Monday, August 23, 2010

15 in 15 Run - Day 6 (Aug 22) - Fredericksburg

I began the day with a speaking engagement at Hopewell United Methodist Church. As I talked about how much it meant to have someone stand with you and run beside you, I couldn't help get emotional. God continues to place people with me when I need them the most. And it turns out that today was the day, I needed Sondra to be by my side. After I spoke, Pastor Mike Browder gave a sermon using Hebrews 12:1, and listed the 7 rules of running. The key phrase I got from his message was "Good habits on the outside, produce good faith on the inside." It reminded me of my own catch-phrase "Belief=action=belief" That's how I lost the weight and took the challenge of the 15in15. When I believed I could lose the weight, my actions followed (I tracked what I ate, exercised, etc.) which brought success, which boosted my belief, which led to more action! When you have the faith of a mustard seed, God will call you to action and when you see what He does in your life, your faith grows!

After the service, Steve turned the crew reins over to Josh and Michelle Orndorff, while he spoke at the late service and went home to get the camper. After the few miles on Route 1 yesterday, I didn't want to run 26.2 miles of it, so after consulting a map, we decided to head into Fredericksburg via Route 3. Not exactly a straight route from where I stopped yesterday, but the important thing was getting the miles in. Sondra followed us to the Center City Shopping Center where she left her car and we headed east. When we got 26.2 miles out of town we began the run back into Fredericksburg at mailbox 9233. This is one way in which God uses little coincidences to show us that He is in the midst of the run. 33 was Kelsey Orndorff's (Josh's sister) number. Kelsey was very active in TOP and, in fact, was the lead organizer of our intitial ministry in Fredericksburg. When Kelsey tragically died in a car accident, we were all devastated. But her spirit lives on in TOP. Our direct aid fund to help provide special needs such as help with rent or utilities is now named Kelsey Kares. And her spirit was with us today as we started the run.

While it rained when we were in the car, it seemed as soon as we started running, the sun came out and the temperature went up 10 degrees into the nineties. Because we had to travel from Hopewell, we didn't get started until almost 12:30, so we were running in the heat of the day from the start. It was hot, hot, hot! The second difficulty was the traffic. While it was 100 times better than Route 1, there was still a lot of it. You had to constantly pay attention, just in case a car or truck wasn't. There were also two sections of road where we totally lost the shoulder. We tried running in the grass next to the soybean fields, but that didn't work too well - it was like running in soft sand and took too much effort. There were also a lot of hills. Hills are okay, but hills and hot make for a long day. My back was really bothering me by mid day, and the heat was starting to take it's toll. I was grateful that we were stopping every mile or two, because I was really struggling. This was the hardest day physically for me, and that's why I was so grateful Sondra was there. At one point, I had her run in front and I just followed her footsteps. "Keep moving, just put your feet down and keep going." I felt like she was pulling me on.

At one point Sondra said she was going to start leapfrogging me. I thought she meant that she was going to run up ahead at a faster pace, and then wait up for me. Actually, the heat was getting to her too, and she wanted to stick with me until the end, so she took a couple of breaks just to cool off for a minute. She still ended up running at least 23 of the 26 miles.

It was beautiful out there in the country, but after a while it was more of the same. If you've seen one cornfield, you've seen them all. It was the first time I will admit to wanting to see some sign of civilization, because it meant the end was near.

At one point a grasshopper jumped on my thumb. Then a ladybug landed on Sondra and hung on for a while. So we became "Grasshopper" and "Ladybug."

Then, just when I was about spent, civilization came into view in the form of a Sheetz! We used the restrooms, and took our time getting through the air-conditioned store. As we began running toward town, a fellow asks us for directions. Like we know where we are! At the next stop, Lindsey gets out and we walk the last mile across the bridge and into town together. Another person asks us for direction! But then, out of the blue, we hear "SuSu!" It was Josh's dad, Pastor Randy Orndorff. What a pleasant surprise. Finally we hit the 26.2 mark and end at a cemetery! How fitting, since I am dead tired. And our running time? 5:33 - Kelsey was there at the end for us too.

We were blessed to be treated to dinner by Pastor Randy. I was blessed at Josh and Michelle's care for us which had to be for them a very long day (since they also took us out to Lake Anna before going home). And doubly blessed by Sondra who drove up all the way from NC to be by my side. It made the heat, the traffic, and the long road ahead all worth it.

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