THE RUNNERS

Posted: January 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

runners

Our trip to Phoenix was all about encouragement!  As a runner I have always had the support of my husband, my children, my sister, the Calvary Chapel runners and friends.  I take that support for granted at mile one or two but when the miles start adding up that encouragement and support is life giving.  It matters.  It gets a runner through. 
In midwifery I have also had support and one of my greatest supporters and fellow midwives has been Lisa Buxman.  She traveled with me to the Philippines and the Dominican Republic for training.  She has been my "you can do it" person all along this road.  Now it was my turn to support her.
We met up in Phoenix for the PF Chang Half Marathon.  Tara Livesay traveled with me from Haiti.  Tara is amazing and with her networking and communication skills got us free hotel coming and going and free entrance into the race.  We both had enough frequent flier miles so off we went on a free trip. 
In Phoenix we stayed with Lisa’s lovely daughter Jaeda.  Her daughter Paige and daughter-in-law Tonya also came for the event.  We were celebrating Lisa’s 50th birthday.  What a way to spend your half century mile marker – running farther than you ever have before.  Going beyond yourself.  We all knew Lisa could do it.  We all knew she was well trained.  But still she had those jitters. 
Tara and I have both run full marathons so the half was like a training run for us.  We had such fun.  The best part was encouraging Lisa and Paige, the newbies.  The power of words, the power of love, the power of encouragement were the tools of success while the body did the rest.  As the body wears down and depletes love and encouragement take on new power.  They get you through.
All four runners crossed the finished line, cried tears of joy and limped back to the car which unluckily for us seemed miles away.
Then came the flight home – another adventure.  I am not subtle.  My husband and kids are sometimes embarrassed when they fly with me.  Tara has a new understanding and feels connected to them.  Every sport has its heroes.  You know, the ones that seem almost not human due to their gifts.  Elite runners finish marathons in record times while the rest of us are shuffling through in comparison.  The best runners in the world are from Kenya and Ethiopia.  Tara and I met one of the elites on our flight home.  He was not in first class.  He was rather humble looking in old, ill fitting clothes and held his plaque under his arm.  We were talking marathons with a pilot on the way onto the flight and someone whispered the information – "the winner is just ahead of you!".  Sure enough, there he was.  All 100 pounds of him.  He was actually second place although he had the exact same time as the winner – two hours, 10 minutes, 36 seconds.  The other guy must have won by a toe. 
I couldn’t let the moment pass with just a look.  No way.  I gushed, grabbed his little 100 pound body for a picture, bragged that I had run Boston (like that would make us friends) and poured praise all over this little guy who looked frightened of me.  Tara made a profound observation when she said "I am sitting across from one of the fastest humans on the planet".  Indeed.  The mothering part of me wanted to run up to the stewardess and get this little guy a seat in first class.  He looked like he needed a meal.  I was honored to meet him.  So, I embarrassed Tara, made a scene half the airplane heard and got to honor a little guy headed home to Ethiopia. 
The weekend was, for me, about honoring someone else.  Marveling at someone else’s    accomplishments.  For Lisa, it was a half marathon.  For me, I was passing on the gift of encouragement.  Doing for Lisa what others had done for me.  I had such a fun time doing it.  Meeting the one who crossed the finish line in record time was icing on the cake.  A moment of glorying in an elite runner’s gifts.  He was so unassuming we could have missed him.  Often great people are.
I’m home and getting ready to head out for my morning run.   I can encourage myself because others have encouraged me first.  "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." 

 

Beth McHoul

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