I was never much of a runner. I always got shin splints when I would run. The last time I ran a significant distance was in High school, during field hockey season. I was nervous to begin the training. I established a running schedule and really stuck to it, increasing my distance each week. I ended up running the longest leg of the relay, with the most hills. I had been training at a 10 min mile without inclines.
In the midst of training, I decided to buy a custom t-shirt to wear on race day. The shirt was made to honor Jordan. I was excited to get it in the mail and immediately showed it to Toni, one of my teammates. She was offended I didn't ask her if she wanted one, SO of course I ordered one for her and asked the other team members if they also would want one. I was excited that the other members also wanted to wear the t-shirt. What a great way to honor my sweet angel!
Race day came on May 6, 2012. With t-shirts on, we assembled ourselves at our exchange locations. I was excited and nervous to run my leg. My exchange came as Annie exchanged with me, about one hour and 30 minutes into the race. I began my leg, which started at mile 9. I began strong with fresh legs, passing many others right out of the gate. I knew my 2 mile incline was approaching and wanted to save my energy. I tried to get a consistent stride, but felt the need for speed. Ahead, I saw the hill. Half way up the hill, when I felt like walking, a few remarkable things happened.
1. A Christian song began playing on my ipod. The only word I heard loud and clear in the song was angel. The song made me push harder, knowing that I was running this race for my very own angel.
2. Running up the hill, I dropped my head to watch the ground under my feet. As I did, I saw a penny- heads up. Why is this significant? Just one week earlier, Toni told me that pennies are things angels throw down from heaven.
I found a penny today
Just laying on the ground.
But it's not just a penny
This little coin I've found.
Found pennies come from heaven
that's what my Friend told me.
He said Angels tossed them down
Oh, how I loved that story!
He said when an Angel misses you
They toss a penny down,
sometimes just to cheer you up
To make a smile out of your frown.
So don't pass by that penny
When you're feeling blue.
It may be a penny from heavenThat an Angel's tossed to you.
3. As I saw the penny, I looked up to the sky as if to say "thank you" for showing me that you are with me. Looking ahead again, my eyes immediately found a sign that said adoption on it. I laughed to myself and thought how ironic it was for all three of these things to happen to me within a 30 second time frame as I was climbing the hill.
As I laughed to myself, I also choked back tears. Literally choked! Running and crying are not a good mix. I composed myself to get through my leg. As I continued running the remainder of my leg, several young children lined the streets, hands out to slap the runner's hands. I took the opportunity to slap each hand that was outreached. I will never get to slap Jordan's hand in a high-five, so I felt the need to do it to those who were there routing me on. And although I know Jordan was right beside me, helping to pull me through to the next exchange, I will never have the opportunity to touch him again. (Ouch! Writing that hurt! )
I must have had a pair of my own wings that day...I completed my 6.4 mile leg in 53 minutes. That is a lot faster than the 10 min mile I have been training for. AND I had a 2 mile incline. (Toot, toot) It is not often I toot my own horn. I was proud of myself for sticking to my goal and accomplishing something I never thought I would do.
I did this for Jordan, but I also did it for myself and in the process lost all that baby weight- another accomplishment!
The shirts say: I have an angel