Tag Archive | half-marathon

HWI And Alice

This has become feature week at the Road to Beautiful where I seem to be highlighting some of my friends and what they are about…I hope you don’t mind, because really, the people I am highlighting are all on their own journeys towards Beauty in their own way and it is good to notice it is not all about weight loss…

Today I want you to meet Alice.  I met Alice a few years ago when I spent a week at ELIM.  Remember, the race team I was part of when I ran Nashville a few weeks ago?? Alice is one of the stateside ministry workers who came to ELIM for a week of rest before setting out into the rest of what God had called her to.

This is what I remember of Alice from that week on the banks of the Huron River.  She was kind and sweet-natured.  She was quiet, which I tend to notice because I am NOT quiet.  Yet, in her quietness, she was passionate about the ministry God had given her and how He was using her in practical ways to serve others and that passion was contagious.  Her ministry you might ask?  It is called His Wheels International and is a ministry that provides bikes to people.  They take donations of bikes, fix them up and give them away and have given away bikes to people affiliated with 85 different countries.  They reach out to immigrants, refugees, international students, ex-offenders and missionaries who may be in need of a bike.

HWI also has a global ministry.  On an international scale, Alice and her team created a prototype for a hand-pedaled three wheel bike, they call a trike.   This trike was designed with people in third wold countries who have been disabled due to things like polio or land mines and do not have use of their legs any longer to be able to pedal.  Providing a trike gives them a sense of dignity as they can now get themselves places and care for themselves without having to drag themselves through the dirt to get where they need to go. How fantastic is THAT?!

Currently on the global scale, HWI now provides plans, resources and information for the development of these trikes with the hope and vision that these trikes can be manufactured locally, thereby not only providing one person with transportation, but a community with a means for employment.   More dignity to be had…

If you can’t tell, I am awfully proud to know Alice, honored to call her friend, and humbled to have been able to serve her in some small way at ELIM.  In a small way, I feel like I have had a part in impacting the world, by serving her.

Since I recently finished Nashville and all the fundraising, I wanted to highlight a few of the people I met so you can see the impact ELIM has and how it practically impacts the rest of the world.  I asked Alice to write something about what ELIM was for her.  Here is what she has to say.

Alice on the original prototype for the hand pedaled trike they designed. Isn't is cool!

“And the word of the Lord came to [Alice], Depart from [Wheaton,IL] and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith [Elim Retreat Center]…And the ravens [Mars Hill Church folk and Elim staff] brought [Alice] bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and [Alice] drank from the brook. And after a while the brook dried up [my week at Elim]…Then the word of the Lord came to [Alice], Arise, go to [Wheaton, IL- resume ministry with His Wheels International].” (I Kings 17:2-8)

Warning! Big things ahead! The Lord directed me to the early part of Elijah’s work while on a Sabbath retreat at Elim Retreat Center June 1-5, 2008, after 21 months of intense Christian Service. “As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” (I Kings 17:1) Elijah was obedient to God, delivered the message to King Ahab and then departed to the brook Cherith.
While studying this section of scripture I was struck by how importance it is for me to follow and obey God even if I don’t understand why at first. The Lord knows best the timing and rhythm my life needs. Elijah’s ministry had just begun and so had my position as Founder and Executive Director of His Wheels International (HWI). The events in Elijah’s life were only going to get bigger and grander. But before He got to the next event, the Lord told him to go and drink from the brook Cherith where the ravens would feed him. The Lord did the same for me through the opportunity to go to Elim Retreat Center for a week of being pampered and cared for.
While at Elim God impressed on my life again the importance of keeping Sabbath rest, as a lifestyle, even amidst the hectic times of being the Founder and Executive Director of His Wheels. Then I’ll be a little more pliable and able to handle more things as they come.
The Lord knows when I need time for “self-care,” just like Elijah did. Time to fill up on Him before yet another intense season of ministry.  Going to Elim was a time to relax, laugh, rest, play, enjoy God’s creation and spend time alone with my Savior. The location in the forest of Michigan was conducive to turning my cell phones off (especially since I couldn’t get reception), shutting down the internet (since it wasn’t easily accessible), and resting from the schedules that blared in my head.
Kim thanks for running the race to make it possible for Christian Ministers to stop their hectic pace of ministry and get refilled at the brook. To get a glimpse of the ministry God has called me to, I’d invite you to take 5:18 min. to enjoy the ride that I’ve enjoyed over the last 7 years as the Founder and Executive Director of His Wheels International. You will see that God wasn’t kidding. There were and still are big things ahead for HWI. Our goal is 400 hits on our new youtube video by the end of May. We are at 360 hits. Can you help us far exceed our goal? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htdxAYSNqE4. Visit our website at www.hiswheels.org
Alice Teisan
Thanks for reading guys.  I hope you will enjoy the HWI video like I have and that you will be blessed by getting to know Alice a little bit and the ministry she provides to her community and to the world.

The Pain Ends, Lives Changed Is Forever…

A few months back, you may recall a post about being a part of a REAL RACE TEAM!!!  A brief recap, this team is running in various marathons and half marathons raising funds for a ministry that provides pastoral care for people in full-time ministry.  They do this by providing cost-free retreats for these people so they can rest, recharge, and hear God’s voice in fresh new ways…all so they can be more effective in the ministry they have been called to.

You may also recall that I had declared a personal goal of raising $1000.00 for this ministry by running the Nashville Half Marathon.  My life was changed as a volunteer at one of these retreats and I saw other lives changed and continue to hear about the work of those same missionaries and pastors that came for a time of rest and are now continuing to change lives.

I am quite pleased and thankful and a bit overwhelmed to be able to report that thanks to a whole bunch of really generous people, that goal has not only been reached, but it has been exceeded!!!!  My unofficial count is $1174.00 which will sponsor almost 4 people to attend a week-long retreat!

Thank You!!  Thank You!!  Thank You!!  and for those who were not able to give financially, but have been with me in prayer or in encouragement as I trained for this race and in the rest of my journey….thank you too!!  All the methods of generous giving have not gone unnoticed or unfelt!

Now for those of you who care to know ALL the details of how my Nashville Half Marathon went…read on friends.  If you have been around a while, you know my race reports get quite lengthy.  The short version is in a previous post called “it’s Coming.”

I traveled to Nashville once again with a group of friends, some who ran and some who came simply to cheer!(but being a race fan involves so much more than cheering when it is for me!)  The crew this year consisted of Ben, Jen, Leann, Aaron, Erin, Mitch, Holly, and Rebecca…and we met up with my cousins down there, Thomas and Elizabeth.

The Crew of fans and runners, sans Thomas...

Once again, it was a super fun trip with lots of laughter.  It is those memories that make me forget the struggle and want to do it again next year.

This year, I went into Nashville, feeling very under trained.  I had gotten sick smack in the middle of my training and didn’t run for 3 weeks.  In fact, I didn’t workout at all during that time.  As I headed into Nashville, my  longest run was 8.5 miles.  I knew it would be painful.  I knew it would be rough.  I knew what I had done to train for this last year and I knew I truly was not nearly as prepared and it was painful then.  But I also knew, I would do my best.  I would give it my all…and I would cross that finish line.

On Friday, after spending the day in Downtown Nashville and getting our race numbers, we came back to my cousin Mike and Catherine’s for what seems to be the annual pre-race spaghetti dinner.  All was well and good.  Lots of laughter.  Elizabeth is a riot.  Super dramatic and a great story-teller so we were quite entertained.

Soon though it was time to head to bed and suddenly…I was anxious.  Suddenly I am in a panic as I gather my race gear for the next day and make sure I have everything.  I double and triple checked everything…then I went and took a shower and checked everything again…and I knew….just like last year, sleep was not going to come easily.   I told Mike it was time to put in a movie and I immediately began texting Coach.  Lo and behold…I was asleep on the couch by 10 PM.  I kid you not, this is a miracle.  Last year…well…it was at least 1 AM before I fell asleep and then it was fitful at best.

I awoke in a panic on race morning and quickly got ready.  This didn’t take too much doing since I had slept in my running clothes.  (I told you I was a bit nervous).  All I had to do was put on some deodorant, brush my teeth, my shoes and my bib # had to go on and eat some breakfast. Oh and put my hair in a ponytail.  Crap!  don’t forget the heart rate monitor!

We headed downtown by 5:30 AM.  It was a brisk, early, Nashville morning and was predicted to be 80 degrees and cloudless.   Jen and I decided that regardless of where our bib numbers told us we had to start, we would start in the same corral, even though we knew we would both run our own pace and quickly separate.

While standing there, I realized I never put on any sunscreen.  I knew this would be a painful race already and I knew I didn’t want to have to deal with the pain of sunburn too…so I texted my #1 Race fan, Aaron, one question.  “Does Leann have her sunscreen on her?”  The message was clear, regardless of whether she does or not, I need some.   I put my phone away, it was time to run, knowing that somehow, I would be taken care of and protected from the sun’s rays.

And I was.

Aaron and Leann ran around the streets of Nashville and found a gas station that had sunscreen.  Erin stayed on the course to catch up with me somewhere around mile 3 and then called the others to let them know where I was…they then sprinted and caught up to us and ran with me as I applied some sunscreen (while running-because the hula hooping walkers were close behind and I could NOT let them pass me).  Then they sent me on my way…and told me they would see me at mile 8 to run me in.

Now you  may want to note, to be a race fan of mine, you may be called on to do some actual work.  These guys are amazing friends to have in your corner on race day…and I am not sure I could ever do a distance race like this without them there nor would I want to.

Backing up a bit, my cousin Elizabeth made a special IPOD playlist for me for my run.  I had no idea what was really on it.  She was playing through so much music Friday night, I just didn’t know what made the cut and what didn’t.  At about mile 1.5 I almost fell over laughing as a song she joked about putting on there, was actually put on there.  Suddenly I heard…

“when you know the notes to sing….you can sing most anything….do…re..mi…”

For about half a mile I was singing at the top pf my lungs (because who can’t sing to this song) and skipping and frolicking as if I were on the grassy hills of Austria.  Ridiculous.  I am used to getting looks and comments when I run…I mostly ignore them…but this was looks and comments of a whole nutha level!

So now, I have skipped and frolicked, I am sunscreened up, the hills are growing by leaps and bounds(I swear they are bigger than last year), I have already stopped at a gas station at mile 1 to go to the bathroom(just like last year)…and I am at about mile 5 when I glance over and what do I see…

a cloud of pink is on my right.  Yes folks, the freaking hula hooping walkers are starting to pass me by!  It was here, I started to really get discouraged and I began to fight.

I looked at a girl who was trying to be encouraging, thanked her…then I cursed the hula hoops (not the people just the hoops) under my breath and sprinted to get ahead of them.

We kept up this little dance of going back and forth for about a mile or two, before they passed me and I just couldn’t sprint long enough to get a good lead on them.

I began counting the miles until I saw my fans/friends again.  The hills felt obnoxiously bigger and longer than last year.

At various points I would run with a woman who was walking.  She was awesome.  She came with a friend and was supposed to be walking with her, but her friend kept ditching her, so she walked alone with an amazing attitude.  She really kept me going at times because I would somehow catch her or she would catch me at a point where I really just wanted to be done and we would talk for a bit.

At about mile 7, I really was praying for mile 8 to come quick.  My achilles was starting to hurt(never had that body part hurt before) and the last  2 aid stations had run out of water and cytomax.  I was hot.  Overheating I think and seriously needed water.  I had some gatorade in my bottle but was nervous to drink that too fast.  I had also been eating shot blocks like crazy and really just needed water to get rid of that sick, too sweet taste in  my mouth.  To pass the time, I talked to 2 ladies who were walking the course for a bit.  Then I looked back and saw the official tale vehicle.

Crap!  There aren’t that many people behind me if the tale vehicle is right there!!

I told the ladies I had to go, that as long as I wasn’t last, I could be ok…

I ran through a stretch of outdoor cafe areas that was full of people sitting, eating and watching the race.  I was the only runner around and suddenly one person stood up and started cheering and yelling and before I knew it, all along both sides of the street, everyone was standing and cheering and shouting at me to keep going.  I looked around and truly I was the only one around.   I realized they were cheering for ME!!!  I almost cried…and to push back the tears I started raising the roof and gesturing for more cheers…I had to make light or I would have seriously fallen down crying.

Everything hurt.  I was so tired and I knew I just had to keep going.  I was almost to mile 8…I would see my friends soon…At this point I am walking up the bigger hills and running everything in between.  I could go faster that way.

Soon I looked up and I saw the most wonderful sight in the world.  When you are out running and you feel physically awful and you are wondering if you can even finish or if you should finish, there is nothing better to see than…a friend.  Aaron was there….ready to run with me.   Thank God he had water in his bag…and was more than willing to share.

He checked in with how I was doing…and we ran.  Soon Leann joined us with her camel back on, and I moved to her left and started drinking from her straw while we ran.

Leann took over the administering of my nutrition and hydration.  She remembered that Ben had told me that I should be eating a shot block ever 15 minutes or so.  I was NOT eating them that frequently any more.  I like them but at this point I was so sick of them, it wasn’t even funny.  They tasted far too sweet. At some point Aaron and Leann took over the carrying of my ipod, my hip pack and my water bottle.

I filled my water bottle with water from a hose at some point and every 15 minutes this girl was offering me a shot block and water.  At mile 10 Aaron peeled off to go meet Jen at the finish line with her fresh t-shirt.  So it was Leann and I from 10 on.  I was ready to kill her and her shot blocks and her “encouragement” to keep running.

Now to her credit, I SUCK at communication during times like these.  In my mind, I was doing all sorts of things.  I was assessing my achilles for injury or just use pain.  Since it was a new pain I was hesitant to push it too hard and risk blowing it out.  I was also getting sick to my stomach from all the shot blocks and the water in my bottle was actually a really weak water/gatorade mix that was awful.  So sweet Leann is just trying to get me to the finish line without me passing out and I am refusing her nutrition and hydration for perfectly valid reasons that I was not communicating to her.  Nor was I communicating how sharp the pain was getting in my achilles.

We ran and walked for 2 more miles, mostly walking and slowly so.  As we hit the 12 mile marker, we got stopped by a van.  Yes a SAG van.  I was too slow on the course.  If I wanted to continue on I had to sign a waiver or I could get in the van and they would drive me to mile 13 and I could still cross the finish line.  Neither option seemed good in my head.

All I remembered about mile 12-13 was that it was a long slow uphill battle with a final fast downhill into the finish line.  I knew at my current pacing it would be another 30-40 minutes before I got to the finish line…and I knew that my achilles was hurting pretty bad.   I did not know the course to go it alone and I did not know if I had it in me to go another 30-40 minutes.  Leann believed I did.  But I did not…and regrettably, I chose the van.

As soon as I got in and the doors closed I regretted my decision.  I began to second guess myself big time and at the same time, I knew I had given it my all on that course.  It was tough.  Probably as tough as the River Bank Run last year, and I pushed through a lot of it when I really wanted to quit.  So while I second guessed myself, I did not beat myself up.

At mile 13 I got out and hobbled my way to the finish line, with Leann  and  Aaron and Erin running along the fence cheering me on.I crossed the finish line, knowing I didn’t really finish with a deep sense of disappointment.  But I didn’t linger in that space.  I posed for post race pictures that seemed to be mandatory before they would let you into the area where they have the food…and I couldn’t wait to get there.

For the first time ever, I wanted food immediately following a run.  I RARELY eat the post race food.  This time, I did.

I got food, and drink and headed out to meet my friends and to rest and then find the other group of us.

While waiting to hear back from the other half of us, we sat on a curb, ate food and I talked to Coach…who completely understood the odd mixture of deep disappointment and pride in my accomplishment.  It was good to talk to him.

Ben showed up and he helped me assess my achilles….then we got the phone call.

Holly called to tell us we had to meet her and the others by the ambulance on the bridge at the  mile 13 marker.

We raced over there…(ok I tried to race over there) to find Mitch had passed out an hour after he finished his race and was being treated for cuts and scrapes from his fall.  While scary, in the end he turned out to be ok…Thank God…

I limped for the rest of the day.  We had pizza for lunch and sushi for dinner and hit downtown Nashville for a while before heading back to sleep.

I even limped the next 2 days…then I was all better.  My pain over this race has long since ended.  In fact it is far enough in the past for me to begin wondering and pondering where next year’s half marathon will be…we all insist it will NOT be Nashville but rather somewhere flat.  However, there are groups of people getting ready to head into week-long retreats whose lives will be changed forever…and as their lives are changed, they will be refreshed to go be a catalyst for change in others lives…the kind of change that lasts forever…and that…my friends is worth running/limping/walking/crying/praying for!

It’s Coming…

It's all about the bling

I know.  You guys are all looking for the Nashville report.  It is coming.  I have been really working to get to bed earlier this week AND this week seems to have a lot of things going on in the evening that have kept me busy until 9 PM or later…meal prep, a weird non-massage….so I haven’t been able to sit down and write my usual report….but it is coming.

Here is the short story for those of you who don’t care to read my mile long report.

I went.

It was awful hard.

I ran….sort of.

I finished.  sort of.

I have amazing friends and the criteria for being a fan at one of my races has increased.  Applications being taken.

I will never do a race like this again…when I KNOW I am under trained for it.

Details coming this weekend!

Oh and as much as I SAY I am never doing this again…I am already looking forward to next year…

Final Preparations And Catch Up

I realize it has been a bit since I have last written.  It is not for lack of things to say, that is for sure, but rather, an exercise in wisdom and in biting my tongue.   Yes, friends and readers, the relationship struggle continues and I have some decisions to make and I am procrastinating that.  I figure I will at least get through Nashville without that piece weighing too heavily on my brain.

Speaking of Nashville!  OH MY WORD!  I have much to do before I sleep, much to do before I sleep!

I made the spaghetti tonight for our pre-race pasta dinner on Friday night.  Tomorrow night is laundry and packing and listing (yes I am making up words….and lists), and organizing.  I have this great fear that I will forget something crazy important like my running shoes or my running capris!

All I know for certain is that when I lay my head down tomorrow night, my car will be packed with everything except the frozen spaghetti sauce which will go in the cooler on Wednesday morning.  When I leave work Wednesday night, I will not be going back home but rather to the greatest place on earth, GR, to meet up with everybody for a Thursday travel day.

So how do I feel?  Way under trained.  I don’t feel ready.  I am super nervous about the distance. I am excited to be with my friends. I have a mental confidence that I can do this, despite my feelings because I have done it before…but it might be painful…painful…don’t forget the mega dose of ibuprofen…(see I am listing).  I am afraid I will forget something.  I am grateful.  Aaron has said he would meet me at mile 8 and run the rest of the way with me…perhaps his fiancée Erin will join him on that run!  I am excited to see my cousins (oh don’t forget to pick up something for the kiddos-more listing and multi-tasking:-) and to be able to celebrate my cousin Elizabeth’s first ever Half Marathon.

I feel honored.  This years run is about more than just me doing what I once thought was impossible.  I continue to be honored and blessed that I get to be part of the ELIM Race Team (http://www.elimretreats.org/race.php) So far, I have raised just over half of my own personal goal. At the last reporting, I am at $550.00 raised and counting. My personal goal is to raise $1000.00 for this cause and sponsor 3 people to attend an ELIM retreat where individuals in full-time ministry will have an opportunity to step out of their roles as ministers and rest and simply BE. In simply BEING, it is my hope and prayer that they will each hear God’s voice and call on their lives in fresh new ways and that they will go back to their work refreshed and revived.

If you would like to consider giving, all donations are tax-deductible. Go to this site http://www.elimretreats.org/race.php (my links are not working and really driving me nuts) to find out more about the ministry. You can also read more about how I came to be involved with ELIM in my first blog post announcing my Team Member status. https://road2beautiful.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/run-for-their-lives/

I am not sure if I will have a chance to blog again before the race, but rest assured a lengthy post race report will be coming…

Kensington Fears

In preparation for Nashville, I had two more really long runs scheduled before I begin to taper off.  Today was one of them.  In my typical fashion I procrastinated all day finding all sorts of things to be doing instead of just getting out there, but I am ok with that.  I really DO like running in the evening.  However part of my day was spent going back and forth between where to run my 9 miles at.  I could go to Kensington Park where it is a very clear 8.5 mile path around the park…but it is constant rolling hills with a few really big ones thrown in for good measure.  My other option was to go play a guessing game with mileage and run trails, which is my absolute favorite place to run.  Hills and guaranteed mileage would be great training for Nashville, but trails make me oh so happy and are such fun!

I chose Kensington and the hills.

It was a fantastic choice.  I forget sometimes the beauty that is to be beheld at Kensington. Not to mention, there are so many runners and cyclists and walkers out there, you can’t help but feel part of some sort of group even when running alone as you greet and encourage each other along the way.  And I must say, it was nice this year to be ABLE to greet and encourage other runners.  I remember last year not having enough breathe in me to even acknowledge there greeting to me!

As I ran, I had a plan in my head that to do my 9 I would run out 4.5 miles then turn around and come back.   In my mind, by doing this I could do 2 things.  1.  It might help me to avoid the “hill from hell” by turning around before reaching it. and 2.  I wouldn’t have to fight the battle of passing my car to go an extra 1/4 mile and come back to make it an even 9.  This was a perfectly acceptable plan.  I mean, I am doing constant hills so who cares if I manage to skip the “hell from hell”, right?

Well, as I ran, I realized I have NEVER run completely around Kensington.  Last year I ran here but the most I ran here was 6 miles.  3 out and 3 back.  So I didn’t KNOW that the “hill from hell” came in at mile 3.5!  There was no avoiding this hill.  Ironically, just as I was climbing it the park ranger happened to come down the road and stopped  to watch me get up it.  I wonder what he was thinking.  Was he concerned?  Amused?  I was determined to give him a show, so I kept running when I wanted to walk.  I kept running when I thought I had no oxygen left in me.  And after I got to the top, he waved and left.

So now I am thinking to myself, so why not go all the way around, Kim?  You made it up the ONE hill you didn’t want to hit.  Besides, once you hit mile 4.5 you are more than halfway around this place.  Just keep going forward!

I found myself having an argument with myself.  1.  That wasn’t the plan!  I can’t just change the plan mid run!  Or can I?  2. I found myself filled with anxiety because I know what lays behind me.  I know the path I have just run and even if it meant climbing back up the “hill from hell” it is familiar territory to me.  It is now my comfort zone and oh how I don’t like to be uncomfortable.

I realized, the only thing stopping me from moving forward was fear. Fear of the unknown.  Fear of an unknown path.  What if there is ANOTHER “hill from hell” that I don’t know about?  What if it gets dark, how will I know the path to get back?

I began to wonder how often I let fear of the unknown stop me in this journey.  I know fear stops me all the time on the stairmaster.  I wonder how fear is stopping me from achieving my goals.  How often do I return to the familiar and the comfortable out of fear instead of pressing forward and gaining new ground.  How much of this plateau is not really a plateau but my own fear and my own affinity towards comfort?

Well, this line of questioning just pissed me right off!  And I decided, at LEAST for this run, fear would not stop me.  So as I came upon the 4.5 mile mark and my previously planned turning point, I gave that marker the finger and said out loud, “Fuck being comfortable!”  (Coach, you would be proud, it was such an appropriate use of a word I rarely use!)

I ran on past that marker and as I ran I did get a bit scared as I ran on paths unfamiliar.  I ran up some big hills and some little ones.  I ran along the lakes edge on one of the few flat stretches on this whole course.  I ran in the dark and missed the 8 mile marker.  And when I finally got to my car and the newly planned point of going past it to the 1/4 mile marker, I found the park ranger waiting for me so he could clear the lot.  So I stopped running.

Despite fears, I ran 8.5 miles of hills straight without stopping to walk. I did stop to dig my shot blocks out of my bag and once to let some geese cross my path.  But there was not one hill I walked up.  I ran head first into unknown territory and I lived to blog about it.

What does this mean for the rest of my journey?  I only hope that I will recognize when I am being stopped by fear and that I will have the courage to press on through the fear and anxiety to new territory, to new Beauty.

“Run For Their Lives”

Who knew that 2 years ago when I started running that I would ever be let on an official race team?

Who knew that as slow as I run, a race team would welcome me with open arms?

Who knew that my running could help change lives?

Really?  Is it all that?

Yup.

And so much more…folks.  So much more.  Let me explain.

Three years ago I had an opportunity to volunteer with an organization called Barnabas International.  BI does several things but their focus is pastoral care to those in full-time ministry whether it is overseas missions work or right here at home in America.  One of their ministry areas is a retreat they put together called E.L.I.M.  This is a week-long retreat for ministry workers to come to where they can rest, recharge, and in so doing perhaps hear God’s voice and direction for their lives in fresh ways.  This retreat provides, meals and lodging as well as people ready and available to be with them in whatever capacity they might need, whether it is prayer support, a listening ear, counsel, or someone to play a game or take a walk with.

I got to be one of those volunteers 3 years ago, and while I went to serve, my life was changed. It was at this retreat that God spoke clearly to me about his intent to heal my heart from the sexual abuse I went through as a child. It was here that I would say that my commitment to this journey to Beautiful began.

Besides, what I gained, I met some amazing people who are doing amazing work in the world. I have met a woman who has a vision for providing hand pedaled bikes and trikes to people in 3rd world countries. I have met a woman who works on Bible translation work in Africa, another woman who works with children in another part of Africa, then there are my friends in France who are making such a difference in their neighborhood-one conversation at a time.  I met so many more that week who are making a difference for Christ in the world and who desperately needed a time of rest and refreshment so that they could go back out into the world.

The neat thing about this retreat is that the guests come free, as long  as there are scholarship funds available.   Think about your own pastor or missionary friends.  They don’t often have tons of extra money to spend on themselves for a week like this.  Couldn’t they use a time of refreshment?

This is where my running comes in.  I have joined the ELIM race team and am now running the Nashville Half Marathon with not only a finish time goal but a dollar goal to raise by the time I get there on April 30th.  This time it is not a matter of proving I can.  I know I can.  This time I am “Running For Their Lives”! I would love to be able to raise $1000.00 for this cause and to be able to sponsor at least 3 people to be able to attend a retreat this summer.

I don’t always feel like a “real” runner.  But despite my feelings, I am so very proud to be able to be accepted on to this race team and to be able to raise funds for an organization that by taking care of the ministers, they are having a worldwide impact of grand proportions.

Would you consider sponsoring my race? All proceeds go directly to the ELIM Retreat scholarship fund. Your
gift is tax deductible you will receive a receipt. And I promise to follow up with you after the race to let you
know how our team—and I-did!

If you would like to know more about ELIM and their schedule of retreats and locations check this link out.

If you would like to find out more about the race team and where we are all running at go here.

And, if you would like to help me reach my goal and donate, go to this page and when you have to choose a runner, choose me.  I am the only Kim running!

Nashville 2010-Complete(Finally)

Now,time for the long-awaited and much-anticipated post about the Nashville Country Music Marathon and 1/2!

Yes, I am alive.  Of course.  For those of you who could care less about details…here is the skinny.

I went.

I ran.

I ran 13.1

I finished in under 4 hours.

I lived.

Now for those of you who like a bit more!  Ok, ALOT more…

It was a wonderful trip down.  What a FANTASTIC group to travel with.  We were all sooo laid back and as it got closer to race day, they all “handled” me well!  HA!

Ben, was our resident expert marathoner and was ever so patient in filling Esquire and I’s heads with plenty of knowledge and wisdom the whole way down.  Starting with HYDRATE! HYDRATE! HYDRATE.

We, being dutiful students who just want to finish alive, did as we were told.  We drank lots of water on the way down, laughed a lot and almost peed our pants often. ok, that part is just me because well…just because.

Ben, Esquire, Aaron, Leann, and I all arrived after about a dozen bathroom breaks in Antioch, TN about midnight (Southern Time).  Antioch is where my cousins Mike and Catherine live and where we were staying.  Holly and Katie were arriving in the morning to my cousin Elizabeth and Thomas’ home.  (It is important to note that at this point Thomas is still part of the family!)

On Friday, after Holly and Katie had a nap, we headed to downtown Nashville for the Expo and packet pickup.  It was so exciting to get my bib number and t-shirt and of course this is where reality started setting in that I was actually going to do this.  Nerves began to kick in to high gear here and as I wandered around looking at all the things for sale as souvenirs, I was ferociously texting Coach.  It seems when I am super nervous like this, I can’t seem to verbalize out loud what is going on, but I can text/write it.  Meanwhile I am talking to my friends who are with me as if nothing is going on.  All excitement!

We left the expo with numbers and shirts in hand and headed to grab lunch from the Sushi Nazi…who promptly kicked us out saying there were too many of us and he wasn’t going to make us sushi…we left and headed out looking for different food and some Middle Eastern guy saw us and came out of his restaurant, opened the door and invited us in telling us he had food for us…such extremes…but that is where we ended up eating at.

Later we headed back to Mike and Catherine’s for a pasta dinner and an early bedtime.  Or an attempt at an early bedtime.  We figured we needed to be out of the house by 5:30 AM, so it was gonna be a very early morning.  After dinner and playing for a bit with Mike’s kids, we all began putting our race gear together.

I went quiet as I busied myself with making sure that I had everything and that it was packed the way I wanted it.  At some point I HAD to try on my running clothes to make sure they fit.  Why I thought they might not, I do not know.  I wore the same pants I wear running all the time and my new shirt that we had made just for this race, that I KNEW fit me.  Before I knew it, I was walking around the house in full running attire.  I had on the pants, the shoes, the shirt, the bib, the hip sack. I had loaded my water bottle with my G2 (Gatorade) and put it in the fridge.  I had my Ipod on and made sure it was working and charged then made sure I had my ID, money/debit card and my health insurance card all in my hip sack.  I am not sure how long I had all of that on for, but I do know that at some point someone asked me if I was planning on sleeping in it.

Um no.

I think it was about 9 PM that we decided to head to bed.  At this point I finally took off my run gear and got into my pajamas.  I laid down…and got back up and headed back downstairs to talk to Mike and Catherine.  At about 10Pm I forced myself back to bed and proceeded to text Coach.  Who did I think I was trying to go to sleep as keyed up as I was and for whatever reason, I could not verbalize any of it in spoken word.  So my friends who are with me, get my silence…and the one who is 1000 miles away gets my texted nerves.  I have no idea what time I finally fell asleep…perhaps after 11.  At 1 AM I was wide awake.  My bed was hard as a rock so I moved to a couch downstairs and slept until 4:30 before getting up…on race day!

RACE DAY!!!

As organized as I was, I felt like I was scrambling.  Like I would forget something.  I was in total task mode as I prepared my breakfast, then Aaron’s.  Ben declined breakfast so I moved on to Esquire’s at which point Ben had enough of watching me and took over and demanded that I go eat my breakfast.

Breathe.

OK.

But I didn’t sit.  I took a bite, then went and brushed my teeth…(Yes, I brushed my teeth mid breakfast.  It had to be taken care of before I forgot!)then came back and took another bite and went and put on my shoes.  I took another bite and strapped on my HRM.  Took a bite and went to make sure Leann was awake.  Took a bite and headed back upstairs for some other random thing that I HAD to have right in that moment.

I am not sure I ever finished my breakfast before we headed out the door with Aaron driving us to the start line.

Esquire, Ben and I got out of the car at the start line.  Pretty quickly we lost Esquire as Ben and I headed for the port-o-potties.   It was already 65 degrees and humid in Nashville and it was only 6:30 AM.   Ben gave me last-minute words of encouragement/wisdom as we waited.  We went in to our own port-o-potties and when I came out he was gone.

I headed to my corral (#33) to wait my turn to start running. As I headed there I was suddenly feeling very alone amongst the crowds of people.  I knew there were about 8 people in this crowd I knew.  4 were fans and 4 others were probably making their way to their own corrals to get ready to start.   Suddenly I wanted to talk to someone I knew and wouldn’t you know…I ran into 2 of the fans, Elizabeth and Katie.

After a brief chat and hugs, I headed into the corral and began cursing Thomas, who I have yet to see on this trip.  How did I get myself into this mess?  This sounded like a FINE idea 3 months ago!  I wondered if anyone would notice if I snuck off and just showed up at the finish line about 4 hours later.

I knew my mind was heading no where fast so I put my Ipod on and hit shuffle.  The first song that played is one that I love but haven’t listened to in a while.  This is My Now by Jordan Sparks.  Lyrics that spoke of looking around and seeing how far I have come.  How many fears that were now behind me, no longer in my way,  no longer stopping me from living out a grand story.  Lyrics that reminded me of the love that was surrounding me(even if I couldn’t see them).  I knew then that I would finish this race and I would finish well.  I am no longer the person I once was.  I am no longer the girl who quits when it gets hard.  On this day, I am a runner…so let’s run!

As I approached the start line, as the corrals ahead of me were released I realized something else important.  Very important.  This realization was not gonna wait until the end either.  I had to pee.  Again.  Dang it Jen!!  Where were you to insert that catheter we talked about???!!!  Too bad.  My corral is up.  Maybe I could make it to the first bathroom stop at mile 3.

Nope.

Wasn’t gonna happen.

I didn’t make it a full mile before I knew I was in trouble, so I ran off course, into a gas station and begged use of their bathroom.  Then quickly  headed back out.

As I headed out again I realized something else I was absolutely NOT cool with.  The tail end of this race is this group of people who walk the 1/2 marathon while hula hooping.  While I was in the bathroom, they had passed me.

Oh hell No!!  I might be the last RUNNER in.  I might not even beat many of the regular walkers in.  I am ok with that.  However, I will NOT be beaten by a bunch of hula hoopers wearing PINK! uh-uh.  No way!

I was at the bottom of a hill heading up and I kicked it into high gear.  In my head, all I heard was Ben reminding me NOT to go out too fast. Save your energy for the 2nd half Kim.

Yeah well, Ben didn’t factor hula-hoopers into his advice now did he?

I raced up a huge hill and passed them on the next down hill…then I slowed down to breathe…just in time to pass 2 more fans…Aaron and Leann!  YAY!!  They made it from the finish line in time to see me at Mile 2.  I felt great at this point!  No problems…I got Nashville in the palm of my hand!! 🙂

That was the last of Aaron and Leann until the finish for me.

I followed Ben’s advice to hydrate with Cytomax and water at ever water station.  I also conserved energy for the end. And I reminded myself a lot to keep my head up, to look around and SEE Nashville, the people and the sites as I ran.  I also did body checks every few minutes.  This forced me to remember to relax my shoulders since I tend to run hunched up.  It also allowed me to assess pain levels and determine what kind they were.

At mile 5 I still felt good, but was getting really hot.  Too hot in fact. I passed Esquire as he was on his way back at some point which was fun to see him on the race course!

At about mile 6 the skies opened up and it down poured for about 10 minutes.

Thank You Jesus for the cooling rain.  I was never so grateful for rain in my life!  It instantly cooled me down and I felt like i could run forever.

However, at this point I was also realizing something about my cousin Thomas.  He is a liar.  He told me the hills weren’t bad.  He said that they were gently rolling hills until the end where there is a big long one, then downhill into the finish line.  Lies..all of it..except about the end.  I am from Michigan.  These were NOT gently rolling hills!!  Sometime between mile 6 and 8, things got tough and I disowned my cousin.

I did some walking at this point and some texting to let my fans and friends know where I was at. Katie came out and joined me at mile 8 and ran the rest of the way in with me.  Thank God for Katie!  Truly, I might have quit if not for her obnoxious energy and ADD ways that kept me moving.

At mile 10, thunder and lightning came.  The skies opened again and the police were encouraging all runners to take cover until the storm passed.

Katie looks at me and asks me what I want to do.

“Run.”, I said.

I knew if I stopped now, I would not start again. Besides, what are the chances that one lightening bolt would strike the exact spot I am running in.  Odds were in my favor.

Sometime between mile 11 and 12 Katie and I played “kick the can” with a cup in the road as a distraction and then we started puddle jumping.

By the way, it down-poured for the last 3.1 miles of my run.

At mile 12, we were told that race officials were talking of evacuating the race course due to tornado/severe storm warnings and if we wanted to cross that line, we better kick it up.

Katie looked at me again and noted that the hula-hoopers were catching up.  I looked back and noticed they were…but only because they were cheating.  They were no longer hula hooping!!  I had 2 thoughts.  Hula Hoopers will not beat me AND I will not be pulled from this course.  I came too far to not finish.  So…

I looked at Katie…and summoned some energy…some strength…some cahones…and kicked it up a notch.

At mile 12.75ish, I saw my cousin Mike on the course with an umbrella.  Such a southern gentleman…he offered it to me…Thanks but no thanks…it won’t help, but hey Mike, why don’t you run with me…

So he did…with his umbrella and his phone in hand as he called ahead to tell them “he had me” and was bringing me in.

I could laugh at that…He is NOT a runner…I brought HIM in!

We approached mile 13 and for the first time I saw Thomas.

Thomas had finished a couple of hours before.  Was dry …and warm…and looking very refreshed.  He looked far to good for someone who finished a half marathon.  At this point he learned that he was no longer family…as I rounded the corner and they continued to cheer and run down the sidelines…

I rounded one more corner and saw the most beautiful sight in the world.

The finish line.  I just had to make it there and look strong for the cameras that I knew were there!  Then I would get my medal and food.  I wanted food.

I kicked it up again and found myself across the line…and with a medal around my neck.

I soon saw Aaron, Leann, Esquire, Ben, Holly, and Katie…then Elizabeth…it was a giant hug fest…and I could no longer think.

Where do I go?  How do I get out of this finish line chute?  Where do I find you guys again?

I managed.  I picked up some food that I never ate.  Didn’t have any energy.

I found my friends and we paused to take shelter and a few pictures then headed back to the homes we were staying in for showers and then plans for food.

I don’t think I have ever been clothed and this wet in my life.  It took 3 days for my shoes to dry out.

I was cold.  Leann got me a space blanket. And despite the rain we walked oh so slowly to the car…we got back to Mike’s where I was directed to a shower.

After showering I called Jen, then Coach and G.I Jess for a post race report.

All I can say is, Thank God that my friends are able to make decisions.  I was NOT making any more that day!

I was done.  I was spent.  I left everything I had on the streets of Nashville.   I was too tired to even nap that afternoon.

Oh yeah, my time?

Officially 3:57:04

Unofficial Polar time with my one bathroom break deducted: 3:54

Finished in under 4 hours…

Ben says that is amazing because this was an incredibly tough course and conditions were less than ideal.

YES!!