I want to tell you a few things that got me through Hood to Coast.
1) I was on a team with some great people. We laughed, we shared stories, we got to know each other, we laughed, we cheered each other on, did I mention we laughed?, we sang, we pushed each other. It was a wonderful team to be on. Steve was greatly missed from the team and I wished he was there, but the team helped me through that too.
2) Others on the course. I have found a true joy in running, but when you are running at 3:30AM it is not quite as joy filled. I must say though that the moon was near full and the stars shone brightly as ran (we were waaaayyyy out in the middle of no where at that point so there were no street lights on that leg). It was my longest leg (6.82 miles). As I passed people I would ask them how they were feeling and encourage them that they were doing great and they would encourage me back.
The last three miles was spent with Colleen from the Apple Fritter team. I had been closing in on her for a while and finally was ready to pass her. I asked her how she was feeling and all that and it encouraged her to keep up with me. She ran the whole three miles with me. Well, except the last 100 yards. She kicked it in and there was no way I was going to catch this 24 year old cross country coach who had been running since she was 14. We did have a great conversation for 22 minutes or so...a complete stranger. Who I hugged at the end and prayed for her knee that had been hurting.
3) Kills. I learned about this little running term last year on this race and I hated it. When you pass someone you call it a kill. When someone passes you, you get killed. Vans would have their tallies on the window. I didn't like it because I knew last year that I was running against people who love to run. At that point I had not fully developed a love for it. Well, that changed this year. I have always loved competition and it does motivate me. This year I had 30 kills and got killed 10 times. Sidenote: Trent, who filled in for an injury, got 72 kills on 1 leg!
4) Finally, but not the least of the list, is as I ran I spent a lot of time talking to Jesus. If you read regularly here you have seen that I pray for people when I run. It's a regular list of family and some friends. And then I asked if there were any people who needed prayer when I was running this race, as I had more miles than usual. I got a ton of requests! The only way I could keep track of it was to take the print out of the requests and to write them on my arms.(below is the second round of writing)
We also handed out these magnets that said "You've been prayed for" and stuck them on vehicles of teams that we prayed for. It's a lot of fun to talk to people along the way and find out their stories. It's pretty easy to have conversations with people because you have one thing in common with them...you are all running the "the mother of all relays." It's amazing what happens when you tell someone you will be praying for them as you run. One lady from the "Cougars" all women team unloaded on me with all the rough things that has happened to her in the last 3-4 weeks. (Ruth, I prayed for you!)
Having conversations with the Creator of the Universe and the one who gives the ability to run is amazing. To "stand in the gap" and pray for someone is such a gift. I was grateful for the opportunity to do so and it truly pushed me as I ran. So thanx everyone who gave me the opportunity to pray for you!
So even though we had a van that either was blazing hot or ice cold and you had to climb in the front to open the back door and all the numerous other issues that drove me nuts about driving it; even though I am in massive pain and will take a little time to heal my muscles so I can run again; even though I got very little sleep...I am glad I got to be a part of this experience once again. See you next year www.hoodtocoast.com!
A few pics from our journey...
The Super Heroes (on my prayer list) ran in their costumes.
I love Mad Gab.
Sleep area and exchange with the other team.
My last leg.
The finish line.
We did it.
My medal of "honor."