Running Buddy Sheri, me, and Ethan before the big race
Teagen and Katy surprised us!
Ethan waving me off as I head to the start line
My horrific finish-line photo... I wanted to die
We did it!
Daniel's parents (Jon & Harriet) came to see me finish!
Running Buddies after finishing our first race
I did it! I had my first 5k race on the 4th of July - yay!
My friend Sheri met us at our place around 7:30am, and we packed up Ethan and Daniel and headed for the Mentor Graphics campus in Wilsonville. It was a beautiful day, and there was a good showing of people. It was a fun run/walk, and people showed up with baby joggers and dogs - so the atmosphere was pretty laid back and fun. There was a 5k and a 10k race going on while we were there, and a kids 1/2 mile loop as well. Our friends Teagan and Katie from church surprised us - they were there to race too! What a fun surprise. :)
Sheri and I lined up when it was time, and realized that we'd forgotten to wear sunscreen. Oops... rookie mistake. :) When the race started, it was hard for me not to try and keep up with everyone, but Sheri is an amazing running partner and helps to keep the pace steady throughout our run. I was feeling a little silly as we followed a cute little Grandma who was steadily gaining ground ahead of us. But, when we hit a hill we ended passing her. She's still my hero. :)
The course was a nice 3.1 mile loop around this big business park. Most of the race was on the shoulder of the road surrounding their complex, but there was a half mile where there was no shoulder. That was great fun.
It was a beautiful day, not really a cloud anywhere in sight. And sadly, not many shade trees either... haha. As far as other runs we've done, it was probably one of the hottest - and obviously the longest. At one point we were running uphill facing the sun, and being passed by a couple with a baby jogger, and I just had to laugh. Because it was a run/walk, there were a handful of people who started out running really strong and took walking breaks. We just happened to end up running behind three of these people. I kept getting really excited that we were about to pass them - because they'd had such a strong start - but as soon as they heard us passing them they'd sprint ahead. It was very frustrating. The funniest part of the race was when we rounded what I thought would be the last corner (it wasn't) around the 2 mile mark. As we rounded the corner I was expecting to see the parking lot and finish line, but what I saw instead was over .75 mile of sidewalk filled with the people who were running ahead of us. The last third of it was actually a pretty steep hill. I almost screamed... lol. I definitely had one of those moments where I seriously questioned whether or not I'd be able to finish. I have those EVERY run... but this time it was combined with some direct sunlight and added heat, and a BIG hill.
What was really great, though, is that just when we hit that difficult part all of the 10k runners (who started after us and at a different location but were not lapping us slow kids) started passing us and saying, "good job, Ladies!" and "you're looking strong, keep it up!" It was really encouraging to receive such encouragement and support from strangers, but strangers that know how hard you're working.
Our friends Teagan and Katie finished way before we did and ended up walking back to cheer us on for the last 1/2 mile or so. They told us we were doing great, took a picture of us running up the hill, and let us know we only had two more corners to turn (around the final edge of the loop and then into the parking lot) before we were done. When we hit the 3 mile mark we both cheered and kept plugging away to finish our .1 mile. As we passed through the parking lot I saw Daniel's parents and waved - it was fun to have them come see me finish. Daniel got a hilarious picture that really captures how I was feeling. I look all sweaty, tired, excited and a little freaked out. When we finally crossed the finish line - at 38:09, I was so wooped that I didn't have the energy to cheer. But there were fudgecicles, which was a nice surprise. Sheri and Daniel and Ethan and I went to Jazzy Bagel in Gresham afterwards to celebrate, and Ethan was very impressed with the gentleman who was playing piano for us. Overall, it was a lovely day!
One thing that really stuck out to me during this race, was how important the principle of finishing what you start is to me. I found myself not caring how quickly we finished or who passed us, as long as I ran every step and completed the race - I'd acheive my goal. And we did it! When we were coming down the last little stretch in the parking lot - with the finish line and family in view - it made me think of the exhortation in scripture to keep our eyes focused on Christ.
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. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Of course the author of Hebrews is talking about persevering in our faith and focusing our eyes on Jesus as the beginning and end of our faith. He's the one who gave us new life and a new heart to love God, and He's the one into whose image we're being transformed - so that one day we will live for God's glory with our whole being. That's the prize we're running after - is to be like Jesus and to be with Him. To be free to worship Him for all of eternity. It sounds a little weird - and maybe a little boring - to think about it like that. But the more I get to know Christ in the scriptures, and the more I learn about God by walking with Him, the more my heart yearns to finally see Him get the glory that He deserves.
Trying to see to the end of the road and picture all of that is a little fuzzy - but that's sort of how I felt today during the race. My glasses are broken, so the finish line and all the people cheering us on were blurry. Plus it was really hot and so my face was all warm and I was totally exhausted. I think that's a good picture for how life is. :) It's a little fuzzy and disorienting to push through the difficult stuff between today and forever... but by keeping my eyes focused on the final goal - standing with people from every tribe and nation to honor our King and worship Him forever... I can have the strength to take one step at a time.
Running is great. But Jesus is greater.
A newbie runner's first race buzz is pretty exciting... but I'm sure seeing Jesus for the first time will blow that out of the park!