This past Saturday was a big day for both the huzband and myself. It was the Team World Vision half marathon in Flushing Meadow Park. Over 3,000 runners gathered to take on 13.1 miles around the ever famous park. Within that group of runners were several hundred that chose to run with a purpose: to provide clean water to those without in Africa.
It is always exciting to gather with others who have the same heart for helping others and for running. It was a big day in so many ways. Though the huzband’s last day as staff with TWV isn’t until April, this race was his last official race of his season. It was a busy day consisting of cheering, supporting and thanking runners who worked so hard not only at training for their run, but raising awareness for the need for clean water in millions of lives. It was a busy day celebrating all the hard work runner’s put in as well as introduce team captains to the huzband’s replacement. It was also a day to say goodbye to so many we both have gotten to know, love and appreciate these past few years.
saying goodbye to some pretty special people || iPhone
Oh, and I ran the 13.1!
Three years ago I ran my very first half marathon. It was this same exact race with TWV. Little did I know all that was ahead: the huzband working with TWV and me running a marathon, of all things. I find it interesting that three years later I came back to run the very same race that started it all for me, at a time in our life where the huzband will be ending his time as staff with TWV. My original goal for this race was to beat my time, however the more I thought about it, I realized I had to push myself beyond my comfort zone.
Through running, I have experienced so much. Words cannot always describe it but it is something I desire other women to have a chance to experience! It was on one of my runs that the idea to create a girl’s team for this very half marathon came to be. I am not a recruiter. It is not within my comfort zone to create a team, however I pushed myself, reached out to women of all ages and just kept asking. A few said yes, one crossed the finish line.
medals for all the runners that cross the finish line || iPhoto by the huzband
That one was worth every bit of it!! That one was what it was all about for me. I remember talking to my friend Nancy about running this half marathon back in November. Her family was staying at my house after Hurricane Sandy had come through. I remember how nervous and scared she was. I also remember that the thought of running a half marathon had weaseled its way into her thoughts and she couldn’t let it go.
She didn’t let it go.
She is now a half marathoner! She took on the pain, sweat and dedication of 13.1 miles and she succeeded! I am so beyond words proud of her! I thought that instead of sharing about ‘my’ run, I would ask Nancy a few questions because really, my run was all about her run!
Nancy and I before the start of the race || photo by Nancy’s husband
Nancy, why did you decide to run this half marathon?
Nancy: Wellll (yes, she actually put that many l’s) I decided to run this marathon because I wanted to do something big for my 25th birthday, because of the cause and because I was inspired by you.
Before I continue, I do feel kinda silly putting that last part about me. Makes me go ‘awww shucks’. But it’s what she wrote so I can’t pick and choose.
What was the hardest part about training?
Nancy: The hardest part was doing everything. Handling being a full-time worker, being a wife, a mom and then RUNNING. It seemed impossible.
What is something you learned during this process/training/race day?
Nancy: To not give up. Simple as that. To not back away from a challenge.
mile 12: I think she’s thinking ‘I hate this but I’m almost done’ || photo by Nancy’s husband
Can you tell me a bit about race day? How did it go?
Nancy: I learned that I can do any hurdle, any challenge that comes my way because I am STRONG. I mean I always knew I was strong because of my life struggles, like losing my mom so young however now I can say STRONGER in more ways than one.
When you were running the race, you said never again. What about now, do you think you would run a half marathon again?
Nancy: I do think I would do it again, just to beat myself and try to do better.
There were a few moments while we were running that I would look over at this person running next to me and tears would begin to fill my eyes. I was so happy to be right where I was. As we began our run down the chute towards the finish line, I fell back a few paces (or Nancy just took off) and just cheered her on. My tears were pouring down my face. Over that past 13 miles I witnessed my friend go through the excitement of what was before her, to pain and frustration, to perseverance, resolve and strength to keep going. There were miles where there was no energy left followed by miles where she would keep on running. A half marathon is hard work and Nancy gave it her all. To watch her approach that finish line, knowing all the emotions that were going through her, to know she did it! She did it! I can’t say it enough, I am so proud of you Nancy.
It was such a privilege to run alongside you my friend, to be there with you and celebrate your 25th birthday with a run together. (It was her actual birthday on race day.) I can’t begin to tell you how unbelievable proud I am of you. You faced something that seemed overwhelming and scary, you pushed through pain, frustration and exhaustion, and you did it because you care about helping others! It is not just that you ran this race, it is that you ran to bring life and hope to those who needed you!
celebrating with the birthday girl in our non running clothes || photo from Nancy’s husband
During our run Saturday, Nancy asked me if I would fly back to do a half marathon here in New York. I originally said no because it wouldn’t really be worth it. However Nancy, I tell you what, if you run another half marathon, I will fly back just to run it with you! That would be absolutely worth it!! (I anticipate your phone call within the next year!!)
with my biggest fan & supporter after the race: the huzband || iPhoto
I am amazed at how life turns out sometimes but more than anything, I am just thankful for the opportunities and experiences the huzband and I have had. Our hearts have been changed by Team World Vision and its mission to blend running with meeting the needs of others. We want to share something we love so dearly with those around us and I am so thankful for the opportunity to share this with just one. One is worth it all!! One of the phrase’s TWV uses is changing lives one child at a time. Through one crossing the finish line, five lives are forever being changed with clean water. One is so worth it all!!
Though the huzband won’t “officially” be on staff, we will always be big supporters of TWV.
Our journey has only just begun!