Thank You.

Thank you. Thank you for your support and encouragement through these past several months. Thank you for asking, for praying, for sending good thoughts. Thank you for sharing in my joys and for being concerned for my joints. Thank you for your sacrifices. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving children in a country half way around the world.

The marathon has come and gone again, and I find myself in an awkward and kind of lazy mood. With the season officially over, I am in quite an evaluative state. I give thanks for how much Frankie and I were able to raise: $3,125… more than I had hoped and expected. It’s such an amazing experience when you realize that people do care. That people do want to give, people want to support, and people want to make a difference. (As an entire group, we have raised well over $700,000 to help build clean water wells. We are still hoping to make it to $1 Million.) For the past two years I have been able to beat my body (quite literally) and provide a venue and reason for people to donate money to help build clean water wells in impoverished communities in Zambia and Kenya…it’s been amazing.

My experience running this marathon—the second time around, was quite different. In preparation for the run there wasn’t as much fear for the unknown or the doubt of finishing looming over me. Because I was running with my brother, Frankie, there was even more excitement; knowing that I was sharing this marathon with him was special. I will be honest; if he hadn’t run with me this time around, I question whether I would have kept running. At mile 2, I rolled my ankle when I stepped into a pot hole; by mile 6, I had sharp pains shooting down from my right hip to my ankle; by mile 14, my lower back muscles tightened and caused so much pain I couldn’t keep a comfortable running form; by mile 16, I wanted to stop.

What seemed so natural to me before: to run…became very unnatural, very painful, and very disappointing. But in the end, as the soreness in all my muscles have slowly subsided, I take a look at my TWV running singlet and know that I did something great. For myself; for Team World Vision; for the two girls that Sean and I sponsor, Mersi and Samira; and for other children just like them in communities in Kenya. With clean water wells, children can go to school instead of spending their days searching for water that isn’t even clean. With clean water wells, children don’t need to get sick from drinking dirty and diseased water. With clean water wells, children don’t need to die from completely preventable sicknesses. See what WV did in Quacha Birra, Ethiopia in 2000. This is how your donations helped last year in Musele, Zambia. Think of what your funds will do this year in communities in Kenya!

So, here I go again. I am committing to one more. One more year of fundraising, one more year of strength training, one more year of running, one more year of beating my body and making it my slave. Believe me when I say that I have more reservations this time, my body feels the toll of all the training that I’ve done these past two years. Although the muscle soreness has slowly vanished, the pains in my joints are ALL still there. But I can’t stop now. Next year’s fundraising goal: $5,000. 26.2 for Team World Vision; for social justice; for peace; for hope; for love; for LIFE.


Almost There

With 3 days till Marathon day, 2 more training miles tomorrow, and $342 left to raise, I’m getting nervous. The forecast is showing high of 45, possibility of snow…morning temperatures are supposed to be at 28 degrees.  Well, this makes things interesting. Considering I have not trained my long distance runs in this kind of weather and more importantly, what am I supposed to wear?

Last’s years worries were the complete opposite! I guess, it’s better that it’s going to be cold and not hot, but… SNOW? REALLY?

Last night was my last PT session before the marathon; I have been working with these girls for the past several months. They have seen me at my best and at my worst.  I went in thinking all I wanted were massages, but now I know “massages” are really torture sessions with lots of bruising, scraping of hidden scar tissues, under-the-breath cursing, and some crying.  But, I’m walking away with a better posture, a looser IT-band, a stronger butt, and new friends that have miracle hands.  I’m not 100% fixed, who knows if I will ever be, but I feel stronger and am optimistic for this run.  I know that without these new friends and especially my PT, Erin, I very literally would not be in this place today.  There were several barriers to getting here; my hip, my hamstrings, my knee, my quads. For a while it seemed like every joint and muscle was taking its turn in hating me.  Don’t get me wrong, the pain is still there.  But I’ve learned that my red foam roller is my best friend, active stretching can help realign my knee cap, taping my knee in place works pretty well to keep my knee cap in its track, and that stabbing knee pain I’ve been experiencing for the past several years means I need to take a break and see my PT.  I have my final session the day after the marathon. I was promised a good rub-down and stretching session… YES. I guess it takes a marathon for them to be gentle.

So, as I am mentally preparing for this run, please consider joining in Team World Vision’s efforts in raising funds to build clean water wells in communities in Kenya.  A little goes a LOOOONG way:

Three Hundred and Forty-Four

This is my road to the Chicago Marathon.  With just one week left, I have put in 344 miles; 58 hours and 35 minutes.  There’s no turning back; there’s no more time left for second guesses.  Come October 11, 2009 at 7:30am, the gun will be shot and Frankie and I will make our way through 26.2 miles of gorgeous Chicago.  Even though this is my second time around, my nerves are a bit wired and I can’t stop thinking about just finishing. 

There is just one disappointment: the thought of putting so many miles and so many hours into this and it will all be finished in just seven days.  It’s not that I’m not looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday mornings, giving my knees and hips a break from the constant pounding, walking up and down stairs at a normal pace, changing my diet to a somewhat normal consumption of carbs… BELIEVE me. I’m ready. But, knowing and experiencing all that I have in just these short couple of months, I am torn between wanting to be done and continuing the training…

As time is just flying by, I am getting closer and closer to meeting my goal of raising $3,000 for Team World Vision.  As of this moment, I have received an overwhelming support of $2,375—which makes me just $625 short of my goal.  Thank you SO much for all who constantly support me; whether that is through monetary donations, constant encouragement, prayer, patience, and/or love.  I TRULY have gained much through this experience and I DEFINIELY feel the love.  Please know that as I use up every last source of energy; as I run my body into submission; as I feel the burn in my knees and hips; as I cross that finish line; and as that medal gets placed around my sweaty and spent neck, YOU were a part of it all.  It is only through the partnership and commitment from my supporters that allows these 26.2 miles extend beyond all boundaries and reach the poorest of the poor.  Through your generous donations this year, your dollars will be used in communities in Kenya to help build clean water wells.  Communities like Mutomo, Kenya, where children and families walk over 8 miles a day in search for water (and the water they find is usually contaminated). 

This is why I run.  26.2 miles for Africa; for Mersi; for social justice; for peace; for love; for LIFE.