OK…don’t get too excited – I did walk a a lot. Look down at me if you must, but for a 41 year-old first-timer I say, not too shabby! I was hoping I would complete the race in under four hours by walking. You can imagine my elation at the finish line to discover, after a lot more running than I have ever done in one session, ever … that I got it done in under three. They even gave me a bag of chips and a little medal that says I finished! Dopey, I know, but for me … a personal celebration! A party in my honor! Hallelujah! I did it!!
I wasn’t sure I was going to do it. I paid my entry fee and put it on my calendar, but when the day grew closer I wanted to back out. I hadn’t trained like I should of, I should have been at church (we are after all, right in the middle of fundraising), Rob had to work, which meant the kids couldn’t go to church either … but more than anything, I lacked confidence. I didn’t really think I could do it. I could see my worst fear realized … calling someone to come pick me up half-way through the race because I was not a finisher.
Instead I did finish, and did much better than I had hoped, and now what do I think of the 1/2 marathon?
I am in love.
To look at me you would not think I am the type to love 1/2 marathons. In fact you might question if I could run at all! But this thing was awesome. I was inspired to run … run farther than I ever have, and I enjoyed the whole thing … even the parts at the end when I was praying to God to make it end. Part of the inspiration to keep going was that it wasn’t what I had conjured up in my head. This race wasn’t a race for super in shape power athletes who spend 5 hours a day training with their perfect bodies and darling outfits. No. This was a race for ordinary women; tall, short, thin, round, (even seriously over-weight) young, old … and had the whole gamut of abilities; super-athlete, retired athlete, week-end athlete and wanna-be athlete. I fit right in. I didn’t have to have a darling outfit and be in great shape to do it, I just had to, well … do it. I was in good company. We all cheered each other on and said, “Keep going!” and nobody cared one iota about what kind of athlete you are on other days, because on that day, you were the super-athlete. Wow. I feel like a rock-star just having done it.
Next time someone says they could never do it, guess what I will say!
You know … the response you get from mentioning the fact that you’ve completed a half marathon is about the same as the one you get when mentioning you are a missionary. “That’s awesome, I could never do that.”
I think there are those that perceive that if you go to the mission field, you qualify for super-Christian … a power believer… wrought with halo and matching wings, but I beg to differ. I only see myself (and Rob and the kids) as running the race.
Think about this: If it had only been me out there yesterday it wouldn’t have even been a race, just me running, and I am telling you…. I would have been a lot slower, a lot less motivated, a lot more self-conscious (wondering if the drivers passing me by were laughing hysterically in their cars) and frankly … just a whole lot less willing.
As we prepare for Swaziland it becomes more clear each day how much we need you. Of course we need the financial support. We only go when we are 100% pledged, but the reality of how much we need you on our “team” aside from the finances is coming home. We need you to pray for us, to help us network with others, to rally for us and stir in the hearts of others a desire to run the race with us. We will need help with the practical stuff like moving, packing, sorting and storing. We need mailers and phone callers, organizers and party throwers. We cannot do this alone. We need you to to come as you are and not worry about what kind of shape you are in, if you’ve been training as you should, or if you have the right outfits … We need you to let all that go and just participate, because regardless of your past experience, your strength in giving, sharing, helping, motivating and praying becomes POWER the day that you start.
Come, join the race. We’ll all cheer you on and you will feel like a Rock Star just having done it.
I did it!! Love, Jennifer
PS. Some business to attend to…. If you have made a contribution to Chapel Hill on our behalf, thank you! But I need to let you know that officially, we are only to receive funds through the Antioch Partners. Chapel Hill, of course, will forward the funds, but we will not know that you have donated. It is Chapel Hill’s policy to not release information about contributions (understandably) and therefore we are unable to send you a thank you note. Just a little detail I wanted to make you aware of.