Guest Post: Joy Lim

My name is Joy Lim and I’m a pediatrician and a Sunday School teacher. That means that I’m with children every single working day of my life and on the days I don’t work, I volunteer to be with children in Sunday school.

Needless to say, I just like them. I like them whether their cheeks are chubby or thin, whether they’re quiet or talkative, mellow or active.

So even when I was young, I naturally looked forward to getting married and having children of our own. All the more when I fell in love with a man whom I saw to be fond of children also. I saw him talk and play and joke around with them and so I thought to myself, “Oh my when we get married, and we have children, we’re going to be great parents!”

So when we got married, I wasn’t really affected when I didn’t get pregnant right away. I was still in my hospital residency and rationalized that it was because I was stressed and always tired.  But at the back of my mind, I also knew that that couldn’t be the only reason. As a doctor, I knew that after one year with my husband and I was still not pregnant, something must be wrong.

We started going to doctors. I had access to medical expertise, of course. After just a few tests, results were out.  Jcip was ok. I was not. I had a problem with my ovulation. Easy enough. Just take some pills and it will be ok. So I did. It did not work. So we did some more tests and some more procedures and some more tablets and some medicines. Every month we would hope that all of those would work.  We’ll wait for a missed period. Then when a menstrual period happens, that means no pregnancy and we would start another cycle of medicines and procedures. For months we did that, praying and hoping to have a child of our own. Adoption was of course a wonderful and amazing option but it was not for us.

We were a couple but we also had our own individual journeys with this. For me, every monthly period would start me crying. I dreaded Mother’s Day celebrations in church because year after year they would ask moms to stand and I still wasn’t one of them.  And because my friends and I were about the same age, they were also young wives and they would get pregnant. Every pregnancy announcement would make me sad, not because I wasn’t happy for my friends, I was sad because I was sad for myself. Jcip the ever supportive husband would try his best to help me but there’s just a void that only God can deal with.

I knew God and had a relationship with Him but I wasn’t always soft and yielding. There were times when I would go to my room, get a lots of paper and then I would write and write dumping all my emotions. “Lord, You said children are a reward, what do want me to do to get that reward? Some of my friends are already complaining about having too many children, why can’t I have even one?”

My prayers were honest and bold because I knew that if there was someone I could be honest and bold with, it was God.

And after I let all my emotions out, the God who could take all my rants and all my expressions of desperation, ever so-lovingly blessed me with that unexplainable peace that only He can give. I would read Romans 11:33, “Oh the depth of the riches and knowledge and wisdom of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and inscrutable His ways!”

He is worthy to be trusted. So with teary eyes, a broken heart and an empty womb, God would help me worship Him and it was good.  He taught me that He was the one who knows the big picture of this life of infertility.

And so I praise Him.

Jcip and I have been happily married for more than 25 years now and over the years, God has helped us become wiser about this.And even if that dream of having our own children will not be fulfilled anymore, we are grateful.

We have a sovereign God and He is worthy of our trust.

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Love Language: Words

I stayed for 3 weeks with my sister in Dallas in May of this year. It was a holiday in its truest form because we didn’t plan on doing anything at all – purely rest and relaxation.  I took that opportunity to catch up on sleep, try new recipes, watch movies, learn a new piano piece, and read. One day I found an old book in her garage: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  The book says that there are 5 languages to express our love: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.  Then at the end of the book was a questionnaire for one to find out what his love language is.  I answered the questions.  Twice.  And the results were the same.  My love language is words of affirmation.

I feel loved when I receive texts, emails, and messages for no special reason, or when my husband says encouraging words to me.  I especially like it when I hear him say how much I mean to him.  This is true for husband-and-wife relationships but I think it is also true for other relationships, like between a parent and a child, or between friends.

In Proverbs 18 it says that “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Life words encourage our spouses, children, and friends towards productive behavior and inspire them to be successful, while death words discourage, disillusion, and cripple them.

In Ephesians 4:29 we read, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Granting there may be occasions when I needed to be corrected because of my insufficiency or insubordination, the choice of words or the manner of saying them may be inappropriate, or it may not always be the opportune time to do so. As the verse says, “according to the need of the moment.”

Several weeks ago, I met a wonderful man, my teacher in one of my subjects in school.  He was soft-spoken, knew exactly what words to say or not to say, was gracious, and diplomatic. He was a breath of fresh air. Sadly, we may not always be a recipient of that same kind of graciousness or interact with the same kind of people. Some of us may have been bruised and shot by abusive words and negative comments or actions.

There are some people who get a high out of making comments to offend others.  The saddest thing was when a friend actually believed what they said.  And because my love language is words of affirmation, hurtful words also deeply affect me. Now I’ve come to realize that I cannot control what people say or believe. The only thing within my control is how I respond.

I am reminded of a verse which says, “Pray for those who hurt you.” (Luke ‭6:28)

To say that that is difficult would be an understatement. I am accountable to God for every word that comes out of my mouth. Whenever I have negative thoughts, I have to ask myself, “Will God be honored if my reactions are motivated by pride?” Oh Lord, please forgive me. Thank you for giving me a divine perspective. Please help me change for the better and may You be glorified in my life.

I submit that there are a lot of areas in my life that I need to change and improve on. Everyday I make mistakes, I confess. But thanks be to God because He is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.”

If unkind words are said to me, and malicious things are said about me, I will just have to remind myself how special I am in the sight of the Lord. Even if nobody ever says that I am precious, the Lord surely looks at me as such.

When words hurt, I don’t have to even the score. The truth that God loves me should hold me so firmly that I can speak life words to others and be gracious even when people say words to discourage and hurt me.

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I missed you

I miss running.

I have a lot of excuses for not running for sure, the primary one is that my heart’s acceleration index, which is the peak acceleration of blood flow in the aorta was abnormally low. They also discovered that both of my kidneys were inflamed, causing my erratic blood pressure. I am still undergoing treatment but my cardiologist has already given me the go signal.  He said I can run again starting March and today is…drum roll please, the first day of March!  Yahooo!

Just this Saturday, February 27, I wore my running shoes, shorts, and shirt, and went out for a five-kilometer walk (no running yet). It took me an hour to finish! I was afraid I’d feel dizzy or run out of breath but surprisingly, that one hour spent walking and breaking a sweat felt really good.

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I must confess I miss my running friends. I miss joining races. I miss waking up at dawn for a long run. I miss wearing my running shoes. I miss training. I miss the DOMS. I miss the black toenails (not!) I miss everything about running!

So yes, I’m excited to be back.  I will take it slow but I will bear in mind what Shifu said,

If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be better than what you are. (Kung Fu Panda 3)

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I’m on the right track.

See you on the road!

Bibs

You know you’re a runner when you hear the word “bib” you think of race numbers not babies and Gerber food.

Yesterday when I was organizing my bookshelf, something fell from one of my books: a race bib, which I used as a bookmark. It was the bib from my first marathon, the 2013 Bull Runner Dream Marathon. A flood of memories rushed through my mind…the excitement when I attended the first Bull Circle, the early morning runs in BGC and Nuvali, the Nuvali hills, and then of course the race day. I stared at my bib for a long time thinking, “Did I actually run this?” Unbelievable. It seemed so long ago.

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And then there was my 2015 Condura Skyway Marathon bib from my last marathon. Ah, I always get the chills everytime I’d pass by Magallanes.  I’d look at THAT bridge, that intimidating Magallanes bridge that we ran four times one fine morning in February. Funny thing is, I want to run it again.

CSM bib

Still in the teal green Metrowide Courier plastic pouch was my Milo 21k bib. The race will be this Sunday, July 26 at 4:30 in the morning. Sadly, I will not run it. Ok, I’m all for pushing it, for going out on a run even when I’m tired or had only a few hours of sleep. But for several weeks now my blood pressure had been erratic.   You know, sometimes I think I’m superwoman but I learned the hard way that I couldn’t do it all.  I’ve already missed several weeks of training and it would be unwise for me to run this race.

I had a training program that I started to follow for Milo but there were personal circumstances – my unstable blood pressure, building a new home in Pasig for my son, and helping him move in – things that played havoc in my training schedule. For sure, life isn’t always smooth sailing that is why I have accepted that it’s ok not to race Milo. I must remember that it is important to keep things in perspective and balance.

I know I’ll be back in proper training soon but for now I have to get enough rest without feeling guilty.  I won’t make training another stress to add to my life.  Running shouldn’t be an added pressure.  Running should make me feel better and healthier.
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Finisher’s Towel

My husband and I do not share bathrooms.  He likes to use my sons’ bathroom because he says it’s bigger.  It worked well for us, I like that my body washes and shampoos don’t have to crowd with his soaps, and that we don’t share towels.

Last week, my jaw literally dropped when I saw him using my towel – my 2014 TBR Dream Marathon Finisher’s towel. “How dare you.  You don’t have the right to use that,” I thought.  “You first have to run 42 kilometers.”

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Then it hit me. Yes, I ran 42.195 kilometers with my own two feet but let’s face it, my husband’s support throughout my training was important essential in getting me to race day. Every time he would come home from a trip, he’d bring me back running books and magazines. He’d buy me running apparels and sports watches. He’d give me fresh coconuts so I could replenish lost electrolytes.  He was the one who paid for my marathon race fee and all the other shorter races leading to the marathon. He didn’t complain that sometimes I would spend the night over at Jehan’s house so that she and I could go to Nuvali very early the next day. His sleep was often disturbed when I had to get up at dawn for a long run.

My husband is not a runner but he definitely changed his schedule to accommodate mine and I appreciate him for that.

So yes, my dear husband, you too deserve it.  Go ahead and use that towel.  In fact, you can have it.

NatGeo 2015 Half Marathon Race Report

DNF the NatGeo half marathon at 10km – that was my plan.

You see, earlier that week my blood pressure shot up to 160/100.  Was it because of something I ate or was I too tired from spinning on Monday?  Or maybe it was because of the scorching heat of summer? I honestly do not know.

By Saturday it was down to 140/90 and at 1 am on Sunday it was a normal 120/80.  I decided to go with a plan to take it easy and to stop at 10km or anytime I would feel something is not right. You might think it was a bad idea but three of my siblings were running too and I didn’t want to miss out on the fun.

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At around 3:10 our wave was released.  Joy, Jehan, and I ran together.  After a few minutes, somebody tapped my arm – it was my dermatologist. So we chatted while running and after a few meters, I realized that I have lost my sisters.  “Ok then, I will have to do this on my own,” I thought.  I had no GPS devise with me which didn’t really matter.

“One, two, three, exhale, one, two, three, exhale,” I counted for five kilometers then I didn’t have to count anymore.  I knew how to breathe like clockwork.

I slowly cruised along the course, relying only on the mileage markers. At 4 a.m. it was hot and humid.  Some runners, wearing black singlets with yellow rectangles on their chests, huffed and puffed. Good thing the hydration stations overflowed with iced water, sponges, bananas, and Pocari Sweat.

I felt fine except for the big toe on my right foot hurt like crazy and I knew I have lost my toenail.  I was sad for a while but the grieving for my black toenail was cut short when I saw a mileage marker: 11 Km. “Eleven! I was supposed to DNF at ten! Might as well finish this race,” I thought.  I kept remembering what Paul Tergat said, “Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.”

At 19km, a lot of runners were already walking and I was pleased that I was still strong.  Slow but strong. Does that make sense?

Again, I made a mistake of not checking the race course and I thought that coming from Macapagal we would go straight to the finish line. But to my dismay, we had to run around MOA. Those turns really tested my will to finish.

I don’t know with you but something magical happens to me when I see the finish line.  There’s always a surge of energy as if I wasn’t tired or have not run at all. I finished at 3:18:23.  My slowest, my Personal Worst record.  Haha.

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When we got back to the car, Joy again took my blood pressure. “Hay naku, 120/70, mas mababa pa. You’re healed,” she declared. Thank God. 🙂

It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great. ~ Jimmy Dugan

National Geographic half-marathon, check!

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We all finished. Yay!

We all finished. Yay!

Post-run celebration

Post-run celebration

 

 

I Ran with Dick Beardsley

I heard about him, read about him… duel in the sun

watched his 1982 Boston Marathon race on YouTube, and then one fine morning in February 2015 I actually ran with him. Yes, me! I ran with Dick Beardsley, a 2:08:53 marathoner. How often do you get to do that?

He even signed my shirt! Woohoo! dick bearsley

Dick Beardsley, a farm boy from Minnesota, was neck-and-neck against the world record holder Alberto Salazar,  during the 1982 Boston Marathon, a race now known in running history as the “Duel in the Sun”.  Both broke the American and Boston Marathon records that day, with Dick clocking in his personal record of 2:08:53, just TWO SECONDS behind Alberto.

Watch this 9-minute video of the race:

That was exciting, wasn’t it? Ok, now, would you like to hear the story behind it from the man himself? Please don’t fail to watch the video below recorded by my good friend Louie Cruz. This was taken after the run session with Dick in Alabang. It’s powerful and inspiring.

I am happy that Coach Jim Lafferty invited Dick Beardsley to the Philippines.  And I am thrilled that Dick agreed to an initial 11-week contract with the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) through the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). He is now helping our athletes prepare for the upcoming SEA Games in Singapore.

What a great and humble man.

Thank you Dick for sharing your wealth of experience as a distance runner to us. I am inspired.