Category Archives: Running

All that happened on race day

Truth be told, up until the very last day before the triathlon, there was a part of me that was looking for a reason not to do it. But I think you probably got that impression from my last post.

This apparently didn’t seem to deter God.  He just decided to start (or really, continue) paving the way for me to not only get to the starting line, but get all the way to the finish with flying colors.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.

After finding out on Monday that we had lost our baby, I tried a brief run on Wednesday and came away discouraged by how tired I was.  We left for Coeur d’Alene on Thursday.  I had not yet actually miscarried.

On Friday morning, after going for a short bike ride (in which I felt pretty good, which was progress), I started the miscarriage process.  When I felt sure this was what happening, there was a sense of relief.  At least I didn’t have to wonder anymore about when it would happen.

God was very gracious to me in that it was not too painful and it did not last too long.  I spent some of the time by myself talking to God and some of it with Jason.  I had time to cry and be a mess and it was okay.  I was really thankful for that.

Shortly afterward, our midwife, Cindie called me to check in.  I told her what was going on and she gave me the freedom to go ahead with the race, if I continued to feel okay.

After all this, I still had no excuse.  And I was still waiting for one.

I felt surprisingly fine the rest of the day. I got all my gear organized and set my alarm for 4:30am, as if I was racing.

I woke up on Saturday morning and I felt like myself.  I hadn’t felt that for over a month.  Not the pregnant me or the miscarrying me or the crazy emotional me.  Just me.  I wasn’t nervous.  And it felt like racing was the natural thing to do that day.  There was no question in my mind.

Praise God He did not have to drag me to the starting line.  I was going willingly, wholeheartedly.  What a miracle heart change is.

When we got to Independence Point we found parking easily and made our way to the transition area with all the other athletes.  Now I was starting to get excited.

Here we are before the race, during set-up.

[I realize now that in this picture I look very tired and wrinkly and Jason looks rested, but I promise I felt really good that day.]

When it was time, Jason got his wetsuit on and went out to the beach to wait with his group.  I warmed up by running around the park until he began swimming, then I got ready.  He told me when he thought he’d be out of the water and where to wait for him to tag-off.

He was right on time.  Through a bit of heaving he told me he loved me, gave me a kiss goodbye, and off I went on my bike.

And here begins the even more amazing part.  But again, I am getting ahead of myself.

I spent the first third of the ride getting warmed-up and comfortable on my bike.  My body needed that, but my heart didn’t.  From the moment I zoomed out of transition area, I felt like the communication lines between God & I were wide open. That is not something I experience so deeply very often.

I felt encouraged and hopeful.  I thought about all the people I knew who had been praying for me or were praying for me that day.  I thought about how I had gotten to this point.  I thought about all the other people out there on the road, doing what I was doing.  I prayed for Luke and Sharon, a few cross country buddies from high school who were also racing, a few miles ahead of me.

But I also still wondered how the upcoming hills were going to go.  There are many of them on the second third of the course.  When I got to the first one I thought about what Ryan Hughes told Jason a few weeks ago when he asked him for cycling advice.  He said “Man, you just gotta attack those hills.”

And so that’s what I did–I zipped right up it.  I attacked it.  I was really doing this.

Then I zipped up the next hill.  And the next one.  And the next!

What the heck was going on?!  There was no exhaustion, no wall, no defeat.  Instead, I felt like a million bucks!

Jason met me at the top of the biggest hill.  It was the place I had imagined myself walking, defeated.  I got so excited I yelled “THAT’S MY HUSBAND!  I FEEL GREAT!”  He had told me previously that he didn’t think he would be able to get the car to that location because of all the other cyclists on the narrow country road.  But he did it.

Here I am when I saw him that first time.

Then I saw Mom & Ian cheering for me.  And then Erin & Miranda.  I hit all the rest of the hills, came in and made my transition successfully, and was off running.

It was pretty hot by that point, but halfway through the run there was a nice breeze off the lake. Jason met me at numerous points along the way, and Erin & Miranda were there, too.

I had thought it would take me about an hour to complete the run portion, but now I wondered if I could run it faster than that.  I remember thinking often “You can push yourself harder than this.”  I felt like my legs were moving quicker than they had in weeks.

The last 800 meters or so I really tried to pick up the pace and scoot in to the finish.   My cheer squad was there 100 meters before I crossed the line.  I was well under an hour–55:49.

Here are the final results for our team–Team Tired (I find it kinda ironic we named ourselves that when we signed up months ago).

And here’s a video Jason put together of the footage he took.

So, you can see, I did it!

Or rather, God did it. But I think that’s pretty obvious by now 🙂  And it was more fun, encouraging, healing, and faith-building than I had hoped it would be.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us through the last month and for the kind comments, emails, phone calls, and prayers.  We really appreciate it.

Check out the rest of the photos.


The road to race day . . .

has been a difficult one.  In ways I could not have imagined or anticipated.  

I know I need to report on how Saturday’s race actually went, which I will definitely do.  But in the last seven weeks this experience has become much bigger for me than race day.  I’d like to do some further explaining about that before talking about the race.

When I started training for the triathlon I had the thought “Can I do this?”  As I got into my training that question faded away.  Hopefully you could sense that in my previous related posts.  I realized I could do it.  And I kept training, looking forward with optimism and confidence.

But seven weeks ago things changed.  I found out I was pregnant. 

We were slightly surprised but very excited.  Though, of course, I wasn’t sure what my training would look like moving forward.

I know that many women have gone out and done some incredible things while pregnant.  They’ve climbed mountains, ran marathons.  Tara even told me she had a friend who did the Ironman while pregnant. 

This experience has taught me that I am not one of those women. 

I tried as best I could to get out there and move in the last weeks of my training, but I was just so tired and gross-feeling.  When I would exercize with any moderate-to-high level of intensity I would hit a huge wall.  My burning legs, my fast-beating heart, my panting lungs would all scream “We are DONE!” 

This is all normal, I learned.  And any woman who has been pregnant will tell you that the word “normal” is a very comforting thing to hear when you are with child.

Unfortunately, there were other things about this pregnancy that were not normal.  I have hypothyroidism and that became an issue.  We thought that was resolved when we went in for an ultrasound and saw our little one’s heart beating.  We were six weeks along.  He or she measured just fine and we were on track for a March birth.

Then the icky pregnant feeling started to fade and we learned that my hormone levels were not increasing “normally.”  I spent a week living in a chaotic mixture of fear, hope, uncertainty, prayer, sadness, and confusion. 

You can see where this is going.  And, of course, the last thing I wanted to do was train.  Understandably.

A week ago today we saw with our own eyes that our baby’s heart was not beating.  This was five days before the triathlon. 

I had spent over a month of pregnancy wondering “Can I really do this triathlon?  Will the baby be okay?  If I don’t do it am I just wimping out or is my reasoning legitimate?  What would God have me do?  This seems so much bigger than just doing a triathlon. Do I trust Him with this?  What does trusting Him even look like in this situation?”

Even though the baby is now safe in the arms of Jesus (and really was, all along), I still wondered if I could finish the race or if I wanted to anymore.  “I’m just so tired, Lord, in every way.  The last thing I want is to be out there on that race course exhausted, alone, feeling like I want to give up.”

At the same time, there was something compelling and healing about the thought of accomplishing something with my body (if I could do it).   This body that has carried three babies and delivered one at full term.  The one that survived those years of disordered eating and ran a half marathon last October.

The one that’s gotten one too many sunburns and doesn’t get enough water every day.  The one with the bum shoulder.  The one that breastfed a child for 14 months and the one strong enough to carry that same child’s 28-pound body around every day. 

I have to admit, this body I have is an amazing creation.  And it’s sustained by a lovingly persistant Creator.  

I couldn’t shake the thought that this was something from God all along.   I have felt that before with other things and I have felt my resistance to fully embrace it. 

I knew He had provided all I had needed up until this point, on many practical levels.   And I knew I had proclaimed that, to myself and to others.

Come race day, I would learn even more about His provision. 

I just had to get to the starting line.

Just what you need, when you need it

Two weeks ago I hit a low spot in my triathlon training.  Motivation was down.  Way down.  The weather was pretty crappy (it still is) and I was quite liberal with the rest days.  The high point was going to be riding the Springwater Trail in Portland during a trip down there with Jackie for a baby shower, but we got to the trailhead and it was closed.

Last week was an improvement as I pushed myself to get out there and seize the short stints of warm, sunny weather we had.  A couple days into that I got just the encouragement I needed.

I was riding along the Burke pulling Ian in the trailer when another cyclist pulled up next to me.   He looked legitimate, the real deal.

As he glided by he said “I’m impressed.  Strong, steady cadence.  Nice.”  Then he slowly waved his fist back and forth, the way a coach does when they’re pleased with their player.

I think he whizzed by too fast to see my mouth hanging open in confusion.  When I got my bearings, I started to comprehend what he said.  And thanks to my triathlon training book, I knew what the word cadence meant!  I wasn’t trying to achieve a “strong, steady cadence” but apparently I was doing so.  Oh yeah.

It wasn’t until he was about 300 meters down the trail that it dawned on me I hadn’t said a word to him.  And in that moment I wanted to yell ahead “Wait! Stop!  THANK YOU!”

In the moments after this all happened I had the fleeting thought (okay maybe it was more than fleeting) that one day I would become an amazing cyclist, doing all kinds of races and amazing everyone.  The cover of Cycling World would read “Wife and mother of 18-month-old picks up bike and becomes cycling superstar.”

Just a thought.

But then a rather large bug flew into my left nostril and that pretty much brought me back to earth, or at least a little closer to it.

If that encouragement wasn’t enough, there’s more.

A couple days ago, I started out on a long run and about 10 minutes in I passed by little girl and her dad near the zoo.  She looked to be maybe 3 or 4 years old.   As I ran by I heard her say “Wow, she’s fast!”

Absolutely perfect.   I went on to run a great eight-miler.

Thank you, legitimate cyclist man and cute little encouraging girl.  As of late, you have made my training days.  I’ll be sure to publicly thank you when they interview me for that cover story.

Yes, I am really doing this triathlon

You haven’t heard a peep from me about doing a triathlon in a while, but I can assure you I’ve been checking off each workout, day by day, for the last five weeks.

Here’s a photo to prove I mean business.


[I’m not doing anything exciting here, just driving around a parking lot so Jason could take a picture of me riding my bike.] 

I’m now relatively back in shape.  I feel a bit relieved to say that because it didn’t come so naturally this time.  I spent about three weeks doing pre-training, trying to exercise 2-3x a week. 

I emphasize the trying part.  Because man, did I feel out of shape.  And unmotivated.  Note to self: Get off your butt during the winter.

Meanwhile, I was also coming up with a triathlon plan. This is essential for me because I am a process person.  I want to know how I’m going to get where I’m going.  Especially when I’m doing something I’ve never done before.

Thanks to Excel, a training book I ordered, and my in-house triathlon expert (Jason), I have a 14-week plan stuck to my fridge.

I had to switch out the swims, move things around to fit our family schedule, and I wanted to give myself an extra rest day.  Jason offered helpful suggestions and I am adjusting things as I go along.

I also bought new running shoes. Goodbye Kayano 15s.  We went a long way together and you served me well, but you’ve now been exiled to the basement as yard shoes. 

I think it was about time.  The first time I put on my new shoes I felt like I was running on tempur-pedic pillows.  It was fabulous. 

In pre-training I also came up with the idea to make some healthy workout snacks. Becky has told me before that when her kids were young she was the queen of healthy snacks.  So when she was visiting in April I turned to her for consulting help.  

We pulled out our barely used food dehydrator and went to work.  I was surprised at how easy the process was (the infommerical wasn’t lying).  You just cut up fruit, put it in there, and turn it on.  And then wait, of course. 

Here’s some photos of apple and pear chips and strawberry fruit leather we made.  Since then I’ve also made banana and strawberry chips.

Becky is also a skilled granola-maker, so I thought she could help me make granola bars.  We found a good recipe, but I’ve been adjusting and perfecting it to my liking in the last few weeks. 

More than liking, it’s really sort of a love thing.  Partly because I feel so do-it-yourself when I wrap them up individually in Saran Wrap and partly because they taste fantastic.

[Due to length, I’m posting the granola bar recipe separately]

As for the actual exercising, I do have to say that I really love riding my bike.  Like running, it feels like a mental break.  I ride the Burke most of the time (even pulling Ian in the trailer by myself) but we’ve also gone to the Arboretum and around Mercer Island, and we’re going to ride the triathlon course in Cd’A on Saturday.

Running has not been as exciting.  It’s being upstaged at the moment by how fun it is to ride the Buzzing Bee.  The new shoes have helped and I’m hoping running my old cross country course at Farragut this weekend will remind me why I like it so much. 

Five weeks in, I still need to do a few more things (besides keep working out):

  1. learn how to change a flat tire
  2. drink more water
  3. find some kind of top to wear that won’t give me a farmer’s tan
  4. drink more water
  5. scout out some good bike and running routes (suggestions anyone? preferably on trail or mostly on trail)
  6. drink more water
  7. not fall off my bike (I think I just jinxed it)
  8. scout out sales on Recharge and get some Shot Blocks (I only allow myself to drink/eat these after I’ve raced OR had a baby)
  9. did I say drink more water???

That’s about it, folks. For those who are truly interested, I will do my best to report back again soon.  And maybe, just maybe, there will be a cute picture of Ian in his bike helmet . . .

Unrelated, here are our May photos.

Granola bars

I swore to myself that these would be pre-workout fuel ONLY. 

I told Jason this rule was unalterable.  Well, I didn’t really tell him.  It was more like I waved my finger vigorously at him, while pointing towards the bars and giving him the evil eye.

But then a few days later they were just there, sitting in a tupperware container in our cupboard . . . so I had one.  And then another one. And the rule flew out the window.

Despite my hypocrisy, they still serve as great workout fuel (due to all the good things in them).  Or as second breakfast, with a glass of milk.  Or a couch snack.  Or whatever . . .

Granola Bars (adapted from this recipe)

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup wheat germ
  • ¼ cup flaxseed
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¼ plus 1/8 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 9 ounces chopped dried fruit, any combination of apricots, cherries or blueberries
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (sometimes I add these, sometimes I don’t)


Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, wheat germ, and flaxseed onto a half-sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 15 minutes, stirring three times.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees F. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add the dried fruit, and stir to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips quickly (before they get too melty) and pour the mixture into the baking dish.  Press it down with the back of a greased spatu

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

The next training challenge (and how some things come full circle)

On Good Friday of 2006 Jason and I were sitting across from each other at The Matador, eating tacos.  We were dating at that point, about two or three months in.

Somehow we got talking about biking.  I said something to the effect of “You know, I think I want to try that someday.”  And, with complete confidence, Jason said “Well, we’re just going to have to get you a bike then.”

That statement made the future of our relationship seem so final.  Somewhere, at some point a ways into the future, we were going to buy me a bike.  Not me buying a bike with his help, but we.  And what it felt even more like was that he was going to buy me a bike.  That’s the sort of thing that goes on in married life.

You see where this is going.  Up until this point in time I knew Jason wanted to marry me, but I wasn’t so sure I wanted to marry him. In this moment I found myself very naturally answering his declaration with “Yes, yes we will.”  I felt very comforted and taken care of.  And in a strange way, it felt like I was saying “Yes, I think I will marry you.”

Though the road to the wedding aisle was not without a few bumps along the way, as you know we ended up getting married.  And I look back on that bike conversation as a major turning point for me.  It was a simple, unexpected confirmation from God.

Fast forward to two weeks ago (almost three years to the day) . . .

I was changing a diaper and somehow in the midst of wiping Ian’s behind I decided to train for the Cd’A Triathlon.  It started with a random thought and then a “No, I can’t possibly do that.”  And then I challenged that thought (very unlike me) by thinking about the whys of why I can’t do it, and they all sort of dissolved away into a sense of peace and determination.

In fact, it was it was a lot like that evening at The Matador: “Yes, yes I think I will do a triathlon!”

Even now I’m still surprised I’m doing this because I’ve sat on my duff all winter, waiting for the slightest hint of motivation to exercise and none has come.  And now all the sudden I’m doing this and I’m not scared but excited about it!

I will caveat this by saying that I am going to do the bike (40k) and the run (10k) but not the swim.  I have asked my extraordinarily talented and athletic husband to be my teammate and complete that component of the race.

When I told Jason that 1) I wanted to do this triathlon and that 2) I wanted him to do it with me, I could tell he felt very loved.  His dream of finding a recreational companion in his wife was coming true on a whole nother level.

And what did he do with all that love bursting forth from his heart? He went out and did what he said he was going to do that day three years ago.  He bought me a road bike!

Say hello to the “Buzzing Bee”.

Jason wanted to call it the Hornet because he envisions me speeding by, a flash of black and yellow.

I prefer Buzzing Bee because I see myself buzzing along, picking people off at a consistent pace.  Even if it’s only older people and kids.  I wouldn’t want to scare the kids, of course.

What makes this even better is that yesterday Jason sold my mountain bike for the exact same price he bought the new bike for.  I was a bit nostalgic about it because it got me through my half-marathon cross training (both times). But alas, it is time to move on.

This and several other things have reminded me of something I think I forgot: when God wants you to do something, He gives you what you need to do it.

Hence, the free new bike.  And the biking shoes Alyssa gave me two years ago that I set aside for “someday.” And the biking shorts Jason bought me with his REI gift card. And the steadily growing desire to get out there and get in shape.  And the sunny days we’ve had to go bike riding.  I feel really encouraged when I get to witness and be a part of these things.

As for a goal, I don’t have one of those yet, at least as far as a specific time goes.  Right now it’s just to train and finish.  And that may remain my goal until the end.  I just want to have a lot fun with Jason and grow closer to God through the experience.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a photo of our first family bike ride.

BTW, the triathlon is August 7th.  Four months to go.

Half marathon complete!

It’s done.  I completed the Royal Victoria Half Marathon this last Sunday. 

But before I get to all the race details, I want to back up to last Friday night, just a few hours after my last post

Jason & I were in the car going to Road Runners to pick up some last minute gear.  He was asking me how I felt about the race and I told him I was excited but also wondering about meeting my goal of 2:10.  His response was “Elisabeth, I think you can more than meet that goal.  I think you can run it in under two hours.”

I didn’t like that comment.  It was throwing a monkey wrench in my plans.  I started to feel my chest tighten.  I started to feel the pressure–not that Jason was really pressuring me to do anything.  He was just trying to encourage me.

Then came the excuses, the anxiety thinking about if I could (or really wanted to) push myself farther.  I know that I tend to set my goals low because I’m afraid of failure, but I certainly wasn’t going to admit that to Jason.  But the writing was on the wall.

I set the thought aside to contemplate it later (which is a miracle in and of itself).  I slept okay that night and we got packed up and headed out Saturday morning.

Our trip to get to Victoria included two ferry rides, about two hours of driving and lots of waiting in line, but we made it there by about 3pm.  The city was beautiful and the weather was perfect–clear, cool, and sunny.  Our hotel was only a couple blocks from the dock and we soon discovered only a block from the starting line.  I thought about the race at various points throughout the day, but I was excited, not anxious.  And I felt a bit more comfortable contemplating Jason’s sub-two-hour comment.

We walked the streets of Victoria and grabbed some dinner that evening.  And then I proceeded to have the crappiest night of sleep I’ve had in a really long time (including right after Ian was born).  I think I got about 5 hours total, but woke up about every hour and a half, either to Ian crying (the amazing sleeper was not amazing that night), my bum shoulder aching (how convenient), or my race nerves raring to go. 

I got up at 5:30am and got ready.  And I didn’t freak out about how tired I was.  That’s another miracle.  More than that, I was able to thank God for the opportunity to see that if I was going to run this race it was going to be with His strength and not mine.  I know that sounds so Christian cheezy, but it was really true.

Jason went down to the starting line with me and hung out while I warmed up, used the porta-a-potties, and figured out where I was going to line up.  At about 7:25 I got into the pack.  And then at 7:30 I started running.

The race itself was absolutely amazing.  As I started off, it was such a cool feeling to be running with thousands of other people.  Everyone was excited and optimistic.  I’ve experienced that before with smaller road races, but I had forgotten how neat it was.

We ran through the city streets first and I remember at one point a lady on the side yelling out “Have a good race!”  And I thought “Yes I will, thank you very much!”  That’s how great I felt, mentally and physically.

I spent a lot of my race just talking to God.  Talking to Him about Him.  Talking to Him about this journey I’ve been on the last few months.  Talking to Him about Beacon College and asking Him to remind people to pray for the kids there.  I prayed for Elysia & Justus (who were running a half marathon in LA at the very same time), and Jason & Ian.

I remember several times thinking about Psalm 19–“The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands” as I looked out on the water and the beach, the park we ran through, the city streets, and the fall colors. 

I thought about how Paul says that we are to run with endurance the race set before us.  And out of that I realized this: A lot of times I don’t know what the race looks like, or where the course will go on any given day.  But on that morning I could actually physically see it.  I could see myself moving forward, gaining ground.  I thought to myself “this is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.”  And there’s no better feeling than when you know you’re walking in the will of God.  It was awesome.

As for my pace, from the very start I tried to pick it up a bit, knowing that Jason was right and I could push myself (a little bit).  About three miles in I wondered if I had started out too fast because I’d passed quite a few people, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.  I just kept going.  I felt like I slowed down a little at about mile 8 or 9, but picked back up again in the last few miles.

To be honest, for most of the race I didn’t really know how much ground I’d covered.  All the signs were in kilometers and I didn’t even know how many kilometers the race was (21–I had to ask another runner).  And of the signs that were posted, I missed a lot of them anyway.

The first time I saw Jason, Ian & Mother Teresa was I think at about mile three and at that time I told Jason I didn’t want to know how I was doing.  When I saw him at I think six miles I forgot to ask.  And then the last time I saw him I wanted to know my mileage.

He didn’t know but a nice lady with a fancy gadget on her wrist pulled up next to me and told me we had come 11.42 miles.  I looked at my watch and it said 1:36, I think. 

“Do you think I’ll make it in under two hours?” 

“No, I don’t think so, but you’ll make it under 2:10,” said Jason.

I ran off and thought to myself, “that doesn’t seem right.  I think I’m going faster than that.”  But I didn’t do the math, I just kept going.

At two kilometers to go, I thought “I think this is actually possible.”  And at 1 kilometer I thought “Yes, it is possible!”  I kicked it up and sped off to the finish line, really sprinting those last several hundred meters.  I looked at my watch and it said 1:59 and some odd seconds. 

Jason didn’t get a photo of me crossing the finish line.  He thought I’d be coming in a minute or two later, only to find me already waiting in line to get my chip removed from my shoe.  My official time was 1:59:24.

Here’s a little video I put together with the footage Jason took:

What an experience–the whole thing, from the first contemplation of running a half, through the training and to the finish line.  I will never forget it. 

It required self-discipline, some embracing of the unknowns (can I really stick with this? what if I don’t meet my goal? can I push myself farther?), some humbling, a lot of prayer, and a whole lot of fun.  It was worship for me.  And I really need that right now in my walk with God.  Thank you, Lord.

It was a pleasure and a joy to tell you about Pilgrim‘s Beacon College and to pray for the kids there who are recovering from a life of child soldiering while I ran.  Thank you to all of you prayed for them, too, or gave a donation to to the organization.  I raised a total of $125.

Thank you to my husband who could see that I needed to do this, accomodated my training schedule, and then in the end pushed me a little bit farther.  Thank you to Ian who came along on most of my runs.  And to Mom who traveled with us and took care of Ian so I could run and Jason could cheer me on.

I also want to thank all of you who have asked me how my training was going and took an interest in this part of my life.  It felt great to know you were supporting me.

Will I do a marathon now?  I don’t think so, at least not yet.  But another half? I hope so.  And then maybe I’ll think about that marathon again.  🙂

See the rest of the photos from our trip.

48 hours until race day

The half marathon is on Sunday.  I am almost there. 

These are my running shoes.  They were bright white and shiney metallic, fresh out of the box when all of this training started. 

About three weeks ago I tried to retire them for a new pair I could break in before the race.  But they wouldn’t let me go.  After three pairs of replacements returned to the store, I came back to them.  They have been so good to my feet and the others just didn’t feel right.  It was if they were protesting, “We did all these miles, too.  Don’t think you’re going to ditch us on race day.  We want our glory!”

I understand, shoes.  I don’t blame you.  I guess I want a little glory, too.

Conversation with my shoes aside, I am really excited for this race.  There’s a little part of me that wonders if I can withstand the mental challenge, especially in those last three miles, but most of me is raring to go.  I’ve been hesitant to share my goal,  but here it is: 10 minute miles.  That will put me in at a little over 2 hours and 10 minutes.  I think I can do it, I’m pretty sure I can do it . . . we will see.

As for my fundraising for child soldiers through Pilgrim, it looks as though no one has donated anything to the cause.  I am disappointed by this, BUT there is still a couple days left before the race!  Please, please consider giving to this great organization who is helping children in Uganda heal from their lives as child soldiers in the LRA.  Visit Pilgrim’s donation page to do so (enter amount next to EHaggard Race). If you’re reading about this for the first time, please vist my half marathon web page.

Lastly, if you think about me on Sunday during the hours of 7:30am-10am PST, please not only pray for me as I run, but also pray for the kids at Pilgrim’s Beacon College and all children affected by child soldiering (which occurs not just in Africa but in many parts of the world).  You can see photos of the kids at Beacon and pray for them by name at Pilgrim’s website.  I will be praying with you.

Also, if you think of me on Sunday, please comment on my web page, it will be really encouraging to me when I return home from the race.

My fantastic husband will be cheering me on and will of course be taking photos and probably video, so you can look forward to it next week.  We’ll also try to catch as much of Victoria as we can and share it with you all.

Half marathon update

Today starts week 10 of my half marathon training.  On Sunday I ran my longest run yet–eight miles.  Actually, it’s the longest run I’ve done since high school.  And of course it wouldn’t have been complete without a torrential downpour during the last 30 minutes of it.

No I did not go to Harvard.

No I did not go to Harvard. If I had, I would be crazy and doing an Ironman.

If I look happy in this photos it’s because I actually AM  happy (and not because I just finished). Jason ran the first lap with me around Greenlake, then I ran a second by myself and ran home from there. It was so much fun. 

In fact, fun has pretty much been the standard concerning this training experience. There have been a few days where I just haven’t felt like hitting the pavement, but for the most part the time has been really beneficial for me in numerous ways.  And despite what the photo shows, I have had great weather most of the time.

The only hiccup I’ve had is a small bike accident . . . which is a bit embarassing.  I fell over onto our neighbor’s parked boat when my bike chain locked as I was coming up the hill to our house.  Thankfully, I wasn’t going very fast, the boat came away unscathed, and no one was around to see it happen 🙂

My time running and biking has also been really great for me spiritually.  Sometimes I listen to sermons or worship music, other times I just run in silence to clear my mind and relax.  At some point during almost all my runs I pray.  And that’s a big deal to me because it’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed praying for an extended period of time.  Obviously, there are other factors involved in why I’m feeling this way, but doing something I love is helping. 

Photo courtesy of World Vision

Photo courtesy of World Vision

One thing I am praying for in my workout time are former child soldiers in Uganda.  As you recall from my previous post, I am looking for people to come alongside me in my training efforts and pray and/or donate funds to Pilgrim’s Beacon College in Uganda. 

Beacon is a school where kids are being healed from their life as child soldiers, acclamating back into society, receiving an education, and meeting Jesus.  I have really enjoyed praying for these kids.  In the past I have felt like there’s nothing I can do to help people suffering, but this time I really believe that God hears my prayers and that they are making a difference, even if only the eyes of my faith can see it.

I know that everyone has a lot on their mind and that the economy is certainly influencing our financial decisions, but please consider getting involved in some way.  Maybe it’s just praying for these kids every time you read this blog or maybe it’s something more.  If you’d like to, you can meet Beacon’s students here and even sponsor one if you like.

Although I don’t have to know if you’re participating, I would really like to.  I’ve created a separate page on the blog (along the top of the web page, entitled “Half Marathon“) that talks about former child soldiers and about Pilgrim’s work in Uganda.  I’ve added more resources and photos, so please do check it out

If decide to get involved you can comment here or there, drop me an email, or tell me in person. Also, if you know anyone who you think would be interested in what I’m doing, please do send them a link to the blog.

If your heart is entrenched in some other cause, I would love to know about that, too.  There is so much that God is calling us to do to be a part of His redemptive work in the world.  It’s encouraging to hear what people care about.

Here’s to my happy running!

Help me run a half marathon

[I accidently deleted this post and had to post it again.  So, if you are receiving it for the second time, I apologize.]

I mentioned briefly a few posts ago that I’ve gotten up the gumption to start training for a half marathon. The subject was brought up between Jason and I during my pregnancy, but I thought it was really just one of those pie-in-the-sky type goals that pregnant women make when they look at their puffy faces in the mirror. So, I didn’t take myself all that seriously.

The truth is that I’ve always wanted to do a half, ever since my cross country days in high school, and I even trained for one a couple years ago, but at the end of training I didn’t complete it as I got sidetracked with an out-of-the-country work trip. I had so much fun training then that I knew I would love to try it again.

Well, I guess I should’ve taken myself a bit more seriously because now I’m actually doing it–I’ve registered for the Victoria B.C. race and I’m into week five of my training! I’m even riding my bike on my cross-training days and have enjoyed it so much that that could easily become another time-sucking hobby. We will see.

Details of training aside, there are several reasons why I’m running this half-marathon: to help me remember what it’s like to do something I really love and to do it, to enjoy the outdoors during this time of year, to get out of the house and have some moments of peace and quiet, etc.

But, there is one important reason why I’m doing this and I would love if you would participate with me in it. I am hoping to bring awareness, lift up prayers, and raise funds for former child soldiers in Uganda through Pilgrim, a Christian relief organization.

For those who don’t know about this issue, a man named Joseph Kony has organized the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda and claims that he is inspired by the Holy Spirit to rebel against the Ugandan government. He is clearly not a follower of Jesus, but that of Satan. Part of his plan involves abducting Ugandan children and forcing them to become solidiers, brainwashing them to kill and destroy.

I first learned about this during my time at World Vision. Thankfully, since then child abduction for these purposes is not much of a problem anymore, as the LRA has diminished in it’s power. But there are thousands of kids left behind who are displaced and traumatized, trying to recover from what has happened to them.

When I thought about a cause I could contribute to, this issue came to my mind particularly because I’m a mom and when I try to imagine kids just like my son enduring such things my heart breaks.

Please partner with me in helping former child soldiers. You can do so in a few ways.

1. Learn more about kids who are recovering from life as a child solider by watching this video.

2. Pray. Ask God to heal these children. Ask Him to give them the greatest gift of all, their salvation. Pray against the enemy, who would try to thwart this.

3. Give to Pilgrim’s Beacon College (featured in the video), a place where kids who were formerly child soldiers are receiving an education, tools to help them heal, and the gospel. There are currently about 500 kids there, but many more who would like to participate. Please pledge to donate a certain amount for every mile I run in training (about 150 miles) and maybe even double the amount for the race (13.1 miles) 🙂 I promise I’ll run my heart out!

If you decide to participate in any of these ways, please comment below. If you feel comfortable specifying how much you’ll pledge per mile and for how many miles, please say so. But whatever way you choose to partner with me, I will be very excited and want to know about it.

If you do give, go on to Pilgrim’s donation page and put in the total amount next to “E Haggard Race”. I will be reporting back on my training progress and the total amount of money I’ve raised so far.

Thanks in advance to everyone who will be supporting me!