Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Running the Race

In 2006 Marc started running.  It all started when he came home from work one day.  He was frustrated with his job, he had gained weight, had back pain, was lethargic, didn't sleep well, and was...well... generally irritable.  He spent his day behind a desk, only to come home to eat a heavy meal and flop on the couch.  I have always benefited from regular exercise, so I not-so-gently suggested he do the same.  After some wifely prodding (complete with eye rolling and exasperated sighs),  he reluctantly agreed to pack his running shoes and simply take a walk at lunch time. 

For a couple of weeks he kept up the walking routine.  One of his co-workers joined him for company.  His co-worker was more fond of jogging, though, and eventually convinced Marc to step it up a notch and start running.  He started running several times a week and loved it!  He lost weight, was much happier, and had energy in the evenings to hang with the kids.  He slept better and his chronic back pain went away.  I was so happy for him.

In 2007 he changed jobs and went to work for Slalom Consulting.  Several of his new co-workers were runners and they would often break for lunch and go running.  He really started putting in the miles, excited about how great he felt after each run.  In the fall of 2008 he learned that Slalom would sponsor employees to run the Rock and Roll Run in Seattle.  They would pay his entry fee and they had a training program that would help prepare him for the run.  I soon learned that it wasn't just a fun 5K, but a half marathon -- 13.1 miles.  While I was all for exercise, this seemed ludicrous.  Only crazy people sign up for such things.  It seemed so unappealing....and hard.  I wasn't overly excited or supportive.

I finally agreed (more sighs) to support him in his training; however, I insisted that he get a physical and get our family doctor to sign off that his forty-something body could handle it.  Well, we pretty much all know what happened next.  He went to the doctor for a routine exam in February of 2009.  He left the doctor's office with orders for a CT scan for a palpable mass in his abdomen.  Needless to say, Marc never got to run his half marathon.

This past fall I got dragged into running with my friends at the kids' school.  We would drop the kids at school in the morning and slog out a few miles, rewarding ourselves with Starbucks coffee afterwards.  I was reluctant at first.  I am not a runner.  I am a gym rat, preferring to log miles on the elliptical in a dry, temperature controlled environment.  I am not built for running.  It's hard.  The first few weeks I struggled simply to keep up.  I would be gasping for air while the other girls carried on conversations.  We would come to a traffic light and they would curse the fact that we missed the light and had to wait to cross.  I would praise God for that missed light! Oxygen is not overrated!

I stuck with it, though.  Not that I had a choice.  My friends are soooo convincing and there was, of course, the coffee macchiato at the end of the run.  By December I found my stride and was (ahem) enjoying myself.  I no longer felt like I was dying and could even carry on a conversation for the entire run.  I have to admit that those runs were such a blessing to me this year.  I have amazing friends.  I've known that all along, but it warrants being said again.  They are amazing.  As we slogged out the miles -- rain or shine -- we shared our frustrations, sorrows, worries, joys and triumphs.  To have that time to share with such faithful and wonderful women was so humbling and encouraging. 

In December I approached Marc's employer, Slalom, about the possibility of running the Rock and Roll Run in Seattle under the Slalom name.   I had started feeling led to finish Marc's race.  I now knew how much time and work it took for him to be ready for that race.  I had logged the miles, often reflecting on Marc and his life.  Always realizing how God has held us in His protective grip all the way.  Slalom agreed to let us run under their jersey, and they paid our entry fee!  These folks are generous beyond comprehension.  I am so honored to run with their company logo.  My  hope is that we represent this fine company well!  I will never be able to repay them for their kindness and generosity, but I can certainly acknowledge it as often as I can.  Please pray that I can finish strong...well...at least finish....

So, this weekend I am headed to Seattle with eight friends to finish what Marc could not.  I suspect it will be an emotional weekend for all involved.  Brian has been supportive of my training and will be there to cheer me on, along with Adam, Ben, Julia and Sophia.  I couldn't be more grateful for their encouragement.  I couldn't have made it through the training without their cooperation and support.

As I run I will be dedicating the miles to some special people. 

1.  Marc.  For his life and legacy.   I am proud to start running this race in his memory. 
2. Patti A.  For her battle against lung cancer.  She is also a beautiful servant of Christ.  This mile will be a prayer for healing in her body.  Her story can be found HERE
3.  Matt F.  For his battle against brain cancer.  He, too, is a faithful Christian man.  He, his wife, and their four kids, continue to trust the Lord despite the odds.  God is sovereign, though, and doesn't play odds.  This mile will be a time to pray for Matt's healing.  His story can be found HERE
4.  Jenn C.  Praising God that she beat breast cancer!
5.  Kamelah N.  Praising God that she beat Leukemia!
6.  Kathy C.  Praising God that she beat uterine cancer!
7.  Maxine E.  In memory of an amazing mentor and friend. 
8.  Adam.  My sweet son.  For his courageous and sensitive spirit.  Thank you, Adam.  You are becoming a mighty man of God.  I am so proud of you!
9.  Ben.  My loyal son.  For his protective and stoic spirit.  Thank you, Ben, for all your love and concern.  You, too, are becoming a mighty man of God.
10.  Julia.  My princess girl.  For finding the courage to smile again.  Your joy gives me hope.
11.  Sophia.  My "mini-me."  For your sensitive heart and independent spirit.  Your persistence in remembering your dad is honorable.  I love you, Sweetpea!
12.  Brian.  My husband.  For all the patience, support, and encouragement you have given me.  You are a good man and I am so blessed to have you as my husband.  You took on a lot by marrying me and the kids. God didn't make a more generous or servant hearted person. You are a wonderful spouse and father.  Your love, honesty, and leadership are a HUGE blessing.  Thank you!
13.1  Marc.  Crossing this finish line in his memory.  Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity....
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who who have loved His appearing.

2 Timothy 4: 6-8
With love and gratitude...