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The Return…

This past weekend marked the return.  The return to what? Well, a couple of things…a return to where my running days started many moons ago and the return to where running helped heal my soul.  Though, to be honest – the return to my running roots was not the first thing on my mind – it was the return to reclaim the trails that healed my heart that surfaced first.

It all started several months ago when my running angels decided to run a half marathon in Missouri.  Why Missouri? One of them has a sister who was running her first half marathon and she wanted to be there to support and encourage her.

Proverbs 27.17

As iron sharpens iron,so a friend sharpens a friend.

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A girl’s trip was in order.  We were all excited. Then, I checked my graduate school calendar and realized I couldn’t go…I had class.  Bummer! Needing the accountability, I knew I still wanted to train with them so I looked for a half marathon on another weekend.  The Fayetteville Hero Half Marathon(FHHM) in Fayetteville, Arkansas fit the bill. It was the weekend after my friends’ half AND it was over my fall break.  This meant traveling to my parents and enjoying quality time with them along with the run. Yay!  I registered and started training.

The FHHM is a run to honor the fallen heroes of 9/11 and the local heroes that are our first responders today.  Throughout the weeks and months before the FHHM would post inspirational messages on their Instagram and Facebook pages.   One day they posted a message asking who our hero was and why.  They were going to draw from those who posted and give away one free entry. Well, I won. 🙂 This made the run even sweeter.  Here was my entry:

As you can read, my hero is my mom.  Life changed for all of us that year in 2013.  We learned how to run new roads and tackle new challenges.  As one of her caregivers for 2 1/2 months, I needed respite. I took to the roads of Northwest Arkansas to scream, pray, cry and recover from the emotional roller coaster ride I was on watching my mom, my hero, struggle so.  These roads were my caregivers and I was coming back to reclaim them and thank them.  That was my goal.

Mom made it through 2013 like the hero she is. She hasn’t stopped since. God blessed our family by allowing mom to keep on keeping on. What a true blessing!!!

The day before the race, dad, Mike, and I went to pick up my race packet in Fayetteville. This weekend just happened to be the Arkansas Razorback’s SEC home opener against Alabama.  (I have to admit this was an incentive to come to Arkansas over fall break as well.)  We decided to head to Fayetteville and do a little reminiscing along the way.  Dad wanted me to drive by the house we lived in for a short time while I was 14-15 years old.  We lived in Fayetteville during my freshman year in high school.  Daddy was finishing his doctorate in Education at the University of Arkansas during this time.

As we drove the roads to the house, images came to my head of that first running day! I can see it like it was yesterday.  I am not sure how many of us can remember the first day we stepped out on the roads…but I am so thankful I can.  It hadn’t hit me until this drive. This is where God started my running journey.  This is where He started writing the story that would include – Wheel of Fortune…Boston Qualifying attempts, failures and successes…Run for God Bible studies…Running Angels…Finding out who I am with and without Him…Respite runs…and I could go on and on!  We were RETURNing to where it all started.

God does have a masterplan. He knows what He is doing even when we don’t see it.

Isaiah 46.10

I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’

He knew that over 32 years later I would be running the FHHM, reclaiming the roads by winning my age group…setting a half marathon PR…coming in as 7th overall woman – and that I would look back at where I started…at this mailbox!  img_3999

(This is the where the Mailbox Story/Poem originated…and where the name for my blog came from.)

The Mailbox Story

“Just make it to the next mailbox,” a mom and dad would say

As they and their daughter were out running one day.

Both, knowing another mailbox lay ahead,

as she was ready to call it quits,

would push her to persevere instead.

With every mailbox successfully passed

She made the victory lap to home at last.

To this day the message is still very clear…

Struggles will come and go, as the mailboxes came and went

But in the end, the prize will be held dear for the endurance that was spent.

“Just make it to the next mailbox,” they would say.
What is your mailbox today?

Jeremiah 29.11-13

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

God story started an amazing story at this mailbox on this day so many years ago. He sees our potential before we do and uses His children to carry out His plan for His glory.  He continues to show me through the ups and the downs of life He is God and He is the God of the impossible!

Ephesians 3.20

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…

God blessed me with incredible parents – the best anyone could ask for…in my opinion! We continued our trip down memory lane once I picked up my race packet.  We headed to the U of A to find daddy’s name in the sidewalk.  The U of A has a unique tradition called the Senior Walk.  Each graduating class since 1905 has had their names engraved in the sidewalks that stretch across the campus.  It is a sight to see.  We were off to find dad’s name and we did. We were returning once again…

The picture on the bottom right was Mike’s idea. It represents so much.  I am in my dad’s shadow – he has cast a large one for us to follow.  He has taught us(along with mom), the importance of loving the Lord first.  They have paved the path for us in regards to education as well. They both are the reason I am continuing my education – which will wrap up on May 5, 2017…my wonderful husband’s birthday! I could probably write a whole blog using these photos…;)

The return to Northwest Arkansas has brought me full circle in several ways.  God continues to go before and plan the way.  He is out there with us every single day.  Through the mountains and the valleys….like on the FHHM course….we will struggle but there will be a highlight along the way!  The struggles will make us stronger.  The highs will make us want to come back for more!

The journey through the half marathon race allowed me to reclaim the trails and renew the love for running that started so many years ago.  It also allowed me to rejoice over those God has given me to be by my side through this journey.  My pick-me-up during a tough or 3 tough spots on the race course was my dear husband who runs marathons of his own to find me as I run the races.  He pushes me and encourages me with his presence and his words.  This weekend of returning helped me see how precious he is to me and how he fits in my story so well – only God could do that!  God knew I would need him in my life to keep on keeping on! 😉

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Deuteronomy 31.8

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

God will never leave us and He goes before us. This weekend of returns will forever be etched in my heart. It is a story of God’s faithfulness to one of His own who in no way deserves the mercy and grace He has given.  God is so very good.  He is helping us write our story before we ever get to the next mailbox.  He wants us to continue to persevere and make it through to the other side – He is waiting – His glory and story to be displayed.

Hebrews 12.1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

RACE PHOTOS

1:46:19 ~ 1st in age group ~ 7th overall woman

 

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Chattanooga Heroes Run…Freedom is NOT free!

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Today is the one year anniversary of the shooting deaths of 5 fallen heroes in Chattanooga, Tennessee – Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells and Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith.  Our hometown hero – Dennis Pedigo was injured on this day one year ago. The Erlanger Hospital Trauma Services sponsored the Chattanooga Heroes Run to commemorate the day that forever changed the lives of so many – showing us that Freedom is NOT free.  We are seeing this day in and day out with the events of our world. Once again, Freedom is NOT free!  Lives are lost and lives are changed daily in the fight for freedom!

The Chattanooga Heroes Run was phenomenal. Kudos to all who came together to make it happen.  What a day! First, I got to be there with friends – running friends, CrossFit friends and people I have known forever.  (I have been in the Chattanooga area longer than any other place I have lived!) We all came together for a common cause and reclaimed Chattanooga streets….like in Boston in 2014.

As we ran we were able to thank countless police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, and the families of the fallen.  They were spread out along the 5 mile course.  One mile for each fallen hero. Moving along the course I was reminded mile after mile that these families made the ultimate sacrifice – they lost someone willing to die for our freedoms.  1300+ of us ran or walked by these families today – strangers to them – but their loved ones died for us.  Wow! How powerful is that? They died protecting the great country’s freedoms.

After running Boston 2013 and experiencing the Boston bombings my life was forever changed as well.  Events like these are never easy because you realize some of that freedom has been taken away.  As I run…I think about safety things I have never thought of before – I wonder about the what-ifs – I second guess my decision to be in a large crowd! THEN, those feelings change when you see the genuine love and care that the others who are taking part, show to one another – strangers in the crowd.   There are more of us than them!

We need to remember LOVE!

1 Corinthians 13.4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…
God gives us love! His unconditional love we can all experience.  I have no idea how I would do life without His hope and love.  He is what gives hope in the evil times we live.  He made the ultimate sacrifice we can have eternal life where there is NO evil.
John 3.16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Love was very present today in the Chattanooga Heroes Run.  It was truly an honor to run and regain Chattanooga streets! #noogastrong

 

Isaiah 40.31

…but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

#eternalhope

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Cheerful Endurance…

 

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Mile 26.1 – The face of CHEERFUL ENDURANCE!

Run until the race is won! God works in mysterious ways. I believe He speaks to us in our ‘love’ language.  Mine is through running! Many people call me crazy…and sometimes I agree…especially on mile 18 of marathon.

Since the Chicago Marathon I have been inside my head…crazy. Agreed!  I was after a certain time and didn’t get it.  I was bummed.  After the race I examined the run and figured out what went wrong.  I knew what to change.  I approached NYC 3 weeks later with the option of trying again.  But, due to it being 3 weeks later, as I blogged earlier – I just enjoyed running NYC and took it all in with no pressure.

In fact, King & Country have penned my exact feelings in the following song:

It’s Not Over Yet:

They are inside your head
You got a voice that says
You won’t get past this one
You won’t win your freedom

It’s like a constant war
And you want to settle that score
But you’re bruised and beaten
And you feel defeated

This goes out to the heaviest heart

[Chorus:]
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over ye-et

Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over

Yea-et-et, woah
Yea-et-et, woah

Oh, game set match
It’s time to put it in your past, oh
Feel the winter leavin’
It’s redemption season
Long live the young at heart (Here we are)
Cheers to a brand new start (Here we are)
We’re revived and breathing
To live a life of freedom

Life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (Here we are)
Oh no never give up (Here we are)
Life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (Here we are)
We will never give up (Here we are)

Knowing life is a race we run and I was going to run until the race was won or for me my goal time or PR(personal record) was achieved – I wanted to keep on going.  So upon my return from NYC – my CRAZY marathon mind started going again and saying – I know I can do my time. I know I can.  And like the CRAZY marathoner I am…I looked for yet another run.  And lo and behold, I found one.  AND it was only two hours from home! Count me in!  Rocket City Marathon – here I come.  PR – here I come.  But, God had a different kind of PR in mind.  His work continues….

Once I decided to run this marathon God started really speaking to me.  He spoke in so many ways….I am glad I was listening.

It all started, or so I thought, with a sermon preached by a guest speaker at our church.  (I will tell where it really started later.)  The pastor preached on Romans 5.3-5.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

He used the term CHEERFUL ENDURANCE.  At that moment I knew I needed cheerful endurance as I ran.  Perseverance and struggle are a part of 26.2 miles as they are a part of life.  I knew I wanted to be cheerful while on this part of the journey.  The seed had been planted.

He preached again the following Wednesday and used another scripture from Romans.  Romans 15.4.

 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Here it was again….learning from the past.  The past is to teach us!  And through (cheerful) endurance taught in Scriptures – we can be encouraged and have hope!!!

These scriptures became my training scriptures for the RCM.  I had hope that ‘the time’ I was working for was going to happen.  My PR!  But, as I said earlier, God had a different plan.  I was still in my mind and He wanted me in HIS!

2 Corinthians 2.14 was His goal – He wanted me to spread HIS aroma everywhere. 🙂

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.

In a marathon His aroma is much better than all of ours – for sure!  This scripture was given by another guest speaker at our church. 🙂  I was starting to piece it all together.  As the lyrics in Casting Crown’s JUST BE HELD say:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

He was piecing it together when I thought I was falling off pace and my training was falling apart.

Since July I have worked hard for that time.  I was doing what the tagline for Believe In It apparel says – back that up with hard work, anything in life is possible.  I knew I could and I believed in it.  My ‘it’ was my time.  But, God’s ‘it’ was His peace.

I won’t say I left Him out of the process the first go around.  He is the reason I make it through every day. I don’t know what I would do without my relationship with Jesus.  He is my rock and my shelter. He is the constant in my life through everything.  I say this because I truly experience Him daily and know beyond a shadow of a doubt I could not and would not want to live without Him.

My desires in life come from Him. My talents come from Him.  My goal is to use those for Him.  I kind of left him out of the time goal first time around.  As I stated earlier, I let myself get in my head.  I didn’t allow the peace that surpasses all understanding get in my head. Philippians 4.7 states:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I had allowed my mind to take over and not His.  The journey from Chicago to NYC and Huntsville revealed this to me and concluded with a mental PR on December 12, 2015.

Now to the rest of the story – (Confession – this race was for God and me. That being said – I told only a handful of people.  My mom and dad didn’t even know I was running it.  I wanted to do this one with no strings attached.  There was tracking for the runners – but I didn’t share.  God was tracking me and that was enough.)

God winked at me over and over again during the 5 weeks between NYC and Huntsville.  He was preparing me for His peace through what would be my Cheerful Endurance run. He set the stage for the most mentally strong race I have ever had.   A mental PR was set on December 12, 2015 and I will forever remember this run as a spiritual retreat from the pressure filled mind of hitting that time – my time – not his.

Some may think – well this is just a way for you to write off not getting the time once again.  If they do – so be it.  I know how I felt crossing that finish line.  I know the last half mile I have NEVER felt stronger running.  I knew I was doing it. I was pose running at it’s best – falling, pulling and moving strong. Many commented on my strong appearance in that last half mile – that was confirmation I had done this in HIS strength! I was able to dig deep and finish smiling! Cheerful ENDuRANce.

Going into race day I felt great. I had had good training runs.  I slept better the night before the race than I had in days.  The pressure was gone and the race was on.  Originally, I had planned on going alone.  Mike is on a hunting trip or he would have been with me. 🙂  I did have a couple of friends who knew I was running offer to go.  I was totally okay with doing this one solo.  I wasn’t alone…God was with me.  In the end, one of my running angels did come and keep me in line. 🙂  She prayed with me, prayed for me, kept Mike informed, tracked me(she was the only one because she was there), chauffeured me home and cheered me on.   Iron Sharpens Iron – i2!

Proverbs 27.17 

 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

The race was in Alabama – Roll Tide country.  This Arkansas fan heard those words often over the two days I was there – starting with the check-in at the hotel.  My hair was a little crazy from the Friday fun day at school.  I decided to put my ball cap on before we went into the hotel.  Of course my hat is a Razorback hat.  I guess this was too much for the guy waiting on me at the hotel.  As we were about to finish up he said, “Roll Tide. You can’t be coming in here with that hat on and not expect me to say something.”  I was kind and talked about the SEC being the best and walked on saying nothing else. Later I had my opportunity to give it back to him and he chuckled.

As I ran the race I had some awesome God winks.  The first dealt with Arkansas once again.  Throughout the race many locals yelled ‘Roll Tide’ to the runners. This gave me an opportunity to yell ‘Woo Pig Sooie’ back to them.  A couple of runners from England were a bit shocked and asked what in the world I had just muttered.  It was fun answering them and hearing their English accents.  Another runner gave me a fist bump and congratulated the Hogs for beating Ole Miss. The same guys saw me once the race was over and said, “are you ‘Woo Pig Sooie’?” and gave me another fist bump. Don’t you love SEC football? 🙂

Here is a sampling of the other fun stories along my CHEERFUL ENDURANCE run – in attempt to shorten this post I will put them in bullet form. 😉

  • The run started at the Von Braun Center where Shannon, Deirdre and I saw a Priscilla Shirer LIVE event in April.  This is where God started this peace journey.

Priscilla talked about the Armor of God.  We have access to this armor because we are a child of His.  Ephesians 6.10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God,so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Little did I know in April of this year God was laying the foundation for my runs in October, November and December.  He knew I would allow the devil to try to take away my joy when I failed to reach my goal in October. He knew that I would get inside my head and not let God in for a while. Guess what? I didn’t forget who ultimately wins…it did take me 8 weeks and 3 marathons to figure out this message.  I never said I wasn’t hard-headed. 🙂  As she said during her message “The victory is irrevocable! The devil has already been defeated and we aren’t fighting for victory – we are fighting FROM victory!” AMEN!

She talked about girding up our feelings and thoughts with HIS truth!

The Voice of Truth – this song by Casting Crowns came on at the right time yesterday during my run.

“the voice of truth tells me a different story – do not be afraid…this is for My glory…I will soar with the wings of eagles…When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus…Singing over me.”

As did several other amazing songs –

Overcomer by Madisa

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

So don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

You Deliver Me by Selah –

 Deep as the ocean, bright as rain
This powerful emotion lifts me up above the plain
It’s taking me to places I never thought I’d go
Showing me a grace I never thought I’d know

When I feel like I can’t go on
You deliver me.

He definitely delivered me and gave me a promise He sent to me in NYC – The best day ever!

The Best Day Ever  by American Authors –

I had a dream so big and loud
I jumped so high I touched the clouds
Wo-o-o-o-o-oh
I stretched my hands out to the sky
We danced with monsters through the night
Wo-o-o-o-o-oh

I’m never gonna look back
Whoa, I’m never gonna give it up
No, please don’t wake me now

Oo-o-o-o-oo
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-ife
Oo-o-o-o-oo
This is gonna be the best day of my life

The Rocket City Marathon is a small marathon with a HUGE heart.  There were around 1500 marathoners.  Many of these runners had a following – family and friends who found them all over the course.  These people also encouraged strangers along the way.

  • A group of 3 who lifted my spirits every time I saw them by saying “Hey there’s that pretty lady again!”  When I realized they were talking to me I am sure I blushed a little beneath the sweat. 🙂  I passed them again and they shouted “There’s the cute girl – your hair looks great, it hasn’t changed!”  I ran past them with a huge smile.
  • A father with a megaphone encouraging us individually by calling out our numbers.  The second time I saw him I told him I loved that he was out there.  His daughter lovingly said, “Don’t encourage my dad!”  I told her we needed more of him.  I saw him as I finished and I shouted – “I love that you are here!”  He smiled.
  • Crazy man – He started by yelling at us and telling us we were crazy but awesome. The second time I saw him I told him I agreed we were crazy. He disagreed and said we were great.  The last time I saw him I told him I had a new word for him – stupid.  I had just passed a runner who said to me “this is stupid.”  I agreed and said I had done enough of them to know better.  The crazy guy said “No, you are not stupid – you are awesome.” Smiling again!
  • A cop came strolling by in his cop car. I asked if I could have a ride to the finish.  His answer – “Only in handcuffs!” I replied, “It would make a great story.” Smiling!
  • There was one couple I saw at least 5 times. I asked them for a ride to the finish as well.  I told them they would definitely beat me there.
  • I heard Shannon yell “go Trish” at mile 1.  She met me again and encouraged me at the halfway point. It was great seeing her smiling face! At the finish she captured the joy on my face rounding the last curve to the finish line! Once I had crossed the finish line she took photos and yelled my name many times before my tired brain heard her. Thankful for my awesome God-given friends who understand my craziness!
  • Several signs were on the course that made me smile –

  • Press on to the finish! 

  • ENDurance!

  • Chafe now, BRAG later! Toenails are overrated!

  • Gym teacher sign – As I took this photo a lady laughed and said that is great! I replied, “I am the gym teacher.” This picture is for my 4th grader Bradley.  He is always asking if I have another run. He asked me Friday and “I said yes, tomorrow. Pray for me.”  He smiled!IMG_5979

  • I ran past one guy who was walking. I encouraged him, as I tried to do with everyone I passed, and he started running with me.  He said, “No PR today.” I replied “We toed the line and we will finish. That is a PR in itself.  He replied, “yes, I need to find something to focus on.” I told him I would stay with him but then he cramped and had to pull back.  I did see him finish and he finished well!
  • Mike would be proud because I yelled “Go Vols!” to a gentleman with a Vol hat on. 🙂
  • The Spirit Teams along the way lifted our spirits as well. There were high school bands, drum lines, an orchestra in front of a coffee shop, cheerleaders, FCA group and many others!
  • Peanut Butter Jelly Time playing over speakers during one water stop…and the PBJ I was able to eat at the finish thanks to the volunteers who were making them.  That was probably the best PBJ and chocolate milk I have ever had.
  • Shaking hands with the race director upon my finish.  Class act! RCM was awesome!

All of the spectators were amazing…there were not as many as in Chicago and NYC but they were full of southern hospitality….you just can’t beat that! It was truly an awesome experience! During the fleeting moments I wanted to quit or find a ride, someone would lift me up.  I tried to make a point to do the same.  I thanked the MANY police officers and volunteers! They not only made it a safe race they made sure to make a fun one.

The spectators, runners, volunteers, scenery and music all made the day amazing. When I hit the half, I knew I was going to battle physically during the second half.  My goal to keep cheerful endurance was tested. But with God’s help we won out.  He showed me His strength.  He gave me Words. He supplied His messengers.  He carried me through to the very end.  The hope I had for a PR was rewarded with the most peaceful 26.2 miles I have ever had.  Physically I hurt…but who wouldn’t after 3 marathons in 8 weeks…but mentally I was on top of the world.  God showed up and so did I!

Hebrews 12.1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I was able to run with CHEERFUL ENDURANCE and find the peace in the hope of Him showing up as He promised He would.  He gave me the strength to push through marathon number 3 in 8 weeks – wow! He did it! All glory goes to HIM! He had a journey set before me that started in Huntsville in April and He concluded it yesterday.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6.10 

I was strong in HIM! He gave me His mighty power. I was able to endure the runs He sat before me. Over the last 5 weeks,  I was able to hear Him speak and learn that perfection(or a time) was not the goal – His glory was…and the peace that comes with it!

Being that I was in Roll Tide country for the race, it is quite fitting that I stumbled upon Derrick Henry’s Heisman Trophy acceptance speech while I was writing this blog.  His words were powerful and truthful.  He sums up words I would love to impart with my running and blog:

“Always keep God first. Always pray. Don’t be afraid to pray. He always hears your cry. If you have dreams, go chase them. If you believe it, you can achieve it. And God will be there every step of the way. I am a living testament, man. Growing up, having this dream, I am so nervous. I never thought I would be up here. But God is good. And I get on my knees every night and thank him for everything. So keep God first. Always pray. And always chase your dream.”  Derrick Henry

God is good all the time! God will give you dreams. Chase them! Keep God first in all things! Always pray! Chase your dreams and find God in them. He will be there every step of the way! Believe in it but believe in HIM first!

Running blessed but now taking a rest….Trish Newsom

 

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A marathon post about the Marathon of a lifetime…beware – reading this could take 26.2 miles!

We are home! We did it! We survived a month of whirlwind travel which included 2 major marathons – Chicago and New York and a trip to Arkansas.  What a month October was for me! It was a month of reflection and a month of thankfulness.  It all started with an amazing trip to Chicago with my running angels.  Chicago – Major #3 for me is in the books.  See previous blog for race report.  I will say one thing – I was running for time at Chicago – didn’t get it but learned A LOT.  The learning did not stop but continued in New York with a stopover in-between in Arkansas.

Why Arkansas? Well, let me first say the seed to run was planted many years ago when I watched my mom and dad run races.  I didn’t really start running until I was 30 but watching them in those early years made an impression.  Now back to the question – Why Arkansas?  My dad was inducted into the Ouachita Baptist University Athletic Hall of Fame.  Dad was the golf coach at OBU for many years and helped the program grow and win!  Dad was a difference maker.  His work ethic and care for his players was contagious.  He is a life changer.  His love for athletics of all kinds filtered down to all of us.

This was a perfect stopover between Chicago and New York.  It helped me remember where I started and helped me focus on what is really important in the game of life – relationships!  Running has helped me develop many relationships I would NEVER have had without it!  Thanks mom and dad for planting the seed that has forever changed my life for the better!

Proverbs 22.6 ~ Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York

I have so much in my head about this trip – a trip of a lifetime –  and don’t want to lose any of it or bore anyone. 🙂 So a photo journey it will be!  I will start from the beginning.

Day 1:

We are on our way! NYC we have arrived!!!  Welcome to New York!IMG_5130

The Expo – it is getting real!!!  I have never seen so many people in one place.  It was absolutely crazy.  The line to purchase official gear snaked around forever.  I know we had to have walked close to a half of a mile just in line to pay.  It was a mad house! We met a mother and daughter while making our way to the checkout line.  This would be the daughter’s second NYC Marathon.  She was local.  She gave me a great piece of advice – take cardboard to the starting village to sit on.  The cardboard kept me from sitting on wet ground or pavement! I was so thankful for this awesome advice.  🙂  Once we made it through the check out line we explored the expo itself.  This is always fun.  Once this very important step was over – we headed out to the streets of NY!

First stop – Empire State Building!  It was breathtaking to see NY from the top of the Empire State Building.  Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the 360 degree views from what seemed to be the top of the world.  Mike chatted with a worker while I hit the restroom. Hydrating for a marathon was not fun in NY where there are NO public restrooms unless you pay for services.  Crazy! She told her story of working on 9/11 and how it affected her.  Story-telling at its best!

Second stop and third stop – Rockefeller Center and Times Square

Night was coming and so was the chill.  Perfect for watching the ice skaters in Rockefeller Center.  Times Square was nuts.  We were there about 10 minutes and were ready to move on.  We are glad we saw it but – WOW – sensory overload.  I know all of this was preparing me for the run of lifetime – the largest marathon in the world – 50,000 runner and over 1 million spectators – talk about sensory overload!

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Not only was New York hosting the largest marathon in the world but they were also hosting games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series! We got to enjoy the hoopla around this as well because we had to get off the train at Mets-Willets Point…the train stop for Citi Field – Home of the Mets.  This was fun all three nights.  We took in the sights and the crowds before heading back to our hotel.  We even picked up a free towel and sign that said BELIEVE! This was my first sign for the marathon – Believe!

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Day 2 – Subway rides, fall foliage, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, 9/11 Memorial – What a day! We packed it all in. We rode the subway, the bus, the ferry and a taxi.  We walked as well – across the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond.  The love locks on the Brooklyn Bridge were fun to see with the one I love! I am so thankful to be experiencing this city with him!  The One World Trade Center was very emotional for both of us.  It is hard to put into words the feelings that arose when looking at the memorial where the towers once stood.  There was a sense of sadness in the air and respect given by those visiting.  Then we went to the top of One World Trade Center.  This was one of the highlights of the trip.  New York has definitely done it right when it comes to remembering the victims, survivors and families of 9/11.  We were honored and humbled to be there reflecting on the loss of our nation.  We are proud to be Americans! This city is a melting pot. We heard so many languages spoken.  We saw so many nationalities.  While visiting these two sites we were reminded why we love our country so and the freedoms we have just by living here.

Now, to the TCS New York Marathon! Wow is really all I can say! What a day.  A day to let time goals go and enjoy being a part of the largest marathon in the world.  God had a plan for this day.  He knew I would struggle letting my time goal go, so He placed people along the way to remind me to let go and let HIM!  There is so much to this part of the story.  It started long before we hit the ground running in New York.

Proverbs 27.17 ~ As iron sharpens iron,
    so a friend sharpens a friend.

God has blessed me with many close friends who know me well.  I had more than one remind me to relax and run on November 1.  They knew I had a battle going on inside because I didn’t meet my time goal in Chicago.  The battle was real and raging until Sunday morning at the starting village.  Though these friends continued to remind me of the real reason I was there….I kept wanting that Garmin time of 3:45.  But God placed two people in my life after arriving at the start village on marathon day that helped change that!

First, I had to load the bus by 5:30 a.m. to get to the starting village for a 10:40 start.  That’s 5 hours to kill – wow!  As you can see in several of the photos, I dressed warm for this occasion and it worked out well.  I took my cardboard from my Domino’s Pizza  pre-race dinner to sit on.  I found a spot next to a light pole and made myself comfortable.  I wrapped up in an old thermal blanket from a race I ran in Louisville last October and settled in.  As I was sitting and taking it all in I received several texts.  One was from a dear friend.  It was a prayer for the day.  I so needed it…it was the first of amazing encounters all day.  I thought of this prayer often as I ran that day.  The struggle was real and He is what got me through.

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After corresponding back and forth I just sat there and looked around at the people.  Two girls next to me were from another country. They spoke no English.  This is one of the things I loved the most.  There were so many nationalities running this race.  We were all there together to achieve one goal and that was to finish the world’s largest marathon.  Prejudice and hostilities pushed aside all working together toward a common end. Too bad we can’t get along like this everywhere and all the time!

As I was listening to the sounds around me I heard the word ‘y’all’ come from behind me.  I turned around and asked him where he was from.  Are you ready for this?  He was from Arkansas AND he runs with and does running groups with a friend of mine from college.  Can you believe that? YES! Because God is that good!!!  Out of 50,000 runners hanging out in the starting villages, I was able to run into someone from Arkansas – not only from my home state but someone who knows a friend of mine AND loves the Lord.  Can I say it again – God is that good!

Romans 8.28 ~ And we know that God causes everything to work together

for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

I call it a Godincidence – divine intervention by God! He was talking to another guy from Kentucky that is going to Arkadelphia, Arkansas(where I was born and spent the previous weekend with my family!) in a couple of weeks to do a race.  Small world! We discussed everything from running to our jobs and to our spouses jobs.  We talked about how running has been a great way for us to share our testimonies.  What a way to start my day! One of my friends who encouraged me to relax and have fun also said she knew the 5 hours of wait time would be special.  She was right!  Boy, was she right!

At 8:15 I was supposed to meet up with two of my Team Hoyt buddies.  We were all blessed to be in the blue corral.  There were three corrals – Blue, Green and Orange.  God is good yet again.  🙂  On the way to the meeting place – Blue Corral letter D – I passed the Interfaith Religious Service tent.  They were playing praise music.  I had time to kill so I sat down and let the words cover me.  They announced the service would start at 8:00.  I decided to stay for about 10 minutes and I am so glad I did.  We sang a praise song about God being our strength.  One paster prayed over the race and runners.  Then another pastor gave a short sermon.  He started with the words – ‘Let Go and Let God’.  I told my mom on Thursday before we left that I was changing my mantra for the race from ‘Let Go and Let God’ to ‘Let God and Go Have Fun!’  This was another way of God tell me to run and enjoy every step of the way.  Again, God is so good.  Next the pastor gave us three scripture references in a certain order – Psalm 22, 24 and 23.  He said for the OCD runners that order would drive them crazy but there was a purpose in the order.  It too gave me strength for the day.

Here is the short of it:  In Psalm 22 Jesus feels abandoned. He says,  “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”  Then in Psalm 24 we see is not forsaken but He is lifted up to Heaven and seated on God’s throne.

Lift up your heads, O you gates!

And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!

And the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory?

The Lord strong and mighty,

The Lord mighty in battle.

Then back to Psalm 23. We see “ he represents Christians receiving the benefit of all the care and tenderness of that great and good shepherd.” The pastor was saying we could fill abandoned on this course of 26.2 miles but He is with us. He will carry us through and we will finish well for HIM!  Let Go and Let God! Oh, how I needed yet another confirmation.  I slipped out of the service as they were still sharing to meet 2 friends/family amongst the 50,000.

A Team Hoyt reunion was about to happen.  I found Wes first and shortly thereafter we met up with Dana.  We had a group hug and wished Wes well.  He was in the first wave because he is the fast one.   It would also be an understatement to say how grateful I am for Team Hoyt.  Team Hoyt is the reason the three of us from very different parts of the world could meet up, hug and share encouragement.  Wes is Canadian.  Dana lives in New York. And I am from Soddy Daisy, TN!  Again, how good is God???  Team Hoyt is my forever family that God introduced me to on my road to Boston several years ago.  They have been and will continue to be a blessing!

So off Wes went and off we went to gather our Dunkin Donuts coffee and beanie hats. 🙂 I can’t put into words how awesome it was to spend the rest of my morning and the start with Dana. Her spirit is contagious.  I really don’t think she has ever met a stranger. We lined up to get in our corral and watched Wave 2 move to the start line.  Then it was our turn! We moved in and finally moved up.  As we towed the start line I removed my warm clothing and deposited it for Goodwill of New York.  It felt so good to let go of one piece of clothing that represented part of the past for Mike and me.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
― Bil Keane

As we waited for the canons to go off and Frank Sinatra to sing we met Hugo.  Hugo was starting and hoping to finish his 100th marathon.  100! Wow! I can’t imagine 100 marathons!!! It was a true honor to meet him. (and he did finish!) Yay HUGO!  Then what we were all waiting for…the canons and the serenade!  As we started running the excitement was electrifying.  The announcer yelled my name and go Team Hoyt. Dana and I were happy! I took one last selfie with Dana and off I went…to run my race. 🙂

I figured out early on I was really going to enjoy the race and take it all in.  It was freeing.  I stopped looking at my watch and started looking around. My Garmin was not going to control the run. I was going to Let God and Go Have Fun!  I ran on feel and for the first half did pretty well. The sights were amazing.  At times I was thinking – am I really doing this? Is this real?  And, of course it was.

Mike had a plan to meet me and encourage me on the course.  His first stop was the 5k.  He met me there joyfully with a kiss. I was feeling great here! Mike was and always is an uplifting sight! So very thankful for him and his never-ending support!!!  He was able to meet me two more times on the course. He walked a marathon of his own.  I am one blessed wife! 🙂

In days leading to the race I read a story about the Quinn brothers from Ireland.  35 years ago they ran the NYC Marathon together and they returned to do it again in 2015.  I ran up on two of them early on.  Frank and I had a great conversation and took a selfie.  🙂 Then further down the course I met another gentleman.  He tried to take a photo of me running but to no avail. So, we took a selfie.  He encouraged me to keep moving! And I did!

I felt pretty good until around mile 15 as we approached the Queensboro Bridge.  It is about 1.5 miles with a steady incline.  There were a lot of walkers and I joined in because the pain started here. I knew I was in to finish so this is when the camera really started to come out…hence the windy selfie on the bridge. 🙂  Upon leaving the bridge the crowds were deafening! It was so encouraging!!! It gave me a little pep in my step.  But, I was hurting.  Though, I knew at this point Mike would be a mile 19.  I kept pushing through knowing I would see him there and he would lift my spirits.

As I approached mile 19 I was looking for my tall handsome husband with the Tennessee hat on.  I found him and the tears started flowing.  He reached out and embraced me with a hug and a kiss.  I was honest with him and told him I was struggling…I was hurting.  He said you can do this! You have this! He knew I could dig deep even though at that point I didn’t believe it.  He gave me the lift I needed. I told him I would probably walk a lot the last 10k.  Thankfully, I had the strength to keep running.  Though it was slow – it was not a walk unless I was getting water at a water station.  I am so glad because Mike surprised me again at mile 22.  I knew then I would make it…running…to the end! And I did!

Mile 24, 25, and 26 couldn’t have come any sooner.  The finish line was magical.  I did it! I was a New York Marathon Finisher! I had just finished my 4th world major.  Wow! Can I say again, GOD is so good!

God provided so many people and things along the way…

  • The gospel choir serenading us on the course.
  • The smells of great food.
  • The cheers of random strangers yelling ‘Go Trish!’ or Go RUN..because of the big RUN on my tank.
  • Encouraging words like “You’ve got a good pace!”
  • Another runner saying “Hey, Trish…how are ya?”
  • Congratulations from all the volunteers.
  • The friendly NYC Police and Fire personnel.
  • The amazing crowds….over 1 million of them….truly electrifying!
  • The helpful strangers!!!!
  • The prayers felt when the struggle got real – I felt every one of them.

Philippians 4.13

 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

 

 

As the Taylor family verse states: IMG_3049This is the card dad pulled out while doing our family devotion the morning we were all in Arkansas.  It has long been the verse we live by.  For dad to pull it out of the daily bread box that day was as mom likes to call it ‘a God wink.’  God was with us that day in Arkansas as He was with me on Marathon Day.  I am so very thankful, blessed, humbled and undeserving of and for His love and mercy.  God has been good to our family and He has been good to Mike and me.  He has been to me with running and He has given me a testimony for Him – saying God is so good all the time and all the time God is good.  God allowed me to run my race – which was His race on November 1, 2015!

Thanks for making it to the end of what was supposed to be a short post! I had too many God winks and just had to share.  😉

Running blessed!

4 World Majors down…2 to go! Tokyo and Berlin…here we come!

Oh, and I made the New York Times….

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Ready or not…here we come! Chi Town Bound!

Last week was our last official week of training.  Taper begins tomorrow…yay! It was a successful week for me.  I felt good on all my runs and feel READY! I had some fun runs…most of them this last week involved rain.  We are like the postmen/women – no matter what the weather we run. 🙂

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Here are my rain-soaked donkeys and I was a drowned rat most runs…but that is what memories are made of. 🙂

Run #1 – 6 x 600 with 400m rest – comparable to past 600s.  Some better some not…but overall consistent and felt good.  It was one of the sunny runs of the week. 

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2:36

2:41

2:42

2:29

2:34

Run #2 – Ladder – 4 x 200 w/ 1:30 rest; 3 x 400 w/ 1:30 rest; 2 x 1000s w/ 3:00 rest – WET!!!

200s – :44, :45, :44, :43  – consistent and GOOD

400s – 1:37; 1:37; 1:43 – consistent again…:)

1000s – 4:22 and 4:26 – HARD but done! 🙂

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Ladders – THUMBS down!

Run #3 – 18 miler  2:47:59 – 9:20 pace – I knew I needed a change of pace and scenery to mentally get this run done.  I decided to go to Cleveland and try out their greenway.  I knew I would be able to get around 9-10 there and then would have to double back at times.  I was willing to do that because I needed to be able to run and not know how much more I had to go because I knew the landmarks.

When I woke up Saturday, after sleeping in,  it was pouring down rain. 😦  Yoli called and invited me to run with them.  I hadn’t been up long and couldn’t get it all together to meet up with them.  I debated staying closer to home but then decided to stick with the original plan.  I drove to Cleveland and I am sooooo glad I did.

The run was supposed to be a time trial but considering the rain wouldn’t go away and I had to do some trail and river running…I was pleased with my time! This was a fun run believe it or not.  I listened to Pandora and sang along as I ran in the rain. I loved to play in the rain as a child and I was reliving those memories.  God sent song after song about being there in the storm or hurricane…there were numerous songs about rain…it was humorous at times but also I viewed it as a blessing for my soul.  He was showing me He will get me through what He started!  I was soaked when I was done…but it was fun!

At one point, I ran by a prayer garden.  I ran to it and stopped.  It was a blessing in the rain as well.  I prayed for the girls. I prayed for our trip. I prayed for our run.  I prayed we would run well, finish strong and glorify Him in all we do.  As I keep stating, He is the reason we run and He has brought us this far…He will help us through to the finish line.  We are excited!!!

Run #4 –  10k – Today, I still had my 10k left.  My thinking was the hay is in the barn…I don’t need the run. 😉  About that time, Yoli text me and asked if I had run yet.  Of course, I had not.  She made me do it…:)   I am glad I did because it was a great run on tired legs. I am ready.

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DONE with official training….LET THE TAPER BEGIN!!!!

We have been working hard and we are all ready for Chicago. It has been a fun journey with amazing friends and an awesome coach.  Four of us will conquer Chi Town together – Iron sharpening Iron….Proverbs 27.17 – As iron sharpens iron,  so a friend sharpens a friend.  We will all start in different corrals and run our own race.  He has prepared the way and we will travel the streets of Chicago taking it all in. My prayer is for safety, strength and endurance.  

Later in the week I will post information on how to track our run, if you are interested.  I ask that as we finish this week of tapering you will join us in praying that we glorify Him with every move and every step….pray for safe travel…pray for a safe and strong run finishing the race He set out for each of us!

 

Hebrews 12.1 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Exodus 23.20 

 “See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.

RUNNING BLESSED!!!

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2 weeks of training to report and 2 weeks of training to go…oh no! :)

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The last two weeks have been fast and furious.  So fast and furious I did not blog about the previous week’s training…oops! Here is what the last two week’s looked like:

Run #1 – Ladder – 2 x 200 rest 90 seconds, 3 x 400 rest 90 seconds, 4 x 1000 rest 90 seconds

200 – :46; :48

400 – 1:32; 1:32; 1:36

1000 – 4:19; 4:18; 4:27; 4:34 – first two great…last two – not so sure. 🙂

Run #2 – 8 x 600s repeats with 300m recovery

2:17; 2:20; 2:28; 2:25 – going counter-clockwise around track

2:52; 2:58; 2:55; 2:56 – switched directions and had a slight incline

I learned a lot with this run. The first half was done one direction and the second the other.  I turn to the right easier than I do the left. 🙂  I was really surprised on the difference in my time. I did have my fastest 200 ever! Yay!

Run #3 – 30k Citytrail race – GREAT FUN!

2:51:21 – 16.64 miles through Chattanooga!  This was an amazing race through Engel Stadium, McKenzie Arena, Lookout Stadium, around the National Cemetery, Downtown Chatt and through Stringer’s Ridge as well as many other cool areas of Chattanooga.  I loved every minute of it except for two…when I hit the ground  two times! I was not going to let me the race get me.  I was going to get the race.  I felt GREAT! I loved it! It was hard but it was done and done well.  We all ran it well and we proved we are ready!!! Yes, we are!

Run #4 – 2 5ks with 10 minute rest

These were not the best. My legs were tired from day before and we had a crazy run or two.  We chose to run later on a Sunday evening.  Darkness caught up with us and we were on a new trail in Soddy.  After the first 5k we chose to go to the roads.  We had a dog chase us and we chose to move our cars out of the dark parking area after finishing 1 mile and we finished the last 2 miles elsewhere. My times reflected tired legs, trail running and craziness. 🙂  Both were around 28 minutes….fun!

This past WEEK!

Run #1 – another ladder:  3 x 200 rest 90 seconds, 3 x 400 rest 90 seconds, 4 x 1000 rest 90 seconds

This ladder started with 3 x 200 but my watch didn’t update the 2 to 3 so on the 3rd was an all out 400 meters…oh boy, it hurt. 🙂 I did make up the 200 at the end.  The cool thing was that all of my 200s were the same time…even with the last one being the REAL last run.

3 x 200s – :47

3 x 400s – 1:38; 1:42; 1:44

4 x 1000s – 4:34; 4:44; 4:50

This week worth of ladders were not so good compared to last week….hmmmm….rest needed. 🙂

Due to my crazy schedule last week I had to wait and do my last three runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday….fun! Rest happened beforehand…

Run #2 – (really 3 runs) – 3 5ks in one day…Friday 

1st 2 5ks – identical time – 24:09 – different routes and after school – felt great! Weather was ideal!!!

3rd 5k – 23:19 – Funky Monkey 5k Glow Run – I ran this great YMCA race at 8:00 p.m. with several students and friends.  Felt awesome.  I was 3rd overall female and 4th overall.  GREAT run!

Run #3 – 10k Raccoon Mountain Road Race – Tough race! Rain, wind and hills…did I say hills???? 

50:12 – VERY pleased with this time due to the fact I had run 3 5ks the day before with one of them being a race.  It was also a very challenging race…fun, but challenging! I won my age group! Yay!  Two medals in two days!

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Run #4 – 15 miles – 2:14:06 – 8:56 pace – VERY PLEASED!!!!!

I was supposed to run this at 80% of 13.1 pace – DONE and some!  After 2 days of racing and 15.5 miles on my legs in 2 days…I am so pumped about this run. I am ready for Chicago.  This weekend proved that to me! #ready  After the 15 miler I volunteered at Ironman Chattanooga.  Wow! If that wasn’t the inspiration I needed to finish Chicago strong I don’t know what is….

 

 

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We were there in support of our awesome running coach – Matt.  He finished strong and did an amazing job.  He finished in 13 hours and 30 minutes.  13 hours and 30 minutes…can you imagine?? NO! Wow is all I can say! WOW!  He is an IRONMAN for sure…we knew it beforehand…but now he has the real title.

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Then the next day I woke up to this text:

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No pressure! 😉 Just kidding…just so very thankful for GREAT coaching and encouragement from one who is willing to put the work in it as well and coach by example! We are so ready!

One more week of true training and then on to the taper.  We have this! God’s timing is awesome…He has led me on this journey with ups and downs for a reason.  He has placed every run on the day it was supposed to be and He has allowed me to use my training to prepare me for more than Chicago – but for life. Love it!

Today when I got home this was in the mail:

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IT IS REAL!!! Bib # 16402 – I can do this! I will do this! I am READY to do this! 🙂  We are ready!

Habakkuk 2:3 

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Isaiah 40:31 

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Psalm 27:14 

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

 

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When the wheels fall off….

This week was a rough one. I had to run alone and early, so my days got moved all around.  I got sick on Thursday. I pushed through Friday and Saturday but didn’t get my 4th run – a 10k in on Sunday. I opted to rest. I did get the long run – the 10 miler in…but it wasn’t pretty.  Here is how this week looked:
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Tuesday:  5 x 1000m: I felt pretty good on this one…I had to run alone this week.  I don’t mind running alone at all but running early when it is eery dark outside…is hard at times.  Today, I was welcomed by a Hamilton County Sheriff sitting in the parking lot where I ran.  He/she was there for more than half of the time I was out running.  I felt safe. 🙂 God provided.  This was also one of the mornings of the meteor shower.  I was able to see a couple of beautiful falling stars.  I would have missed God’s splendor if I had stayed in bed.  For those of you that know me, know, the only way I would see a meteor shower would be in the morning…I turn into a pumpkin between 9:00 -9:30 p.m. 😉
Repeats:
1 – 4:30
2 – 4:35
3 – 4:39
4 – 4:27
5 – 4:33

Friday: 4 – 1 mile repeats: not feeling well…but pushed through – not very consistent here.  I started feeling sick on Thursday. Welcome back to school! Being around our precious children come with many germs…and I got them. I started feeling poorly after telling my students all week that one of the benefits of being physically active and healthy is a healthier immune system…that helps you fight off sickness.  So much for that working this going around! 😉 LOL!

I was able to get the first one out okay…but after that I progressively got slower. I know it was my lack of energy.  I still kept them under 8 but I definitely want to be more consist with each repeat.
1 – 7:06
2 – 7:19
3 – 7:33
4 – 7:46

Saturday: 10 miler at 85% – The 1st 5 miles I was able to keep pace and then the wheels fell off. I haven’t had a run feel this bad in a very long time. I finished but I walked a lot the second half.  I hurt all over.  I got mad…I cried…I just felt miserable.  I really hoped my friends would get in their car and come get me.  We ran 5 miles out so I had to make it back. There were times I felt like I truly wasn’t going to make it.  God provided several songs that gave me hope and momentum to finish. Strong Enough  by Matthew West – through HIM I was strong enough to keep putting one foot in front of the other and finish.  You Deliver Me  by Selah – He truly delivered me on this run.  His perfect timing with these songs and others kept me going.  The last mile I was cooling down.  With a quarter-mile to go my sweet friend Gina met me and ran me in.  When I saw her my emotions let go.  I was feeling cruddy…my body hurt and I had been unable to accomplish my goal pace.  She wrapped me up in a hug and said you have been working your tail off and it is okay to have a bad run.  She reminded me I had finished and got it done.   God nudged her to meet me because I so needed it.  Thanks sweet friend!
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Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

First 1.5 (I reset watch to do mile repeats after the first 1.5 miles) – 8:27
2 – 8:30
3 – 8:31
4 – 8:34
5 – 8:44
6 – 9:31
7 – 10:25
8 – 9:43
9 – 10:35
10 -10:29 – saved by an angel.

When I got done, all of my running buddies were waiting(because they had already finished…;)).  We are so blessed to have an awesome group of friends who love the Lord and one another.
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Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one friend sharpens another.

After our 10 miler we had one more run.  No, I shouldn’t have done it let alone run the 10 miles.  But, we are a team and we were running the Mud Run as the Nutty Muddy Buddies.  We are a bunch of nuts for sure.  So, off we went to conquer mud, ice and obstacles.  We had a great time and my day of running was redeemed.  We ran as a non-competitive team and did really well for just having fun. We were 6th out of 198 teams.  We would have been 26th out of 87 competitive teams if we had competed.  We were thrilled considering all of us had run 7+ miles before the 3.1 Mud Run.

The Mud Run helped me put it all in perspective.  We are going to have good days and bad. They come together….like the ups and downs of the obstacles in the mud run.  After the ice pit, I was frozen and didn’t want to go on…but my team was waiting on me and I had to move….even though my toes were numb.  Scaling the walls were impossible without help…we had to lift each other up!
1 Thessalonians 5.11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

In the smoke house obstacle, we could not see.  The voices of our teammates guiding and directing us to the light and the exit gave us the strength to move forward.  We affirmed each other and trusted one another through it all.  As I heard their voices, I knew they weren’t going to lead me astray.  It reminded me of when I call out to God.  He is my strength.  I so needed this on this day! I brought up the rear most of the run…but that was okay.  They were all leading me through and we were in it together.
Psalm 138.3
On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.

We finished as one team.  We were able to have FUN and do well – together.  We are all training for Chicago individually…but we are in it as a team.  We celebrate each other’s victories and we help each other with our defeats.  I know good days come with bad. I am so blessed to have others who stand by my side through the thick and thin…no matter how dirty it may get. 😉

Hoping for more good this week.

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This week was a week for me to stop in my tracks and reevaluate where I am.  I am on the right track…I just have to learn to slow down every now and then. 🙂

Jeremiah 2.25a

“Slow down. Take a deep breath. What’s the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway?

Scriptures that give me hope and encouragement in times of sickness and doubt!

Matthew 19:26 

“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

2 Corinthians 4:16 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

Philippians 4:13 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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Week 2 – oh how I despised YOU! ;)

My post is a little late because I wanted to forget about last week’s training.  Here is the subject line in the email I sent to my  running coach:

Week 2…YUCK! 🙂

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These pictures show my real feelings about the whole week.  I am not sure why it was so bad…humidity, heat, fatigue…excuses! LOL! But it was! When I emailed my runs to our coach I felt like a poor student reporting bad test results to my teacher.

I will say I love having goals for every run.  It breaks the monotony and helps with purpose and getting it done…but oh, do they hurt! 🙂  I sent the girls a text at one point saying, “what doesn’t kill us or make us puke, makes us stronger! Right?”

We decided to tackle the hardest run first…Wow! Here is how that played out:

Run 1 – Tuesday – 8x800m with 600m recovery
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400 – dodging ankle biter dog!
Last week’s 800s were better but both workouts were challenging.  One we had rest and the other active recovery.  It does make a difference. We also had a dog nipping at our ankles on the last repeat.  Not so much fun! 🙂  When we were done…we were done!  We sent this picture to show how we felt about 800m repeats! Deirdre was right there with us – many miles away!
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Run 2 – 6 x 400m repeats with 90 second rest…
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We thought going into this one…piece of cake! It is only 400m and only 6 of them.  Well, we were wrong once again! They were tough.  As you can see, I start out slower…I have to work on making it more consistent with the others.

The 3rd run was better…I ran it thinking of the fallen heroes in Chattanooga and the sacrifice they made.  Praying and thinking of others made it much more doable.  I am running. God has blessed me to be able to move.  I need to be thankful for life and the ability to put one foot in front of the other…daily!

Run 3 – 5 miles at 80% 5k pace – goal 807-809 – average 809 
Mile 1: 804
Mile 2: 803
Mile 3: 805
Mile 4: 808
Mile 5: 823 – This mile was hard…I tried to pick it back up and was unsuccessful.  My average was good overall but I really struggled that last mile.

 

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Run 4 – Sunday:  5 miles @ 90% 10k pace – 8:00-8:05 goal – 810 average – yuck!
This was the worst run by far.  I had a really hard time and didn’t keep pace.  All I can say is YUCK!
Mile 1: 801
Mile 2: 805
Mile 3: 808
stopped and walked for about 30 seconds between mile 3 and 4
Mile 4: 812
Mile 5: 821
Tough and brutal!!! But done! Mentally challenging! But done! I was so glad to have others out there with me.  It made me keep going and not quit.  We chose to have a little fun once we finished.

 5 miles @  90% of 10k pace on a bike is NO problem….

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Thankful for friends to suffer with…and grow with!

Proverbs 27.17 ~ As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

This week’s runs showed me that we will have bad runs…we will have good runs….and we will have done runs! And in the middle of it all we can still have fun runs…we can still grow and we can still do more than we thought! All runs were finished and I didn’t regret one of them!!!!

1 Corinthians 1.11-12

11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully  12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

Galatians 6.9
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
So here’s to week 3….
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BFF…Best Forever Friends!

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Do you have one of those friends who knows you better than anyone else? I do! God blessed me many, many years ago!  He has actually blessed me over and over again with amazing friends!   I truly believe this has been one of life’s greatest blessings from God – Best Forever Friends.  Living in so many different places has allowed me to meet many wonderful people and thankfully, make many best forever friends.

This week I have had the incredible privilege of having my longest BFF visit! Along with her daughter, she made the trek from Arkansas to Tennessee.  The awesome thing about this BFF is that we have been friends since we were two years old. Needless to say, we have been friends A LONG time! Above is a picture of us celebrating my 3rd birthday at our daycare. Many of my first memories include Michelle.

After Michelle left, I was going through Instagram photos and someone posted this scripture:

1 Thessalonians 5.11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.

Michelle came to mind as I read this post.  She has always encouraged me NO MATTER WHAT.  God has blessed our friendship in many ways over the years. We are more like sisters due to the fact we have known each other so long.  We were roommates in college and then again once we graduated.  We worked together several times throughout those years.  She knows me…the real me! We can get together after months/years of not spending time together and it is like we were together just yesterday.

I felt compelled to blog about this so I could do as she has done for me – ENCOURAGE and BUILD UP others! Michelle is definitely not my only BFF…but she is the one that has been around the longest and through the most with me.  I know I can go to her NO MATTER WHAT! We all need one or more of these type of friends.  We also have to be one!

There are SO many of you reading this that are my BFFs and I am thankful for each of you! All of you have made me a better person in so many ways! You know who you are…:)  Thank you for encouraging me and building me up in life.  God has blessed me with you!

Proverbs 24.14

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

 
Ecclesiastes 4.9-10
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!
 
Proverbs 27.17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Life is tough as we have seen over the last couple of weeks…we all need friends! Friends we can count on through thick and thin. Friends who will be real with us when we need it and friends who will love us no matter what.  Let me encourage you to be one of those BFFs to someone! Let’s encourage others and build them up!
Proverbs 27.17
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

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Let the fun continue…Day 2~800s!

See how we positioned the name of the church in the background….that was intentional! Now that the 800m repeats are done…we need REST! 🙂

6 x 800 meters with 2 minute rest – Whew! That was fun! Not! But done! It sure makes it easier when you know someone else is out there pushing hard too.  And then, when she finishes first, she is always encouraging me to the very end.  I don’t know what I would do without the best training buddies EVER!

Yoli, Deirdre and Shannon and I are all in this together! We will finish the full on crazy 26.2 in October! Iron sharpens iron is what this is all about.  We run to glorify God and we do it with like-minded friends who push and sharpen us along the way.  It makes this journey so much sweeter!!

Proverbs 27.17 ~ As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Legs were a little sore from doing back squats yesterday.  I am trying to learn the balance between my CrossFit workouts and running.  I need them both but I need to balance them.  This seems to be an on-going theme in my life. Balance! I will find it!

Proverbs 11:1 – A false balance [is] abomination to the LORD: but a just weight [is] his delight.

Running Blessed!

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