In order to move forward, I realize I need to back track a bit.
I am a happy stay at home mom of two sons. I have an incredibly supportive and loving husband. We've been married for nearly 18 years. I am very much a "high feeler" kinda gal and I love being a part of His story. God has moved me from place to place in ministry, and each move comes with a bittersweet end, but it has always been the beginning of another step of faith. Running a half marathon would prove to be a true leap of faith for me.
I'm a cyclist. Always have been. Even as a kid, I'd ride my bike precariously close to highway just to see my grandmother and a have a destination point. My love for cycling has vascilated according to the season of life I am currently in, and at Christmastime 2010, I hadn't been on my road bike in months. That's when I learned that one of our family's favorite artist's was putting together a running team to support a school in the hills of Nashville. Well, I was pushing 40 years old and I love a challenge, so I talked it over with my better half and I didn't need to pray, because God had already confirmed it in my spirit. My husband not only thought it was a great idea, but committed to joining me on the journey.
We had four months to train. And because we live in the mitten shaped state, the training would be indoors. I studied every book and suggested training schedule available to man. Everything from Hal Higdon to the Penguin and everything in between. We started slow and ran 5-6 days a week. My husband was excelling faster than me and that of course, stressed me out. Sadly it brought out in me really, ugly jealousy. So of course, I set out to be the strongest runner I could be. However, my body kept revolting against me. My heart raced for no reason, my "morning routine" became an all day event. I literally spent hours in the bathroom. I then began to fuel my body with even more of the runners palate. Whole grains galore.! I really should have been the poster child for the Wheaties box. But I digress.
After one of our longer runs, I couldn't stop my aching stomach. Nothing I ate stayed in me and the cramping was incredibly painful. I ended up in hospital for two nights, trying to figure out why I was so dehydrated. After coming home, I still spend more time than anyone should in the lavatory. I was eating the standard BRAT diet and could keep no food in me. Crying and hunched over, I prayed. And then felt prompted in my spirit to google - "running and gluten." Now, I had NEVER heard the now famous word, so I truly thought God was leading me to a new vitamin or supplement that would stop the weird physical stuff I was going through and make me the awesome runner I knew I could be.
To my amazement I found a blog (of course) of a younger gal who could've written my story. Now, you need to know I am intentionally leaving out a lot of detail, because my point is not to write about dietary needs, far from it. It will always be to glorify God and sometimes I ramble to get my point out.
Anyhoo, long story short... once I had the blood work done, it was very obvious that I have Celiac Disease. Not familiar with it? It basically means no more eating like main stream America. No wheat, barley, rye or oats - and a long list of foods because gluten is an amino protein and is often used in cooking as a binder. (think soups, salad dressings, even yogurt and even make up).
Well, we continued to train and I learned to fuel my body differently. All was moving along better as we neared the Country Music Marathon. We were raising thousands of dollars for an amazing school, New Hope Academy, and I was determined to be the #1 fundraiser. I am often the top fund raiser with any charity. I'm crazy great at creating synergy and fundraising. Oh! the title of #1 fundraiser came with perks... and I wanted all of them. Private lunch with Tobymac, custom shoes designed by TMac and a tour of his studio... yeah, I can raise cash for a good cause.
We were blessed to have a couple join us for the run in Nashville. Good friends rock, don't they? We had a blast meeting Toby and his band, enjoying lunch with he and his wife, having a private studio tour and ending the day with a great concert at Michael W. Smith's church. We had a blast!
Now to wake up in five hours and run 13.1 miles. We decided to walk from our hotel to the start line and that added a couple miles to our start. The clouds were plenty and the forecast called for rain, but we could've never expected how much rain. Much to our surprise, it rained and rained and Nashville flooded. But... I finished. Steve finished. Our friends finished. We had done it. And now, I wanted to run more...
I had officially been biten by the running bug. But even as I ran to the finish line in the pouring rain of my first half marathon... God was speaking to me. CLEARLY. He placed a desire on my heart to form a team for a friends' charity, Believe In Miracles. Their daughter was the same age as our younger son, and dying of cancer. Little did I know that running in my first real race, would prove to be a leap of faith into fundraising and team building like I had not yet known.