The 2016 Portland to Coast is all done. Finished. Over. Our pastor on Sunday stated in his sermon people his belief regarding those who do the Hood to Coast or the Portland to Coast. He said we are all crazy. He may well be right. It's a ton of hard work. It's hot, stinky, exhausting, cramped, and crazy fun.
As I was walking along in my first 6 mile super hot section I distracted myself from the blistering heat by running a blog through in my head. It occured to me that my previous blog about climbing hills was only half the story. Sure there are lots of tips and tricks about how to preservere in personal challenges. But the best part of the Portland to Coast is that it's a relay, and its done in and through neighborhoods. People really are what make it work. The encouragement and laughter and teasing and support I received from my girls are why I have done this loony event more than once. And that same love and joy is why I do most of my life with people all intertwined up in my business. I support them, they love on me. So here you go - top five life applications from this year's Portland to Coast.
1. Find a team and some cute pants.
Life is more fun when you have a set of people committed to cheering you on. If you can find a coach with glowing shoes I recommend that as well. I'm only kinda kidding. Adding a little color and light and sillyness to your daily grind is a great way to combat the dark.
2. Drive Slowly! Be careful with the people around you who are running a race.
We used to live just down the road from a motorcross track which hosted a national championship every year. It was truly a pain. Awful traffic, noise, tons of people. We typically stayed home and hid the whole weekend motorcross was in town. So I totally understand why some of the local residents may not be a fan of the PTC and HTC.
At one point in the middle of the night a large beefed up pickup truck came speeding and reving through the middle of a bunch of racers. He clearly didn't appreciate us in his neighborhood. Dangerous. Scary. His temper tantrum was not worth the risk. Made me think though. How often do I get frustrated by the inconvenience of people I know who are striving to finish a race? Do I grump and growl when I have to slow down to make room for someone? Do I endanger their peace or safety because I am annoyed? I'm going to do my best to remember the reving truck next time I amp up. Slow down. Be careful. People are running their race.
3. Remember we are all different.
Eight girls in one van for 36 hours. Big bold personalities complete with bull horn and blinking lights tucked in beside some quiet gentle souls. Speedy walkers and slower shufflers. One of the very best ways to keep the peace is to start with a simple truth. We are all different. That's just fine.
4. Food and Water Win
Just before the crest of a big giant hill sat a neighbor watching the race. He sat beside an open cooler of water bottles. Cold water given to strangers. I love that guy.
Matthew 10:42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disiple, truly i tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.
Middle of the night, tired and sore. My teammate handed me a pita filled with homemade chicken salad. Grapes and pineapple and almonds. I ate and refueled and smiled. Food is my love language. There have been days in my life where words were not useful but food and water helped. Hospital rooms, court rooms, hospice. Love sometimes looks like dinner.
5. Don't leave anyone behind.
Somewhere up in the hills outside Seaside, Oregon I decided that it was TIME to change my clothes. We were parked on the side of the road waiting for our walker to pass. So I hauled to the back of the van and cleverly used the van doors and my bin to create a little changing closet to swap out my pants. Pants off. Van pulled away and parked 100 yards down. I was standing there surprised as I watched my team leave. A racer speeding by grinned and asked what I'd done to get myself evicted from my team. Oh gosh. The driver....who shall remain nameless....wait....she left me half clothed on the side of the road.....grace grace grace....stopped the van and hopped out. She looked back, saw me standing there and yelped. Got back in the van and quickly backed my changing closet back to me. I laughed. Life lesson though: check your people before you leave. Build boundaries in your marriages, put filters on your internet, ask your kids questions. Check on your people. Don't leave anyone exposed.
So my team - thanks for the encouragement. I love you all. Go go Rocket Girls.
This story did not happen to me. It feels like it did though. It happened to my sister. She and I share an odd sense of humor, a strong will and a pitiful history where PE is concerned. So my little sister had a goal. (One I had too but didn’t actually achieve). She wanted to finish running the mile in high school PE and not come in last in her class. Totally reasonable goal. One day, she gave it her all. Ran like the wind. Finished ahead of someone. Looked up to heaven and closed her eyes to pray and to thank God, promptly tripped and fell flat on her face. Sigh.
I must point out here that another thing my sister and I share is a willingness to self-deprecate in order to have new blog material. She did in fact give me permission to throw her under the bus.
You know how in high school they try to talk you into buying an extremely overpriced coat so you can display your proudly earned letter? I had a letter but frankly wasn’t interested in wearing it. I’m not sure that Pep Band really qualifies, especially when you play the flute. The flute is designed for a symphony not a marching band. You can’t hear it over cheering football fans or a cadence from the drum line. Don’t get me wrong. I loved band. I just didn’t want to hear about it from all the sports people. I had a couple pins on this letter too…one for Honor Society and one for the Math team. In college, my debate coach thought it was hilarious to tell people I was on the math team. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that debate fell in the same category as competitive math.
My sister signed up with me to do the Warrior Dash this fall. Partly I think it was because she felt sorry for me because I came home from Rwanda with TB and she didn’t. Partly I think it was because it’s fun to surprise people and do something out of character. Partly I think because I’m the big sister and she’s used to sometimes doing what I tell her to. At any rate, we’ve been running for about two months now. We’re running at least once a week together just to stay accountable. The rest of the time we’re begging others to keep us in line and have acquired a couple of good coaches who push us. One of them is pregnant. I find it difficult to believe that I have a really hard time keeping up with the pregnant person. Sigh. Our other coach just finished this year’s Portland marathon. Starting running for the first time last spring and ran the whole thing. She’s my hero.
We all spent all last week eating. Decided yesterday we were ready for a “hard run”. Three Miles. Faster pace than normal. Really Really big hill. All three of us had to walk the last push of the hill. It’s a big hill. My friend said it felt like someone had ripped out her lungs. Clearly we all need a bit more training. Funny thing was when we finished the hill, the next bit was pretty nice. My sister had her best run ever.
In 2004 I did the Portland Marathon. I ran 1/4 of each mile and walked the other 3/4. At mile 15 or so I was feeling great. Mile 20 I was starting to get tired. Mile 21 my IPOD battery gave out. Mile 22 I was worried. At mile 25 with only one mile to go I had nothing left. I saw a little man shuffling ahead of me. I told myself “I’m going to try to run by this gentleman, maybe if I can encourage him, I’ll be able to finish”. So I ran in step with senior and said “You can do it, only one mile to go”. He said “This is my fifth marathon. I know I can do it. You can do it too. Don’t give up”. Okay then.
I did in fact finish all 26.2 miles. When I crossed the finish line, my mother burst into tears. She said she had a picture of me running a race in life and crossing the finish line into heaven.
I really don’t like to exercise. Not crazy about running. I do however like that my pants fit. I also like the extra energy when I’m faithful to run. I really don’t like much of what constitutes balance and discipline in life. Balancing my checking account, taking out the garbage, having those oh so hard conversations to iron out misunderstandings, saying sorry, getting out of bed even when the snooze button is calling me, devotions with my daughter, praying for friends, tackling the big hills.
Its easier to do anything with your sister at your side. And I know that it’s all worth it in the long run.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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