Saturday, July 27, 2013

13.1 is So Much More than a Sticker

I remember years ago seeing an oval shaped sticker on a car that simply read 13.1.  I didn't know what it meant so I "googled" it and immediately car will never have one of those.  Things change....I will be adding a sticker to my "Mom mobile".  On Saturday July 20, 2013 I participated in my first half marathon.  The Windhorse Run was a fundraising event for school supplies for children in Mongolia.  The race was in Bellingham, WA which is an hour and fifteen minutes from my home in Everett.  The race was very small and extremely low key. 

Here are 13 things that I experienced on race day
  • Friendly and supportive people within the community of running.  This included the volunteers, organizers and participants.  Even though this race was a down and back I didn't feel any pressure or sadness as the other runners "lapped" me.  Actually they were quite supportive and kept saying "good job", "you're almost there", "keep going".
  • Beautiful scenery-Bellingham, WA is a gorgeous place (well at least the interurban trail and greenway are).  The majesty of the forest coupled with breathtaking views of the bay was a gift.  This was by far one of, if not, THE prettiest trails I've ever run.
  • The reminder that I should run more than once a week (or maybe even once every two weeks).  Shame on me, yes I know.  Before the 20th I hadn't run since July 5th and that was a 14 mile run.  No wonder why at mile 10 my calf was cramping so badly that one of my toes actually curled up under my foot involuntarily.  Sheesh....not fun Janelle....YOU MUST DO BETTER!
  • Joy, serenity and peace.  Yes, there were moments of pain, frustration and challenge, but overall I had a BLAST.  My friend Leslie suggested to me that I smile the entire way.  I'm so glad to have taken her advice.  It made the run easier and so much more fun!!!  I had peace in knowing that I had done 14 miles before so unless a major mishap occurred I would cross the finish line.  There was joy in running with friends and knowing that my body was healthy enough to complete the race.
  • A deep and fulfilling sense of accomplishment.  I was reading my journal just this morning and it placed this accomplishment into perspective.  On Aug. 18, 2011 I tried to jog one lap around a local park in NC.  The distance of this lap isn't even a .10 mile.  And to think I was so happy that I almost finished it.  I think I've come a long way in less than two years. 
  • The stirring in my heart once again that anything can be an act of worship.  This was my FB status on Friday night before the race "In a matter of hours I will willingly be running 13.1 miles. No one will be holding a gun to my head and nothing will be on fire. My prayer is not that I will win because that won't happen. My prayer isn't to change the world through running because my small donation (entry fee) isn't the answer for children in Mongolia (Jesus is). My prayer is to run FREE in Him, to enjoy the trail, offering my body as a living sacrifice and my effort as worship to the One that has allowed me to progress from running less than 13 feet to 13 miles in a few short years. Tomorrow isn't a race it is an act of abundant living!!!"
  • Love unconditional and support from my husband.  Better than my medal for finishing my half marathon.....I came home to a CLEAN home (Nathan swept, mopped, vacuumed, cleaned the oven, kitchen counters, all the bathrooms and there wasn't a toy in the floor). It was my gift and I'm so glad that Nathan and the kids could be proud of me in that way.  My race would not have been possible without their sacrifice to allow me to train. Next race is going to be tougher and we are going to have to work through some logistics. A long bath, a nap and dinner were a perfect way to unwind. 
  • A reminder that we are very close to Canada and that we live in a beautiful part of the country.  It made me want to seriously get out and explore the scenery and get a passport so we can see British Columbia.  We don't know how long we are going to live in the pacific NW and I want to enjoy as much of it as possible. 
  • The pressure of trying to find a spot in the woods to pee, do it quickly, pull up wet, sweaty compression shorts while not holding up your team too much.  My team was gracious, but not my favorite part of the race.  No matter how much I try to hydrate pre race (days in advance) and pee before the race...I always have to pee during a 10+mile run. 
  • NOT making it to the finish line in time for the awards OR the post race bbq.  That won't happen AGAIN!  I knew we were "slow", but sheesh.  However, we did beat the old people and the walkers.  Actually I think there were 8 racers behind us. 
  • A sense of awe and wonder again at the complexity of the human body.  The way that the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments etc. work together to allow the human body to run.  The grace and beauty of the runners that make running look easy and the peace they exude as they work like a machine was fascinating.  The winner finished in 1:30.  AMAZING!!
  • The fun and joy of friendship.  I was blessed to run alongside my friend and pastor Tim Moore, my friend Karol and to have trained with my friend and pastor Joe Chambers (who couldn't race due to being out of town).  Although I am relatively new to WA I am blessed to be making real connections.  Slow, but steady...just like my running ;-)
  • A renewed sense of hope.  I have forty pounds left to lose to get to "goal' weight.  Although the numbers on the scales have been stuck, the numbers on my pedometer are increasing and I am taking hope that as I keep learning the groove of my life here in WA that the numbers of my measurements and weight will begin to scoot downward once again.  I am making new goals, revisiting old patterns, journaling again, re-reading Made to Crave and actively starting on my Bible memorization (one verse per pound I've lost).  I'm also praying about joining a gym or finding a trainer.  Finding's hard, but possible.

Thanks as always for following me on my journey.  I'm looking at another race in October and dreaming of one next August (2014).  Maybe I'll share about that one later..