(4) Notes and Quotes from “The Making of Biblical Womanhood,” by Beth Allison Barr: Chapters 7-8

Listen to “S2E6: Down With the (Christian) Patriarchy!” — it’s an episode all about this book from your favorite podcast Red Weather Christians.

Need to get caught up? Here are the first three posts for chapters 1-6:

Chapters 1-2

Chapters 3-4

Chapters 5-6

Chapter 7: Making Biblical Womanhood Gospel Truth

“Forgetting Our Past”

In 1934, no one at this Southern Baptist church had a problem with Mrs. Lewis Ball preaching.

Oh, how quickly we forget. This just shows how inconsistent we’ve been in our “rules” about women preaching. And not only was Mrs. Ball preaching, she was the revival preacher for the one-week revival event at First Baptist Church Elm Mott near Waco, Texas. Barr goes on to reference a 2017 essay by religious scholar Timothy Larsen “showcasing the long history of female leadership in the evangelical tradition, including the Baptist tradition”:

[Larsen] went so far as to call women’s involvement in public ministry a “historic distinctive of evangelism.”

Well wow. I don’t think people associate women in public ministry with evangelism anymore. What happened? Let’s rewind a bit and walk through Larsen’s essay:

[Women in public Christian ministry] is historic because evangelical women have been fulfilling their callings in public ministry from the founding generation of evangelicalism to the present day and in every period in between.

It really makes you wonder how we came so far from this. Women used to have no issue preaching, teaching, and pastoring.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, moved from prohibiting women as preachers to embracing them.

“It is fascinating,” writes Larsen, “that [Wesley] affirmed the ministries of these women in explicitly egalitarian language as of the exact same order as that of the men who had not received Anglican ordination whose public ministries he was also affirming.”

Despite John Piper’s hardline complementarian stance, even Calvinist evangelicals of the past have affirmed women’s calling by God as public ministers. Larsen explains how the first American Calvinist denomination to emerge from the eighteenth-century evangelical revival was founded by a woman, Selina, Countess of Huntingdon.

So how did we get from this history, rife with women in ministry, to … this:

Many evangelicals believe that supporting women in ministry is a slippery slope leading to liberalism and agnosticism.

To which I reply, liberalism and agnosticism never looked so good. But seriously, how do we ignore history like this and simply rewrite the rules to benefit men? Because people like Wayne Grudem and John Piper — without proper historical context — are the ones speaking out about how if we support women in ministry, we are “succumbing to the peer pressure of modern feminism instead of remaining faithful to the timeless standard of God’s word.” And might I interject here: the word “feminism” means “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” Based on what? EQUALITY OF THE SEXES. It’s not saying that women are better than men, even though maybe we should use the word “better” to compensate for how we’ve been treated for much of history and still today. But back to Larsen:

Larsen inverts [Grudem’s and Piper’s] argument: “When evangelicals have cared more about the Bible and the gospel than they did about being perceived as respectable by the wider society, these commitments have often led them to affirm women in public ministry.”

Barr elucidates further:

When evangelicals have supported women in public ministry, they are most closely aligned with the gospel of Jesus. It is when evangelicals succumb to the peer pressure of contemporary culture that they turn against women in public ministry.

Boom. Read it again. Let it sink in. We are most closely aligned with the gospel of Jesus when we support women in public ministry. OK, so let’s align!

“Redefining Orthodoxy”

…it is impossible to write women’s leadership out of Christian history. We can forget it and we can ignore it, but we can’t get rid of the historical reality. It is also impossible to maintain consistent arguments for women’s subordination because, rather than stemming from God’s commands, these arguments stem from the changing circumstances of history.

Whether it’s keeping women out of leadership, justifying paying women lower wages than men, or keeping women out of the political realm, patriarchy has a way of shifting to meet whatever “needs” men happen to have at the time. In 1938 Dorothy Sayers actually wrote an essay with the title, “Are Women Human?” Why — I wonder — would she feel the need to write this essay? Oh, well perhaps she felt as though women weren’t being treated like humans!

“Championing Biblical Inerrancy”

…inerrancy creates an atmosphere of fear. Any question raised about biblical accuracy must be completely answered or completely rejected to prevent the fragile fabric of faith from unraveling.

The evangelical fight for inerrancy was inextricably linked with gender from the beginning. Kristin Kobes Du Mez explains how, in the SBC specifically, the direct challenge to male headship caused by the rising number of female Baptist preachers put conservative Baptist leaders on the defensive. Inerrancy wasn’t important by itself in the late twentieth century; it became important because it provided a way to push women out of the pulpit. It worked extremely well.

Well, well, well. Isn’t that interesting. Inerrancy being used to push and keep women out of leadership. Annnnnd now you know.

“Reviving Arianism”

Quick aside: if you don’t remember what Arianism is, it’s a heresy denying the divinity of Christ.

So in this section, Barr writes about nonchalantly sitting in a church service when all of a sudden, the preacher starts speaking about how Jesus is subordinate to God. She says she would have dropped her coffee had she been holding one. She says she looked around to see if anyone was reacting to this heresy. Nothing.

This teaching, called “the eternal subordination of the Son,” has infiltrated the evangelical world. Aimee Byrd describes a 2001 Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood document that teaches “the Son, the second person of the Trinity, is subordinate to the Father, not only in economy of salvation but in his essence.”

Spoiler alert: Christians are using this teaching (which, friendly reminder, is “outside the bounds of Christian orthodoxy”) to claim that if the Son is subordinate to the Father, then women, of course, must be subordinate to men. Wow, nothing like using heresy to justify subordination of women. I mean, ya gotta love the creativity there.

On to the final chapter…

Chapter 8: Isn’t It Time to Set Women Free?

And the crowd goes wild. “Yes!” they cry. “Yes, yes, yes!!”

Barr talks about how at the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention, Rachael Denhollander captured her experience:

“I think it is very telling that I have heard hundreds, literally hundreds, of sermons directed on the quiet and submissive sphere that a woman should have,” she said. “I have heard not one on how to value a woman’s voice. I have heard not one on the issue of sexual assault.”

Barr goes on:

Not one time during those years did I hear a preacher speak out against abusive relationships; not one time did a pastor speak about the dangers inherent in patriarchal power hierarchies. What I did hear was what Rachael Denhollander heard — women are called to be wives and mothers, submissive and silent.

And I have to concur with both of these women — neither in my experience have I heard any sermons about the dangers in patriarchal power hierarchies.

The harshest words Jesus utters in the Bible are to strict male religious leaders functioning as self-appointed border guards of orthodoxy. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like white-washed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth” (Matthew 23:27).

Hmm, male religious leaders functioning as self-appointed border guards of orthodoxy — this feels familiar. It’s almost as though some current male leaders are these exact people. (Piper and Grudem, I’m lookin’ at you.)

And even though people like Piper and Al Mohler and Russell Moore claim that their “Christian patriarchy” is different, Barr directs us to Kristin Du Mez’s point:

… that the conservative church model of authoritarian leadership combined with rigid gender roles fosters a culture of abuse (decade after decade, church after church, leader after leader).

Conservative evangelicals preach “a mutually reinforcing vision of Christian masculinity — of patriarchy and submission, sex and power,” Du Mez writes. “It was a vision that promised protection for women but left women without defense, one that worshiped power and turned a blind eye to justice, and one that transformed the Jesus of the Gospels into an image of their own making.”

But it left women without defense. The recent report on sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention claims in its nearly 300 pages “that top church leaders suppressed and mishandled abuse claims, resisted reforms and belittled victims and their families.”

Well.

And if that wasn’t enough:

Katie Cannon explains, “The institutional framework that required Black men, women and children to be treated as chattel, as possessions rather than as human beings, was understood as being consistent with the spirit, genius and precepts of the Christian faith.” Patriarchy walks hand in hand with racism, and it always has. The same biblical passages used to declare Black people unequal are used to declare women unfit for leadership. Patriarchy and racism are “interlocking structures of oppression.” Isn’t it time we get rid of both?

Oh, oh, call on me! I know the answer!

It’s YES.

What if evangelicals remembered women like Christine de Pizan and Dorothy L. Sayers? What if we remembered that women have always been leaders, teachers, and preachers, even in evangelical history? What if our seminaries used textbooks that included women? What if our Sunday school and Bible study curriculum correctly reflected Junia as an apostle, Priscilla as a coworker, and women like Hildegard of Bingen as preachers? What if we recognized women’s leadership the same way Paul did throughout his letters — even entrusting the Letter to the Romans to the deacon Phoebe? What if we listened to women in our evangelical churches the way Jesus listened to women?

What if we finally stood together, united by our belief in Jesus instead of divided by arguments over power and authority?

What if we realized that, even when the male disciples pushed women away, Jesus always listened to women speak? Complementarianism is patriarchy, and patriarchy is about power. Neither have been about Jesus.

Jesus listened to women speak.

Women, it’s time to speak.

Men, it’s time to listen.

Wanna Make a Running Log?

Listen. I am not a fast runner these days. When I started running again, I knew I was so slow that I refused to time myself. After a couple of months, though, my curiosity started getting the better of me. So on occasion, on a weekend, when I didn’t have to deal with the jogging stroller . . . I’d grab my husband’s watch and start the timer.

I don’t have a fancy watch that tracks all the things. It simply times my run. And I can time my “laps” as well. But there’s no GPS or blood pressure monitor or anything like that. So I did some research and found an app called “On The Go Map*.” This lets me map my run very accurately so I can see exactly how many miles I am running and certain mile markers along the way. At one point, there’s a pretty obvious spot that’s at the 2-mile mark. This is neat for me because I can glance at the timer, mentally divide by two, and know my mile pace. Yay!

*So, yes, it’s an app, but that doesn’t mean I bring my phone on my runs. I don’t. When I get home, I manually draw my route onto the map, and it calculates distance, altitude (over 9,000 feet here in Quito, Ecuador!), and some other fun things.

OK, so I get home, take a look at my timer, and get out the calculator to figure out my pace simply type my time onto a spreadsheet my husband helped me make, and voila — I get my mile pace.

Here’s how to make your own (I use Google Sheets, but Excel or any other spreadsheet document should work similarly):

1. Label your columns: Date, Total Time, # of Miles, Mile Pace (and any other useful-to-you info — perhaps Start Time so you track the time of day you run or Place or Route if you’re running in different areas)

2. Highlight the Total Time column. Click on “Format,” then hover on “Number,” then click “Duration.” Now when you put in your time (eg. for a run that took 31 minutes and 21 seconds, you’d type 0:31:21).

3. Select the cell directly below the Mile Time cell. Type an equal sign, then click on the cell below Total Time, then type a backslash, then click on the cell below Miles (and in the same row as the cell you clicked on under Total Time) and press Enter. This should create a formula for calculating your mile pace. Easy! If you’d like, you may copy-paste that formula to the cells in the Mile Time column. I do this each time I enter my time because I don’t love the look of #DIV/0! in every cell.

Here’s what mine looks like:

DateTotal TimeMilesMile Time
May 14, 20220:31:213.30:09:30
May 15, 20220:13:261.50:08:57split
May 15, 20220:15:001.690:08:53split
May 15, 20220:17:291.930:09:04split
May 15, 20220:31:413.30:09:36
May 17, 20220:17:021.50:11:21strollersplit
May 17, 20220:38:483.30:11:45stroller
May 18, 20220:14:421.50:09:48strollersplit
May 18, 20220:34:433.30:10:31stroller
May 20, 20220:34:233.30:10:25stroller
May 23, 20220:15:151.690:09:01split
May 23, 20220:31:183.30:09:29

Happy running, happy logging, and happy all the things! Let me know if you have questions about making the log. I’m happy to help!

Much Ado About Evil (but approximately zero solutions)

Red Weather Christians

Season 2, Episode 10

There is a long-standing problem with an omnipotent, omniscient, morally perfect Creator and the existence of evil in this world. While bringing the discussion and theoretical solutions to the table, Jen and Steve offer approximately zero concrete solutions. Perhaps a shoulder shrug is all they have, but they remind everyone that attempting to ignore the problem does not make it any less of one. Can good cause evil? Can evil cause good? Without evil as an option, are we even free to choose?

Sources: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/

to-do list

every 
tick tick
item
on my 
tick tick
list
is a 
tick tick tick 
from the
tick tick 
end
when I
tick tick
get
to the 
tick tick
end I cele—
tick tick
—brate
the ticking
tick tick
end
but the 
tick tick
items
on the
tick tick 
list regener—
tick tick
—ate
I ticking
tick tick
hate
that I can’t
tick tick
get
to the 
tick tick
end 
the end’s a 
tick tick 
lie

and I lie 
down
let the list 
slip
from my fingers
it floats to the floor
so many boxes
unticked
always

so many
boxes
un 
ticking
ticked
un— 
ticking
—believable
I’m
ticking
done
let’s
just
kiss
instead.

“tic clocks toc don’t make a toctic difference to kisskiss you and to kiss me”

E. E. Cummings

The Grief Episode

This episode was difficult for me to record. Several times throughout, I had to stop, breathe, and collect myself before resuming. The point is, grief may not have an ending point. I’ve learned that that’s OK. I hope through listening to this episode, you’ll realize that, too. Especially in the Christian community, we have a tendency to think that it’s OK to grieve — but only for a time. After that time has lapsed, we better be better. If we’re not, sometimes the message to us is that our faith isn’t strong enough. If we really believed that we have eternal life and that we’ll see our loved ones again, why would we continue to grieve?

And yet we do.

Listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Red Weather Christians: “S2E9: The Grief Episode”

runs

I wonder if everyone’s brain runs
while they run like mine does
rambling thoughts
my brain is a beehive buzzing
or a running reel as I’m running
I wonder

I’m starting to pass
the same people on the path
Pablo I’ve named the
mustached older guy
he always gives
a thumbs up
or a side clap to me
he doesn’t know me
but something in his
brain buzzes 
to tell him to tell me
good job keep it up keep going you got it
his mask is
down
and I can see kindness on his face

and then there’s — we’ll call him
Miguel — bearded biker with a clear
plastic face shield
and he was shielded the first few
times we passed
but since my mask is always
down
I smile one time and wave
because we’ve seen each other before
and before I know it
his entire face
breaks
into beautiful smile

even the shield
can’t shield
from that

I wonder if my friends
think thoughts like I do
I hope they think I’m encouraging too
and nice
because it’s nice
passing people who can take
the second
or two
to smile
or thumbs up
or side clap

I like it 
I do
and I wonder
if they think about me
too.

slow

i.
what luxury
time is
now
you have stopped
doing things
to read words
slowly
read them slowly
ink 
and 
page

and when I went
running this morning
I filled my lungs
with air
and time
and time told me
in a voice like water to
slow
down
and feeling full
I was overcome
with the gift
time is
now
slow
down
I told myself
running

when I was young
everything was a race
always in a hurry
fasterfasterfaster
of course
the course held
my competition
always
stopwatches spectators guns and
lines and lanes
a beginning
an end

pretend that’s what
life is
go ahead
exhausted before you begin
I’m not racing
anymore
slow
down

I tell myself
I’m not shaving seconds
off my time
I’m not
I’m slow
and observant
and thankful
thankful for the luxury of
time
now.

ii.
I
slowly 
embrace a certain somber mood
sometimes surrounded by city
people
yelling
selling
things
there are always
things to distract
from those thoughts
you know the ones I mean

once I was peeling
an orange
slowly
and
I was overcome
with the gift
time is
now
I sit
like Wordsworth
in vacant and in pensive mood
not pushing the pen
but allowing a 
slow and 
sad
thought
like a lonely
leaf
like a lovely
leaf
falling
slow
and sad
and somber

it’s ok to be sad
I tell my sons
there’s time for that
we have time
now
not everyone does
it was a sad thought
remember
that reminded you
you cared

and that’s worth
the time
now
running in the 
now
not worried to win
because
actually
we’re winning
already
albeit
slowly.

running

so I’m running again
and when my feet
hit pavement I turn
and wave at 
the fading woman
behind me
she’s there
but barely
I rarely turn
but today
I turned
feet facing forward
head craned back
she is still
and sad
and there
but barely
I turn the corner
and wonder if 
there will be anything
or any pieces
left
of
her
when I get back

back when I 
held the pen
again and again
she told me no
couldn’t
won’t
wait
for the right word
so I sat
pen in hand
couldn’t write
the right word
at the right time
I sat
still

and still 
she’s there
but barely
but now
looking back
I see her
sadness
and feel it
the sadness the stillness
unwillingness to
run and
unwillingness to
write and
even as I write now
right now
she is
fading
with
every
word.

5 Tips for Running at High Altitude (Read: Come Run with Me in Quito)

First of all, never did I ever think I’d write anything with this title. Moving to Quito, Ecuador was never in any plans I had. Running also was not. Running in Quito at 9,350 feet above sea level? Certainly not.

But here I am. And because I’ve been running for a few months now, I feel ready to impart some wisdom. OK, wisdom may be a touch hyperbolic, but I will share with you things that worked for me so far on this running journey of mine.

  1. Drink lots of water.

    OK, obviously. But at this altitude, the oxygen is thin, and you dehydrate easily. But here’s what’s tricky for me: I can’t glug the water right before I run or I’ll completely pee myself (see my last post about postpartum running). So I try to drink plenty of water during a day-to-day basis. I always bring water with me on my runs (one of the few times I’ll say it’s nice to push a jogging stroller on a run). And I can glug all the water I want when I finish my run. Fun!

  2. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses every day.

    Being here in Quito, the sun is like a blast burner (whatever that is, though I picture the sun shooting out rays of burning light like a machine gun and lighting everyone’s faces on fire and then everyone walking around with fire faces). I wear SPF 50 on my face every darn day, even if it’s cloudy. Weather here changes quickly, so you gotta be prepared. As for the rest of my exposed skin, I’m getting very brown. But if you burn easily, sunscreen on all the skin. Or long sleeves.

    Oh, and sunglasses. Every day. Find some that don’t slip around your whole face while you run.

  3. Begin slowly.

    For the love of everything good in this world, can you listen to your body, please. Take it easy as your lungs are adjusting to the scarcity of oxygen. Start with a shorter loop. Run very, very slowly. Check in with your body to see how it’s doing. (Example: “Hi, Body, just checking in to see how you are feeling. Do you need to rest? How about some water or a small snack? A little pee-pee break perhaps?”)

  4. Have confidence.

    And what I mean to say here is don’t feel like a failure if you need to stop running and take a break. A break is better than passing out. So, please, take a break. And if you feel like singing “Gimme a break! Gimme a break! Break me off a piece of that KitKat bar!” go right ahead.

  5. Run with a friend, or let someone know your route and when you leave.

    OK, I don’t do this anymore, but in the beginning, I’d run on a weekend when my husband was home. I guess if I wasn’t back in over an hour, he’d . . . maybe continue playing video games for another hour and then go hunt me down and find me slumped in a gutter somewhere.

So get going, my running friends. I can’t help but wonder how my running abilities are going to be when we visit the much lower altitude of Michigan this summer. Probably still slow. But maybe my lungs will be so strong I’ll be able to sing while I run! Who knows . . .

Seen on my run.

Oh, and hey! If you’re still reading and you actually live in Quito, I’ll see you on the outer loop of Parque Carolina most days between 10 and 11 in the morning. See you soon!

10 Tips on Postpartum Running (Read: How to Run Without Completely Peeing Your Pants and Hating Your Life)

People talk so openly about peeing your pants these days, and I can’t help but exclaim, What a time to be alive!! So I’m gonna jump on the pee-pee train and add my own two cents when it comes to getting back into running after having babies and miscarriages and all the things. I will walk you through the process that worked for me, and you can take and apply whichever tid-bits might be helpful for you. Similar to my various posts on reading and writing, the biggest step is simply to start — once you’ve been medically cleared to, of course. And then to continue. So let’s go!

  1. Stop caring what people think.

    I had to put this as my first step because all through my running career (running long distance track in high school, running a marathon and triathlon in college, competing in the Gate River Run 15K in my twenties), I cared so much about what people thought. This meant going at an “acceptably fast pace” at all times. What if someone looked up my time? What if someone saw me running not-fast? What if they thought I was a lesser athlete than I wanted to be? THE HORROR.

    The other part of the not-caring step is about pee. Yes, after 3 babies and 4 miscarriages, things down there are — ahem — a bit loose. So I had to be OK with peeing my pants a little bit here and there and people seeing that wet spot. But let’s be honest: who’s looking at my crotch while I’m running? Do not fear, though! My next steps do address how to improve that wet situation.

  2. Just start.

    Yeah, you gotta start. As I told my five-year-old at the time when he was climbing up a volcano, “one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other.” But here’s the thing with running, especially if you don’t have to push a jogging stroller with a balance bike hanging from the handlebar and a 30-pound monster babe-child (as I do every weekday): you can appreciate your surroundings. Look around and observe beautiful things. Listen to nature noises. Or city noises. Think about the wonderful things in your life. And if you’re still feeling particularly miserable (as my son surely did climbing the volcano), you can slow your pace. Annnnnd, step 3…

  3. Take it slow, and listen to your body.

    This was a game-changer for me. All my life, I thought running meant running to the point of almost-barfing. I thought that if I wasn’t hyperventilating at the end, I didn’t push myself hard enough. I thought that if I didn’t pace myself fast enough, people would think I wasn’t a real athlete.

    LIES! When I allowed myself to run slowly, everything changed. I ran so slowly that I wasn’t constantly thinking about the pain I was in or the side-ache or my sheer state of misery. And I found that I didn’t feel like I needed to stop. I realized that — wait for it — running could be enjoyable. For so long running was simply a means to exercise. I never saw running for what it could be: a time to appreciate your surroundings, your body, your spirituality, and your life. Whoa.

    I’m not so slow now that I’ve been running for a few months, but when I started, I’d describe my pace as slightly faster than a fast walk. It was slow. And it was great. And you know what else? No one yelled at me that I wasn’t a real athlete. No one scoffed. No one laughed at me. Or if they did, I didn’t care! I was out there, putting one foot in front of the other.

  4. Plan your route with bathrooms along the way.

    Especially on your very first runs, have contingency plans for bathroom needs. If you don’t have a loop with bathrooms along the way, perhaps run around your neighborhood, staying somewhat close to your house. But if you do need to stop to pee or poop, don’t end your run. Take care of your business, and get back out there. Have a route ahead of time as your goal, and do your best to complete it, even if it means a couple of bathroom breaks.

    My route that I’ve been doing for several weeks now is a lovely loop around a huge park here in Quito. It’s close to my apartment, so I run to it, run the loop, and run home. In total, it’s about 3.3 miles. There are several bathrooms in the park; I just need to make sure I bring the 20 cents it costs to use the bathroom and get toilet paper. Let’s just say I’m getting to know some of the ladies who run the bathrooms pretty well. They know me. I’m basically a celebrity.

  5. Wear period underwear.

    I hadn’t read to do this anywhere, so when the idea popped into my head, I felt like a genius! Listen, if you have major leakage, they’re not going to function like an adult diaper, but they definitely definitely help. Sometimes I get back from a run, and my shorts aren’t wet at all! I think that’s a combination of the underwear and my slow pace. Whatever. I’m always thrilled to have dry shorts. Or to have shorts that are wet from only sweat. It’s a wonderful life!

  6. Wear colors/patterns that hide wet spots.

    A light grey pair of shorts isn’t gonna cut it here (you know that awkward moment when you realize that when light grey gets wet, it turns BLACK). Black works well. Yoga pants with loose shorts over works well. Hopefully we can all get to a point when peeing our pants isn’t an issue. But until then, black for the win.

  7. Do some unilateral strength training.

    It’s important when getting back into running to take it slow. This isn’t just for morale but for your physical body, too. The last thing you want is an injury because you pushed yourself too hard at the beginning. With that in mind, when I started running again, I read articles and listened to podcasts, and I learned that doing unilateral exercises is very important. Because running is a unilateral exercise (one side at a time), doing unilateral strength training will help you become a better runner and help prevent injury.

    When my 3-year-old and I go for our run, we often stop at the playground for him to ride his balance bike, swing, and run around. While he plays, I do various strength-training exercises. Having the playground equipment is great — I’ll hang from the monkey bars, lift my knees to each side, and pull myself up for a flexed-arm hang. Lunges around the playground happen as well. The options are quite endless!

  8. Eat and drink before you run. And after.

    A tip here: I am a morning coffee drinker. I also like to run in the mornings when the weather here on the equator is typically at its best. I have found that I should wait an hour if possible after my last sip of coffee to avoid having to pee five minutes into my run.

    I have also found that I need to drink at least a little bit of water and eat something small but substantial before my run. Oatmeal or a piece of whole-wheat sourdough toast are my go-to’s. And I always bring water with me on my run (living in the second highest city in the world — 9,350 feet above sea level — water is necessary to have at all times).

    I read somewhere that what you eat in the hour after you finish your run is really important. What’s interesting for me is that after I run, fruit is always what I crave. I feel good about that! Perhaps you can have a healthy snack ready for you when you get back. I’m lazy about that, so an apple or strawberries or an orange is what I reach for. But hummus and veggies or a banana with peanut butter would be great.

  9. Listen to something that will motivate you.

    I do this sometimes before I run because as I run, I like to be very aware of my surroundings and the noises that come with them. I listened to a few hand-picked episodes of the podcast Run to the Top, and I quite enjoyed them. I learned some tips, and I felt more confident stepping out. Maybe you have a song that always pumps you up or a particular YouTube video. Find something you like!

  10. Do kegel exercises. And go to pelvic floor physical therapy if possible.

    Disclaimer: I didn’t do this. I mean, I do kegels once in a blue moon, but it’s not a regular habit. (It’s funny to me that I can be so disciplined with running, but flexing my pelvic muscles a few seconds every day? CAN’T BE BOTHERED.)

    And I’m the kind of person who avoids the doctor if at all possible. So I knew going to physical therapy wasn’t going to work in my life. But I’d suggest it for you! I’m sure it’s great!

And now, please enjoy some pictures along my running route here in beautiful Quito, Ecuador:

Heading to the park!
On the park path.
Playground stop!
Back on the path.
Heading home!

Thanks for reading, friends, and drop a comment if you have any other great advice for getting back into that running habit.

OK, gotta run!