My mom called and said, "Your dad wants me to ask you one more time if you'd like to do the race with him?" My response, HA Mom, I haven't ran more than 5 miles since having Landon, there's no way I could do it." "I know, but he wanted me to ask you." We chatted a little more, hung up, and went about our day. To fill you in, my dad has become a crazy psycho runner. After he runs the Bismarck half marathon on September 15th, he will have ran 3 half's in the past 6 months. He ran the Bismarck race last year as well and my brother surprised him when they got here and told him that he was signed up to run it too. I know this meant the world to my dad and he's probably thinking about it and missing my brother. My brother is a missionary in Australia and come October it will have been a year since we all have seen him. Don't get me started or I'll be crying I miss him so much :(
I was thinking about last year and how I lied to my dad and told him I couldn't run the race with them because of my foot when really I was 3 months pregnant. Is it considered a lie when you have every intention of fessing up when the time is right and the secrets out? Out of nowhere the thought came to me, "what if I surprise my dad this year?" What if I sign up, but don't tell him until he arrives? AH He would be so shocked!! Whoa whoa whoaaaa Natalie, let's not forget you haven't been training. Insert sad, deep in thought face. True. Then God decided to step in to my random crazy inward ramblings. He didn't say anything really, He just gave my heart and mind a familiar peace. It was the same peace I felt back when I was 18 and something pulled me to open the email from world vision titled "Chicago half marathon". Looking back, there is no explanation for why I opened it. I usually deleted all the emails from them because they made me feel guilty that I couldn't buy someone a goat or build a village a well. So it was a miracle I opened the email, but that I opened in even after I read "Chicago half marathon" that's really mind blowing! But I did open it. I opened it and I read it. I read about how World Vision had a team that would be running in Chicago. They would be raising awareness and support up until the race and then they would run in their bright orange shirts and talk to people all along the way about starving children in Africa and how they can sponsor a child and save a life. I didn't stop there. I clicked on the links that took me to numerous inspirational videos that told me that I didn't have to be an expert runner to do this, all I needed was a lot of heart and commitment. My heart began to fill the longer I played with the thought of doing this. "God, I'm not a runner." "Do you trust me to be your strength?"....... "Ok, let's do it." So then and there the seed was planted. I had no idea how I would do it, I had never ran further then 3 miles and I hated ever second of it. I had no idea how my parents would let me do it. My mom came home from work that day and I told her, "Mom, I'm supposed to run a half marathon in Chicago." I think her response was something along the lines of HA HA HA!! I told her I was serious and the next day I downloaded a training schedule and I stuck to it. It was a miracle, but I DID IT!!
And it was amazing. It was life changing. I only raised around $300, but through the experience God showed me that He had planes for me that were so much bigger then what I thought "I" could do. He showed me it's not about me at all. Towards the end of the race I was telling myself, this is ludicrous!! Who does this?? Never again!! Then on the drive home from Chicago I wrote in my journal that next was a FULL marathon.
There is just something about long distance running that hooks you. Sure waking up at 5AM and lacing up your shoes is pure torture, but then there are those moments, those moments when your so lost in thought that you don't even realize that every muscle from your waste down is numb. After I ran this race I knew that running would be a huge part of my life from that day forward. The narrow gravel road that led out to my parents house became my sanctuary. That's what I would call it, and God never failed to meet me there.
Soon after this race I ran another half marathon with Ryan. It was kind of a test of his love for me ;) He passed. He could of gotten a much better time, but instead he let his friend disappear into the distance and he stuck it out with me. I knew he was a keeper before the race, but I after that, I knew there was no road that we couldn't travel together, no mountain we couldn't climb, hand in sweaty hand.
Then it happened, shortly after Ryan and I got engaged, I ventured out of the territory of "half" and into the unknown wilderness of "full"
It truly was the impossible, but again, by the power of God, I did it.
Then I did the INSANE. I signed up to run a full marathon two weeks before our wedding. I know people thought I was trying to kill myself, but by this time, I had learned that I needed to run. I needed to meet God in the sanctuary of the pavement. believe me! You really can't help but pray, think, and process, on a 20 mile run. While on my training runs I would picture the race. I would picture crossing the finish line, knowing that I just ended a huge chapter of my life and now I was ready to begin the next. And that was exactly what that marathon was for me. It was a celebration of my childhood, my family, our dating relationship and engagement, all coming to a beautiful finish line.
I crossed it, and two weeks later Ryan and I began a whole new journey.
So with that said, yesterday I found myself asking God what this race would celebrate/symbolize? The answer was clear almost before I thought it.... Landon. Of course. I had to do this for Landon. Because I was not prepared for him. I was not ready. I told God I couldn't do it. I told God I didn't want to do it. But we did it, Landon did it, GOD did it. This race will celebrate answered prayer and symbolize how nothing is impossible when you trust God and just place one foot in front of the other.