Saturday, October 20, 2012

Glory be to the Father...

and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit!

Wow, how blessed am I to be sitting comfortably in my cozy apartment, catching up on my friends' blogs, watching emotional YouTube videos and just simply relaxing with my feet up and allowing the sweet sounds of Mike Mangione to soothe my soul. How much the Lord loves and takes care of me, it catches me off-guard sometimes. Well, truthfully, it catches me off-guard most times.

My race bib, with a personal touch.
Not only have I been relaxing today, but this morning I had an amazing opportunity to run a half-marathon with a couple of amazing young women, Kristen and Kelly. I'll be honest, it's not the first one that I've run, but I'll put some money down on the fact that this one sure takes the cake for being the best one yet. Sure, our time was pretty good (1:57.03!), but just the entire experience of running with two others, pushing one another all the way to the finish is indescribable. Even more beautiful was the fact that the three of us had never all run together and it ended up going so well! The periods of extreme suffering and slight physical consolations waxed and waned, but the three of us began the race out in the best of ways: with a prayer. I couldn't have been more delighted when, after talking with Mary and Zoe, the runners were all about to head outside, Kelly stopped and posed the question, "Should we say a prayer?"

Me, looking like dad post-race with Kristen and Kelly.
Yes, yes we should, were unanimous answers by both Kristen and myself, and Kelly didn't hesitate to open in prayer. Each of us chimed in our part, thanking God for the day, for our health, for the time of fellowship, seeking protection from injury and for a safe finish. Kristen mentioned something that has really stuck with me: "Lord, thank you for letting us have the opportunity to do this for leisure." After we started running and already knocked off Mile 1 (in 8:30, too!) we were talking about how wonderful it is that we have this opportunity and Kristen restated the thought begun by her prayer; just how fortunate we are to run 13.1 miles simply for a self-achievement and for leisure, not because there is somewhere we have to go. Meanwhile, in other less-fortunate parts of the world, some people have to run farther than that to simply get to a hospital or receive some other basic aid, especially in war-torn countries and the like. Needless to say, running a half marathon with two incredibly impressive young women on a perfect fall day in Fargo, North Dakota is a blessing and a privilege, and something that others would look at and think, "Really?! Running 13.1 miles simply for kicks? Preposterous! (def: completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense; absurd; senseless; utterly foolish)." [I'm sure some of you are probably thinking that anyway, can I get an Amen?]
These girls are hardcore.

We finished 'er up in under two hours, which was our main goal, explored the Scheels Arena searching for free post-race food and got lucky with some Cliff Bars, trail mix and chicken noodle soup (random). I'm so thankful for this day and all the Glory be to God for giving us the healthy bodies and opportunities to do this! Now I'm off to go to Smashburger with Kristen to have burgers that I'd say we rightfully earned! Yum.

Oh, and this was waiting for me when I got back from the run today from my amazing roommate/teammate, Cari. Isn't she the cutest?

and here's my favorite of the three of us doing the Katniss Everdeen (Kelly), Usain Bolt (Me), and Tim Tebow (Kristen).

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