Well it still doesn't seem real..a real dream come true! Unfortunately Hood to Coast has come to an end. I have so many thoughts that I want to share about my experience and the amazing people at NUUN that made this all happen, but today I can only PAUSE and think how blessed I am and how everyday we are all given opportunties. Some we embrace, some we ignore and others we run from.
I am saddened to share that a sweet friend who was also a mommy and runner (just to name a few) lost her battle with cancer on Tuesday. Unfortunately the loss and pain that her family, children and friends are going through is real and not part of the "dream". She fought and won many battles with cancer over the years and was able to hang on just long enough to see her son begin kindergarten.
I am priveldged to have always keep the memory that I ran my FIRST race with her after she had just punched cancer in the face and was feeling up to running. It was the Washington State University 100K. She sat in my van, next to me and we sang and had fun while trying to stay warm. I was super nervous about my 4.1 miles while she was ready to go. When she ran her leg she was strong, victorious and never stopped trying. I remember seeing her embrace her husband and for that moment they had won. My sweet friend ran the race with endurance. I miss her presence in our community already. My heart aches for her husband and young children. While it is hard to understand God's plan, I know He is faithful in his promises. She is in heaven in the presence of God...what a thrill and joy that must be.
My friend loved God and displayed the light of Christ to everyone she met. You know those people who just LOVE...well that was my friend. A smile that could light a room and a caring spirit that always left you feeling loved. Despite the challenges, pain and suffering I know she endured she always stayed optimistic. Through her journey and along the way God has been glorified. Not because she was "blessed" with a good job, money, health and a family but because she displayed God's love at it's very purest...not your typical blessing.
So today I just want to PAUSE. PAUSE and soak up those glorious 200 miles and especially the sweetness of the leg 3 for everyone! I want to PAUSE and gaze in my children's eyes and memorize every piece of them. I want to PAUSE and breathe and give thanks with the breath. PAUSE and praise God in the good and bad, and gain comfort in his arms. We can't go back and it seems it is not part of the plan to go back. My friend will be the reminder to LOVE as Christ did. Fully, completely and without holding any back. There is no need to bank my love or kindness or save it for next week. The time is now. That PAUSE button will begin to PLAY again and we need to be ready.
So as I think about my time with my NUUN PLATUUN teammates and Hood to Coast experience it makes me value even more the relationships that formed. Being placed in that van on that team has changed me and my teammates as well. This was an opportunity that I embraced even if I had to by pushed and shoved to get there.
During our 200 mile (sub 28 hour) journey I ran three legs. Leg 10, 22 and 34.
As I come back to the reality I am thankful for that leg 22. I know I should do this in an organized fashion but I think leg 22 was my gift from God to help me deal with the news of losing my friend this week. So here goes... it was 6.81 miles that began in the dark running up a dirt hill in the middle of the woods. I was scared and there was darkness all around me. I was happy to have my small head lamp that I never tried before but it worked great. It lit a small path for me. It also lit up small things that would cross my path. I was amazed to see all the things that may go by everyday that I don't notice. The dust particles, insects, animals, sticks, leaves, ect. During the run everything was magnified with the light. Once I hit the road I began to hear water running beside me. I couldn't see the water but the sounds brought me comfort and enjoyment. I kept thinking even in this dark, dusty mess I can still see the light and God has made a way for me. I thought about life and loss and how sometimes the world can seem so dark that we give up or forget to turn to our light source. I felt like my light source was strong and it gave me the strength and guidance I needed as I ran into the unknown.
So when I think of my sweet friend I will always think of leg 22. Even though there is darkness in illness, in loss....there is always God's light and that was what my friend shared with me., God's light. So I will shine and I will run on...running the race with endurance.
Thanks for letting me PAUSE to unload some tears and lean on my heavenly father during this time. Hood to Coast pics and recap coming soon!