A Rich Inheritance: Race Recap.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”-Brene Brown

And so, for me, at the place of vulnerability– I moved back home–I made changes–I took a job–I started running at 6am–I started running solo–I started to mindfully use running as time to worship.

But, this wasn’t a chance or a hope or a maybe or a chance in the dark:

I trust in a faithful God. He has proven faithful over and over and over again. Despite many tears, fears, and “what ifs,” deep in my heart–I know and trust in my faithful King.

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuinenessof your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

This was my first marathon build up in my hometown. It was also my first build up without sickness, without missing a run, without missing a workout. For the first time–multiple times–in this build up, I finally conquered progression runs. God was speaking something special over this build up.

I went back to Minnesota to run Grandma’s Marathon for the second time, since it was my debut and a place that holds a special memory in my running career. It’s where I qualified for the Olympic Trials and where I truly felt God speak life into who He has created me to be.

With multiple tough marathons after Grandma’s Marathon, including 2 really hot marathons, I decided to go back to the place I first really enjoyed the marathon.

{I also wanted cool weather}

Fast forward to a few days before the race, my travel day was a little on the side of crazy as I raced through the Phoenix airport to make my connecting flight. Then, up until the race, my stomach was in knots despite bringing food for a sensitive stomach and planning the best I could. {I refuse to buy airport food}– I thought, well, this is either great because I’m so nervous that I’ll execute well, or this could be a little disastrous. Still, I prayed God would calm my nerves and help me to trust His faithfulness.

Once I got into Duluth, I was excited to see my roommate and close friend, Sarah Cummings. We chatted away and relished time together catching up and talking about post-race wine and life and how we wanted to experience a marathon that would bring a smile and joy at the finish line.

Race morning, I visited with other friends on the elite bus to the start line, but then slipped in my earplugs to listen to worship music by Jesus Culture that had helped me power through some of my toughest solo workouts…and also re-read 1 Peter 1 –reading about God’s rich inheritance. The passage sat truer than true for this season. I’ve had some tough patches with sickness and setbacks in the past few years, but I know that hard work does not go to waste and that God would bring something beautiful out of this race.

I tried to ignore the humidity and heat, until I got on the starting line and really realized: it’s HOT and sunny…the opposite of the conditions I hoped for and had raced in a few years prior. I mean, it’s LA hot…record heat in Minnesota. Since my coach, Andrew Kastor, was in France– we had chatted days before the race, and I hadn’t talked to him the night before or morning of like I normally would. So, I channeled what advice Andrew would have given me and what he had given me thus far, I trusted my training and the hard work, and, most importantly, I trusted God’s faithfulness.

While a cluster of women took off a little faster–I hung back with Esther Erb and Sarah Cummings, running a good 10+ seconds a mile slower than the conservative pace I had in my mind to run, bringing us through the half at 1:19 (woah slow). I knew a pack was better. I also knew the affects of the heat. I knew I needed to be conservative and that patience was key (just like a progression run). With 7 miles to go, I felt the peace and desire to progress–and then, I went, feeling faster than I expected–and I started passing women. I crossed the line running 3 minutes faster than the first half and surprisingly, running 2:35.30. I’ve never felt so good and so full of God’s joy finishing a race…especially a marathon. While it was not a day to run a PR, with the heat and humidity, I couldn’t have been happier with how I raced. I spent the last part of the race in prayer–and remembering all of the hard work I put in over the season; I also had a new confidence from successful progressive runs. I didn’t know that it was how I would need to finish this marathon, but God did. All of my finish line photos are of me not in pain, but smiling. It was such a special day.

The hours after were spent walking around Duluth, drinking too much coffee, time in a sweet local antique shop, hanging out with friends, awards, and drinks with friends.

Now I’m with my love celebrating each other’s victories: both 4th place, him the first American, I the second…{He raced the ITU World Duathlon Championships about 1 1/2 weeks prior in Spain}

What a faithful God we serve.

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New Seasons + Chapters.

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” -S. Niequist

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The quote has never seemed truer or more real, but for me, there’s so much joy in finding what you truly care about, what makes up you, what God has gifted you, what makes you thrive, what propels you forward.

For me, it has always been to be with my family or with my “home team.”

Home, for me, is not only about location (where I’m from), but also where the ones I love the most are…the ones that help make up “me,” who help me thrive, who push me forward or hold me back.

Almost 3 years ago, I left moved to Mammoth Lakes, CA, and joined ASICS Mammoth Track Club. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. God opened a door and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities, experiences, and life that happened in my time there. Tears are rolling down my face trying to put words to the deep gratitude for my teammates, my coach, my agent, the town of Mammoth Lakes, and friends in Mammoth. (most importantly–I met the love of my life in Mammoth—I never thought that would happen)

From debuting in the marathon, to learning competitive road racing, to PRs, to ups and downs, to the Olympic Marathon Trials (and too much to put into words)–a chapter of growth and strength is now turning a new page. It was a really full chapter. It almost feels surreal that I pursued something I declared back in high school…”if I ever have the opportunity to train in Mammoth, I will.” 

I am deeply thankful for all I’ve experienced in Mammoth. Even some difficult ups and downs can’t be trumped by the life lessons I’ve learned, the people I’ve spent time with, the experiences I’ve had–like conquering long tempos and long runs to brunches with my teammates to team meetings. Those can’t be replaced. But, as I turn the page to a new chapter, I have so much peace and so much joy.

Following my heart and the passions God has given me and instilled in me, I’ve moved home and relocated to El Dorado Hills, CA (near Sacramento) to my hometown–where I discovered my love for running, where I’ve experienced some of the most joy, where I’ve cried and laughed and grown, where I’ve chased dreams (ones that led me to Mammoth and back home), where I’ve landed as a home base and one that I’ve kept coming back to, because here is home. Here is where my family is. Here is where I am the most me, where I thrive, where I feel the most peace.

Home is also where I have the opportunities to work and run, something I am truly passionate about and motivated by. For many, professional running is the dream. For me, my dream is to pursue a career alongside professional running. So, I’m giving up a truly wonderful gift that was given to me of living and training in Mammoth to pursue the other gifts and abilities God has put in me.

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Don’t worry–I’m not giving up on running. I’m passionate about becoming the best marathoner I can be and toeing the line in 4 years again to make an Olympic team. (And, I’ve got many other goals along the way) But, in order to reach that goal, I’ve decided to make some changes. So, I’m starting a new chapter–and it will be full of new adventures, ups and downs, and pursuing God’s heart for me. (Eeeek i’m just so excited!!!)

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Planting Seeds.

I was reading “Savor” by Shauna Niequist this morning. Today was on “Planting Seeds.” I’ve been waking up the past few mornings excited to run, happy to be healthy again, and excited that this season build up is now towards the Olympic Trials in February.

“Right now it’s autumn, harvest season. But in my life, it’s planting season—a time to plant seeds and sow my imagination with images and themes and ideas, trusting that harvest will bring everything I need to write Bread & Wine.”-S. Niequist

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The past few months have been challenging. A missed marathon and my first DNF ever in a half marathon…both from a stomach virus and sickness. Despite my efforts to take care of myself and stay healthy, my body needed true rest, even though I felt like all I was doing was resting. I wanted these past two months to be a time of harvest–to race well and fast. But, instead, I look back on these past few months, and even now, realize that it’s planting season. While things didn’t go quite as planned, the miles and the rest and the workouts are all seeds. And, as I start training again, finally feeling healthy and building strength, I am watering the seeds I’ve planted the past few months and believing that a time of harvest will come. I believe God has given me a specific task in this marathon build up: be joyful daily, rest in His grace, and BE…be here present in my training, in what God has called me to.

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Daily, I want to truly seek God’s plans for today and choose to see that He is full of grace for seasons that seem stormy and also those that are sunny. I am finding, if I take a deep breath and smile, I’m more apt to see through the season I’m in and see God’s grace and purpose instead. Over and over again, I have to remind myself that while God has asked me to be present now, He has also told me: I will be present with YOU.

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So, when you feel like you should be in a harvest, take a step back and a deep breath. Maybe God has put you in a season of planting. That harvest will come, but only once the seeds are planted, watered, and given time to grow.

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ORTHOLITE.

ASICS has kept me healthy and powering along. What’s one of the keys to their comfort? OrthoLite. OrthoLite inserts are super comfortable. They are the foam insert in many of the ASICS shoes that provide lots of cushion and they are long lasting and breathable (that’s important in stinky running shoes). How are they durable? They don’t change the inside of the shoes, so they can last lots of long runs, workouts and normal wear from running. They are breathable because of the foam that they have, which also helps keep the foot cooler. OrthoLite even adds an antimicrobial agent to fight gross fungi that could build up (gross!). You can also wash OrthoLite inserts to keep them extra clean.

As a team, ASICS Mammoth Track Club, is sponsored by ASICS and OrthoLite; they have been gracious to our team and helping support not only our feet but also in helping us reach goals and stride on towards US and Olympic Teams. And, I strongly believe in what they are doing because they have created something to help keep us healthy. As a marathoner, your feet carry you a long way. So, you’ve got to keep them healthy! And, for us, OrthoLite has been a big part of that!

So, if you’re looking for the best inserts, look into OrthoLite. You can research shoes that have OrthoLite, or, you can easily order them online here: http://www.ortholite.com/footwear-consumers/buy-online

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You could, of course, invest in both of my favs and buy ASICS with OrthoLite, like the Gel-Kayanos or Gel-Excels. That’s the way to go!! Either way, OrthoLite does an incredible job. Thanks, OrthoLite for keeping our feet fast and healthy!

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“Be Kind to Yourself”

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”-Galations 6:9

If you’ve truly trained for a marathon, the time and mental investment into the race is large. And, if you don’t make it to the start line, it leaves a cavity where you let it burrow a hole into the deepest part of you. When you invest yourself into something you love, it finds a way to make a home in your heart. Thankfully, God holds my heart in the palm of His hand. And, He repairs it over and over again, reminding me that pain is okay and disappointment is okay, but that He has created me as a whole person–one that is shaped by His grace rather than by the things I love to do, like run. So, I don’t let running define me or races that I do or don’t do define me.

It started with feeling under the weather and battling sickness on and off until I found out I had a bad stomach virus that took it’s toll and took me out of training and being prepared for Twin Cities Marathon. Discouraged and sad, I drove home to rest and recover. As usual, the questions swirl in my mind of “why?”…”training was going great…” …” i did everything i could” etc.  But, I took a deep breathe, and let God’s grace pour over my mind and heart that could easily grow weary from worrying and questioning. And, as I gained back strength, I decided to run for simple enjoyment; it’s healing for my soul to run long and discover new trails.

I was on a run with my sweet friend, Alexi, a month or so ago, and she said, “Be kind to yourself.” That’s pretty much the best advice anyone could ever give another human like me (one that can’t measure up to her own expectations). On my “comeback” to health and putting in good workouts again, I’ve settled my heart on being kind to myself. In church, we’ve been talking about our image being made in God’s image. What an incredible truth. I think about that on good days and hard days: You are created in God’s image. You must be kind to yourself. My goodness, does it help.

And, in not racing, I got to spend time with my Dad on his birthday, a birthday I would have missed if I was gone. There is always a silver lining. Always.

So, today, be kind to yourself. You are created in God’s image. And, you were created for a purpose. Your worth is not settled in what you do or don’t do: God has created you with great worth.

Also, the love of my life raced yesterday for us both and did fantastic: He got his pro card!!!

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A Tasting: Good Sense Coffee.

GOOD SENSE COFFEE.

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Good Sense Coffee is a Micro Roasting Company in South Lyon, Michigan. But, the cool thing about them? They work hard at not only making great coffee, but giving back to those that source their beans, but also to those right in their backyard. They roast on a small scale so that they can give back globally and locally. GSC is about serving others. (AND, there coffee is fantastic). Their profits don’t just benefit them, but others too.

Who knew it would take me this long to review an awesome coffee company? Glad its a company that presents a clear vision:

serve coffee. serve people.

This doesn’t mean they skimp on good beans or quality of product. Instead, they work hard to source the best beans: Organic and Fair Trade.

So far, I’ve brewed the Burundi: chocolate, burnt sugar, floral aroma, intense acidity.

And, Java: sweet, clean, raw sugar black tea, fig, raisin.

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Both were equally delicious.

I couldn’t encourage you more to order their beans here. This is a company worth getting behind from a taste standpoint, but more than that, a vision standpoint.

Go check them out!

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I’ve written many blog reviews, but never on coffee. Surprising, for me, since I enjoy coffee every morning…and post-run…and sometimes before a second run.

Good Sense Coffee is a Micro Roasting Company in South Lyon, Michigan. But, the unique part about it? They aren’t just

Deeply Loved.

I went home this past weekend for my birthday. Birthdays, for me, can’t be spent without family. THEY are my birthday present. I’m deeply thankful for the memories I make with them each time I visit home. They bring me more joy than words can describe. It was such a sweet and packed weekend. From a long run to my favorite coffee shop with my mom biking, to a trip to Petaluma (near Napa) to eating a dream meal at Central Market and an espresso macaroon at Bouchon’s to running near home and being so thankful.

This was my birthday dream meal: Duck. Farm-to-Fork at Central Market. All sourced from local farms in Petaluma and Napa.

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I came back to Mammoth full of love and thankfulness and joy.

My sweet parents wanted to make me feel so special on my birthday and they let me crash their anniversary trip to Napa. It’s the only weekend they could book and originally didn’t know I could make it home for my birthday. But, I did. And, they invited me to come. What seemed like a sweet birthday present is actually one of the most special birthdays I’ve had yet. My parents live selflessly. It’s one of the reasons they have a wonderful marriage.

My parents will celebrate their true anniversary on July 25. 28th Anniversary…right mom and dad?

So, as I wrote their Anniversary card, I tried to put into words how their marriage has deeply impacted me..and how I couldn’t ever ask for better parents. They, I came across this quote,

“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.”-S. Niequist

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And, as I wrote their card, I became emotional which doesn’t typically happen when I write, but it was emotions of a deep sense of gratitude. The older I grow, the more I realize how blessed I am. Mom and Dad, I know we are still a week away, but thank you for loving me, for always welcoming me home, for nourishing my spirit and soul…HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. God gave me the best parents for ME. And, I couldn’t be more thankful to spend my 25th with you. I love you both so much!

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