This is a long post ... there is a video link at the bottom that you can skip to if you'd like:).
The Army Ten
A dream I always had, but never really thought I'd actually achieve.
A dream I had almost forgotten about until a friend posted on FB in April that registration was open.
A dream that hills and 80+ temperatures almost crushed this summer.
A dream that seemed impossible to make without Richard's help at home or running the last month leading up to the race.
A dream that after one hour, twenty-one minutes and twenty-nine seconds is now a memory.
Richard flew into the ATL airport Thursday morning. The girls and I picked him up then drove to Fayetteville, NC to see some sweet friends of ours (and best friend of Hanson Ellis). We spent the night and most of the morning Friday in NC. Although I was struck by how little voices have changed and now sound so much older, it was as if the three years that have passed were just moments. So fun to be back in that town where Richard and I have left so many memories. And so interesting to see how much my girls actually don't remember! I wish we could have stayed so much longer ... so much I wanted to do and see and show the girls ... and oh how I wanted to visit with the Dailey family for just a little longer. It was so nice to feel at home again. The Dailey's are super and I just never want to leave there house when I'm there. I love that family!
Friday we drove to Virginia. We had a dinner date with the McNeil family. We met this family while living in Monterey, CA. They kept Hanson Ellis while we were at the hospital having Parker. We left CA when Parker was four months old. We have not seen them since. Parker will be nine in January. It has been a long time! But despite the time that has passed, seeing Laura greet us at the door was wonderful and familiar and we were welcomed into their home like we were family. It was wonderful to see them again and to visit and fellowship together. Laura spoiled us with her cooking:) and they even volunteered to take the girls to church Sunday so that Richard could run in the race with me. What a blessing that we were not expecting! We are forever grateful!!
While we spent the night with the McNeil's Saturday, we actually drove down the road a bit and spent the night with the Little family Friday night. Richard met Bobby and Sheila Little when he was a young 2LT at Fort Benning, GA. The then LTC Little held a weekly Bible Study in his home for young Officers. Richard has always held the Little's in high esteem. As soon as I met them, I was smitten, too. They are the most amazing people we've ever met. If you want to feel the JOY of being a Christian, spend five minutes with the Littles. They are just incredible! I only got a few minutes to visit with Sheila, as she was leaving to fly to Florida to attend to some Grandmother duties:), but Bobby and Christopher (their fifth child) took good care of us. The girls adore Christopher and Grandfather Bobby:). Christopher played with the girls, performed a mini skit for us and Bobby cooked for us and let Patterson help with making cookies. We always leave the Little home encouraged. We are so blessed to be called brothers and sisters in Christ with them.
**note * the Little's work for Christian Embassy ... to learn more about this important ministry, click the link on the top left of my blog**
The race was Sunday.
The race was amazing, inspiring, humbling and FUN.
The Army Ten sold out (30,000) in 36 hours.
I believe 22+thousand actually finished the race.
A lot of people running. I've never experienced anything like it. A beautiful route that started and ended at the Pentagon ... running over the Potomac was unbelievable! The weather was almost perfect. I just can't imagine having a better experience. I can't describe the excitement and energy there. Seeing the sights, seeing the Wounded Warriors run, seeing the names of those who have died on shirts, signs, etc. ... very powerful.
Monday we woke up at 3, left at 3:49 and drove 11 hours back to GA.
We are still recovering:).
I am so thankful for the opportunity to be there, for the people who encouraged me, for the families who opened their homes to us. I am thankful that Richard was able to return from Kuwait a day early to make the trip ... I am thankful for my girls who thought I could win the race:).
I am thankful for a God who gives us the desires of our hearts.
Hanson Ellis worked on a video of the weekend. There are no images from the race, as I couldn't bring my camera. But the weekend was more than just about the running. It was about life, and the video captures that pretty well, I think. I tried to upload it onto the blog but I think it was too long. SO, here is the link to it on You Tube. The quality is horrible because it is on You Tube, but hopefully you'll enjoy it all the same. It took her most of the morning to put together and I'm pretty proud of her:).