Running

running I've always loved running.

In sixth grade I was on the cross country team; I had a crush on both Jordan Buhler and Anders Wick. I couldn't decide, okay? I had a light pink backpack at that time, a knock off brand which was so uncool - it was no Jansport. After cross country practice one day, I walked home in the rain and my backpack was such poor quality that it became completely transparent and everything inside of it got wet. But it was okay, because Jordan walked me halfway home and that made me happy.

I would have continued running on the cross country team if I were allowed to do both cross country and volleyball. But because they were during the same season, the time of year when Back To School sales are strong and the leaves begin falling to the ground turning crunchy, I had to choose. I chose volleyball, year after year, because I knew I would at least run a little bit during volleyball warm ups; up and down the court. If it were an extremely athletic day, I could also run before or after volleyball practice.

After middle school ended I had to choose between track & field and softball. Again, I knew I would be running during softball; throwing a shot put and a softball was similar enough to me, so I decided to lean into the game with the balls not-so-soft and became the backup Varsity pitcher right away. Center field was my primary position, starting as a freshman. I ran when I was able, whether that was in the morning before school or work, greeting the morning sun, or in the evening beneath the shining stars. But most definitely, I did not run daily.

While Loren and I dated, we ran together and prayed aloud for life and people and things. We prayed for women who have chosen abortion, women who are in the thick of such a huge decision, for our little church community, for our future togetherness, our future babies. Two months into our marriage we and our married-friends drove down to San Fran to run the Womens Nike [Half] Marathon. The next year, Loren and I ran the Corvallis Half Marathon and the Mary's Peak 25k [which was actually 17 miles] Trail Run. A few months after that ridiculously painful and arduous run, we made the big adult decision that we wanted to do a marathon. My generous grandparents sponsored us to run the Portland Marathon 2015. [That's this year...in less than 3 months].

It's the pressing of my feet into tennis shoes, lacing them up tight like a bow on a birthday present, the stepping outside into the breeze so brisk, lungs filling up with fresh air, the moving of my body, pushing it to its limit and then some, the pounding of my feet as my heart follows suit, the clear air inviting a clear mind, an empty canvas, ready to be painted. It is as though my mind and my heart are released into reality, the reality of thanksgiving and freshness, with every step, one foot in front of the other.

Running reminds me that everything will be okay. Though my body aches and often my heart too, running allows my brain moments of rest without to do's; all I have to do is keep going. Just keep on keeping on.

My last two years of high school and freshman year of college were severely distressing; my family was facing infidelity, alcoholism, workaholism, complete destruction. Nothing new for anyone who lives in this broken world; but its pain-filled. Decisions I made during those years were not so beautiful, with my actions and my words and my intentions. I was confused, my heart chaotic, nothing made sense. But running beneath the stars late into the night, laying in the middle of the field across from the tennis courts, breathing in the crisp air burning my lungs as I cried out to Him..those nights kept me partially sane.

Running is a space for me and God and God and me and us together, chatting and existing.

Running puts me back on my swivel.

Though running has always been important to me, though it fills me up full and I have my greatest revelations and sometimes my most intimate and raw prayers, it also has always been secondary.

I could go months, nearly a year, in between runs and get up and go steady without walking for 7 to 8 miles with an 8:30 mm. Leisurely. No big deal. The half marathons were nearly easy for me; I barely needed to train. I peer into my near future with this marathon in the early stages of October and for the first time I am nervous for this race. This run. This challenge.

Running has never been so hard for me as it is now.

I've been attempting to train for this marathon and I feel blocked up, obstructed, arrested from my usual ability. My maximum milage as of recent has been 4 miles at a 9:45 mm. Sweating profusely, breathing with difficulty, my lungs burning from scar tissue, my body aching all over but especially in my back. When I finish, my muscles clam up tight, contracting and clenching together, letting me know they are done working, done stretching. They feel solid in my body, muscles of molasses.

My friend said she thinks I'm having a brain-block. That I kind of have things rattling around in there.

I cannot help but think of bible reading and praying and spending time soaking in His nearness. This lifestyle of walking with Him in the everydayness, is so important to me, so pressing and all that I want. But how it is so easy to place that second, if not last, on our priority list. Like I ditched cross country for volleyball, I often ditch reading my Bible for community life. I justify it with, well its basically the same because Jesus is all about community. Neither volleyball nor community are inherently bad or evil; they're both beautiful and good and lovely. But when I make the decision, because it is very much my decision and yours, to look away and walk away from the nook of prayer time with Him, my heart becomes starved. The Holy Spirit in me is parched, running ragged, losing its nourishment. The muscles of my core are weakened and malnourished, gasping and reaching for His presence and solitude, and I deny it. 

It is easy to go an entire week without opening the pages and unfolding what He has for us, for me and for you; when we do finally return to that place, it feels awkward and weird, scary and vulnerable. Unsafe. Which is so much a lie. After weeks of soul-malnourishment, the returning run, the returning-meeting in solitude feels off and abnormal; it feels broken. But I am convinced that habit and ritual will turn this back into beauty, into a freedom place where my heart runs towards Him.

As of recent, I have been carving out an hour of moments with Him in the nook of our nursery, the corner near the window, on the rug that is so cushy and inviting and perfect for my knees and my tears. I do my best to ignore the lie that it is scary and too vulnerable, that I will hear nothing from His heart, and instead enter that place of silence and solitude and fullness and presence. The place of holiness because He is so there. Every morning, waiting for me. When I do not enter that place of presence, I feel Him beckoning, calling, sweetly saying, "But this time means something to me too, Dear. Not just you. I need this time, too." And so I lay down my to do's and my work and the nagging of my scull and I enter into His nearness.

nursery nook

 

Soon there will be a rocking chair in this corner, inviting me to rock and to lean into Him, to lay my heart on His chest as it rises and falls with the breathing of in and out. I hope to create a space of prayer here, in this nursery nook, building a habit into this room of prayer and grace and presence. A no-phone-zone. It's not some guilt-ridden thing that needs to be engulfed in condemnation, but rather a delightful, filling-up invitation.

A place to meet Him, daily.

In Over Our Heads: 25k Trail Run

Well friends, to put it nicely, our trail run humbled us. It was the most difficult physical task Loren or I have ever accomplished. Ever. In our young 20-some years of life. And this is how it went: We found the Blodgett Elementary School - about a beautiful 40 minute drive from home - around 7:15 am. As we parked and walked up to the minuscule crowd of runners, I couldn't help but be completely self conscious. Not only were these obviously-experienced trail runners, but this particular bunch of humans were here to run the 50k. Do you know how many miles that is? 30. 30 miles and about 7,000 feet of elevation climb. These folks were the real deal. Nothing like the half-marathon road runners. It was a completely different crowd. As we waited to board the buses, I was humbled by their sweet running attire - very elite, friends. Hats, tights, sleeves, compression things...sweet camel baks, and so on. Here was Loren and I in our sweet saucony trail shoes and lovely yellow waste bands equipped with water & gummy bears. 20140623-132324-48204975.jpg

20140623-132544-48344822.jpg There are some real intense runners out there, guys. Like, we thought we knew how to run - you just run. But nope, you need compression socks and arm sleeves and sweet camel baks.

My niece's 1st birthday party was this same day, 1 pm in Willsonville, OR. Our 25k was supposed to start at 10. The 50k was to start at 8:30. We asked if we could start with the 50k'ers at 8:30 to "be done by 11". *Snicker*

The bus ride was a fairy tale - just two young kids in love and holding hands and dreaming together. Also, tiniest seats ever.

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20140623-133533-48933242.jpg We were giddy and nervous and excited to say the least. We were also eavesdropping on all of the professionals around us, 70% of them gray-headed, and were slightly intimidated by their conversations. We were just two little tadpoles surrounded by sharks.

And then the bus drove up a big mountainous road and dropped us all off. Then left. There was no way to get back but to run, literally. Spotty cell service; we would have to carry each other if someone broke an ankle.

I would love to note that I had the most lovely outhouse experience: pink, flowery, and smelled great. Much better than wiping with leaves; just being real.

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20140623-145840-53920111.jpg Team Brenner commence running @ 9:29 am. Alone. Slightly worried we won't finish the "almost 16 miles" by 12 pm, we begin in a flurry. And we run through a very thick forest filled with tons of roots sticking up, ready to trip you the fleeting second you look up. We run quickly, it seems, only to hear we are at a 10mm pace. 1 mm slower than our training. Discouraged, I insist we run faster, "we don't want to miss Elsy's ENTIRE party, do we?"

Ohhhhh me and my agenda!

Like I said in my Half Marathon post, every time my nike plus app "cheered" us from Facebook, we were given a boost. It was like we still had people on the sidelines, even though there was only nature at it's finest. So, THANK YOU TEAM! Friends, I could walk you through mile by mile. I will never forget this race. It was dreadful. But beautiful. The most beautiful. We ran through thick forest, on tiny trails, we ran through clearings of tall grass + wild flowers, we ran on mountain ridges and looked over the valley. It. Was. GORGEOUS. I was falling more in love with the Pacific NorthWest, all the while frustrated that I was missing my niece's birthday, and very humbled at how amateur we were.

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20140623-150927-54567442.jpg Before the run, I asked Loren, "what do you think God will teach me on this run?" Boy, was I in for a lesson or 7! I will share a few.

Every time we came to "the steepest hill yet," which seemed to be every 50 ft, we told each other "We made it up the last one, we can make it up this one." It didn't mean the hills got any easier. It didn't mean they caused less pain and frustration. It was simply encouraging knowing we made it through the last one, therefore we could make it through this one, together. We reminded each other that flat roads were coming, we shared our water, we cheered each other on. I can't even tell you what a blessing running has been ultimately -- it has knit our hearts together more than not.

Half the time we weren't sure we were even on the trail. We would be running through the forest unsure if we were on the right path. Jumping over rocks & ruts and dodging bushes and SLUGS (spawns of satan). Soon enough, we would see our trail-marker, noting we are indeed on the right course! Do you know how much hope those pieces of red tape dangling from tree branches were? Do you know how much relief we had every time we saw one of the red flags? So. Much. HOPE! It was like, "Glory to God, we won't be lost & eaten by the bears! We won't die of starvation! We are on the right path!"

Around mile 8 I wanted to die. That's right, I wanted to lie down under a rock and shrivel to my death. Fortunately, I had my nifty running partner who encouraged me and high-fived me and told me I could do it. He gave me a few gummy bears and said I have ran further than this, I can do this. So I kept going. Around mile 14, Loren wanted to die. He wanted to stop, drop, and roll off the cliff. I had my second wind and was ready to sprint. But I encouraged him, I prayed for him, I told him he was my hero. I cheered him on for running further than either of us ever had. And he kept going.

Interesting that both of our breaking points were at different times. Also, very helpful, because we were able to build each other up when we felt like crumbling into dust. Which I'm pretty sure we could have. But what amazing moments for our friendship.

I remember thinking through these next thoughts right after I took these photos:

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20140623-152610-55570218.jpg THIS IS A DISASTER! We thought we could run trails! I didn't sign up for this crazy steep, crazy slug doom. I signed up for 15 miles with a 2200 foot elevation climb. I didn't sign up for 17 miles with a 4,922 foot elevation climb. But I did sign up for a trail run.. I even PAID for it. I invested my own money to go through this. It's harder than I thought, it's longer than I planned, it's way more painful than I would have asked for.

Talk about whiny. Here is when my thoughts transitioned:

God, why does this happen more than we think? We sign up to follow you and we don't usually "count the cost" like you tell us to. And even if we do, we don't know what is planned. We don't know the distance you'll ask us to travel or the mountains you'll ask us to climb. We surely don't know the pain we will endure.

But we can have confidence that you will walk us through it. That you'll even carry us on your wings. And we don't have to fear. Oh Jesus, I'm so grateful for you.

God? Do you ever ask us to do things in this life and then they turn out to be a disaster? A flop?

And that is when the words of a man from our church flooded through my heart, "I asked God why he had me do that {something while Pastoring a church} - it turned into a DISASTER. A complete flop. And everyone knew it. Why would He choose that? Humans saw it as a failure. You know what He told me? He said, 'That's none of your business, and you don't ask me again.'"

Sometimes we don't know the fullness of what we are signing up for. Whether it be a race, a sport, a class, and definitely a day to day life following Jesus Christ. When Jesus asks us to walk through the suffering and the pain, and when it appears to us as a complete failure, we have to trust Him. We have to remember His promise, "Do not fear, I am with you." We must choose confidence in His spirit because He knows best. He will carry us through, He will bring us from glory to glory.

Even if it's not how we think it should look.

To you who are peering ahead at the daunting mountain-climb OR who are already clawing up it, with dirt in your nails, KEEP GOING. You can do it! Jesus victored the last one, He will help you conquer this one. Keep pressing your heels into the dirt and moving forward. Don't stop and get stuck, the best way to go is forward. Keep forgiving, keep choosing joy, keep being honest. Lean into His graces, He has strength ready to be given to you.

To you who have your own agenda, "along with God's agenda," you should probably let go of it. You should probably realize sooner than I do, how selfish you become and how self-centered you are in your pursuit of your own agenda. I didn't enjoy the run nearly as much as I could have, because I was so focused for so long on what we were missing. I was so caught up in my plans being ruined and not being able to watch my niece decline cake again. She won't even know I wasn't there -- she is 1. But I was so caught up in MY agenda, I couldn't enjoy what I had originally signed up for and even invested in. Once I did let go, I enjoyed my time with Loren and the beauty that engulfed my surroundings. I enjoyed my circumstance. Let go of your agenda and pursuit, I will always work on this to too, and we will enjoy God's life a whole lot fuller!

To you who are on the path that is empty and narrow, keep your eyes open for His landmarks. He is there and He is guiding you. Let His spirit bring you Hope & Relief, walk in the confidence of being on His path. The best path. Even when no one else is. Keep on forgiving, keep on choosing joy, keep on leaning into Him.

To you who are discouraged and tired and weary...let those around you know. Tell those who care for you and let them root you on! This is why we need the church, we need each other. Let them encourage you and remind you that you can do this, just keep seeking the face of Jesus Christ. Keep sitting at His feet to soak in His love for you and don't forget to give thanks.

To you who feel as though you obeyed God (or are obeying Him) and it feels like a disaster, a destroyed failure, be still and know that He is God. Know that HE knows, He sees the greater picture, and you are one small instrument being used. He is bringing you from glory to glory, and if your heart is obedient to His will, you can have confidence and peace.

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20140623-154058-56458016.jpg Keep forgiving, keep choosing joy, keep loving & being a light, keep being honest before Jesus.

Will we run this again? Many have asked. The answer? Probably yes.

We got our pint glasses as we finished at 3 hours and 50 minutes.

I am in desperate need for a pedicure.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race GOD has set before us. Hebrews 12:1

BY THE WAY: I got 3rd out of 25 women, 9th out of 45 total. Loren got 10th. That shocked us.

Loving Our Neighbors

Our once-neighbor girl showed up at our front door to ask if I would run a 5k with her. Yesterday we trained with the Girls On The Run team and it was about 1,000 degrees outside.

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We walked 2.91 of the miles and jogged about .1. It was awesome and I loved it and she kept saying, "No offense but I need to walk." Girl please...no offense taken! I'll gladly walk and soak in the hot sun while sweat pools and falls off of my face.

By the end of the training-run-walk I was wearing her vibrant tutu, carrying her water bottle, and holding a piece of paper. It was great, really. I felt like an all-star champion.

During our training-run {walk}, I couldn't help but ask Jesus to make something bigger out of this than me running and encouraging her. Though I know that is of value, I craved to go deeper. I hungered for more of His purpose in my life.

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Around mile 2 our conversation turned from cold water and butterflies and best friends to Jesus. She told me all about her dad's anger when she was younger and the darkness that came with the violence she experienced. She told me all about the power of God, and how her dad was invited to church by a basketball buddy. For years he invited him and for years her dad declined, until one day. Since that day, he has worked on his anger and now goes into his bedroom to calm down when he gets worked up. She shared her favorite verse, by memory: "cast your cares upon The Lord because He cares for you," Psalm 55:22.

She told me that she remembered that I once told her that I loved Jesus and that He loves her, so she knew that I would be a good running buddy. We could talk and chat and pray, and I would understand. Those were her 4th grade words.

This is all through and for and because of Jesus.

I'm going to be real honest: this is not for Natalie. If I lived for Natalie, I would be a nurse at Good Sam, spending every single waking moment either alone in my garden, reading with a cup of tea or with Loren. I would live for me and only for me. I am a very, very selfish person. And often, I hate admitting that. But these past few days, I have found immense freedom and recognizing that. I have found freedom in admitting to myself and to Jesus that I am so, very selfish. And that BECAUSE of Jesus, I get to choose to live for more than myself. Because of Jesus, I get to live large. For Jesus and through Jesus and only because of Him, I get to pour my life out.

Friends. We have the most beautiful and blessed calling: "Love your neighbor...Feed God's sheep...Love His people."

Because of Jesus, Loren and I purposefully loved our neighbors. Because of Jesus, Loren and I tell our neighbor kids that they are MORE than their circumstances. These things aren't huge or big deals - it's simply what we as Christians are called to do. We spend our time and energy on others, because of and for Jesus. We get to live for something bigger than ourselves. Through Jesus. And Boy, are we fulfilled! Even through exhaustion we are blessed through the fulfillment of living sold out for Jesus. All glory to Him.

I want to encourage you to love and serve your neighbors. Smile at them. Learn their names, even if you have to keep a note pad list of them on your fridge! Take them cookies at Christmas and love their kids. Share your story about how you love yours, so we can have some ideas. My sister babysits for her neighbor's kids so she doesn't have to get a second job. You never know what fruit will come.

You never know. You may get to be a loving, listening ear, pointing towards Jesus. You may be the only person outside of the family, encouraging this crazy following towards Jesus - do it. Encourage. Empower. Serve. Deny yourself for the sake of building up this Bride {the church} and those around you.

Let's choose to live for something bigger than ourselves, every day. Live for Jesus.

All for Jesus. All because of Jesus. All through Jesus.

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Training for a 25k Trail Run

Last Monday, Loren & I were determined to find another run for this summer. We have an envelope started and knew our budget made for slim pickins, but we were set. Insert: Mary's Peak 25k. $49 each. Most runs were already at $100. This is how it went:

"Loren! I found one! And it's close. And it's on a Saturday! And it's...only $49 each!" He glances over. We read "Blodgett to Mary's Peak" and all that registers is "local." Not "trail run," not "2,500 elevation," not "14.28 mm average pace." Nope: we saw Local + Saturday morning + >$50 + free swag bag {literally, that's our prize}.

We are signed up within 6 minutes of stumbling upon it.

Something about me is that I had bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms. That's the technical term for big fat deathly blood clots in both lungs. From those little killers, I formed very big scar tissues in my lungs. Running was a difficult re-start for me after my PEs. It hurt, I could barely run a 12mm for one mile. My chest burned, my lungs didn't want to expand, I was devastated. But over the course of the following 4 years, I kept at it. I pressed on. I ran my first half marathon in October of 2012 {2 years almost to date since my PE}. My second just last month. Road running had become fairly easy -- my body handled it well, my mind was cake, the only rare ache I had was the occasional lung stabs.

Nike Plus Corvallis Half

After our second half marathon, I wanted a bigger challenge. I love challenges - it probably has something to do with me trying to find worth in the wrong places; but maybe it doesn't. We looked into full marathons but most of them for this year were already up and over $100. A lot of them are on Sundays and out of town, and we value being part of our church community on Sundays. When we stumbled upon Mary's Peak 25k, I read 15 miles and thought, "there is the next challenge! 2 more miles." I didn't even think of the trail-straight-uphill-kill-me part.

I didn't think of the intense pain I would endure in my lungs. It's a whole new game, trail running is.

3 days pass since signing up. We decide we should try this trail running thing. We drive to Chip Ross & we run a difficult 1.47 miles - straight up, bumpy down. We almost die. I am pouring sweat off of my body like a man. Loren is shirtless. And we are unsure of our tightened calves and glutes. I was slightly discouraged as I am used to running 10 miles with ease.

The next day rolls around and we decide to run up the back of Bald Hill. We hiked it during our engagement and knew it was going to be quite the challenge. This 4 mile run was difficult, but encouraging. Straight up, straight down, flat. Though I was tempted about 800 times to stop and walk {and though I may have moved quicker that way} I didn't. Loren didn't. He cheered me on, he rooted my name, he told me I could do it. What a babe.

Our third run last week was up the easy side of Bald Hill. For each of these runs, Loren would constantly be saying, "Wow! It's beautiful up here! Look at this! Wow!" Every time he said these things, I was reminded that I was stating at his feet. Staring at the ground directly in front of me, focusing on my breathing, trying not to quit. I wasn't looking up to take in the beauty. I wasn't looking around, basking in Gods creation. I was tunneling my vision to the dirt. The rocks. The feet pounding before me.

As usual, I could not help but think of my walk in life: my adventure towards Jesus. How often do I unconsciously stare at the dirt, the muck, the rocks below me. The feet pounding ahead of me. Thinking how I am behind others in my growth process and how far I have to grow. Why can't I appreciate my surroundings of just where I'm at? And how often do I miss out on the green, lush, beautifully captivating life that surrounds me? How often am I so focused on my own inner pain {and turmoil}, thinking through the best way to breathe {quite literally}, and not allowing myself the freedom to look around, soak in the blessings? Instead, I focus on self. I look inward. I constantly am trying to improve self, step by step. Which has it's pros and it's cons.

It is good {I believe} to be self-analytical. But only to an extent. It can be dangerous. If all I am doing every step of my adventure is looking at the feet ahead of me, pounding the dusty dirt, inwardly focused on how I should breathe so that I can avoid pain...I won't be impacting anyone's life but my own. I won't be changing this world for the better, bringing hope that this world needs. I won't be doing my job as a follower of the best God-Man-Savior-Lover.

Today, I want to breathe with the ease of peace, not comparing myself to others.

Today I want to look around and soak in the beauty that engulfs my life.

Today, I want to keep my head up and my eyes forward, forgetting myself and remembering Him.

He covers us, friends. He is everywhere. Look around and soak Him in. Breathe Him in.

He will bring you freedom.

2 Half Marathons Down: What's Next?

You can do this too! I promise. If I can, you can. My first half marathon was October 14, 2012. My friend Melissa and I put our names in for the Nike Womens {Half) Marathon down in San Francisco. In April that year I was in Boise visiting Loren and I got an email saying we were accepted! About a month later, Melissa and I began running more consistently. I n those 5 months of training, I didn't go over 8 miles. The most I had ran was 7.56 miles and that was only one time! I mostly stuck to 4 mile jogs.

I hope this will encourage you!

My finishing time for the NWM was 1:55:44. My goal was 2 hours and I beat it! Let me tell you, the hills were nasty and my knees never locked up so bad as the car ride home. If I ever do a run in another state, I will not get in the car immediately for the drive home. We will be doing more stretching!

My second half marathon was my favorite of the two because it was with my husband! Such a great friendship building time. It was just yesterday, April 13, 2014. The last week of December, I saw an ad for the Corvallis Half and asked Loren if he would run it with me. He jokingly said yes and I took that as a yes so therefore I paid and there we were: signed up. He thought I was crazy.

We finally started running consistently in...March. January and February were full of hopeful thinking and great ideas of going out for a run, but I think we ran about 3 times total in those months! And each of those runs were no more than 3 miles.

For a month and a half, we tried to run 3x a week. That was our training. There were a good few weeks that we didn't run at all because of the rain (yes, we are whimps!) or because of sickness. In the last two weeks, we got up to 10.5 miles which was Loren's record mileage. We were averaging 10:30 minute miles in the long runs, and our goal would need 9 minute miles.

Race day arrived after a hectic week and we were ready to let those endorphins go! We stood in the 9mm area in hopes to reach our goal of 2 hours. Our first 4 miles were an 8:31mm and we felt good! After that, we were at 8:57mm for about 4 more miles and then hit 9:07 for a few. We ended up with an average of 9:11mm and I was so proud of my husband! Mile 11 was the wall. Loren was feeling it in his toes (time for new shoes and better socks).

There is something so surreal about being cheered on. We never run that fast or that hard, but boy when the people on the sidelines are cheering you on, it is quite a boost. It is so needed in order to keep going. There would be kids lined up ready to give you high fives and Loren kept telling them they were giving him power - it was awesome. Just when you feel like you might need to die a little bit, someone yells at you that you are doing great and they are proud of you. A stranger. Time and time again I was reminded that I need to be better at cheering on my friends and family in everyday life. But not JUST friends and family, but strangers. Waitresses. Baristas. Walker-by-strangers. We need to cheer one another on! It is so powerful, it brings so much encouragement. Even something as little as a "you can do it! keep going!"

Can we commit to growing in encouraging each other? What a difference it makes, especially when you're running out of inner fuel. You know yourself how much of a gift it is to be cheered on (I hope anyways!) - remind yourself of the blessing, next time you have even the smallest inkling to encourage someone else.

We crossed through the finish line, kissed, and grabbed a metal - which is hilariously awesome!

Hotty! Pre-Race The course Free dry fit!

I have done 2 Half Marathons and Loren has done 1. We have been talking about running a full because, well, we are crazy. We are flat crazy. But let's be real: if we can run a half, why not go for the full? We love achy knees, sweating like a pig, letting salt dry out our faces, and having our bloody toe nails fall off. After all, doesn't that make for a great need for a pedicure?

Who is with us? We are looking into a {half} marathon for this fall. Maybe in Washington or Idaho. Would you join us if we did? Please comment & let me know! Or message me. We would love to have running partners to encourage and be encouraged by! Another idea we have been really talking about is doing the Columbia River Gorge Marathon. They also have a half. Why not brave the crazy with us? What are friends for?

Nike Plus Corvallis Half Corvallis Half 2014