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Athens Classic Marathon Completed!

We are finishers! 🙂 Brian and I completed the Athens Classic Marathon!

Brian and I returned home from our amazing anniversary vacation in November.   It will truly go down as some of the best experiences of our lives!

One of the highlights was running the Athens Classic Marathon while praying for 28 couples.  We had committed to pray for 28 couples while we ran, see previous post, and this turned out to be so much more meaningful than we ever could have imagined!  I wrote the couple names on our bibs, upside down, so that we could read them while running.  As each mile began we would look to see whose mile it was and then spend several minutes praying for this couple out loud while we ran.

As we prayed, these marriages and families would flash before our minds.  The Lord would bring thoughts to our minds of things we knew were in their lives that needed prayer: job pressures, heart connections with their kids, finances, good in-law relations, having date nights, recent car theft, being in ministry together and so much more.  If we did not know the couple as well we knew things to pray for all marriages!  There started to be repeated themes that we would pray for each couple: unconditional love, purposeful pursuit, faithfulness and deep heart connections between the couple and between them and their children.  We were both surprised how this activity brought us to tears repeatedly!  It was a holy moment that we were honored to have, and greatly inspiring to us!

As far as the actual run, well it was slow and it was painful but this run was not about reaching a personal record or impressing anyone with our time!  It was about being together, running together in prayer and finishing together!

I love running marathons!  This is our third and with each one the Lord has taught me something new.  Athens was no different!

Moments after completing the marathon we recorded this video to say thanks to our 28 couples:





Marriage Marathon (Celebrating 20 years!)

San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon

One week from today Brian and I will be headed to Greece!  On November 10th we will be running the Athens Classic Marathon!

This summer we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  We are blessed beyond words by the Lord’s gift of marriage and we like to celebrate that 🙂  Fifteen years ago we started a tradition to take an anniversary trip every five years.  We have celebrated our “fives” in Colorado, Alaska and St Thomas.  Three years ago we started the adventure of long distance running.  Since that time we have run two half marathons and two full marathons (San Antonio & Pittsburgh pictured here).  We thought it would be awesome to combine these two things and run a marathon during our 20th anniversary celebration.  We chose Athens, Greece and the site of the first original marathon!

We would like to invite other married couples to “join” us on our run and celebration.  While running on Nov 10th we plan to pray for a different married couple each mile.  That would be 26 couples!  We desire to pray the Lord’s blessing on these couples and give thanks for the blessing He has given to us.  Would you and your spouse like to be one of our 26?  We would love to have you join us in this way!

Here is what to do:

1. Send us word “Add us to your marathon prayer list!”  You can do so through a comment on the blog, on FaceBook, on twitter or on Instagram.

2. If you have a special mile number you would like us to pray for you and your spouse on, be sure to include that info.  Maybe your anniversary is on the 10th so you would like us to pray for you on mile 10…  We will try to honor your mile request!

3. On November 10th post a picture of your wedding day on Facebook, twitter or Instagram and tell one thing you love about marriage.  Be sure to tag us in someway so we can see your post.

May the Lord bless marriage and keep those anniversary celebrations coming! 🙂
Pittsburg Marathon

2012’s Marathon Completed!

This blog must have a marathon update!

The Pittsburgh Marathon was May 6th and it was greatly enjoyed by this running couple!

Brian and I had a wonderful time training for and running our second marathon!  I realized while on the run that there is just such a great and encouraging atmosphere at a race.  Everyone there is cheering you on and no matter how your pace turns out people tell you good job.  There is a great feeling of accomplishment when you cross over that finish line, one that is addictive.  I look forward to our next 26.2 and hope it is next spring for sure.

We were both able to run new PR (Personal Record) times, which was exciting.  We learned a ton and definitely ran a better, smarter race this time.  But neither one of us are satisfied, or feel that we have truly hit our greatest potential.    Time will tell if we can improve on our 2012 times.

I highly recommend running a marathon.  So many people think it is way out of reach, but in reality if you like running and have the time to dedicate yourself to the training it is way more doable than you probably think.  Saying that probably takes away a bit from our accomplishment of having run two, but I am okay with that. I would enjoy knowing I encouraged someone to give it a try who thought it was impossible.  So dream big and give it your all!

PS I now have one of those obnoxious car magnets on the back of my suburban…you know where you tell the world where you like to vacation, or how great your kids are, or what your family likes to spend time doing….mine reads 26.2 x 2 🙂 For now I am enjoying the thrill of the accomplishment!



Category: Mandy, running  2 Comments
Marathon Update – One Step in Front of the Other…over, and over, and over!

There are only two major runs left for Brian and I in our marathon training, 18 miles and 20 miles.  Our training program has us running three times a week with one run being a long distance.  Some weeks we scale back to give our bodies a rest and our long runs are not a “new” mileage but a maintaining mileage.  We have those two long distances yet to reach before our longest run the marathon itself.Marathon Training

I find myself pretty excited!  I can see the end goal and I know it will be here before we know it!

One of the things I love most about running is doing it with Brian!  What a joy to have a hobby we both enjoy!  This hobby was mine first and Brian joined in.  I was rather encouraged when I thought back on this and realized it.  There are many hobbies that we do together that originated with his interests, camping and hiking to name two.  But running was something I did and Brian decided to join me in.  That makes me smile!  I am thankful to be married to someone who enjoys hanging out with me and investigating my interests.

As we put one foot in front of the other for each long run we have had a few interesting experiences!  Running in Lancaster county brings it’s own sights, sounds and smells!  Around here they fertilize with manure.  One run had us passing an Amish farm while the farmer was spreading this liquid manure!  It was even on the road and we had to run around it.  All I could think was run faster, get past this guy before you get sprayed!  We have been threatened by dogs, one got a kick in the jaw from my husband as he defended me!  But my favorite thing by far is just the running conversations.  When you hit the road for mile after mile and it is just the two of us for a couple of hours it is a good time to talk a little! You must realize we can’t talk the entire time, if so our pace would be too slow.  But talking comes in spurts and it is good.

So I am thankful!  Thankful for the gift of being able to run.  Thankful for the gift of a great running partner, and thankful for the feeling of anticipated accomplishment as the end is drawing near. Before we know it we will be standing with the crowd of runners at the beginning of the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 6th! The video below gets me so excited for the day!

Hitting the Pavement Once Again

In 2010 Brian and I ran a marathon.  It was the San Antonio Rock ‘n Roll marathon, and it was AMAZING!  As soon as we crossed the finish line we started talking about doing it again.  However, more than a year went by without a marathon.  We continued to run and did small events but the LONG distance was lost.

It is 2012 and we have a little fire burning in our bellies that can only be quenched by 16 weeks of training ending with one very long run and a feeling of accomplishment that I have no comparison for.

Step one – finding a race.  We had narrowed our choices down to two races and made our final decision last night, casting our vote with a registration for the Pittsburgh Marathon.  There are 117 days until the race!

Step two – a training plan.  I pulled out our previous plan designed by our good friend Greg Despres and I ran the first week last week.  I plan to do some research to find the “prefect” training plan for this race.

Step three – stay motivated.  In my mind I started training right after Christmas when I hit the pavement three times in one week (something I had not done in awhile).  So last week, while following Greg’s plan was a bit of a second week for me.  I found myself in one weak moment remembering how very long the long runs take at the end and how much time overall I had to commit.  For a split moment I was tempted to decide “I have done this once, do I need to do it again right now?”  But the answer is YES!  I reminded myself in reality all I need to do is concentrate on the running for this week and not let my mind go beyond that.  Run what I have to run this week.  Get it done, enjoy it, learn from it and let it train you!

Rick Kimbal (the Marathon Nut), a guy I just started following on twitter posted a list of to dos for running a marathon.  His step three is set your goals.  I had a general purpose for running, a gut feeling, a drive.  But I realized I needed to write it out and have a clear defined reason.  Doing so would give me more purpose and drive, it would give more meaning to the one foot in front of the other.  I will be sharing my purpose for running a marathon in a future post.

Step four – Get a new pair of running shoes.  I will be headed to a specialty store to replace my old sneakers, the ones I wore in my last marathon. I hope to share a little on that process as well.

It feels good to have this started!

Join me!

Finish the race!


Today I ran a 5K.  That would be the first time I have done the 5K distance for an event.  A group of mom’s from my oldest’s soccer team decided to run the Hands on House 5K, so of course I joined them.  In the last two years running has become a great friend to me.  In 2010 I ran my first half marathon in the spring and followed it with a full marathon in the fall.  I have scaled back since then for many reasons, and it has been missed!  I have plans to hit the road for those long distances again in the future, but for now the 5K was a perfect fit.

I had two favorite moments in today’s race worth sharing with you!

Off and on through out the three-plus miles there was a VERY tall man running alongside of me, behind me or right in front of me.  We seemed to have similar paces and we just kept exchanging who was in the lead.  When it was time for the final push of the race this gentleman broke our running silence, where we had both lived, pacing ourselves and challenging ourselves.  Out of nowhere he speaks up and says “Hey, we have been exchanging places this entire time.  Let’s end it together!”  Immediately I picked up my pace and was like “Yes, let’s push to the end”…although I don’t think I actually said anything. We then turned on our wheels and approached two ladies in front of us.  Again my giant, no longer silent, encourager declaired “OK, take these two lets go!” and we dug deep and passed them.  Well I gave it all I had to the end.  My encourager had more to give and finished before me, but just as he left my side my second favorite part of the morning arrived.

On the final turn of the race my husband and four kids stood cheering!  “Go Mom!” As I passed them I was so encouraged to hear those sweet little voices that I love so dearly cheering me on!  I turned the corner and saw the end.  As I approached I realized my kids were running along after me on the sideline cheering as they went.  What a blessing!  I heard Emma declaire “I can’t keep up with her.”

I LOVE encouragement and a well placed exhortation!  In life we need it desperately!  When we think we have given it all we can or we have fallen into the belief that coasting is a good idea, a well put “kick in the pants”, “you can do it” does wonders!

Thank you silent-giant!

Thank you Brian and my amazing kids!

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