Tag Archives: Running

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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Divine Detours…

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This photo was taken 5 years ago yesterday – June 5, 2011  – at the San Diego Marathon. This is where I attempted to qualify for the Boston for the first time.  Seeing this photo come up on the ‘On this Day’ feature of Facebook brought back so many memories and emotions.  Ones I will not detail today!  It appeared in my newsfeed after I had been to church in Destin, Florida and heard an amazing sermon by none other than former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

The night before we were looking for churches close to the condo due to the fact we had planned on walking to the service because we were without a car.  Destiny Worship Center popped up with the banner – Guest Speaker, Governor Mike Huckabee.  This is where I wanted to go – so we did. 🙂  And, I am so glad we did.  I have heard him preach before but that was in college – a long time ago! 😉

He spoke about detours.  How we all have them…How we don’t like them…How we don’t plan them and we don’t want them.  He asked the question – “What if your detour is your destination?”  He gave examples from the Bible which included –

  • Joseph – being sold into slavery
  • Jonah – being swallowed by a fish
  • Jesus – who was betrayed and paid the ultimate sacrifice – death on a cross

As we all know – we all have detours! He went on to say that God’s priorities may be different from ours.  We have to have spiritual maturity and totally trust God’s best for us. The detour will take us down a path where we will learn things we would have never learned on the main road.  The purpose is to help us reflect the character of Jesus Christ and the product will be something bigger than we could have ever imagined!

What are the benefits of these detours?

  • We will see things we wouldn’t have seen normally.
  • We will go places you wouldn’t have gone.
  • We will go slower than you intended to go – so we can hear Him!

He closed with Romans 8.28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  As many of you may already know – this is the verse my family calls our family verse.  It is one dear to my heart and one the girls and I had been discussing while at the beach this past week.

As he dissected this verse, he pointed out what many miss – it doesn’t say that all things are good – it says all things work together for good AND it is for those who are called according to His purpose – or who KNOW Him and call him Savior.

The detours in life are working together for good for all of us who love and know Him. NO – it is not all good but in the bigger picture – bringing glory to Him – it does work out for good! And – we may never understand or see it on this side of heaven.

Wow! What a powerful message! I needed to hear that in regards to detours I have had recently – so thankful He has the big picture and I only have a small piece of it.

Now, back to the above photo.  As I stated, the photo came up on my Facebook page as a memory.   That day God had planned a detour – a major one in my mind.  I missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 53 seconds(around 2 seconds per mile).  I was CRUSHED! But, I didn’t have the whole picture.  Oh, and how thankful I am!!!

Due to that detour – I met Team Hoyt.  I had the amazing privilege of running the Boston Marathon not once but three times! I was able to qualify two times after this race and one of my qualifying runs was while running the Boston Marathon itself.  Running solo became running with a team – a team who makes a difference.  (And guess where a lot of the team members live – San Diego. I was surrounded by them that day and didn’t even know it!)

I could go on and on about how this one detour in San Diego truly changed the trajectory of my running and my life but I won’t.  Though yesterday after Governor Mike Huckabee’s sermon I knew I had to write the story down.  The story about how attending a different church service than planned – because we didn’t have a car was a divine detour.  A divine detour that enlightened me in so many ways!

God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

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…

Sidenote:  Governor Mike Huckabee was one of my dearest friend’s pastors in Arkansas. He performed her and her husband’s wedding ceremony.  I will never forget he had them face the congregation during the ceremony because he said everyone had come to see them not him. So true! Due to this fact – Mike and I did the same thing in our wedding. 🙂 Another divine detour….

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They say running is a lonely sport…

I disagree!

They say feeling down and out is a lonely place!

I disagree!

After my last blog post this past week, I have heard from some amazing people. Though we may feel alone in the dark times, we are not.  I learned last week that there are a lot of us feeling down out there.  BUT, we aren’t aware of it because we typically don’t share it.  God prompted me to be transparent and now I know why!

Galatians 6.2

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Gathering sympathy, empathy, etc. was not the goal.  Therapy was!  Running and working out is the way I work out my stress. My therapy. I turned to writing last week due to the fact I have not been out pounding the pavement.  Writing allowed me to get ‘it’ all out!  It also opened the door to many of you who are in the same shoes.  We are not in this alone.  It is only lonely when we choose to stay there…alone.

God provided a door for me to step through and talk with several people I hadn’t talked to in a while as well as others I know will always be there.  God gave us one another to help carry the burden and make us better!

Proverbs 27.17

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

Another God wink came yesterday while I was watching the Olympic Marathon trials.  As I stated at the beginning; they say running is a lonely sport.  I disagree.

Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg were running 1st and 2nd with around 3 miles left in the marathon.  You could tell Shalane was struggling.  Amy, her teammate and good friend, wouldn’t leave her.  She started talking to her and encouraging her along the way.  Amy did not leave her until the very end when she saw the 3rd place runner approaching from behind.  Amy went on to win the marathon and Shalane finished 3rd.  Both of them will represent the USA in the Olympic Marathon! Teammates and friends, who ran together and took turns encouraging one another through each one of their rough patches along the 26.2 mile course. Amy stated later she had a rough patch earlier in the race.

Once Amy finished she didn’t go far.  She stood at the finish line and congratulated the 2nd place finisher and then waited patiently…which wasn’t long…for Shalane – her teammate and friend.  As she locked eyes on Shalane you heard her screaming words of encouragement. She was gesturing with all she had trying to encourage her teammate and friend across the finish line.  Shalane crossed the line and Amy caught her in her arms. Shalane had given all she had on the road to making it on the USA Olympic team.

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As I watched this amazing friendship/teammate story unfold, all I could think about were my amazing friends and family who encourage me every step of the way. It literally brought tears of joy to my eyes. It also brought to mind all of my training miles with my friends by my side pushing me to keep moving on. Regardless of whether I am on a rough road physically or mentally – this story translates to life!  Shalane said minutes after the race – “Football players have the locker room but we have the road and the track.”  She was referring to our camaraderie that keeps us going!  God designed us this way!

1 Thessalonians 5.11

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

God has truly blessed me with people who are not afraid to tell me like it is and hold me accountable. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when I am honest with myself and reach out to others, I will be lifted up.  God is so good!

Thanks to all of you for reading my stories and sending your loving words whether it be through a comment, a text or a phone call.  We are here to help one another! Don’t be afraid to open up – you never know who will need to read and know others are right there with you!  God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

Here is a great follow-up on the Olympic Trials:

http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2016/02/news/what-the-heck-happened-at-olympic-trials-marathon_54290

Also, for my medical friends and others who might be medically minded – my medical tests are looking for a vitamin deficiency – nothing else that I am aware of. 😉  I was told by a dear friend in the medical field I might want to clear this up. 😉 (Love you Karen!)

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Running Recap…2015 was out of this world!

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1 Corinthians 9.24

 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

This year the Lord blessed me beyond measure with my running.  I ran fewer miles – by a lot – than I have in the last 4 years.  With that came rest and many PRs(personal records) as well as 3 marathons.  Never did I imagine I would be able to attempt, let alone complete 3 marathons in 62 days… if you told me on December 31, 2014 I would run 3…I would have called you crazy! (I hear I am crazy all the time!)

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,

By God’s grace I did just that.  I ran two world major marathons and an awesome small town marathon!!  I also set PRs in all race distances(1 mile, 5k, 8k, 10k and Half marathon) expect the 15k and the marathon.  I will get the times I am after one day! In His time!

Ecclesiastes 3.1-8

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

The miles He has given me represent the strength and the struggle…the ups and the downs…the loss and the victories of life.  My running journey mirrors life.  I love the parallel.  During many of the miles of the journey I have my amazing family and friends by my side and at other times it is just God and me.

God has taught me so many lessons on the roads.  This year I would say He taught me less is more.  When I started pose running over a year ago, I had no idea how it would affect my running as a whole  Well, now, I know. It works. Fewer runs – but quality runs – work! I have not been as tired and I have been able to slow down and smell the roses. 😉  I had more time on my hands this year because I wasn’t running every day.  (and I am not knocking running daily – at all!)  I just know for me I had lost the joy in running. This approach helped me find my joy as well as help me be successful in my efforts.  I also have had more time for family and friends.  Joy!

In the spirit of the shorter runs(the ones I hope to focus on in 2016), I am keeping this running recap short and will sum it up by saying ~  2015 was out of this world! 

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.

Happy New Year! Here’s to running blessed in 2016!

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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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Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow…Albert Einstein

So our trip continues on to Chicago.  At one of the stops along the way we found some inspiration on the wall.  Little did I realize as I took the pictures, that the second one would be foreshadowing of my race day.  And the crazy thing is…that I just reread it today and realized how true it was! God is so good…He knew I would need to read the words and find encouragement once again.   The first picture was true too…we all planned to give our best to the streets of Chicago and not sacrifice the gift we had been given.  I truly believe each one of us did that on October 11, 2015.  Now, here’s the rest of the story….

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As you can see from the above photo gallery, we had fun.  #1 goal = accomplished.  We all said we wanted to train hard but have fun.  God blessed each one of us with a desire and gift to run.  He then allowed our paths to cross due to running.  Now, we are friends because of running but the thread that holds us together is our love for our Lord Jesus Christ.  We encourage one another and lift one another up.  We obviously have fun together and do all we can to point upward as we live.

We exploded through the expo.  We gathered our numbers…took photos, many photos….We bought a few items(just a few)…We got our pace group info for race day….we just had fun with the MANY other runners who were doing the same.  Once we were done at the expo, I split off from the girls to go meet up with a few Team Hoyt members who were running Chicago too.  I met some new running friends at dinner as well.  We had a great time catching up and celebrating these friendships.  God started the Team Hoyt journey in 2012 and though I don’t run Boston with them any more, I am still part of the alumni and they will always be family.

One of the very cool parts of this story is that Jim and Riley, who I am seated next to, were part of the first group of DUOS allowed to run the Chicago Marathon.  This was the first year they allowed Jim to push Riley after trying for the last two.  I guess third try is a charm. 🙂  Jim is really fast – even pushing Riley. I had the great fortune of beating him at Boston 2014 because he started before me but stopped to walk and finish the race with Dick and Rick as I did.  We finished together but due to my later start I beat him.   I decided to mention that to him at dinner and then the next day I got a Facebook message stated that he beat me even having to push Riley through the crowds of people.  They did not give them preferential treatment…they had to start way back in corral E.  I was in D. 🙂  His chip time was 2 minutes faster than mine.  Oh well, like I said, he is really fast. And, I deserved it! Go Team Hoyt! Yes, You Can!

Dinner was great and then off to the hotel to prepare for the next day!  The hotel I met Team Hoyt in was about 2 miles away from my hotel.  I took a taxi so I didn’t have to walk in the dark alone. 🙂  My taxi ride was a fun one.  We started talking football….college football.  Being a good SEC fan and an Arkansas fan I had to talk about the Arkansas vs. Alabama game I was missing and headed back to watch.  We were actually leading and I wanted to see it played out.   Throughout the ride through the city, the driver I continued to banter back and forth.  He was from up north and didn’t have a dog in the fight but he sure had the last laugh when I exited the taxi.  I told him to make sure he cheered for the Hogs and he quickly said, “Roll Tide!”  At that point I was tempted to take my tip back. 😉

I beat the girls back to the room which gave me a chance to get my race gear ready.  Once I was prepared I put my PJs on and settled in to watch the game.  I was alone and able to enjoy the Arkansas lead for a while.  As soon as the girls got back Alabama took the lead and kept it.  It didn’t help that Deirdre is a HUGE Alabama fan. 🙂  She was very gracious unlike several I received text from that evening. 😉 At least we held our own and didn’t get slaughtered.  Go Hogs!

I was able to fall asleep…but sleep was not easy.  It was a lot like Christmas Eve.  The anticipation for the next morning made the night a long one.  It gave me time to pray and reflect but boy I was glad when the morning alarm finally went off….

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RACE DAY is here! This is the day we have worked so hard for.  Now we are all hoping and praying our training pays off and we finish well! We all got up on time and started our individual routines.  It was real.  We were doing this whether we liked it or not.  We headed downstairs to the sea of runners headed to the start line.  There were so many people.  We jogged a little to warm up and get the nerves out.  We finally made it to the welcome gate….and we had to stop and stand.  There were so many people waiting to get through the bag check.  It was crazy.  It was a sign of things yet to come. Here are some statistical information provided by Competitior.com on the number of runners:

  • 45,000 entrants are selected to run through a lottery, which had more than 70,000 applicants.
  • A total of 37,182 runners finished the race (20,144 men, 17,038 women)
  • Dickson Chumba won a slow men’s race in 2:09:25, while Florence Kiplagat won the women’s race in 2:23:33.

Crazy numbers – number of finishers and winning times.  I will come back to some of the additional stats later.

We did make it through the bag check and in to the porta potty lines.  Thankfully they were short.  While we were waiting it dawned on us that this would be the last time we would be together.  We all had different corrals.  We grabbed hands – yes, as we waited on the porta potty to come available – we prayed.  We asked the Lord to bless our steps, keep us injury free and help us to glorify Him as we ran.  He answered those prayers…we all finished for Him!  Once we all finished up we gave one another hugs and off we went….To run our own race!  We all had had numerous texts and messages from dear friends and family encouraging us to do just that – run our race.

Run my race is just what I had planned.  I decided to get with a pace group to help me do so.  Nike provided runners who led different pace teams.  A pace team is a group of runners led by an experienced leader who run together in the marathon. The pace leader runs a steady pace and keeps track of that pace so that the group can achieve their goal of finishing the marathon at a particular time. I wanted to finish in 3:45.  My personal best is 3:48:59.  I wanted to beat this time and go for around 3:45.  Pace groups can be good and they can be bad.  My experience was the latter.  Here is how marathonpacing.com describes problems for marathoners: One of the biggest mistakes that marathoners make is starting out too fast and then hitting the wall in the later portions of the race. The pace team will run at an even pace per mile. Sadly for me this is what the pace group did after having two slower miles in the beginning.  They did all they could do to catch up and this caused us to have 9 miles too fast.  We were supposed to stay steady at 8:35 and we did not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have trained all season not looking at my watch and trying to run on feel…so on this day I did the same.  If I had looked at my watch I would have realized we were way off on pace.  I didn’t realize it due to the fact I felt like I was always jockeying for position to keep up with the pace group leaders.  It was a constant up and back for those first 9-10 miles.  There were SOOO many people out there.  I constantly felt like I was in someones way or I was going to trip.  It was crazy crowded!  It was fun being with like-minded souls, in the city of Chicago, running a world major – but it was crazy crowded! 🙂  As you can see from my splits above I slowed down significantly the second half.  You also may notice I had a record-setting mile 22, 23 and 24.  I should be in the record books for mile 24. 🙂 I have NOOO idea what happened here…but I do know my watch said I ran a personal best 26.2 as seen below.  LOL!

My mind raced during the first half.  I was constantly talking to myself while trying to stay close to the pace team.  Water stations were tricky and oh the turns in the course.  Between the turns, the crowds and the water stations I was back and forth like a yo-yo with the pacers.  Mentally it was exhausting.  Finally, I remembered those words – run your race.

When I let these sink in and let the pace group go, I ran my race.  Granted it was slower than I wanted but I ran it and finished well.  The second half was mental as well.  It was get through this course and enjoy.  I was hurting and feeling every ache and pain.  I know now it is from pushing too hard on the front end.  You can not bank time. You can not start too fast in 26.2 and not have it bite you…you just can’t.

I would go through my ups and downs like the training.  I had moments that I knew I could and would do it.  Then I was trying to figure out ways to get to finish line without walking or running.  Was there someone who would carry me or drive me? 😉  Then the amazing crowds would lift me up.  I had on my music but seldom heard it because the crowds were electrifying! I did hear some of the music at just he right time.  The song Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave came on.  Mike and Chase sing this as a duet and I could hear them in my head.  It lifted me and kept me moving.  Another highlight was running through Moody University.  I listen to Moody Radio daily and am encouraged daily.  It was a quick shot of encouragement on the course.  I kept putting one foot in front of the other repeating the faster you do it the sooner you get to quit. 🙂

Once I made to mile 20 I knew I had it.  I can do a 10k in my sleep.  But, then I remembered it would take me at least an hour.  Oh, I didn’t want to run another hour.  At this point, I took it one mile at a time.  I had a PBJ on the run.  I had Peanut M & Ms as well.  My fueling was on target…now to get my mind and feet to follow suit.  During the last 10k I did have to walk through some water stations and pull over to put BioFreeze on my hamstring.  It was slow going but it was going.  I hit the 5k mark and knew I had it.  3.1 miles was a walk in the park.  One mile at a time….one mile at a time….  So the sign I was waiting for….ONE mile to go…finally came.  At this point, I finally looked at my watch.  I knew it had taken me 10 minutes to get to the start.  The clock showed 3:58 and my watch had 3:48.  I knew then I had 12 minutes to finish in under 4 hours, which was my secondary goal.  The last mile was broken down in meters for us.  At the 800 meter and 400 meter sign I was in the mode of “I so have this!”  We did so many 400 and 800 meter repeats in training I knew I had it…and I did. I finished in 3:57:39.  This was my official time and my watch time….even with the crazy splits…the two were identical.  🙂

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I am thrilled with my finish and my run.  How can I not be? I ran Chicago.  I ran my 3rd world major.  I ran with my amazing friends and I ran for HIM! He gave me desire and gave me the opportunity.  Did I finish like I wanted? No.  Is that okay? Yes! As Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow!”  I lived for the day.  I will learn from it now that it is a yesterday and I will hope for tomorrow which is NYC, November 1.

Also, I was 10,336 out those 37,000+ finishers.  I was 2995 out of 17,038 females.  I was almost an hour faster than the average finish time for my age group – it was 4:50.  I am thrilled! God was good. He showed up that day in many ways.  He showed up in China Town in the form of music to keep me going.  He showed up several times along the route when people yelled “Go Iron Lady!” (I had Iron Sharpens Iron on my shirt.)  He showed up in a sign that had Philippians 4.13 on it – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  He showed up every time I crossed a timing mat knowing it was sending a text to many of you.  He showed up in the last mile when I saw 8oom LEFT and 400m LEFT.  He showed up every step of the way! He was there and will continue to be there during my next steps.  I felt Him! I felt the prayers! What a glorious day for a run!!!! Now to find my running angels…

We all found one another in the mass of people…the runners + spectators = unreal numbers.  We hustled through the crowds to make it back to our hotel.   We managed to stop and have our picture taken as a group – Chicago Marathon Finishers. We did it.  Yoli and Deirdre met their goals of around 3:30.  They both qualified for Boston 2017.  Shannon and I finished our race and enjoyed leaving all we had on the streets of Chicago.  This trip was a gift from God.  He allowed me to run with like-minded friends and we have amazing memories we will live with forever.  God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

We made back to hotel in time to shower and get on the road.  The second marathon of the day – the 12 hour drive home – was about to begin.  We relived the day and kept one another awake as we made stops to refuel the car and ourselves on our way back to home sweet home – TN.  Now on to the next one….NYC! I will learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow!

 

26 scriptures for the MARATHON – Marathon of life! Thanks to Dorothy Beal from MilePosts for compiling this list!

Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of age.

Matthew 28:20

 The Lord will work out his plans for my life.

Psalm 138:8

 I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as the mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

Matthew 17:20

 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given.

Luke 19:26

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

Philippians 4:13

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we can not see. Hebrews 11:1

 ‘I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope.’

Jeremiah 29:11

Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

I Timothy 4:12

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.

Romans 8:28

Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Hebrews 12:1

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

Psalm 37:5

With God’s help we will do mighty things.

Psalm 60:12

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. Romans 5:3

 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:9

The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.

2 Corinthians 3:5

Be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.

Chronicles 15:7

Whatever you do, do well.

Ecclesiastes 9:10

He will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

Psalm 91:11

 Anything is possible if a person believes.

Mark 9:23

The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

Luke 6:38

 I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize…

Philippians 3:13

 Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

2 Corinthians 4:17

I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3

 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.

Isaiah 40:31

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World Marathon Majors…checking them off one at a time!

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God has truly blessed my life with running. In a little over 2 days I get to take many steps to get closer to my goal of running all 6 of the World Marathon Majors.  Up until this point, I have had the great fortune to run 2 of the 6 – London and Boston. Sunday it will become 3 of 6 and after running New York on November 1, it will be 4 of 6.

If you had told me many years ago that I would be running and running all over the world…I would have told you that you were crazy. The Lord has allowed running to introduce me to many different cultures as well as introducing me to many different wonderful lifelong friends. On Sunday I have the AWESOME privilege of running with three of these running angels…Yoli, Deirdre and Shannon.  We have been coached well and we will own Chicago.

Major number 3 will be in the books and major number 4 will come shortly there after. Majors 5 and 6 are on the bucket list! On Sunday I get to run with three of these running angels. We will own Chicago. Feeling blessed!!!

God has taught me a lot about life along the journey as well!  These scriptures sum it up perfectly:

Hebrews 12.1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Corinthians 9.24-27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Phillipians 3.13-14

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Starting tomorrow expect many updates and photos recording the journey! #blessings #runforgod #chicagomarathon #TCSNYCMarathon

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Running Blessed! Let’s do this! For HIS glory!

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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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