I realize now that I never posted anything to the blog about my first half marathon...even though it was a pretty monumental accomplishment. It was on Dec. 1, 2012. I traveled down with fourteen girlfriends to run the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon. It was incredible.
I'm still in awe that I can run so far.
Many of those same girls will be running tomorrow. We're quite a crew.
However, tomorrow's race - as fun and far is it's going to be - isn't the only race that's been on my mind over the last couple of days.
I'm thinking about all of the year's upcoming races, the people I train with, the people I race for.
I'm thinking about my rinky-dink 5K that I do every year. It's next weekend. The race itself is not rinky-dink...but the distance is, anymore. I'm thinking about the Run for Mercy. The cause is dear to my heart - HIV/AIDS infected and effected orphans in South Africa. I've had a heart for orphans and missions work since I was a little girl...and a couple of years ago I found out that my father (who abandoned me) had HIV/Hep C when he lost his life. In a sense, I'm an HIV orphan.
This year my kids are running with me. I was actually dreading this detail a little, as I'm sure Luke will cry and I'll have to peel him up off the sidewalk to continue on. I might even end up carrying him on my back. (I'm tempted to get him some wheelie shoes or hide a razor scooter in a bush on the course for him to pick up and ride - ha!) I can already hear him, "Why are you making us run THREE MILES???? Do you hate us? Can't we just give them money and eat Chris Cakes?!" Considering past experiences, it's a very long-shot that he will love the running. But I am praying that he will. I'm praying that both of my boys catch the running bug (or any other physical activity bug!), and commit their lives to health and fitness. And that they'll be surrounded by friends and family who will support and encourage them in healthy choices. Even more than that, I'm praying that my boys find causes that they are passionate about and willing to sacrifice for. Not that running is an enormous sacrifice, but it's a start... And you just can't help but connect with the orphans this particular race is for...nor can you avoid the emotional tug as you run through the throngs of patients and parents on the St. Jude campus. It just makes you want to do something. Something far beyond running.
While my brother Kerry was here last month, we ran a few times. After one of our runs, Bryan texted me and said something along the lines of, "I just love how what used to be an isolating escape for you (running) has turned into a way to genuinely connect with others and deepen relationships."
He is so right.
I talk while I run. And I listen. And I'm no shallow talker. If we're talking, we're talking matters of the heart. The people I run or bike with know my inner-most thoughts, desires, fears and struggles. We're real.
Through running, I have come to know myself, my savior, my friends and my family better. Great stuff.
I look forward to another year of training. Swimming, biking (ugh) and running. I'm not thrilled with biking, but I'm keeping an open mind. I look forward to long talks with my friends, my kids, my husband and my brother.
My husband bikes with me. He makes biking way better.
And... Kerry is planning to run a half with me in October. Yes, the Florida brother that I just met! Can you believe it?
Life is good. GOD is good!
"Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1