Oh, I would just love for you to believe this is what our house is like all the time. But truth be told, a lot of the time they are fighting, wrestling, yelling at each other or something. But every once and a while, they allow me to catch a glimpse into their love for each other. This hugging moment happened after bringing Luke home from preschool one day. See, they do miss fighting with each other!
Yes, this morning I did something I never thought I could do. It started out like any other day. The alarm clock went off, and my immediate thought was "I don't want to run today!" ha ha The bed just feels so cozy, ya know? In an exciting turn of events, God sent me exactly what I needed to get through this race - my sister in law, Shanna. She had been running, but not training for this race, though she has several halfs and a full marathon under her belt. A few weeks back, we were talking and she said she wished she could come cheer me on (she lives in a different state) and then asked which weekend the race was. After I told her, she said in disbelief and excitement that they were going to be in town that exact weekend for a family reunion! Ultimately, just last week she decided to run it with me and what a gift that was! I never thought that I would describe running (or certainly running 13.1 miles) as "fun", but I absoutely had a blast. I'm sure I looked like such a dork because I felt like I had a goofy smile glued on my face the whole time. We enjoyed a nice long chat, the pretty trail, and the picturesque neighborhoods we ran through. Our favorite part was that "small town charm"...lots of people in those neighborhoods were out cheering and had little stands set up in their driveways of water, snacks, and tissues. My personal favorite was the elderly lady cheering for us with pom poms in hand! I really couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. The weather was perfect, I had a running buddy, and Chad, his parents, and the boys were at multiple points along the way cheering us on. I felt great as well, better than any of my runs during training. But, God did not let me forget that He was helping me every step of the way. There was a woman just behind us who hollered out at every mile, "Mile Four, Praise the Lord!", "Mile Five, Praise God!". It made me smile every time. While everything went fabulous, mile 12 certainly was a brutal one. I had nothing left. If it wasn't for Shanna encouraging me and pushing me, I would have probably given up and walked. But we made it through the whole thing, only allowing ourselves to walk through a couple of water stops, in 2 hours and 27 minutes. I'm sure, you know, to "serious" runners, that would be a disgrace, but I am really proud of it. It's faster than I did in all of my training. And I know that's because I wasn't alone. It reminded me of the verses in Ecclesiastes 4:9,10,12 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Another thing God is working on me about is depending on others for help. I tend to be independent and want to do things on my own and not ask for help. But the truth is, I need it! I need others to spur me on, especially spiritually, if I am to grow.
We're at the starting line!
We deserve to have a little sass after all that hard work, right?!
Taking a picture with my family was almost as hard as running, ha! Luke is anti-camera if you can't tell.
I was so glad that I ended up doing my race here in town. The coordinators and volunteers did a GREAT job. It was actually fun to see people I knew as well - our pediatrian and optometrist were among the runners, as well as a number of other mamas my age-ish that I knew from here and there. Pride be gone...we were all having fun together! :)
Well folks, I have some news. Nope, not pregnant. The 3-4 people in the world who actually read this blog are about to be privy to some inside information. Ok, don't get too excited. I'm pretty sure this information is only interesting to me, but I will share with you anyway. In two weeks, I will be running a half-marathon. This is big for me. I've always considered myself to be athletic, but never a runner. In fact, I've pretty much always viewed running as punishment. When I played softball in college, we had to run a mile for every minute we were late to practice. I'm not the most punctual person in the world, but I made sure to never be late - even to the 6 a.m. practices. So, a couple of months after we got married, I got a crazy idea to try to start training for a half marathon. Well, I couldn't even get up to a mile as I was dealing with a bum hip (yes, kind of like an 80 year old woman). So, Chad decided he would do it. And so he ran the Cleveland half marathon in 2007. Back in January I started running to train for a 5k in April. And I kept running. And one day while running, the thought came to me...why not go for the half now? Thus began the training. Now I've asked myself many times, "Why do I want to do this?". What is my motivation? For a good portion of my training, I didn't really have an answer to this. I don't particularly enjoy running. And as I train, I constantly have self-doubt in the back of my mind wondering, "can I actually do this?". Now, there's the obvious reason any woman does any kind of activity...get fit, lose a little baby jiggle. But you don't have to run a half marathon to do that. So here's the answer: One day during a long run, I was supposed to go 8 miles. Around mile 6, my body just shut down. I absolutely could not take one more step, even though the previous weekend, I was able to do 7 miles without such serious struggle. As I stretched, I thought in frustration, "What is wrong with me? Why can't I do this?!". And immediately that quiet, calm voice answered me "Because you are trying to do this on your own strength. You need to learn to trust and depend on My strength." It still gives me chills. My God wanted me to do this race so I would have to practice trusting Him. So, although it might sound strange, I now view this as an act of worship. I talk to God while I run, I listen to worship music while I run, and most importantly, before I start running at all I ask God to help me be able to do it. I thought that was lesson enough, but then I learned that the race I had registered for (an all women race in another town) had been cancelled! Now, there is another race right here in my home town the weekened after that one had been scheduled for, but I hadn't wanted to do that race. God decided to work on my pride as well. You see, this isn't that big of town. I didn't want to do my local race, because I didn't want people I know to see me do it. What if I fail? What if they note how SLOW I am? Well, I had to get over my pride and just do it! So there you have it. And I might add, it's a good thing that there is a bigger meaning and purpose for all this running, because despite my best efforts, I haven't lost a single pound! If that was my only motivation (as it was at the beginning of my training), I would be pretty discouraged right now. Good thing I know that "The Lord does not look at the things a man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." - 1 Samuel 16:7 My personal goal from this is to finish the race, with God's help. I don't care about time, or if I have to stop and walk some. Finishing is my reward. Stay tuned...
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13