless work in bringing the truth of God’s Word to those who so desperately need it.

  4. Good for all of you! I have had to address terrible eating habits myself. I literally forget to eat when I’m busy. Then I remember on the freeway, driving to the studio at 2pm that all I’ve had is coffee. Needing energy before the show, I then raid the staff canteen and get a bag of M&M’s. By the time I’m off the show it’s 3pm and time to make supper at home. No energy. So I need more coffee. 5pm. All I’ve had is coffee and candy. Disgusting. I’m trying to change this but unlike my sister who eats like a healthy/semi-vegetarian with all the veggies and stuff, I’d live off whatever is lying around. It’s not funny when you hit 40 and realize that you’re courting osteoporosis, etc. from not getting enough nutrients and a balanced diet. I hate worrying about food, fussing over it. I make pretty healthy meals for the family, but often skip or eat at odd times so I’m not hungry when it’s meal time. It’s a stewardship issue and I’m getting a grip a little at a time and am enjoying a lot of salads this summer. And the caffeine thing. I’m down to half-caff twice a day. At one time I used to drink 6-8 cups of the real stuff. I was amazingly productive and let me tell you, the words would flow on the air, ha!, but no wonder I had the jitters all the time. Caffeine is a drug and it really can be abused.

  5. I have a two year old and a five month old and I am having a hard time trying to find the time to exercise. My husband works a lot of hours so if I do exercise I have to bring the kids. I try to make every effort but I am running short of ideas. I would love any suggestions. I dont like going to a gym for a number of reasons. During nap time I do crunches, jumping jacks, and running up and down the stairs. I still am not seeing the “left over” stuff of the baby but I do have more energy than I did before. I still have to watch the caffeine. I am down to 2 cups on average a day of coffee but some days I can go without…of course depending on the baby’s sleep at night too! :)

  6. Christina,
    I’ll have Lisa give some thoughts on your situation. Winters here in Wisconsin present the same challenge. I just cannot get out in sub-zero wind chills and walk. I finally got a Y membership for the family so our son who’s home schooled could also get the exercise he needed, but when you have little ones, that is way too hard having to haul them out, and who wants to put children in a care setting even if it’s just an hour–long enough to catch virus of the week? Check back for Lisa’s response.

  7. That is wonderful for your sister. I really feel that being on a sports team presents opprotunities to share the Gospel. I actually have a really dear friend and brother-in-Christ who, in April, was drafted into the NFL to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. (his name is Andy Studebaker for those who are interested) A few days ago I was chatting with him online & he told me that he really feels that God is using this experience.

  8. Christina,
    Yes, I do know the down side of those winter months. (Is there an “up” side??) Being a personal trainer at the Y here in town generally brings the opportunity to have access to a track or treadmill, but I have many clients with young ones who have to use the day care as well. It surely can be a “germy” environment. I recommend that if you have a Y membership and they offer a “THC” (total health consultation) – and most Y’s do – sit down with a trainer and ask them to help you establish a simple half hour to 45 minute workout with hand held free weights and a resistance band. Then you can take this to the privacy of your home to use during those cold months. (You can purchase small 3-5 lb. weights and a “medium” resistance band with handles at a fairly reasonable price at a sporting goods store or Walmart) When done in circuit form, the regimen can be somewhat of a cardio workout while strengthening those major muscle groups, preparing them for those days when you can step outside again. I had a foot injury this past winter and was forced to work more on strength training for a number of weeks. As I recovered and got back out on the road, I found it a huge benefit to both my form and endurance. And on those mild days…jump at the chance to grab a nice brisk walk or run! God bless!

  9. Lisa took 1st in her age division at the Lake Country Half Marathon this morning with a 7 minute/ 11 second pace. She took 8th out of the 408 women.

    Bravo, sis.

  10. Thank you for the suggestions. I do live here in SE WI and the winters here are rough, especially sometimes with the lake effect snow! We live in a small town and I dont think we have a Y here at all. My husband has 20lb weights I can use but I might switch to 10lbs. The only “big” problem I have is the core. Would there be any specific things I could do? I might have to set my alarm at 5am in order to get a 30 min walk in if my husband wont mind. Just the thought of it sounds refreshing. Thank you again.

  11. Amber,
    Congratulations on your weight loss, hang in there!

    Ingrid,

    Please be careful. For years I ate the way you describe, and still occasionally do out of habit, but then it all caught up with me. Now I dare not leave the apartment without carrying glucose tabs to ward of hypoglycemia. I now follow a low-carb/high protein diet to maintain my weight and keep my blood sugar stable. If I eat too many carbs I will be scik, weak and very depressed the next day. God did a good thing for me in my early twenties when I realized that coffee was making me sick. I was drinking about the amount you drink and HAD to go to zero. I started up again and the sickness returned. Now I only drink one or two cups a week.

    It’s hard to do these things but it is worth it. I always try to keep hard boiled eggs, baby bel cheese, jerkey, almonds, sunflower nuts and similar snacks on hand so I can just grab and go or for those hungry-beast-foraging-the-kitchen moments.

    Scary consequences for you: I have GI problems now because I did not eat right when I was younger and I’m only 44. You will begin to gain weight as you age and slow down, this weight will probably go to your abdomen and it will affect your cardiovascular health. Be careful. You are precious in God’s sight and mine.

    Lisa,

    Congratulations!

  12. Amber,
    Got it. I had a couple wake-up calls about my crazy eating and I’m reforming. It’s really carelessness that isn’t right. I haven’t had a weight issue yet really, but I know that in the 40′s that can hit as well. So no more skipping and caffeine-fueled work jags for me.

  13. Glad you’ve ‘got it’.

    I’ve been putting off rejoining the Y but after reading this I’m going this week. The physical and mental discipline of weightlifting have always helped and it clears my mind. I’m debating hiring a trainer. Years ago I had a trainer who was a retired professional wrestler and he taught me a lot as far as strenghenting and toning. The trainer at the local Y is a muscleman/competitive strongman and I’m hesitant to hire him because he may steer me towards something that is too ‘buff’, although the idea of body building has occasionally been tempting.

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