Running with Perseverance

Persevere: to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.

Even more than I had imagined, race day proved to be a true test of perseverance. Because running is much more than physical strength, I am going to attempt to lead you through race day by describing where I was both physically and mentally throughout the day. I apologize for the length, but hey, a marathon isn’t short :)

Pre-Race
I woke up at 4:35 AM, prepared and headed to the subway station by 5:45 in order to have time to take the train to lower Manhattan and catch the Staten Island Ferry before 7:00. As I was waiting to board the Ferry, I put my hand in my pocket and randomly pulled out an old fortune cookie fortune that was in my pocket, which stated: you have the ability to touch the lives of many people. This set the stage for the day – I was ready for this race that I was meant to run. I boarded the ferry a little before 7:00 AM and, to my surprise, as I was walking onto the Ferry with people from every country imaginable surrounding me, the first tears of the day welled up in my eyes – I was really going to run the New York City Marathon.

I made it to the race area with just enough time to eat my second breakfast, stretch, wait in line for a porta-potty, check my bag and head to my starting corral at 9:20 where I would see my first teammate of the day, Ben Ward. We had to wait in this area for about 30 minutes before we headed to the starting line and I was so thankful Ben was there to chat with me so that I could forget how nervous I was. Instead, the excitement continued to build as we talked about the unbelievable experience we were about to embark upon.

Miles 1-8
The stage was set and the gun fired – off we went across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The helicopters hovered at eye-level, filming the race and water was shot up all around us from below: it was surreal. The first several miles felt great, but then I felt my first toe pain 3.5 miles into the race. Knowing I had no choice but to push through it, I continued running and the pain in my foot became more intense than I had ever experienced throughout the training. I began zealously praying for it to ease and eventually the pain subsided.

Brooklyn was amazing – the crowds roared wildly and at some points it was even hard to hear. I spent a lot of time thinking about the sponsored children and it brought a constant smile to my face. By mile 6, I realized I had to pee but, at this point, I was still “hoping” for a finishing goal of about 4 hours and I didn’t want to spend much time stopping at a porta-potty. Because I already had to pee, I drank less and less water. I saw Tyler for the first time at mile 8 and he was glowing with excitement for me! He would snap a photo as I ran passed him and then sprint up about 50 yards to catch another one; I felt so blessed to have such dedicated support!

Miles 8-16
After seeing Tyler, I knew it was time to locate a bathroom – I already was feeling dehydrated. However, every bathroom had several people in line, so I continued to pass more and more bathrooms and drink less and less. The need to pee began to consume my mind and I literally contemplated peeing my pants or sneaking around a building – yeah, crazy, right!?! Marathons will do crazy things to your mind. Don’t worry, I didn’t. Finally, I stopped to pee around mile 11 but the lines weren’t budging. I felt as though I was merely wasting time, became frustrated and jumped back in to continue running. My toe pain came and went and I began to feel a slight pain in my left ankle, which also came and went.

We entered Queens around mile 13 and I knew I was going to have a long journey ahead of me. I now knew I had become very dehydrated – my lips were dry and crusty from the lack of water in my body. However, I had made it halfway and was still within reach of my finishing time goal, so it was hard to stop at the bathrooms and wait. As we ran across the dreaded Queensboro Bridge, which includes a full half-mile uphill before you descend into Manhattan, my left ankle pain increased from an annoying pain to an intense pain. With every step, I had to fight back tears and, with my ankle feeling like it was literally breaking with each step, thoughts of not being able to finish began rushing through my head. Naturally, I changed my stride to put more pressure on my right foot to alleviate the pain in my left; however, by the end of the long bridge, the severe pain was in both ankles. At the bottom of the bridge at mile 16, I quickly stopped at the bathroom and headed back out on the course.

Miles 17-20
With the pain in my ankles slowing me down, my new goal was to get to mile 18 where Tyler said he would meet me again. At this point the race became almost entirely a mental race for me: I knew I had to take my mental state to a much deeper level. Could I actually persevere through this? Could I really endure this excruciating pain for over 12 miles?

Two nights before the race at the Team World Vision dinner Jerry, a local pastor and seasoned marathoner, told me to think of the cross if the pain comes during the race. I began to take myself to this state of mind knowing my pain did not compare to the pain Christ endured nor the pain that so many people go through daily just to survive in oppressed and developing countries. I also spent time praying for different children who have been sponsored.

I finally arrived to mile 18 and Tyler jumped out to run with me. All he did was look in my eyes and the tears began flowing. He gave me a lot of encouraging words and kept me distracted for about a half-mile before he jumped back into the huge crowd of people. Now, I had to make it to mile 23.5, the Team World Vision cheering station.

As I headed up First Avenue in Manhattan towards the Bronx, I realized my ankles might be hurting because of my stride. I had switched to heal striking late in the training to avoid the toe pain even though I had been running on my forefoot for years which has minimal ankle joint impact. I slowly switched my stride to land on my forefoot and the ankle pain subsided within minutes. However, when I changed my stride, my toe pain quickly returned. So I now had a new battle: toe pain vs. ankle pain. I would run the rest of the race switching between a forefoot strike and a heal strike and alternating between toe pain and ankle pain.

Miles 20-26.2
I entered the Bronx at mile 20 and realized if I looked down at Fritznel’s (our sponsored child) photo on my jersey it looked like his piercing eyes were staring up at me. It was such a powerful image and it sent chills throughout my body reminding me, on an even deeper level, why this pain was worth it. The rest of the miles are somewhat of a blur. I no longer knew if I was running up or downhill – all I was paying attention to was the next step. The crowd was mumbling roar of mixed voices and I heard no one’s voice in particular except the children’s voices along the route – each time I heard a child tell me “You can do it” a smile would resurface. I would run a few blocks and then look down at Fritznel’s picture for more encouragement to continue running.

At mile 23.5, I ran past the warm smiling faces at the Team World Vision Cheer Station it was a perfect boost before entering the final miles through Central Park. As I ran through the park, I was able to step back and realize how amazing it was to be a part of this race. As I crossed the finish line with a finishing time of 4:18:13, the emotions that had built up over the day overcame me – I began to shake and my entire body filled with pain, but it was such a sweet pain because it was endured to change children’s lives around the globe.

As I reflect on race day, it has become so clear that perseverance is the best word to describe the day. (Funny how that worked out.)

To persevere is to persist in anything undertaken – I took on this race and sponsorship goal.

To persevere is to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement –I endured struggles of dehydration, toe and joint pain.

And to persevere is to continue without stopping – I did not walk once; I told myself this was not an option, despite the pain.

I finished. I persevered. I proved to myself it was possible. And, in doing so, I learned so much about myself, my relationship with God and my relationship with this struggling world in which we all live. Will you do the same? I believe you can. Step outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself and dare to learn more about your inner strength – it will change your life.

Thank you all for your support throughout my journey. You have all made a difference in the lives of many children and communities around the world. My journey would not have been the same without all of your support and encouragement.

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All Around the World

“The love of one’s country is a natural thing.
But why should love stop at the border?”

Map Above: Children Sponsored During My Journey by Country


Map Above: Children Sponsored Through the Entire
Team World Vision: NYC Marathon Team by Country

These maps above show how running a marathon in New York, New York, USA has had a wide spread effect all around the world. Thank you all for joining together to spread love to all the ends of the earth.

Click here if you are interested in running with Team World Vision to spread Christ’s love around the globe.

And, it’s not too late to sponsor a child! :)

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Overcoming Doubt

Pictures that used to excite me... now make me nervous!

So, I’m well into the “taper stage” of marathon training where the weekly mileage dives drastically in the final weeks leading up to the race. I only have two short runs left this week before the marathon on Sunday! This is the week I’ve been anticipating since July – I vividly remember sitting down to look at the entire training schedule and imagining what it may feel like to actually be on the bottom line of the schedule in the final week before the race. After enduring months of training and pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, I’m in the final week and the feeling that I have is nothing like what I had expected. My excitement is overshadowed by nervousness; my confidence is drowned out by worry; my inspiration has faded and been covered by stress. All week I’ve been wondering how I’ve come this far – thriving on inspiration and my determined heart – only to allow myself to enter this state of nervousness, worry and stress.

Recently, I have read a lot about how it is fairly common for runners to begin doubting their training during the taper stage. For the majority of the training leading up to a marathon you are constantly building your mileage and accomplishing things you never thought possible. During this, you feel your endurance building and your body getting stronger as it is able to withstand the pounding. However, as my mileage is reduced in the taper and I am no longer pushing my body, I have found myself no longer thriving on the accomplishments of the previous week’s runs, but doubting that I’m doing enough to stay in shape. I hope it is true that doubting your training is common in this stage because this is the only thing keeping me sane this week. Simply hearing the words “NYC Marathon” brings butterflies that fill my stomach and when I begin imagining the excitement of race day, I quickly find myself trying to suppress those thoughts to end the overwhelming nerves.

AHHHH!!

So, yes, I’ve been wondering if I did enough to prepare for the marathon, if I trained hard enough, if I was kind enough to my body when I need to be and if I pushed my body when I needed to… Basically, wondering if I did everything possible to prepare for this race.

Running is more than being in shape – it’s a mental game. I’ve told so many people these words over the last several years since I began running, and I’ve needed to remind myself of them this week. I would say that having a good mental strategy is what got me through training for my first half-marathon and has helped me through the marathon training thus far. Although with only 5 days until my race, it feels as though my mental strength is facing its toughest task yet.

As I am feeling unprepared for race day and doubting my every move I have made over the last 4 months, I realize that I never want to feel this way regarding my life and my service to that people of this world that need it the most – the poor, the underserved, the neglected. I never want to find myself asking the questions that World Vision President, Richard Stearns, asked himself when he had to decide if he was going to give up his luxury lifestyle, move his family across the country, and begin working for World Vision…

“What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God? What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?”

Despite all my nervousness and worry for this race, I still constantly find myself eager for the next adventure God has planned for my life. I want to live out my life striving to become more like Jesus who, so faithfully, served the poor.

Join me and take a step toward a lifestyle of service to those who need it most.

Help me run. Sponsor a Child.

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Weather Can Change Everything

With just 10 days until the marathon, I am finally able to begin looking at the forecasted weather for race day. As the temperatures drop and rain is in the forecast for days surrounding the marathon, I’m becoming nervous about how the weather could affect my attitude, my run, my overall experience on race day.

In 2008, my husband, Tyler, had the opportunity to travel to a small village in the mountains of rural Morocco – an area that is burdened with extreme poverty. Upon his return, he shared with me the experiences he had with individuals in the village. He had many incredible experiences on his trip, but there was one in which weather played a very important role. This experience altered his perception of the world (and even inspired him to change his career). I have never forgotten this story – it’s amazing. I’ve asked him to share it with you.

Tyler:

As I packed into a bus to leave the development of Morocco’s capital city behind me in exchange for the underdeveloped and impoverished rural village, I knew what to expect, or rather, what NOT to expect. I knew there would be no paved roads, no electricity, no running water or toilets, and no way to overcome the language barrier; however, it wasn’t until I arrived that I realized my entire perception of the impoverished community was defined by what these people LACKED and not what they had. So, when I ventured into poverty, I was shocked by the riches I discovered.

The setting of the village was as I had expected – dirt roads, no running water, chickens and cats everywhere – and, after sharing a locally-prepared meal with a family, I took the opportunity to “explore” the village on my own. Armed with nothing but my camera (which cost more than these families could accumulate in several years), I began to cover the dirt roads of the villages in search of great photos. As I set out on the journey, the weather took a turn for the worse and it began to rain intensely. I decided not to allow the weather to affect my ability to explore and photograph and I continued on, but as the dirt roads changed to mud this became more difficult.
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But the difficult circumstance brought upon by the weather, offered me an amazing experience as men and women of the village came out to assist me. One man brought me his family’s only umbrella (which was so broken that the functionality was lost), a woman came out to offer me her hijab to cover my head and protect my expensive camera, and families invited me into their homes to avoid the rain and enjoy some Moroccan mint tea.

As I expected, there was a significant language barrier: the people of the village spoke only Arabic (a language in which I can only introduce myself and negotiate prices in touristy markets), but their actions communicated more than any dialect. These “poor” people from halfway across the Earth, who are living in a different world than I, were willing to offer a “rich” American so much of what little they had. I certainly did nothing to deserve their generosity, but it left an impression on me that will never be forgotten.

When we think of poverty, we spend so much time focusing on what people in the “Third World” DON’T have and offering them pity, but I witnessed a selfless generosity unlike anything I had ever experienced in the developed world. What if WE could embrace strangers in such a way? What if WE gave anything we could to help another? What type of difference could WE make?

My wife has given so much over the past four months to encourage people to sponsor children through World Vision and use their abilities to help those in need. Throughout this journey I have seen her persevere through injury, exhaustion, emotional let-down, pain and tears. This last week she met her “goal” of 26 children sponsored; however, this journey doesn’t end with the 26th child sponsored and doesn’t end at the finish line of the NYC marathon because there are people and communities all over the world that need and DESERVE our help.

A small monthly contribution will dramatically improve the conditions of a child, his/her family and his/her community. When people with so little are willing to give so much, surely we can do something to give them the quality of life they deserve.

Help her run. Sponsor a child.

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Equipped

26 sponsors!! Wow, I literally can’t believe it. I have been reflecting a lot on this journey over the past few days and it’s crazy to believe that just a few short months ago, I almost did not accept the offer to join Team World Vision for fear of not being able to get the minimum of 7 sponsors. I very vividly remember sitting in Little Italy in lower Manhattan with my sister-in-law eating a slice of pizza when I got a notification on my phone that I had a voicemail. It was very loud in the little restaurant, but I attempted to listen to the message – it was from the area director, Juampa, saying he had great news and would love for me to join the team. Immediately, I had mixed emotions – I was exited because this was an unbelievable opportunity, but I feared my body couldn’t make it through training and, most of all, that I couldn’t find sponsors. I began explaining to my sister-in-law what the voicemail was about. I told her I had written Team World Vision a few weeks earlier asking for more information about the New York City Marathon. At the time, it seemed like no big deal – after all, I was only seeking more information – and I quickly received an email back indicating that the team was full. I wasn’t too bummed because I doubted I could run one anyway, but to my surprise I got another email just a few days later, this time from Juampa himself, saying someone had pulled out and asking me to send my application ASAP.

Oh no, what to do now – what have I done! I realized it was time to tell Tyler what I had done and, to no surprise, he encouraged me to continue the process to see where it went. And now here I sat telling my sister-in-law that I had been asked to join the team. She was absolutely thrilled for me and made it very obvious I would be crazy not to jump at the opportunity. My sister-in-law believed in me, my husband believed in me, I just had to believe in myself. So with their support, I leaped into marathon training with butterflies in my stomach and a knot in my throat.

During the interview with Juampa, the area director, he asked me if I truly thought I would be able to get 7 sponsors by September 1st. I did not reply, “Yes.” I simply said, “To be honest, asking people to do things is completely out of my comfort zone. It sounds absolutely terrifying; but if this is the plan God has for me, I believe He will help me find sponsors.” He told me he had several applicants so he was going to pray about it and get back to me. After the interview ended, I remember thinking, “Well, I suppose I was honest, but probably not what he was looking for.” I was sure he was seeking outgoing people who were confident enough to stand up in big audiences and ask for sponsors. I’m so glad he had faith in me and responded to God’s calling for me to be on this team.

Someone once stated, “God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.” I pray that this journey is the beginning of a new life of jumping into the dark and knowing God will catch me and equip me to “run with perseverance the race marked out for me.”

Do any of you feel called to run a race with Team World Vision? (Most races raise money and there is no fundraising minimum. You can pick your own race to run for Team World Vision and can even start your own team!) Think about it – you may be amazed by what you’re capable of and, let’s face it, the world needs you!

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Don’t Allow Me to Inspire You

I’ve made it into the 16th week of marathon training for Team World Vision – just two and a half weeks to go! At the beginning of this journey, the famine in the Horn of Africa was all over the news and, while the media has begun to talk less and less about it, the famine in the Horn of Africa persists. Every day in the Horn of Africa, women are walking 70-100 km with children in their arms to reach refugee camps in an effort to find food and water for their family. 70-100 km – that is 44-62 miles!! I’ve been training for nearly 4 months to go 26.2 miles, which is half of the distance women, men, grandparents, brothers and sisters are traveling to survive. And not to mention, I’m not going to be caring anything except a Camelbak full of water. I will be caring water with me on my 26.2-mile journey and they are traveling twice the distance to find basic life needs like water.

During the marathon, I plan to consume at least 4 electrolyte energy gels , a granola bar or waffle, along with water and Gatorade. I won’t only have the water on my back, but I will also literally be handed water and Gatorade nearly every mile. Additionally, once I get to the end of the 26.2 miles, I know I will have a bag full of recovery food waiting for me. Obviously the race on November 6th does not even remotely compare to the journey these families are taking in an attempt to save their lives, yet I’m incredibly nervous about it: nervous that I will not take in the proper amounts of food and water at the proper times during the race which could result in dehydration and cramping, nervous that I won’t pace myself correctly which could lead to me hitting a wall at some point in the marathon, and nervous that my foot injury will resurface. I’m nervous about several things, but these things are incredibly petty in comparison to the things that these families endure along their journeys.

Many people see the efforts of the runners running with Team World Vision as inspirational; don’t get me wrong, I love inspiring people to begin running themselves as well as inspiring people to help children and communities who desperately need assistance, but please allow these families and women carrying their children for 70-100 km to inspire you, not me. Please take your eyes off the runner and place your eyes on the incredibly courageous people who are doing things I couldn’t even fathom doing.

To support famine-affected families who are in dire need of water and food, sponsor a child in Kenya or Ethiopia. By providing essentials like nutritious food and clean water, sponsorship helps children be better prepared to cope with disasters, like the current drought and food crisis across East Africa.

Click here to get more information about child sponsorship.

All photos ©2011 Jon Warren/World Vision. Click any photo to view these photos in his original post.

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The Result of Perseverance

This morning Tyler and I began preparing for our 20-mile run or for me, since I’m battling an injury, a 3 hour 20 minute workout. We have begun eating more before our runs/workouts and it has helped tremendously. So, we ate our waffles with peanut butter and a bowl of Kashi with almond milk, drank water and coffee, and took our daily vitamins. Tyler dropped me off at the gym and he went off to the trail to run. I decided today that I would try running a few miles before cross-training. So, I hopped on the treadmill and ran 1-mile, 2-miles, 3-miles, 5-miles, 8-miles, then I stopped myself at 10-miles. NO FOOT PAIN!!! God is good! I switched to heal striking as apposed to toe striking and felt no pain. After the 10-miles, I switched to a Cybex Arc Trainer and cross-trained for the remaining hour and forty minutes.

When I posted the blog, Relativity of Health, about realizing the onset of my injury, a friend commented on the blog post, “Hence, the name of your blog. It’s hard. Keep moving forward…”

After reading it, my first thought was, “Wow! Don’t name your blog about perseverance if you don’t plan on learning something about it along the journey.” But in all seriousness, this was a very motivating comment to read. Marathon training is not easy, but it has been far more humbling than I had imagined. I have really been exhausted by the cumulative effect of the training, the dietary changes, the injuries and the emotional engagement with the child sponsorships.  Though I didn’t fully realize all of the difficulties I would face training for this marathon, I knew that I had decided to persevere through all circumstances. Today, I was able to run for the first time in a month and it felt amazing to see the result of my perseverance. Had I been training for any other race, I would have pulled out of the marathon knowing that there was no way I could run with an injured foot, but instead, I have pushed forward deciding that I would finish the marathon either running or walking in honor of the sponsored children.

Twenty-one children have been sponsored along this journey thus far – what an amazing experience this has been and I haven’t even run the race yet! Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me along this journey; this would be so much more difficult without your support! With three weeks remaining until the marathon, I look forward to the tests, setbacks and reward these weeks will bring.

Help me run. Sponsor a child. 

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Picturing My Family

Throughout this long and exhausting journey, my family has consistently encouraged me and inspired me to persevere when I feel defeated. Lately when I haven’t felt like going to the gym to cross-train, my husband has stepped up and become the one to make sure we stick to the training schedule. When I feel like I have nothing left to pour into this marathon, my mom and sister-in-law remind me how far I’ve come in my journey with Team World Vision – and how this journey is changing so many lives around the world. I could go on and on about how blessed I am to have family that support me on this endeavor.

Unfortunately, there are approximately 143 to 210 MILLION orphans across the globe who do not have a family to encourage them, support them, and push them to persevere in this journey of life. In fact, an average of 5,760 children are orphaned EVERY DAY – that’s 1 child every 15 seconds!

This is Denis. For the past four years, Denis, 16, and his younger brother Edison have had to fend for themselves.

“Our elder brother looked after us for some time when Mama died, but he has since disappeared,” explains Denis with a hollow expression. “The landlord put us in this one [room] because we could not pay rent.”

Pellagia, a World Vision counselor who now visits the boys regularly, does her best to help them along. “We found them desperate,” she says.

“We put a priority on orphans that have no one to look after them,” explains Pellagia. “Without assistance they may leave school, meaning their future would be shattered.”

Denis dreams of becoming a doctor. But it’s hard to hold onto those dreams when day-to-day survival is such a mighty challenge. Sometimes there is no food, and the brothers must seek menial labor after school. Carrying buckets of water can earn them enough for a few ounces of flour and a half-cup of dried sardines.

In the evenings, Denis returns to school for extra study time. On days when he and Edison have had to work, he must go back to class without having eaten — making it difficult to concentrate. For now, Pellagia urges Denis to “study hard and be successful.” Bravely, he is doing his best.

The story is tragic, but not uncommon. There are hundreds of millions of children in similarly difficult situations. However, when you sponsor a child through World Vision, they can make a big difference in the lives of the children and families of the communities in which they work. World Vision offers assistance in the form of food/water, education, health care and medicine, counseling and more to the children at need and this work in the community is supported through sponsorships.

Would you consider being a sponsor for a child like Denis who doesn’t have a family for encouragement and support? Doing so would not only help Denis and his siblings, but other children and families in need in his community. Show these children that they DO have family and be there to offer them hope.

Matthew 25:40 states, “Truly I [the King] tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” This parable describes the importance of recognizing the needs of our brothers/sisters and helping to meet those needs and, thankfully, these “brothers” and “sisters” cover the globe and are not restricted to our immediate families.

In honor of families everywhere, Jordan Weaver Photography would like to thank the next child sponsor by giving them a FREE family session! Jordan resides in mid-Missouri and is available to do the photoshoot in the Lake of the Ozarks or Springfield area. Below is some of Jordan’s art and you can see more of Jordan’s amazing work here.

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The Truth

After three weeks of virtually no running, three doctors appointments and three trips to different running shoe stores, I stepped on the treadmill tonight ready to take a small step back into running. At my doctor’s appointment this morning, he told me he didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t start running again and I left the doctor’s office feeling a mixture of excitement, nervousness and anxiety. Obviously, I was happy because he said I could run, but I was nervous that when I tried to run it would hurt and anxious to finally give running a try after three weeks off. So with a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline running shoes (bigger than my previous pair and with a softer insole), I went to the gym prepared to find out if my foot was going to hurt. I stretched, stretched some more, played with my iPod and finally began to increase the speed on the treadmill to a running pace. I was cautious at first, taking it one step at a time.

Wow! Running felt great! My muscles felt stronger (possibly because they had rested or perhaps because cross-training actually helps to build them) and my heart rate was much lower than the rate at which I had been cross-training, so I was not winded at all. This week is the week in the marathon training schedule where runners are suppose to peak and run their greatest weekly mileage, which includes runs of 5 miles, 10 miles, 5 miles and 20 miles. I decided it would probably be wise to ease myself back into the mileage to prevent further injury, so my goal for running tonight was 3 miles and then cross-training for the rest of my workout. After 2.65 miles of my triumphant return to the treadmill, the pain in my foot quickly returned. I was just .35 miles from finishing my run with no pain – and I would have been on “cloud 9”. But, unfortunately, I was not ecstatic at the end of the run but rather worse off emotionally than if the doctor never would have told me to run. I already had decided I could handle cross-training until the marathon – but then I saw a glimpse of hope. For seven hours today, I felt like I might be on the uphill battle to a full recovery before the marathon.

Even though I was so close to ending my run on a positive note, albeit with the injury existing undetected, the hard truth was revealed to me. Flannery O’Conner once said, “The truth doesn’t change according to our ability to stomach it.” I could have gone another day excited about running and not knowing that it was only a matter of time before my injury resurfaced. But, it was revealed to me this evening, an inconvenient truth.

We are not in the dark anymore about what is going on in developing countries in Africa and other parts of the world. It has been revealed to us that children are suffering, dying and waiting for someone to show them hope for their future. We have to recognize that these are hard facts – hard truths – even though it’s uncomfortable to think about. We seem to have become accustomed to and complacent with the fact that the “third world” continues to suffer from constant tragedy; however, this suffering truly exist, regardless of our ability to “stomach” it. So often, we would rather believe that the injury isn’t there so we could feel better, but it isn’t until we are able to accept the truth that we can make strides to overcome it. What will you do with the truth of unjust and unnecessary suffering and poverty? When the truth is revealed, we must then work together to overcome it, one step at a time.

Help me run. Sponsor a child. 

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1080

Unfortunately, I have not received any news indicating what is actually wrong with my foot. My doctor (who is thankfully an ex-marathoner thus I feel as though she relates to my case) told me if I wasn’t going to stop training all together and not do the marathon (I calmly told her this was not an option), my best option was to continue cross-training until the marathon. So, I will be getting my X-rays reviewed and seeing an orthopedic doctor early next week for further advice; and, until then, I will continue cross-training. So with this news, I opted to return to deep water running this evening.

And, well, you are not going to believe what happened during my workout tonight! It’s completely unfathomable. I got to the gym and went straight to the pool area and hopped in the pool with a bunch of “real swimmers” – I felt quite silly getting in the water next to them! But seeing I had no other options,  I got over it and began my workout. During pool running, it is very important to keep your cadence very high. It is suggested that one has 180 strides per minute just like when you are actually running. For me, this is the hardest part about pool running – it is hard to make my strides quick without compromising my form. Even when I am able to get 180 strides/minute, I catch my strides slowing down when I stop paying close attention. So in order to keep checking my cadence, I constantly look at the pace clock by the pool. As I was staring at this clock, checking my cadence, I remembered something I read yesterday: it is estimated on average that a child dies every five seconds from hunger-related causes. This clock quickly went from a way for me to check my cadence to a ticking time bomb. 11, 12, 13, 14, an innocent child has died, 16, 17, 18, 19, hunger stole another child’s life…

So what happened during my 90-minute workout this evening? An estimated 1,080 children died from hunger-related causes!

In the time in took me to grocery shop reluctantly this week, an average of 360 children died from hunger-related causes.

And, in the time it will take you to read this blog, an estimated 36 children will die from hunger or related causes.

These 36 children above live in areas where World Vision is working diligently to alter their lives. Thankfully, they have not yet lost their lives to hunger. These 36 children are waiting for someone to sponsor them – to give them hope, which is difficult to have in their dire circumstances. I’m now urgently asking you to support me in this journey and sponsor a child. If you are not able to sponsor a child, I ask that you pray for them and share this daunting, dreadful news with your family and friends asking them to support a child who needs hope.

Give hope. Help me Run. Sponsor a child.

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