Friday, May 28, 2010

Florida - Still Catching Up

Hi Friends,

The day after getting home from the Adventure Relay I jumped on a plane to Ft. Lauderdale to visit my sister Allison.

Allison is 13 months younger than me. She went to school at Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL. After graduating she spent a year teaching in South Korea and then lived with my parents for several months prior to moving back to Florida to be a nanny. She started a new job on May 3, so the week prior to that (when I visited) was a perfect opportunity to spend some fun time together!

I can't get over how fun it is to be with my siblings now that we are grown up. I am just so amazed how God has worked in each of us so differently, and how great each of my siblings are in their unique ways! Allison and I had a great time talking through things we've learned, and I was struck by how different our journeys have been, even though we were raised by the same people, have similar genetics, and have shared friends and experienced many of the same things throughout our lives.

Here are some of the things we did!

We visited the Everglades:

I got to meet many of Allison's friends. She seems to have some wonderful people to share life with there. Since her birthday was the day after I left, I was able to attend her birthday party:

We thought the reactions people had when they heard we were sisters was funny... as it has been for most of our lives. "Really???," "You guys look NOTHING alike," "I can see it," "Are you sure?," "I can see it in your eyes," "Wow! You guys look alike," were just some of the exclamations we elicited.

On my last night there Allison, her friend Kristen, and I went to a nice area in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, intending to take a night boat-ride. We ended up missing the boat by about 10 seconds, so we walked around a park and took some pictures. It was a lovely night.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Adventure Relay -- Lessons

I realized after my last post that I forgot to tell you about the coolest moment of the race for me.

When I started my 5am run, I was exhausted. I'd run over 10 miles already within the 20 hours preceding it, and only had two hours of sleep on a cold gym floor. It was pitch black, and as I started the leg with a woman whose pace was (amazingly) slower than mine. I wanted to stick with her as long as possible, because within the first half-mile we descended from partially lit streets into the C&O Canal -- running under train tracks in the darkness with only a head lamp to light the way. About a mile in the woman stopped to walk, and I kept going.

I ran a while longer and was just so tired. My legs didn't feel like moving anymore and I didn't have a very good idea of how far I'd gone or would still need to go. Walking sounded like a brilliant idea. Then, a few things happened:

I realized that I (a) could finish the run and (b) started praying that God would give me the energy and discipline to do it. One step at a time, I plodded along.

I got frustrated looking at my feet, and wanted to get a better idea of what was around me. Twice I moved my headlamp from facing mostly down in front of me to being angled up, thinking I'd be able to see straight in front of me. It didn't work. All that happened was that I no longer had such a good view of the step right ahead. There was nothing close enough to me in front to catch the light of the lamp. So I shifted it back down and kept running.

In that moment of exhaustion and frustration, God showed me a few things. Most of you know me, so you know that I tend to be very much a "big picture" person. I'm not a huge fan of trifling with the small details... show me what's really going on and I'll do much better than if you just tell me what to do. I like to know the end goal before I start something, keep my eyes on the prize while doing it, and be aware of the underlying motives and pressures affecting actions and interactions in the meantime.

So as I was running in the dark, God showed me that, in the race and often in life, He would have me trust Him one step at a time, following the path He has set before me, willing to change directions by His bidding, and trusting that He has the big picture. This was especially poignant given my current life status and situation. Sometimes it is the right thing to focus on my feet and just keep going, one step at a time. I can use the info I have but need to be OK that I don't know everything. At this point I need to move ahead with the information I've been given!

Getting Caught Up -- Adventure Relay

Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for your patience as it has been so long since I've posted! It has been an eventful month or so, and I'm going to try to start getting caught up.

Thanks so much for your prayers for the adventure relay! I survived all of my runs (and ran it all, although not too quickly), and had a wonderful time! I was the first runner, so I started our team out at 10:15am. My first leg was 6 miles in Pennsylvania countryside, and reminded me a little bit of running in Grove City. A few miles in, I got concerned since my feet were falling asleep. My shoes were new, and I was afraid that there was something wrong with them. I'm embarrassed to say that it probably took me a mile of running to realize that they were tied too tight. After adjusting them things went better! My run finished past Gettysburg College and through the city of Gettysburg. It is beautiful!

This is Emily and me preparing for the race.

My team was waiting for me when I finished my first run. I was so thankful to know that it was the longest one I'd be doing, so it was quite a relief to have it over! Stacy ran after me, then the rest of our team. There were a few epic runs completed by my teammates in the first leg. It was great to get to cheer for them.

Many of the transition points were entertaining -- I liked this one.

My second run was right at dark, around 8pm and was about 5 miles. It was probably my best run in terms of speed, but I was nervous running alone on country roads after dark. Thankfully, though, I was safe!

We got some sleep on a gym floor (about 2 hours), before we traveled to the start of my 4 mile third leg, which I started at 5am. I started the team along the C&O Canal, which we followed for the rest of the day. We had a great time together as a team especially as we each completed our last legs. What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment!

This was right after the last transition point. After sending Dan (the last runner) off on his final leg we jumped in our cars to head to the finish line in DC.