Faith and Fitness with Marsha Apsley

Helping Women Live Fit and Free

A Lesson In Numbers: Looking Back at a 2015 Half Marathon

lesson in numbers
Runners love numbers, but sometimes we miss what really counts.

The first part of this is a repost from a race recap a year ago.  

Indianapolis Half Marathon October 17, 2015

I say “Don’t be defined by the numbers.”  I tell you I’ve thrown away the scales.  I don’t count calories.  Your spouse doesn’t care what you weigh.  Your kids don’t care how fast you can run.  But then life….times 2!

So I go run a half marathon.  I’ve run over 50 of them!  Old hat, right???  I don’t win awards, but most of them have been under 2 hours. Most not by a lot, but under 2 hours nevertheless.  And if you’re a seasoned runner at this distance, you know the importance of “under a 2 hour half”. It just feels good to say it.  I’ve even run my fair share of them not even wearing a watch and still under 2 hours.  But on the hilly (you be the judge!) Indianapolis Half Marathon, I went over 2 hours.  Not be a few seconds, but by 7 MINUTES and a few seconds!  Now, the girl who says you’re not defined by numbers, shouldn’t be defined by these numbers, right???  Well, sorta wrong!  lol!  

I began to question my training.  Question my body.  Are you working hard enough?  Too hard?  You threw away those scales a few months ago, I bet you’ve gained weight and now you’re too fat to run fast.  And so the mind goes.  

And during all this, I’m struggling with something else coming up…..the “life times 2 part”…..I go to the doctor for my annual exam on Tuesday.  Haven’t had a scales so haven’t weighed since June.  It’s just a number.  I’m not defined by the numbers.  No big deal, right??  WRONG.  It’s been on my mind.  I’ve been worrying.  What if it’s more than last year?  Am I a fluke?  Do I go back and say, pull out those scales!  Start counting your calories!  You DO need to know your numbers???  

No, no, no Marsha.  Slow down.  Let go.  It’s okay.  And so my sweet Jesus (when I finally let Him), assures me that I’m okay.  Numbers DON’T define me.  It’s a new day.  Your husband still doesn’t care how much you weigh.  Your son didn’t even ask how fast you ran.  He just likes to see the medal….and I get one no matter what my finish time is.  

I do believe from the bottom of my heart that we are not defined by numbers.  And I will tell you that any and every day you let me.  And above all I’ll tell you…..Jesus loves me this I know.  

A lesson in numbers. Looking back at a 2015 half marathon. #runmyrace Click To Tweet

That is what I wrote a little more than a year ago about that half marathon.  Oh how things can change in a short amount of time.   What I would give just to be able to toe the line at that event this year!  I was celebrating running 2 miles without stopping and without my knee swelling up this week!  Had I known that might have been my last time running the Indianapolis Half Marathon I may have taken it even slower and enjoyed the beautiful colors of fall.  

I mentioned a doctor’s appointment in the text above as well.  I did step on the scales that day.  Can I tell you what it said?  I’m not exactly sure.  I have an idea, but does it have any impact on me today?  Nope.  It was just a number on that given day.  Next month I’ll be going back to that doctor’s office for my annual exam.  Will I weigh?  I’m not sure yet.  I’ve been faced with a doctor’s scale a couple of times since that day.  Once I politely refused; the next time I got on without even thinking.  Bottom line:  those numbers make no difference.  They have zero impact on me at this moment.  

We are not defined by the numbers on the scale or our stop watch. #runmyrace Click To Tweet

Friends, we never know what the next day or even the next step will bring.  We can’t let superficial things like numbers on a scale or a finish time on a watch define who we are.  We are more than our weight, our size, our finish times.  

This week I read a SheWorksHisWay devotion by Michelle Myers:  Be about God and for others.  

My numbers, your numbers, have nothing to do with serving God and others.  My numbers bring the focus back to me, and that’s not where my focus needs to be.   Sure, healthy living is important so that we can fulfill our calling, but finish times and pounds lost do not define healthy living.  Healthy living is about being free to move.  It’s about caring for our body as a temple so we can love and serve others.  It’s so we can be present and active with our family.   Healthy living is being able to shift the focus from ourselves and onto others.   

Tell me….

If you use a scale or always run with a watch, would you be willing to ditch one of those devices for awhile?    

Do you feel like you’re being tested lately?  


My coaching groups don’t focus on numbers.  We focus on support and accountability and finding a plan that allows us to live fit and free.  I’m still taking sign ups for my October coaching group.  You can check out the details here, but be sure to message me to get $10 off the online price!

Revisiting 2016 Goals and Gearing Up for the Final Push

Did you set any goals for 2016?  Here we are at the last quarter of the year.  How are you doing?  Have you given up on,  or maybe even forgotten, what your goals were for the year?  


The last quarter of the year can get tough.  It’s a busy time.  There are so many activities and holidays.  Weather changes.  If you’re looking at fitness goals, you might think that it’s no use to start now, because there are too many parties and sweets coming our way.  You won’t be able to say no to the extra meals and goodies.  You may think the weather will impact your ability to get outside and move, so why try to stay active?  If you’re in business, you may think that no one is spending money on your products right now.  They’re too busy buying Christmas presents for everyone else.  

But I would say that this is the time to really make a difference.  It’s a time to focus in even more on your health and fitness.  It’s a time to keep the momentum going with your  business.  If you just sign off for this quarter that is a lot of time wasted.  You don’t want to get to January in the hole or with an extra 10 pounds to lose.  

Review your goals and get ready for the final push. #runmyrace Click To Tweet

I went back to the goals I shared right here in this space at the beginning of the year.  I thought I’d take a little inventory and let you know how I’m doing.  I can tell you right now I had not planned on this knee injury, so that’s going to have some impact on my goals.  But here we go…..

 Plans for 2016:

  • Hoosier Half Marathon – April 9, 2016 – Completed
  • 500 Festival Mini Marathon – May 7, 2016 – Completed
  • Michelob Ultra Half Marathon, Chicago – May 22, 2016 – This is with Team Momentum.  It’s a fundraiser for the MDA Foundation.  In all my distance running, I’ve never run for a cause.  I’m looking forward to shifting my focus for this event – Completed
  • Monumental Half Marathon – November 5, 2016 – Signed up but not very optimistic about this.  Might have to switch to 5K
  • Santa Hustle Half Marathon – December 2016 – Still signed up and cautiously optimistic
  • Bike outside at least once each month – Biking outside A TON every month!  
  • Short intense strength sessions and get stronger – Doing this
  • Yoga 2-3 times per week – Doing this
  • Have my favorite meal of the day every day this year – I’ve shifted my nutrition due to some stomach issues.  Listening to my body and being a good detective
  • Grow my online reach and empower women to be fit and free – Finishing up with some awesome ladies for September and getting ready to start the October coaching group.  I love coaching women!
  • #runmyrace – Everyday!
  • Keep my eyes on my own paper – It’s a practice, but I’m committed to it
  • Keep a running journal – Well, it’s become more of a workout journal, but yes I’m tracking my daily workouts and how I’m feeling.  It’s fun!


Having shared all of this, I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of setting goals, especially as it relates to numbers.  I know myself, and I can get too caught up in all that and only think of the number or end result and not the process.  My knee injury has really tested me in this area.  I’ve had to make adjustments.  My plan was to get my half marathon back under 2 hours by doing extra speed training this summer.  Well, that certainly didn’t happen.  I hadn’t figured in all the cycling, so I didn’t even set goals as it related to cycling.  But that’s okay. 

The list above gives me some focus for my year.  I like to look at it as just staying organized.  I feel the same with goals as I do with the way you eat.  I want to eat on Saturday the same way I eat on Monday.  Meaning, I don’t white knuckle my way through the week and then free-for-all on the weekend.  Just the same, I want to live in October and November the way I’ll live in January.  I don’t want to lose momentum or commitment to my intentions and focus and then feel like I need to do this huge revamp of my life in January.

What’s now?

So here we go into the final quarter of 2016.  Are you ready?  If you’re not so sure, reach out to me.  I’m here to help.  I have a coaching group starting October 1st.  The gals who are signed up are ready to learn how to manage the sweet tooth and continue on the journey of faith and fitness.  Will you join us?

Tell me…..

How are you doing on your goals for 2016?

Are there any you need to adjust or a new one you need to make for the last quarter of the year?

RUN: Reviewing My Word of the Year

  Run.  This word has become more to me than something I do every morning or with my friends a few times a week.  It has been my theme and my motivation and how I’m focusing my life this year.  Let me explain….

Run ~ My 2016 Word

Last year was the first time I came up with my word for the year.  It seems that this is pretty common.  People will have a word or phrase that sets their intention or focus for the year.  I could definitely look back and see themes in my life over the years.  Certain years, I could probably identify by a word or phrase.  

2015 Word

But last year I got intentional with this idea of a word myself.  After some reflection and prayer and searching scripture, I found my word for 2015.  Beneficial.  This would be my word and my verse would be I Corinthians 10:23, “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial”.

Not only would this be in regards to what I put INTO my mouth but this would also have an impact on what came OUT of my mouth, my words and even my actions.  While I was not perfect (just ask my family!  lol!), I had a focus.  I had an intention.  I had something by which to measure my words, my actions, the foods I chose, my schedule, etc.  Everything came back to this one word and whether or not it was beneficial for me, for my family, for those around me.  I kept the word and verse on a note card where I could see it, pray it, reflect on it every day of 2015.  It’s still part of my daily quiet time this year.  Such a powerful verse.  

2016 Word

Then came 2016.  I thought a lot and reflected for some time about what my word for the year would be.  I would jot down words as one came to me.  I’d read a scripture that jumped out at me.  I wrote it down and the word associated with it.  Finally I decided on my word.  It was something I kept coming back to and a verse that has kept coming up.  It was the word I felt the Lord laid on my heart and one that I felt He intended for me this year…..


Even at the time it was so much more than the physical activity I love to do.  (If you know me at all or just know me through social media, you know I’m a runner!)  Even though I do identify myself as a #runner or #runnermom this has little to do with my exercise of choice.  And now looking back, it was a good thing it wasn’t about the physical activity, because, as many of you know, I haven’t run much since May due to a knee injury that has me revamping my entire running schedule, but more of that later.  

Sure I set some fitness goals.  At the beginning of the year, I wanted to get my half marathon time back under 2 hours (my fall halfs took me a few minutes over that).  But this was about Hebrews 12:1.  And it’s still about Hebrews 12:1.  It’s about “laying aside the weight and sin” meaning to let go of the things that distract and hold me back.  And then “run with endurance the race set before us” which is telling me to run MY race.  Basically, I want to keep my head down and GO in the direction He’s leading.  Additionally I want to run this race like it tells me to in I Corinthians 9:24 in a way to obtain the prize.  I want to RUN where He’s taking me with my best efforts, with His strength.  

Run: A review of my word for 2016. #runmyrace Click To Tweet

So in 2016 I’ve been running MY race.  The race HE has set before me.  It’s how and why I started using the hashtag #runmyrace  At the end of 2016, I want to look back and know that I trained hard and ran wherever He told me to go and finished strong.

 So, how is my “run” going?

  • Like I mentioned, my knee went on strike after the Chicago half marathon in May.  What I thought was going to be a short season of backing off the run and adding more cycling has turned into a long run layoff and a lot more cycling with the news that my running may never look the same again.  I have some arthritis and a bit of damage in my knees that may not allow me to bounce back to running as I knew it.  But this hasn’t stopped me from exercising and finding alternatives to get my cardio fix!  I haven’t sulked and had a pity party.  I have to listen to my body and honor it.  
  • I’ve been growing my online business.  But I have had to really focus on the message God has called me to share and not get caught up with comparison of how other entrepreneurs do it.  Yes, the blogging and online space can be very supportive and helpful, but I know my tendencies.  Just as I struggled with comparing myself to others in regards to outward appearance, I can also fall into that trap of comparing my business and calling with others.  So I have to be extremely careful in this space to be true to what I’ve been called to do and not try to keep up with others who may be going a different pace in this biz than I am.  
  • I’m a mom.  Parenting is tough sometimes (ok, all the time!).  It’s easy to get distracted by what other parents and kids are doing.  I have to focus on my son and ask God to help me parent my child according to his unique traits and needs.

This can be applied in all areas of life.  These are a few examples of how I’m running my race.


I invite you to join me in using #runmyrace  Are you ready to focus on the path/plan He has for you?  Are you committed to keeping your eyes on your own paper and doing life in a way that honors who you are and the stage where you are and the pace you need to go?  


Tell me….

Will  you use #runmyrace

What are you focusing on to finish out 2016 strong?

Did you choose a word, theme, or verse for 2016?  If so, what is it?

Do you need support and accountability?  Are you ready to put your head down and focus in and honor your unique life?  I have a coaching group beginning October 1st that is all about working from the inside out.  You see, hundreds and sometimes thousands, of people line up at the starting line of a race, but not everyone wears the same shoes or tank top.  They don’t all drink the same amount of water or fuel the same way.  We’re in this race together, to cheer each other on, but also to respect each other’s pace.  I hope you’ll consider joining us for October.  Sign up for my email to get the best deal!  If you have questions, please email me.  I’d love to set up a call with you!

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