Thursday, June 25, 2015

Half Marathon Update

I wanted to take a minute to update you on my daughter's half marathon.

We traveled to Williamson, Kentucky where the Hatfield-McCoy Marathons would begin. The night before our daughter's race we took the opportunity to drive the course. It was then that we got our first glimpse of "Blackberry Mountain", the nemesis of the first half of the course.  (Take a look at the elevation map below. That BIG spike about mile 6 and 7 is Blackberry Mountain.)

A quick run to the grocery store to pick up some bagels for the next morning's breakfast and then we were off to slumber for the night.

We dropped Kari off at the race start just before 7 AM Saturday morning and she still had a bit of a smile on her face, though she was nervous.

Glenn and I drove the 30 minute ride around curvy country roads to park in Matewan, West Virginia where the half marathon would end. We sat a while, looked at some of the historical sites, and then scoped out a spot close to the bridge entering town. Runner after runner came down the hill and turned the curve toward the bridge. Glenn and I waited.... and waited... looking at our watch and trying to gauge when Kari might come into view. Finally, about 2 hours and 30 minutes into the run we glimpsed her bright orange outfit coming toward us.

Kari had made some running pals as she ran; she later would tell us that they had discussed it being her first marathon and how she was feeling. No doubt, their encouragement helped her keep walking and running toward her goal.

Meanwhile at the finish line, Glenn had created a make shift sign using papers and crayons he had found in the back of the car. We had also told several others who were watching the race about Kari and her determination to finish this, her first half marathon. By the time she crossed the bridge there were several people yelling her name and encouraging her as she continued the brief run through downtown toward the finish line.

Kari crossed the line and learned that, not only had she finished the half marathon, but she had also placed 2nd in her age category!

Kari does not really consider this half marathon to be much of an achievement. "I am a runner, Mom. They expect us to do things like this." As for me, I consider it a GREAT achievement. I feel so blessed to have a daughter like her: one who sets goals, works toward them, and makes it her purpose to achieve them. She may be younger than the other runners on her college team; she may be younger than the classmates in her college classes, but she does not let that prevent her from achieving what any other college sophomore might achieve. 

I also feel blessed to have a daughter who is so God centered. As I listen to her sing solos in church my heart swells with pride and I often find tears welling up in my eyes. Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old, he will not depart from it." Glenn and I have attempted to do that, and I am so blessed to see that Kari has accepted God and his guiding hand into her heart and her life.