This week’s guest post is by Olivia, one of my best friends since the fourth grade when we co-wrote and starred in the infamous “Silver Shoe Commercial.” We grew up in central Pennsylvania together, with a shared love of dill pickles, concerts in the Hershey arena, and Jesus. Olivia, like me, now lives in a land far away from the Susquehanna River Valley we called home. And her thirtieth birthday is next week.
That is how long I experienced the support, encouragement, love, and challenging from a group to help me accomplish something I never thought I would do. Last year I had the privilege of training with a running group called 1VoiceRunners. When I began training, I don’t know if I realized what I had signed up for…to train to run 13.1 miles…in one day?!
I mean, I knew what it was, but I don’t think it hit me, that I would be training for two and a half months to build up the endurance to do this. See, I have never considered myself to be a runner. I only ran my first 5K two months prior and now I was going to attempt 13? Quite ambitious looking back at it, but I knew God had called me to run the race.
When I say I didn’t know what I would be getting myself into, I guess I didn’t realize the mental and emotional battle that I would have to face each and every time I added a mile on to our run. It wasn’t a ‘walk in the park’, but I had people to ‘walk’ with when I wanted to stop running our weekly run, when I wanted to quit training overall.
I had community.
I learned what it meant to train with a team to see a goal achieved. I probably would not have completed my training or possibly even showed up on race day if it was not for the support of 1Voice.
Completion. That was my goal. I wasn’t worried about my final time, who would finish ahead of me, or even if I had to walk. I was going to finish all thirteen miles. (I planned to not be the last to cross the finish line too.) 🙂
The support of my team was incredible. They waited for me at the end of our runs, they encouraged me the ENTIRE time we trained, some listened as tears were streaming down my face as I wanted to quit (training in hot humid Tennessee summers is not my ideal running conditions, and it played with my thoughts and emotions), believed in me when I couldn’t, and they pushed me further than I ever thought possible.
One of my favorite memories of the race was passing 1Voice runners throughout the race and cheering them on as they high-fived and cheered me on.
I had one lady comment on how popular I was to have so many people cheering me on. I told her I was blessed to train with a great group of people who became my running family.
And there was completion.
October 16, 2010, there was victory–and celebration! I completed what I set out to do fourteen weeks prior. I couldn’t have done it alone. I know that for a fact.
I ran a half-marathon.