Thursday, October 8, 2015

Twin Cities Marathon 2015

I don't know if I can truly capture everything that transpired on Sunday, but I will try.

Most of you know I am a VERY competitive person. I compete against others, but I mostly compete against myself. I think this is why I like running so much. I rarely win a race, but I can continually beat myself and PR. With that being said, when I agreed to launch an EBC Team at SLP and host a group run, God made it abundantly clear that this racing season could not be about me.

And that was hard. Really hard. Who wants to train for 26.2 miles and not attempt to PR? Not me. But over and over again, God broke my competitive heart. Through prayer, He reminded me over and over again why I am part of Team World Vision, and slowly but surely, it became easier to let go of my PR and focus on my team. To be fair, I had one relapse a week ago when I contemplated a PR, but then I cam to my senses. This team means the world to me, and it was my time to give back.

All season long I ran with whoever needed me on Saturdays, and I had the time of my life meeting new people and helping new runners do something they never thought possible. Time and time again I was blessed by THEIR stories. Their successes became more important than my own, and it was truly magical. Leading Team EBC has been one of my greatest joys.

Up until race week, I hadn't been nervous. But then the reality that I wouldn't be running with my big brother set in. Could I really run without him? What if I had a bad day? What if I couldn't find a TWV runner to run with that day? Thankfully Boyd agreed to run with me, and it made my nerves settle. I owe him big time. On Saturday night, I prayed over and over again. Use me God. Use me. Keep my eyes open. Help me be aware of others and not myself.

Sunday started off spectacularly. I woke up to a donation providing two kiddos clean water for life. Dawn Flint drove Jen, Scott, and me down to the start, so I didn't have to worry about parking. THANK YOU, DAWN! It was the first year I attended the pre-race church service, and I am SO VERY glad I went. Worship and Prayer...It was the perfect start to a race.

The start line was chaos. I tried finding Kelsey and my former athlete Katie, and I couldn't. I was with Jen and Scott, but Boyd was nowhere to be found. Panic set in, but thankfully he found us. PHEW! And off we went.

I told Boyd I wanted to have a good race, but I had no trouble slowing down. My goals were to have fun, spread TWV cheer, get a few donations, hug/hi five my spectators, and help other runners. And if possible, I wanted to be able to go back out after I finished to help bring in other runners. This was my weekly tradition during group runs, and I wanted to do it at the race itself.  Off we went, and it was fairly uneventful. I rarely looked at my watch, and we just ran. I was LOVING the scenery because it was the first time I actually took the time to enjoy it. I saw friends and family along the course, and I stopped to hug or hi five every single one of them. Thank you Brandon, Christopher, Griffin, Grayson, Holly, Nikki, Anna, Missy, Isabel, Gwen, Melinda, Laura, Holly, Aaron, Linda, Catie, Kelsey, Tom, and Carol. Your presence meant the WORLD to me. I also received two donation while out on the course, and my heart was bursting. I was LOVING it. Really.

Around mile 8 or 9 we came upon Kaelyn. She did not look well. Immediately I heard God prompt me to slow down and stay. Her words told us we could take off, but her eyes said otherwise. I agreed to stay, and so did Boyd. *Side note. Boyd is a FAST runner. Slowing down to be with Kaelyn was really not that sacrificial for me (I only finished about 30 minutes slower than I did last year). But for Boyd, it was definitely a sacrifice. He is that awesome. And did I mention it was his birthday? I want to be him when I grow up :)

At mile 14ish, Steve Spear handed me the flag. I thought he would take it back, but he took off, so it was mine. I felt like I was carrying GOLD, people. My upper body was a bit sore on Monday and Tuesday, but thankfully it really wasn't that difficult to run with. But MAN, it was awesome. This team is made up of SO MANY INCREDIBLE PEOPLE, yet I got the honor of carrying that flag.

Crossing the finish line, three in a row like that, was simply incredible. There really are no words to describe how amazing it felt to cross together. It was even cooler to hear that the announcer didn't announce our names (which they typically do). Instead, he announced us as "Here comes Team World Vision." And that was it. No names. We were a team. A team of individuals serving an incredible God. A team of individuals doing what we can to solve the clean water crisis.

After we crossed, I discovered my family was at the finish. This had not been the plan, so it was a total shocker. My family didn't make it to the finish line the last two years, so I was completely emotional knowing they watched me cross for the first time.

Boyd and I quickly ate, drank some coffee, and went back out on the course. As each remaining member of our team came through, we had the honor of running them to the cathedral and almost to the finishing shoot. I got to witness person after person take the ordinary and turn it in to the extraordinary, and I will never forget it. Thank you Mike, Amber, Andy, Monique, Steph, Jamieson, Molly, Tammy, Dan, and many others I don't even know for allowing me to be a part of YOUR journey.

There is so much beauty in doing life together. And that's what we do at Team World Vision. We do life together. Here in MN and in Africa.

To those of you that have joined me in one way, shape, or form on this journey, THANK YOU! If you haven't, I encourage you to join us. You won't regret it.