So much love. I feel extremely loved. Brandi says, "There's no quitting now." Quitting isn't in my vocabulary, but she is right in the sentiment that I have so many reasons to forge forward.
Country living is my preference. Having lived in the city, the suburbs, and the country, give me the country every time. I think I've mentioned before how much I love my little town of Bowling Green, Virginia. Well, technically I live in the suburbs of Bowling Green, but this is no suburbia. There are no streetlights, and when I run, I am greeted by deer, peacocks, polecats, and whistle-pigs. Country living means friendly neighbors. A few weeks ago while running during hunting season and hearing gunshots, I was a bit nervous not having hunter safety colors to wear. Where I grew up, hunter safety was mandatory in school, and I know people who died in hunting accidents. Anyway, I'm running down Rixey, and I run into a neighbor wearing an orange hat. I have seen him before, but I am not sure of his name or where he lives. He starts talking. So I pull out my earphones and, as usual, forget to turn off my Runkeeper counters, which means I don't know my real speed. He proceeds to tell me how proud of me he is. I thank him and jokingly say I need a hat like his so hunters know I'm not Saturday night supper. He says, "Stop by the house. I am sure I have one for you." I thanked him and went on my merry way. Now all I have to do is figure out where he lives. LOL Seriously, though, he made my day and confirmed why I love living here. And, lo and behold, Samantha got me an orange vest for Christmas! So that problem is solved!
Though I would do this race without anyone supporting me, clearly my desire, as noted in the Twinkies blog, is to have the support. I don't expect my friends to trek to the WV-KY border, but I did note that I took for granted my family would be alongside me on June 14th. The response I've gotten to that expectation has been overwhelming. My family, those I'm related to and those I choose to call family; and friends have been absolutely amazingly encouraging. Never before have I ever felt so loved. Words don't exist to express how appreciative I am and how special I feel.
Most of the members of my immediate family will be there June 14th to cheer or carry the stretcher or perhaps both.
But that's not all. Allow me to be specific.
First, I told you about my awesome brother Les' sign of faith in me: buying my running shoes. Second, I told you Samantha is going to do the half also. I really didn't give her a choice. I kind of told her she had to do it. :) Dad & Wanda said, God willing, they'll be there. Well, I already had a talk with God. So they'll be there. :) Then a string of amazement unfolded, & I am just speechless. Well, near speechless anyway.
My fabulous niece Cassidy sent me a text message that said, "Dad," my brother Les, "told me about your half. Can I participate with you to support you?" I probably have repeated this about a dozen times & I get choked up every single time. It's so touching to have someone her age (college freshman) be so compassionate. I feel so loved. Though Cassidy is athletic, this will be her first race. She will do it at her pace, but she will start it with me. I just found out today my niece Callie, Cassidy's sister, also athletic but not a racer, is going to do it with us. Samantha registered. Cassidy registered. I'm so excited we're going to have a whole entourage: runners and spectators!
The next dot on the timeline is, among other race-related gifts, my grandson gave me a decal for Christmas. It says, "I'm only half crazy. 13.1." I am so proud I have changed my grandson's grandmother from someone who could barely walk who may have been dead by now to someone who will finish a half marathon in June of 2014. Until June 14th, I am only half crazy.
Next, I got an email that means the entire world to me. I've been blessed with a super large family. Besides my immediate family, I have aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews everywhere. Each inidividual member is different from the rest. They all have one thing in common, though. They are all loved unconditionally by me. Faith and belief in me from my family truly means the entire world to me. While standing alone I would not stop my race, the support and love from them might hoist me onto the pavement on a rainy day or push me 3 miles, instead of 2, or be the catalyst to jump through some other obstacle. The bottom line is the support pushes me from a C effort to an A level. I kept checking my email, waiting for my busy brother Doug to find the time to read my blog. It finally came. It was exactly what I had been hoping for and anticipating. He wrote, "I finally got to read the info you sent and, as always, I am extremely proud of you. I look forward to being there with you as you conquer this goal!" How could anybody not reach any set goal with family support like this?
Yet, it didn't stop there.
Just a minute. I have to find tissues.
Katie, my running coach, and I were supposed to start an 11-week session today. She's offering a holiday special, 11 sessions for the price of 10. I NEED her to get me ready for the half. So how could I pass up that deal? I had to (a) wait for payday and (b) juggle bills around. Well, as it turns out, I worked on Christmas Day and rescheduled Christmas dinner for yesterday, which meant I needed to change my training sessions. So I asked Katie if we can start the 11 next Saturday. She then proceeded to tell me I only had to pay for half of it. Why? Did the price change? No, but someone who has ever-present faith in his sister already took care of it. I love my brothers. My brother Doug paid for half of the fee for my running coach sessions. And that ain't cheap.
I have two brothers. Both have shown their unlimited faith in me. Neither has ever said one negative "You can't" do this. Neither has ever been embarrassed by my grandiose goal setting. Exactly the opposite, both are proud of their sister. I can't begin to tell you how important they are to me. If I were able to pick my brothers, I would pick the ones God gave me because they are the absolute best in the universe. The confidence they both have in me for doing this half is vital and unsurpassed.
At that point I thought I was the most loved person in the world. Guess what. It didn't stop there.
I rescheduled my personal trainer, Brandon, from yesterday to Monday so I could cook Christmas dinner. He said, "I have a surprise for you." The nautical ropes are my favorite training prop, but the last time we used them, I found them difficult. So my response was, "Good or bad? What? Did you get heavier ropes?" His response was that someone paid for four sessions for me. And that ain't cheap either. He won't tell me who did it. He won't even answer questions about it. Whoever did it said to tell me Mussen paid for it. That tells it was not a family member, but it was someone who loves me. For those who don't know, Mussen is the Siberian Husky I adopted from Pet Harbor Rescue. The fact that someone not related to me has this much faith me is breathtaking to me.
This is the season for love. After all, it's when we celebrate the birth of the child of love. And there is no way anyone could ever feel more loved than I feel right now. It's so important to lift people up. Here I am, about to turn double nickels in a few weeks, going from a 1.5-hour 5k to 13.1. The positivity, the encouragement, the folks who've been supportive have been absolutely amazing. The faith bestowed upon me by my family and friends has been so unbelievably mind-boggling. I don't even know who to thank for some of it, but to all of you, I am completely humbled and will do this for us: you and me. Thank you for all the love. I almost feel like I could walk on water. Though perhaps I can't walk on water, I do plan to jump out of an airplane, go on a zip line, and fly on a trapeze before it's all said and done.
Thank you all for the love and support. From your words to the several hundred-dollar gifts, every one of you is close to my heart and cherished. Thank you, and I love you all very much. I will start this half for me. I will finish it for you. 13.1, baby. We're on our way!