Sunday, October 16, 2011


When the wake up call came at 4:30am, I was already awake.  I get up, try to eat a marathon bar for breakfast, start getting dressed, put race bib on jersey, start hydrating, getting the kids ready, and just somehow trying to contain the amount of nervous energy pouring out of my body.  We all meet in the lobby at 5:30 am and head to the start line.  When we arrive at the meeting point, we realize that Sarah's stroller never made the journey from the hotel.  It was about a 20 minute drive to get there.  I was beginning to panic.  My mom, God Bless her, planned on watching Sarah.  Now my youngest is 40 lbs, and full of spunk and Life and has absolutely no fear.  I was worried how my mom was going to handle her without a stroller to contain her in.  Not to mention the fact that she was a very tired girl, and holding a sleeping 40 lb child is EXHAUSTING.  My mom and my sister calm me down, ensure me that they will be just fine, and tell me to let it go.  Easier said than done, but bottom line I trust my mom and sister, and I knew they would handle it.  We have our morning prayer, and then head to the start line. 

I had partnered up with another gal who was hoping to finish her first half-marathon around the  2 hours and 15 min mark, which was my goal as well.  As we are heading to the start line we take off jogging, for a warm-up  I follow my husband and his partner, who is Bishop Paprocki.   We get in line, check our gear, and then head for the actual start line...I asked if I could just go to the finish line, and  got a good chuckle out of the group.  I gave Steve a kiss, and we separated.  Liz and I started wondering our way through the massive crowd of runners trying to get to the 2:15 pacer.  It was so tight with people,  we could hardly walk, let alone run.  We get to where we can see the 2:20 pacer, and call it good. 

My stomach is in knots...... I actually feel like I want to vomit, but I hold it together.  Somehow in the massive crowd, my sister finds me, she comes running up and gives me a hug, and one last word of encouragement.  A few minutes later, I hear the start of the race.  We begin a slow jog to the start line.  I ran probably 200 to 300 meters before we even reached the start line.  The first two miles of the run were on a gradual uphill.  I remembered thinking,  "I thought there were only two hills on this coarse?"    The good news was that I was completely consumed with what was going on around me.  Before I know it people around me are cheering, and that is when I see the two mile marker.  What a strange thing...I thought, "WOOHOO! Only 11.1 more to go."   Liz and I were talking comfortably and then she broke off  to use the bathroom.   At this point I'm on my own and I am just taking it all in.  I am completely surrounded by other runners, and enjoying the crowds and the signs that they are holding up.  One of my favorites I saw between mile two and three said "DON'T POOP YOUR PANTS!"   I know this is going to sound strange, but I immediately thought of my hubby.  When running 13.1 or 26.2 miles your body does strange things, and many runners have had that experience.   I never have had trouble in my training runs, so I said a little prayer that I didn't have trouble in the race. Between mile 3 and 4 there was a HUGE hill.  As I was running up the hill I thought, "Oh my gosh, I can't do this."  I was panicking a little because I was huffing and puffing and hadn't even reached mile 4.  So I started to walk at the steepest part of the hill.  Just then another LIFE runner came by (Jason Peters), and said good job Tina you can do this.  I decided at that moment that I would run the rest of the more walking.  So I started running after about 10 feet of walking, and I kept running.  

When I reached mile four there was a live reggae band singing, "Every things going to be alright."  It  was like a little message from heaven for me.  It helped me take a few deep breaths, and calm down.   I tried to get lost in my prayers like I did in my training runs, but it was very hard for me.   I was too distracted by the people around me, the crowds, the signs, and the live music.  It was just a really cool to be part of this environment.  At somewhere between mile six and seven,  Rob Rysavy came running up beside me, (he was running the Full marathon) and he put his arm around my shoulder and said, "I'm praying for you right now."  I smiled and thanked him.   I needed that so much, because I was beginning to panic.  I knew we broke off from the marathoners around mile 7, and I had myself so scared that I was going to miss the separation, and that I would go the wrong way.  It was very clearly marked so I didn't miss it, but I "didn't know, what I didn't know". 

At mile 8 I had to stop and use the bathroom,  all I can say is those were some of the most disgusting portapotties I had ever seen.  When I reach mile nine,  I start thinking for the first time that I am actually doing this..... I'm actually going to finish a half-marathon.  I start crying......then I  tell myself to pull it together.  At this point I start praying, or trying to pray, until another sign grabbed my attention.  This one said, "Chafe now Brag later"..... I smiled, because OH MY  GOODNESS, have I struggled with the chafing!  I come up on mile 10, the star spangled banner is playing, and I see a sign that says, "Run because you CAN."   I was reminded of the dream I had earlier in my training, when some rare disease took my legs and caused me to not be able to run.  I also thought of all the people in wheelchairs who had physical limitations and could not run. 

At this point I was starting to cramp, but it wasn't bad.  I thought, "Wow....maybe I wont hit the wall everyone talks about at mile ten."  That thought made me happy.  I never did hit the wall at mile 10, but boy did I hit a MAJOR wall between mile 11 and 12.  My legs felt like lead dipped in cement casing.  Trying to get them to move took every ounce of my will.  I felt some pop around my ankle and shin in my right leg, and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish the race.   I said a prayer.  At this point God showed me all the times in my life where I gave up when I could have kept going, where I didn't think I could do it.....where I didn't feel I was good enough for God to use me in a powerful way.  I saw how many times I turned away from what was being asked of me, because I didn't feel worthy.  I saw how fear has controlled me,  how doubt has held me captive, and I decided NO MORE, and I kept running.  I'm running for the babies, I'm running for Jesus, I'm running for all of those that are hurting, and I am finishing because God asked me too.  

My sister and my kids were some of the first people I seen as I rounded one of the two corners to get me to the finish.   I saw them yelling and cheering, and of course I was crying.  Ann asks, "Why are you crying?" In typical Ann fashion she starts running while carrying her youngest son, and tells me, "If I can run carrying Donny you can do it!"  It made me smile, and I picked up my pace.  As I rounded the second corner, I could see the finish line.  I had told myself that with the pain in my right leg,there was probably no way I could sprint it in, but that I would finish.  Well I heard my sister-in-law Angi yell, "You got this....spread your wings and fly!"  So I did.  It was like my angels came down, and flew me to the finish.  I was able to finish hard  and strong, despite the throbbing pain in my leg.  As I was about to cross the finish line I remember raising my hands to the skies and just praising Jesus!  I DID IT!  I finished 13.1 miles, and in the process I had one of the biggest emotional victories in my life.  GOD IS GREAT!  Here's my here for 30 second video.

I was so emotional because, I didn't sell myself short.  My time was 2 hours 31 minutes and 32 seconds.  There was a time, where that would have devastated me that I was 15 minutes behind where I wanted to be, but I honestly didn't care.  I had finished, and I celebrated that fact.  As I was walking "the chute"  I got my medal, my chocolate milk and banana, it was like I was in a fog.....almost like the past two hours were a dream.  I met my family and was able to cheer my brother-in-law Pat in as he finished his full marathon.  Pat came to find me after his race and he tells me about all of the miles in his past races how he prayed for me, and about the times he appreciated me cheering him on, and how I was the best cheerer out there.  He then he tells me how happy he was, that I wasn't cheering today, and how proud he was of me for running/finishing my race.  It is a true blessing that my brother-in-law is a brother to me in every way. 

Then it was time for Mary and Sam to run their 1.2 mile.  They started their race at 11am, and that was about the time Steve was going to be coming across the finish line.  Luckily the two finishes were along the same stretch of street, and I was able to run between the two and cheering for the kids and watching for Steve.   I saw both Sam and Mary finish their races, and then I was able to see Steve coming in as well.   Steve ran over to the gate where I was screaming and yelling like a lunatic.  It doesn't matter how many times I've seen him finish,  I still get emotional.  I love that man!  He runs over and gives me a kiss, and I swat him on the rear, and tell him to get going and finish hard.  Steve ran his personal best marathon.  I was so proud of him.

As I look back on my race, I think fondly of all of the runners that commented on my jersey.  I thought of the man, who said " Thank you for your shirt,  We should all be running for the babies..... I know I am."  God is using the jerseys to change hearts, and he is using  our prayers as well........ more to come!  Check out the awesome LIFE Runners video of the race set to the song "Courageous".

Friday, October 14, 2011

I have arrived!!!!

We arrived at Steve's Uncle Mike's house Thursday night at 8pm.  It had been a crazy day on the road, and I was exhausted.  By time we ate and got the kids settled, it was after 1030pm before I went to bed.  I of course did not sleep well at all.  I never do when I am traveling, and honestly I hadn't slept well for the last week and a half.  We get up early, get ready, and head to pick up another life runner at the airport. After that we head to the EXPO to pick up our race packets.  We spent a couple hours at the expo, and then checked in to the hotel, and headed to the pre-race banquet location.  I had been in contact with my parents by phone all day.  My mom and dad were driving down for the race, and to help me with my kids while I am running my race. When they arrived, out jumped my older sister, who came along to surprise me.  It was really good to see her.  Ann is so good for me, when I am nervous or upset, she always makes me laugh.  I love to laugh, and my sense of humor has got me through many things in my life.  So when I take my self too seriously, Ann is the  one who always brings me back.  The banquet Friday night was wonderful.  Great food, and wonderful speakers.  I admittedly was distracted, due to the fact that my two year old was there, and very very busy.  As the banquet is winding down, and people are leaving, we head back to the hotel.  My mom had left a little early and got Sarah to bed, so that was nice.  I have to be honest...... I did not sleep well.  I was nervous, and quite honestly felt like I was in some sort of fog, like this wasn't really happening or something.  I went to bed, and tossed and turned all night long.........      

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

4 days and counting!

I can't even describe the strange mix of emotions I am having!  I go from being Super pumped up, to completely scared out of my mind, to confident that I've done the training and I'll be able to finish the half-marathon on Saturday.  I've been having the weirdest dreams.  I feel I have to Clarify this, I have always been a person who learns more about my emotional state from my dreams than any where else.  The dreams I have had in my lifetime have been something that a science-fiction guru could not come up is some of the most entertaining "movies"  I've seen.  That is always how my dreams play I'm watching a movie.  The last three nights I have had dreams pertaining to running my first the first one, it was extremely hot, and we were running along a river.  I was so upset because there was no drink stations..... in my dream I'm yelling I need a drink, for the Love of God why isn't there any drink stations!  At this moment, other members of the LIFE runners team come running by me, almost flying at me, I felt like I had to duck and move out of the way!  Then Rob Rysavy (one of the LIFE runners Leaders)  Goes speeding by me and does a triple flip into the river.....  Random I know!  Then I'm on the wrong path, and I'm yelling for Steve to help me, and he tells me you got this, suck it up!  When I woke up, my body was in a position like I was running.  In another dream, I was running along, and I knew I was dreaming, but I was happy because I was running, and then I began to wonder if your running in your sleep, if your brain could actually process that as exercise, and then I felt completely convinced in my dream, that I was burning calories, because I was dreaming about running.....Oh how I wish that were true!

Needless to say, obviously the marathon is on the forefront of my mind!  The first dream tells me, I'm anxious because it is a new course, I don't know where I will be at each mile.  In my training if Steve would try and switch up a course on me, I would about panic.  I felt the need to know exactly where I was, and how far until the next mile, and so on.  Having no clue, but following the path is going to be extremely challenging for me.  As far as all the LIFE runners speeding by me, I think that is my fear of being the slowest, and as far as Rob jumping in a river..... I have no clue!  Steve telling me I got this and to suck it up, is really me.  Since he is the closest person in the world to me, he represented me, and my determination to finish this no matter what! I have been really nervous about getting sick.  All my daycare kids have a cold right now.  Brianna my oldest, has bronchitis, and I seem to be very susceptible to that.  I have had it once each year the last three winters.  I have not been feeling the best.  Last week, I missed three days of running with suspected Kidney Stones.  I didn't go to the doctor for a few days, because I am extremely stubborn, and by time I went she thought I probably passed them, due to the fact that I drink so much water.  But she guessed that was probably what was going on based on the symptoms I described.  I woke up yesterday congested, and this morning with sore throat.

We are leaving tomorrow night to SF, and then Thursday to Kansas City.  I am excited, one of the many emotions I am experiencing!  Please pray for me.  In the end, I know I will do this, because it is not about me, it is about serving my Lord, and fighting for the unborn.  I just have to sort through all my very Human emotions, set them aside, and keep my eyes focused on Christ.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where did Sept go?

You know that old saying "Time Flies when you are having fun?"  well time flies when you  have four children, run a daycare, train for a half-marathon, run a committee, do a book club, help with the youth group, make sure homework is done, run to the library, go to the grocery store......and about a hundred other things a day!  I can not even believe it is Oct. I am officially two weeks away from my half-marathon.  Since I last posted,  I have done a 9,10,11, and another 11 mile training run.  That's on Saturdays, during the week I run between 3 and 5 miles a day,  depending on the day.  I am ready! I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.  I have had some minor tweaks and muscle pains, and my shins hurt occasionally, but for the most part, I am healthy and uninjured.  Praise God!  It is truly a miracle.  I am probably the most accident prone person in the world.....If something random and strange is going to happen, it usually happens to me.  I've been pretty cautious this last week of training, I do not want to risk an injury when I am so close to the starting line.

September was gone in the blink of an eye!  The kids getting back into school, and  getting used to all their schedules....fundraisers, orchestra, first-reconciliation meetings, fall festivals, and so much more.  As I look ahead, it doesn't seem to let up much.  I'm looking forward to basketball starting for my 6th grader Brianna.  Last year I was her coach, and hope to take that role on again.  I do have a deep love for the game!  I'm also excited, because I will really be able to run the drills with the kids....I'm in much better shape this year. I got a little boost in the weight loss area, I am down 2 pant sizes, and 17 lbs!  I am learning to celebrate the victories!

  When I was running my 11 miles yesterday, I was truly touched by God.   As Jean (my running partner and friend) and I were running and praying, I was consumed by peace.  I was truly in awe and filled with such wonder, as I basked in the Glory of God!  I look back on this journey (knowing I still have some to go), and I am in awe of what God has taught me in my life.  As I approach the starting line of my first half-marathon, I feel like I'm embarking on a wonderful adventure with God as well!  It still seems a little strange, because he has always been such a huge part of my life, but I feel renewed in my relationship with him, and I am excited!  So today, I am filled with joy, excitement, anticipation, and  peace.  At times like this, there really isn't much more to say, other than.......God is Good!