You can barely see them in the darkness of the early morning hour.  Huddled together under the park’s shelter, they chat lively as they await the sound-off from their coach.  The sun begins to peak above the horizon and the dawn’s light gives a glimpse of the women. If you look closely, you can see that they are almost naked.Almost Naked

Oh they are clothed alright, but barely. Shorts, tanks and sports bras are the preferred attire.  With their hair pulled back, head donned with a cap, visor, or headband, and virtually no makeup, these women come in all shapes and sizes, and they dare to expose their most vulnerable self. There is little room for pretensions. Walls are broken down and masks are removed.  Some have never run before and others have been running for years.  Some are fast and some are slow.

Stripped of professional titles and corporate affiliations, these women are connected together by their running shoes. Profession by trade makes no difference; Socio-economic status does not matter; Age is not an issue; Sexual orientation has no bearing; The color of one’s skin is irrelevant.  They are CEO’s, business owners, professional executives, nurses, teachers, students, store clerks, waitresses, housewives, and unemployed.  They share many faiths, Bahia, Jewish, Christian, Catholic, Buddhists, or none of the above.   They are married, divorced, single, or in a significant relationship.  They are wives, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, and sisters.   But you don’t see any of that.  What you see is that they are almost naked, and they come together for one purpose: to get their run on.

What you see is what you get when you’re almost naked. Young or old, fat or thin, these ladies unite in a spirit of community and acceptance. Many seek to get their bodies back in shape after years of neglect and weight gain. Some are hoping to avoid getting caught up in the epidemic of obesity.  Others want to maintain their shape and improve their health.  Some simply want to reduce stress or find an outlet to help them deal with a challenging life circumstance.

Whatever the reasons, they have one thing in common: the courage to take the first step. Our goals are simple. Complete each mile in 18 minutes or less, and cross the finish line. Collectively, the women find encouragement and support from one another.  Connections are made, bridges are built, and hearts are woven together as they get their run on.  With the support of each other, they stay the course with their training as they pursue a goal. In the process, their lives are changed forever. These gals are members of the FAB 50 Women on the Run team, and together, they are almost naked.

Now you too can get in on the fun and be part of a revolution that sees women push through self-imposed limitations and achieve what they never dreamed possible! Get naked (almost) and join with us! Go to FAB 50 Women on the Run and get signed up for our next training program! We’ll see YOU at the start line!

 Most people think your life changes forever the second you cross the finish line.

Runners know your life changes forever the second you decide to go to the starting line.

 

II Corinthians  3:17

II Corinthians 3:17

When the time came for Jesus to make his ministry public, he entered the synagogue and read from the book of Isaiah. He read aloud the words of a prophet to a captive audience. All eyes were on him. He then pronounced that these words, written some  700 years prior, were now being fulfilled through Him, and the people marveled (Luke 4:21).

But one would have to know the words penned by Isaiah to understand what all the excitement was about. And it is indeed exciting. Isaiah described the Son of God as one who would come to heal the broken-hearted and set the captives free. He said Jesus would give us beauty instead of ashes, and joy instead of mourning. Instead of carrying around heavy burdens, we can find strength, rest, and renewal.  This is why Jesus came. To deliver us from bondage and bring us into a place of freedom. He died, so we might be free.

Years later, after Christ’s death and resurrection, the apostle Paul summarized this beautifully: “”Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, freedom] (II Cor. 3:17 AMP).

Liberty, freedom, emancipation from bondage… I’ll take it! How about you?

Leviticus is not one of my favorite books in the Bible. It seems more fitting for someone with an architectural Surrenderbackground. But when you read about men dying on the spot for doing something that is seemingly well and good, you can’t help but stop and take notice.

That is exactly what happened with Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, appointed by God to serve as priests.  These men were burning incense and fire, as was customary in that day, as an offering to God. Yet the fire consumed them and they were killed right then and there.  But why? It seemed they were doing a righteous thing, offering sacrifices of worship before the most high God.  But as you read in Leviticus chapter 10, you learn that God gave them very specifics of how he wanted the fire and incense to be burned.  He wanted it His way. Moses explained to his brother Aaron, now a grieving father, that God had commanded them to do things HIS way. Nadab and Abihu, while doing a good thing, did it their way, and they lost their lives for their disobedience. God looked upon the “false” fire that these men presented as dishonoring towards Him (Leviticus 10:6).

It’s about honor.

How often do impose our own will over God’s?  Probably more times than we can count.  To honor God, we submit to His will, acknowledging that His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). To honor God, we surrender our lives before Him and walk in obedience to His sweet commands. These include walking in love, truth, integrity, kindness, gentleness, and compassion.   Our biggest issue is ourselves.  Scripture teaches “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam 15:22).  We do things our own way, and the consequences of such may bring many regrets. When we do things God’s way, the payoff is big.

Honor.  It is a word we don’t hear of often. But it means oh so much to God.  He tells us clearly in the ten commandments to honor our father and mother. Why?  That it may go well with you. (Deut 5:16). God is our ultimate father, and He desires honor. I want to give Him that. How about you?

communityIt just so happens that the Women’s Half-Marathon Series falls each year on my birthday.  I’ve been running this event since they first came to St. Petersburg over 4 years ago. It is a great race with lots of perks and amenities specific for women.  Running along the waterfront in St. Petersburg and enjoying the typical 70 degree weather makes it an almost perfect event.

But with each race event, I found myself in the midst of thousands of women, yet without the connection, camaraderie, or excitement that comes with having a buddy to run it with you.  Sure my family was there to cheer me on and support me, but I had yet to find a friend who was willing to run 13.1 miles for the fun of it.  Most folks would laugh in my face at the mere suggestion.

It was my 49th birthday, and once again I was running another race alone.  But this time I was reeling from a year of depression as a result of a shattered dream that literally altered my destiny.  The race was tough and my run was slow. I didn’t enjoy it, and I knew I didn’t want my 50th birthday to be a repeat of year 49. At about mile 7, my mind started turning over ideas on how I could pull out of the slump I was in and make my 50th birthday a time of celebration.  I crossed the finish line that day with a new vision and a new attitude.

Six months later, I was training 24 women for the Women’s Half-Marathon event. How did this happen? I simply extended the invitation to anyone I knew (or didn’t know) to let me train them for six months as my gift to them in celebration of my 50th birthday.  In turn, it was a gift to me because I found some running buddies to cross the finish line with.  What I didn’t anticipate, however, was the infectious community that would be birthed in the process.

The training was invigorating. Not because of the distance we were achieving in mileage each week, but because of the friendships that were formed.  While in the midst of 90 degree heat, humidity, and a lot of sweat and sometimes tears, we found strength, support, encouragement, compassion, kindness, and a deep resolve and commitment to see each other through.  Women and girls from all walks of life, all shapes, sizes, and ages, coming together in authentic community with one goal in mind – to cross the finish line of 13.1 miles.  It didn’t matter what we looked like or what we wore. We presented ourselves vulnerable as we made the commitment to reach for a goal that seemed preposterous to many and outlandish to some.  We made ourselves accountable to each other and came together each week to get our run on.  Along the way, amidst our fears and doubts, we overcame, and we left our training sessions feeling strong, empowered, confident, capable, and courageous.  On the following week, we came back for more….because we had stumbled upon something that was life changing for many of us, and it was infectious.

It is a profound dynamic that continues to amaze me to this day.  Even as our team gets larger, with over 100 women having now crossed multiple finish lines of 13.1 miles, the dynamic doesn’t change. These ladies are positive, supportive, encouraging, and fun.  We are “sole” sisters who have discovered that we are stronger together. We are the FAB 50 team, and we invite YOU to be a part.

From the ashes of a shattered dream, a new vision was birthed, hope was restored, friendships were made, and an infectious community was formed. My life will never be the same. – Coach Pamela

ImageThe novelty of the training has worn off. The alarm rings early on a Saturday morning and you’d much rather sleep in. As you attempt to arouse yourself from your sleepy slumber, you ask, “What have I gotten myself into?”  It’s cold outside and your bed is warm.  The training runs are getting harder and the distances longer.  You entertain thoughts of bailing out.  “Maybe I’ll just skip today and catch up on my run tomorrow.” You toss these thoughts back and forth in your mind as you search to find the right ones that will get you out of bed.

Coach Pamela says I have to know my WHY.” 

“As a team member, I am called to be ACCOUNTABLE and make my training count.”

“Yeah, but, I can still can do this some other time when it’s warm and convenient.”

To Run or Not to Run

Tired of the battle in your mind each week as you struggle to get up and going for our scheduled training runs?  Sometimes the vacillating thoughts in our heads can be exhausting.  What we once felt enthusiastic towards has now become a challenge, requiring a real effort to stay the course and not quit.  We need ample strategies that will help us go the distance of a half-marathon training  program.

Look No Further, FAB 50 Delivers!

So what will get you out of bed when you stayed out late the night before, the weather outside is cold, and you’d rather be sleeping? What will help you to overcome the battle that wages in your mind each Saturday? How will you get yourself to your FAB 50 Squad for another training run?  Plain and simple, it’s your COMMITMENT.

  • Your COMMITMENT It is a deliberate effort to put into action the behaviors necessary to reach your goal.
  • Your COMMITMENT is an unwavering determination to do what it takes to see yourself through to the end.
  • Your COMMITMENT is a pledge to yourself,  your family, and your team as that you will finish what you have begun.

With COMMITMENT, there is no need to entertain suggestive thoughts that lead you away from reaching your goals. You just do it. No questions asked.  You don’t waver.  You signed up for it; you’re going to see it through.

Strengthen Your Commitment

With your COMMITMENT, you may want to examine areas of your life that may hinder your training success so you can make some adjustments. You may save your late night outings until Saturday nights when you don’t have to be concerned with waking up early.  You may go to bed early on Friday nights, taking care to give your body the rest it needs for the next day’s run.  You may opt out of drinking alcohol the night before your training, or you may eliminate it all together.  Likewise, you choose to hydrate your body with plenty of water; and you eat nutritious meals.

Now when the alarm rings, you simply get up and get yourself prepared for your morning training session, no questions asked.   You’ve made the COMMITMENT.

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