Sunday, October 12, 2014

7 Days Later...

It has been seven days since the 2014 Twin Cities Marathon. Seven days since I embarked on the arduous (and crazy) task of running 26.2 miles for the second time. Seven days since I crossed the finish line in euphoria. Seven days since the 69th kiddo was sponsored. Seven days since I committed to a third. (Shocker.)

It's really hard to put last Sunday into words. Truly, the word euphoric has been thrown around quite a few times, but even that word doesn't quite do Sunday justice. I ran 26.2 miles. And I enjoyed it. Seriously, how do those words even fit into the same sentence? But here's why.

This whole training season was such an incredible experience. While there was always a little bit of trepidation about 26.2 miles, my level of fear this time around was NOTHING compared to last year. And with a lack of fear comes enjoyment. Enjoying the process. Enjoying the exhaustion. Enjoying the pain. Isn't that how life is? When we take away fear, enjoyment tends to come a little easier. I trusted that God made me a part of Team World Vision for a reason. I began looking forward to Saturday mornings. While I started to dread my long runs during the week, I NEVER stopped loving those long weekend runs with my teammates. I trusted that I could do hard things. I trusted that God would work in the hearts of me, my family, and my friends to meet the needs of people who are desperate for clean water. I trusted my journey.

The generosity of my family and friends was UNBELIEVABLE this year! $3,475 later, 69 people will now have clean water. 69 people will now have new lives. EVERY time I was alerted of a donation a smile would appear on my face. I felt so supported, and I was stoked that my family and friends were helping me change the world. 

And then I had a freak out moment when my training partner got injured. I was obviously devastated for Scott. He had trained so hard all season, and for a few days he wasn't even sure he could attempt running. But selfishly, I was also devastated for me. Both of us pace the same, and we had agreed to do a walk/run combination during the last month of our training. What was I going to do? I prayed over and over that week for God to heal Scott and for my anxiety over possibly running alone to diminish.

Well, thankfully God orchestrated another plan through my brother, aka Eric, and Elise. I hadn't run too many times with Elise prior to race day, but during our 20 mile training run she ran with Scott and me and attempted the walk/run combination. She agreed to run that way on race day. To be honest, I wasn't thoroughly convinced she would want to stick with me during the whole race, so I voiced my concern to my older brother.

Both came through for me on October 5th. While Scott, Newton, Elise, Andrew, and I started out together, Newton and Scott took off early in the race. As a result, Elise, Andrew and I set off together looking out for one another. I couldn't have asked for a better race. First, knowing my brother had my back made the WORLD of difference for my confidence levels. When I learned he would run with me that day, I was beyond excited. Despite having a sore Achilles from the moment I crossed the starting line, my fear began to dissipate knowing my brother would do everything in his power to get me to that finish line. Andrew appealed to that competitive side in me, and Elise appealed to my emotional and spiritual side. Praying with her on the course was an incredible experience I will never forget. Her Team World Vision Jersey also brought a smile to my face many times. I often heard strangers call her name or cheer for Team World Vision, and in return, I rationalized they were also cheering for me :)

And then there were my spectators. Every few miles I was blessed with seeing a familiar face. EVERY one of my siblings came to support me. Christopher, Le'Dean, and Jeff (along with Henry and Ella) joined Brandon, Griffin, Grayson, and Samuel and cheered us on at multiple locations. I loved hugging my family members! Holly, Anny, and Gwen saw me FOUR times on the course. My friend Holly O. came out around mile ten. Scott's family cheered me on multiple times, and so did a large group of other Team World Vision supporters. Brent and Kiley were somewhere around mile 13. My friend Becca saw me at three different spots. The Flint Family and the Bostrom Family helped me conquer Summit. Kelsey joined the rest of the family on Summit, and my friend Amy walked back after her 10 mile race to cheer me on close to the finish line. I can't even begin to describe how important spectators are during a race. Seeing family and friends simply makes the race go by that much faster. Every time I saw someone I knew, I would get this little burst of energy that prompted me to push my limits even more.

Last year I was so delirious by the time I reached Summit that I contemplated quitting many times. I was so out of it that I didn't even see the Cathedral. That big beautiful church right before mile 26. Nope. Didn't see it. This year, my fastes splits were at the END of the race. I didn't contemplate quitting once. And you better believe I started looking for the Cathedral around mile 25 :) While I did begin to fade towards the end, Andrew knew that I had a time goal, and he knew exactly how to get me there. He slowly inched in front of me knowing I would do my best to stay on his heels. When we reached the Cathedral, Elise took off like the Rockstar that she is, and my brother kept me going. We crossed the finish line with my exact goal time--9:45/mile. Prior to the race, Andrew asked if I would run another marathon. I told him I didn't know if I would. Half marathons were looking mighty appealing. Steps after we crossed the finish line of the Twin Cities Marathon, I turned to him and said I would run again :)

 RACE day Jamberry Nails!


                       Photo from Gwen @ Mile 3                                                      Photo from Gwen...Mile 13??


 Even BETTER signs :)

 Favorite Picture #1

Favorite Picture #2

 WE DID IT!!! I have the BEST big brother EVER!!!
 The man who started it all :)

SCOTT---I can't begin to count how many miles we have logged together...Thankful to train with this fine captain!


 Post-Marathon Feast


If you have ever thought (even for a moment) about running a half or full marathon, DO IT! My time with Team World Vision has been LIFE CHANGING! I am healthier and happier, and I am passionate about bringing that health and happiness across the globe. If running isn't your thing, there are many ways to be involved with TWV. You can click HERE to donate money for clean water. $50 literally changes a life. We also LOVE volunteers who help us out on training runs and race day. Get involved. I promise you won't regret it!