It’s been almost a month since I ran the Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon in Phoenix. Since returning from AZ, I have been trying my hardest to get back into the swing of things with very little success. To be honest, the trip flew by and I think that I fought a little of a funk coming back to dreary Ketchikan…
Our very first morning we woke to the sun shinning on our faces. Normally I would have been more then annoyed to be woken up early on my vacation. Yet I found myself almost hop out of bed and head to the shower to start my first day back in the place of the eternal sun. Cayden and I had stayed up way too late the night before. Hard to avoid when you arrive at 10:30 at night. We had family to hug, stories to tell, energy to expel after spending our entire day in the seatac airport.
We explored every inch of the airport during our 7 hour lay over. After a few hours of sinking in happened to the little man, I finally heard his heart.
We had the biggest surprise planned for him. Kept it for months from him and successfully pulled it off. He found out the moment I was getting ready to board the ferry that an invite to join me was on the table. At first he just stood there, tears starting to form and a scowl on his face. Not the reaction we had hoped for. I later found out that he thought we were playing on his weakness. His little piggy bank has been claimed to hold the money it will take to one day buy a ticket to his birth place. He truly believed we were being mean and pulling his leg, knowing he would go in a heart beat. When he realized it was true, he was then crushed because he didn’t see a bag packed for him. Apparently the two big suitcases I had didn’t seem out of the norm. I found in the hours that went by that his gratitude could not be contained and he didn’t let much time pass throughout our day without saying thank you.
We started the first part of our trip at the phoenix zoo, walking in shorts and sunglasses. Every now and then I would get the scent of one of the indigenous plants and would immediately feel like I was home.
The next surprise entailed taking Cayden to the Nike store. My cousin is an employee there and we took him shopping!!! The kid had so much fun there, I loved watching him feel like the center of the world, something the oldest of 4 rarely feels, especially when you have a “sick” child. We ended our day having dinner with his Godfather Jonny and his family. Cayden loved on his son, Joe Jack and it was decided yet again, that our families need to live by one another soon!
I was a ball of nerves the night before the 1/2 marathon race. I knew that how I trained for this race was going to impact my outcome. I was hesitant to sign up, knowing that I was going to be logging all my miles on a tredmill, something I had never done before. All my other 1/2s have been in the late spring and summer, allowing for outdoor miles to be my main option. I somehow found my rhythm during my training. I found that my body actually longed for the early morning runs, pounding out miles, and listening to music and surprising myself with the miles I achieved in what seemed like a short time. I never had felt stronger, I had found a balance in caloric intake too and could tell I was refueling the right way.
I laid out my gear the night before the race, with a happy heart seeing all the items that were given to me as I run for my daughter. Shoe tags, personalized clothing, water bottle, all given to me by friends who know why I run. I asked my aunt to say an extra prayer for me and re-read the messages some friends had sent me to assure me that I had it in me to run the race strong and well.
We woke in darkness, the 3 of us running the 1/2 were wide eyed and unable to stand in place. Our poor support group was still wiping crusties from their eyes and wrapped up in blankets and stumbled their way to the car. I will admit, we showed up a tad early, not really knowing how bad traffic would be. But we laughed and talked and watched all the other early runners in their costumes or lack of clothing! Mind you I was FREEZING. The desert is cold in the winter during the night and early morning hours. I was so grateful I had my northface fleece. When the time came, my aunt and I searched out the prayer group that was offered to the runners. It was just what my heart needed. The person leading the prayer reminded us there were people running, who had big trials and burdens heavy on their hearts. To not be afraid to reach out and help them, to remember that we don’t know their stories and they might need our help. Thank you Team 413.
Anyone of my fellow 1/2 marathon runners, check out their site and see if they are at one of your upcoming races! http://www.Team413.org
The moment came and we were soon smashed together with all the other 18,000 runners. The endorphins were flowing and I hugged my aunt and friend and thanked them for joining my cause and running for a little girl who doesn’t yet know the commitment it takes to train and compete in a 1/2. After looking through photos of the race I found one in competitors magazine of us at the startline, you get bonus points if you can find us!
My aunt had told me the day before that the race was taking donations for the homeless population. Anything a runner decided to strip off, would be donated to a shelter. I had no problem shedding my running shirt knowing it was going to a good cause.
The first few miles I focused on my breathing, my stride, I paid close attention to how I was feeling as I watched each mile pass. I was steady, the most steady I have ever been on a race. I didn’t fly off the start line like I have in the past and found that my splits were either spot on or just a few seconds different.
I had something on my heart that I knew I was going to be going to God on. I have approached each race with something to go to God with. Knowing he will have my full attention for 2 hours, makes these races more special. My first two races I needed to hear him speak in regards to Ezzy, especially when she was in the hospital unexpectedly for the 2nd race. The 3rd one I needed to hear him speak on my mentor’s death. This race I needed to hear him speak to what I am suppose to be training for next. Spiritually and physically.
After every race, Ken, my mentor, would come to me and ask “what are you training for next?”. He believed that a runner without a plan would not stay in optimum health and shape. So he was always encouraging me to set goals, even if they were a few months away or far down the road, to have goals. I asked God to set my play list on pandora. Knowing that he has done this many times during long runs when my heart was heavy with burdens.
I soon started to quiet my heart, I had laid out what was on it and handed it over to God, trusting He would meet me on the desert road…
Songs came and went. Soon as I began to strip off every distracting thought and emotion I was pulled into the lyrics of the songs. He was guiding my heart.
The heat was a little intense and I had quickly regretted not training with a fuel belt. I found myself in need of veering to the side every 2 miles to grab a sip on the run. I was frustrated at the lack of planning on my part, but wouldn’t allow pride to stop me from refueling my body that was in need of hydration. Towards the end of mile 8, I saw the big hill coming up, I was feeling a little shaky and not clear headed. I caught a glimpse of the the refueling option they were handing out. I cringed and told myself I was not going to drink the glyukos shot. Then as if I didn’t have control of my body, I found myself veering to the side again and sipping the stuff I was certain would make me puke. Apparently my subconscious knew how badly I needed the sugar and it literally tasted like heaven! My speed began to pick back up to my normal pace and before I knew it I was at mile 11. I saw one last water station and decided, why not? I had stopped at all the other ones, either drinking or dumping water on my head. I soon found out after a quick sip that I had been handed warm freaking beer…
I was SO mad and told my stomach to calm down and hold it together.
When I crossed the finish line I knew exactly what I was training for next. I had a smile from ear to ear and felt so much peace. I have never ran feeling like I was carried the whole way. This race, this day, it felt as though my feet never touched the ground. I was carried the whole way.
The song that spoke to my heart the most said “beautiful life, inside, living, moving, breathing. So let hope arise. God knew what He was doing when He gave beautiful, beautiful life”
I didn’t know that when I signed up for the race I was going to find myself pregnant a few weeks before race day. I was still nursing Ya’el and felt like crap after each session, unaware two souls were fighting for nourishment from me on top of my training schedule. I quietly went to God over my fears and wondered if I should pull myself from the race.
After seeing beautiful life, moving, living inside of me at the ultrasound and the doctor’s go ahead, I boarded the plane nervous to run a 1/2 marathon.
I had to go back to why I was running, it wasn’t for the Personal record that I had slaved to train for and achieved, just to find my time start to increase and no strength to fight the fatigue. Then as the sickness set in, I wondered if I was going to be able to handle it. I remembered how Ken told me and encouraged me to keep running during my pregnancy with Ya’el, reminding me that his partner in the T2T 1/2 marathon was 5 months pregnant. He helped me realize I didn’t have to give up my running when carrying life.
I held back on race day, gave myself a new time goal and told myself I would take it easy. Crossing the finish line knowing, feeling, and believing that God carried two souls across the finish line was all that I needed in the mass of people who had other feelings of accomplishment pulsing through their veins.
“what am I training for next?” I am training for the race that God has called me to run. I have found myself, yet again, a blessed recipient of beautiful life growing inside me. From the moment we found out about this baby, we have had so much PEACE. It does add more to our plates, especially as we have made plans and now need to readjust them. I am being humbled yet again, how the most important call in my life is being a mother. All the other stuff has to come after God and my family. He is asking me to put them in the forefront right now.
I spend my days tired and sick, no desire or will power to go and pound out miles in the early morning, zofran helps, but has annoying side effects. My overachieving womb is all to happy to show there is life growing and I can no longer hide it. I have even been approached and asked if I was pregnant, since my shape is yet again changing…at least I can take it as a compliment in a twisted way. Say hello to stretched abdomen muscles that have grown life 4 times…
A fall down the stairs made for a very interesting night as I found myself already becoming clumsy. Thankfully the doctor checked me the next day and I saw the most precious little heart beating, with its chambers working hard at keeping life protected in my womb. Even though I have been labeled high risk due to my age, CF factor, # of births and pregnancies, I have found comfort in getting to see this little life change from a worm looking form to now arms legs and a profile with each ultrasound I have had! The night I fell, I spoke to God in the dead of night, I placed my hand on my belly and asked for his protection over the little soul that has already my unconditional love. Within seconds, the answer came in the form of the first time I felt beautiful life, inside, moving…praise God, who knows just what we need and meets us in ways we know it is Him answering our hearts cry.
The kids were for the most part excited when finding out they had to make room for another , one child expressed their true feelings, I shouldn’t have been surprised. As we tucked them into bed after telling them the secret, they all thanked God for the new baby and Cayden said “God, thank you for trusting me with another sibling, for thinking I am ready for a baby, even if I don’t think I am”. My belly was kissed that night and a tiny soul they never met was tethered to their hearts.
In all this new change coming to the Harney family, we are looking forward to what God has in store for us. Knowing that He has and will equip us for the journey and that we have been growing and stretching our faith, to a point that endurance and perseverance will keep our eyes on Him as we look to Him even more as this year unfolds. As my aunt said, this baby has a story to tell, why else were there two souls crossing the finish line that day? We are excited to share this news with you all and appreciate prayers of health and strength for myself and baby #5
So Ken, I am training for my next adventure in motherhood. I already pictured in my mind telling you about this baby, remembering your reaction with Ya’el. I found comfort in telling your wife, knowing that I was going to get the same reaction. Most of all I know that in the moments that I might allow fear to creep in, you would have been quick to remind me that every life God has given our family has a purpose. You would have pointed out how much Ezzy has called me to a deeper faith, how being a mother is a massive ministry, how important it is to raise Kingdom kids, just like you and your wife successfully did. I wish we could have gotten that reality TV show of our family going for you, even more so now as life is beginning to get crazy around here.