Monday, January 31, 2011

Closing The Gap

This blog post was inspired by two things: 1) Going through my mail, which consists mainly of bills, both work and personal, and finding a heart-felt card written by a dear friend and 2) A conversation that I was having with a friend about how our friendship is truly what we call a "God-thing." Our paths crossed 1 1/2 years ago at a leadership class that I was sent to by the company I work for and she was sent to by her family's company.  Little did we know that after spending 2 1/2 days challenging ourselves to reach new heights we would develop what seems to be a lifelong friendship; we have quickly made up the 20+ missed years and truly feel like we have been friends forever.  I am blessed with amazing friends in my life, but there is one downfall....a lot of them don't live here! For those of you that know me, I am pretty good about communicating (my phone is with me at all times!), but sometimes sending a text isn't enough to stay in touch, let someone know how much you appreciate them, lift them up, provide support in a time of need, or just laugh and cry together.  Every friendship I have is unique and special in its own way, and I don't want to ever take them for granted; whether our paths crossed unexpectedly or we shared a path of life together, they are all individually orchestrated by God and a huge blessing in my life.  My favorite things to do to stay in touch with friends are to send them snail mail (a lost art) and Skype (ok, this took me a while to get comfortable with, but now I love it!).  I love looking for the perfect card to say exactly what I want to say, but in just a few perfect words;  and I don't need an excuse (birthday, holiday, thank you, etc) to send a card..the "just becauses" are my favorite. I don't know what it is about sitting down and writing a card, but it forces you to write from the heart, which I love! Skyping has really become my new favorite allows me to invite friends from all over (Missouri, California, & Colorado just to name a few) to enjoy a cup of coffee or join me in the kitchen as I cook and we catch up. It's also allowed me to share in important events that I miss out on because I am not there...I met my friends son for the first time via a Skype date, I've seen my "lil snorter" go from a lil bitty baby to a movin and groovin, "SO BIG" toddler, and I've had a birthday party for my friends little boy, cake and all! These are all moments I cherish and am thankful I get to enjoy.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of everyday life and forget that which is important...the people in our lives! Who do you need to call? Send a card to? Organize a Skype date with? 

A few of my favorite cards I have received and an UNO Skype date

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The finish is just the beginning

Three years ago I received a call from a country music loving, cowgirl at heart friend who had just finished walking The Walt Disney World Marathon with Team in Training, and she wanted me to join her in Nashville for the Country Music Rock N Roll 1/2 marathon.  How could I say no!? Any excuse to get together with friends, visit Music City, USA, and get it a run with 30,000 people....and so the journey began.

Erin, with a bun in the oven (miss Kylie), and I at our first Rock N Roll event

After finishing my first 1/2 marathon, I added an item to my bucket list: complete all of the Rock N Roll series 1/2 marathons. There is a slight problem with this bucket list item though....they keep adding more races!!! So, my list of races to complete is based on the list of races as of today, and there are 17 of them! I am looking forward to literally running all across the country.

My second RNR event was the inaugural Rock N Roll Denver, and I was joined by friend's husband, who was doing his first 1/2 marathon.
And of course Erin!

Last weekend I did my third race, the Arizona Rock N Roll.  And after talking about doing a race together for over a year, I was FINALLY joined by dear friend Heather. Although we both ran the Nashville race in the same year, we didn't know each other yet, so this was technically our first race together. Heather took on the roll of head cheerleader in Denver, but this time I was blessed to have her by my side for 13.1 miles! I couldn't ask for a more supportive, encouraging, and dedicated long distance running buddy.  Due to an IT band injury, I had a minor set back during training, and prior to the race I was averaging 3-5 miles per run before the pain would set in; however, I wasn't going to let that stop me from competing, even if that meant I would have to walk.  Prior to the race I did a lot of visualization and kept telling myself "you've got this Holly!"

Sunday morning Cassie, Heather and I headed down to the start line to join 25,000 other runners.  As we all took a moment of silence to recognize the victims of the Tucson shooting and then joined together in singing of the national anthem, I got a little emotional and took a minute to thank the Lord for all the blessings in my life, including my amazing family and friends, my health, all the beautiful creations I was going to enjoy for 2 hours on the run, and fact that we couldn't of asked for better weather to  run 13.1 miles in. Throughout the race I was constantly humbled by the people on the course...several people walking/running for people who had passed, a guy walking with a cast on his lower leg, and a guy with a sign that read "walking with diabetes and Jesus." We are capable of far more than we can even imagine. As one of my favorite quotes says, "Man imposes his own limitations, don't set any." I don't know what it is about these events, but as I approach the finish line, I always get emotional. It is such a huge feeling of accomplishment to complete something that in the distant past I never imagined I would be able to do.  The results of the race were beyond what I imagined....I ran the entire 13.1 miles and PR'd (got my personal best time)

For a pre-race, carb loading dinner, I introduced the girls to the Brioni Boys! 

Then we stopped to pick up a post race treat! 

It's always an adventure!

It's official, we're doing this!

Start line

We did it!!!

So thankful Erin (and Heather) has joined me for all the races! Hopefully she'll (they'll) be there for the next 14!

Miss Kylie has joined me for all three races too! Current cheerleader...future runner!

The trip wouldn't of been complete without FIG experiencing In N Out for the first time

The finish is just the beginning.....often times you will hear people say that once you do a 1/2 marathon, you will have the urge to do a full marathon.  Well I can honestly say that I never felt that....UNTIL...after this race! Although I don't know when or where, I have my heart set on completing a marathon.  Did I really just say that? Perhaps in Vegas, December 2011? The next leap of faith for me is training for and completing a 1/2 ironman triathlon in June!

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13