Thursday, October 30, 2008

MMTR Revisited--Friday, Saturday Updates

Jackie, Cheri, Me, Tracey, and Robin--November 2007

Some of you are aware of my running "passion!" I've been an avid runner for 11 years. I began running the day after I stopped teaching school full-time. I was inspired by the daughter of another kindergarten teacher. I thought, if a 10 year old can run 3 miles, I should be able to as well! Thus, the journey began!!

Fast forward to last February. Two friends of mine and I decided to tackle the Black Mt. Marathon in NC. We trained diligently and were prepared. We arrived at Black Mt. which is a darling little town nestled right beyond Asheville. All of the businesses had signs welcoming the runners--which was really a ploy to entice you to shop in their stores!! We took the bait! The strange thing that the shop owners continued to ask was, "Are you running the short race or the long race?" Well, y'all, I've always considered 26.2 miles "a fer piece!" In addition to the marathon, the Mt. Mitchell Challenge 40 miler was also offered. We had already deemed those people "looney" for attempting anything further than a marathon. Who would do such a thing? But the comments of the short race sorta got under our skin. We ran the marathon, didn't see any bears, and no one fell off the side of the mountain. We had a ball!!

Soon after, something started bouncing around in our heads. Could we possibly attempt and complete something like a "long race?" even says in Matt. 19:26 that "with God all things are possible." We prayed about it, tossed it around some more, and offered it very tentatively to some other running buddies. We decided to give it a shot...what did we have to lose?

Last July, we began a strict regiment of training...hill work and long runs in the mountains on trails, speedwork on the tracks and regular road runs. We threw in a little bit of biking...not much. There were five of us who decided to give it a go. Three of us lived a few minutes apart, and our other precious friend lived in Roanoke, Va.--5 hours away. The ultra trail run was to take place near Lynchburg, Va. The race director, David Horton, is a Christian, a professor at Liberty University, and an accomplished trail runner himself. He is known throughout the ultra community as a little extreme. He "guesstimates" some of his distances. The race that we were training for, Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50 Miler--MMTR for short--was actually 54 miles. These Horton miles are famous in the Lynchburg area!

Y'all, even with all of the training, we had no idea what to really expect. We were all novices. This can be a little unnerving! We packed up our families and drove to Lynchburg to give it a go! All I can say is that having family support if the only way to try something of this magnitude. I learned many valuable lessons during this time! Another post for those!

We began the race in the dark wearing headlights to see our footfalls...we did start on pavement before we hit the trails. The sun had come up by then. Y'all, the scenery was magnificent, the volunteers just awesome, and the weather nearly perfect. God was simply all over the place! I could tell though that my breathing wasn't quite right...I assumed it had to do with the altitude as we climbed the mountains. The other four girls were doing fine, so I didn't complain. Miles down the trail, I was still struggling with the breathing. Another gal was experiencing stomach difficulties--that's all I'll say! Use your imaginations!! The other three were hanging in there. We continued to be blessed with encouragement throughout the day by seeing our families, our kids, and families of new friends--runners we met along the trail. You can share so much with strangers about your life and your faith while running for hours without interruptions! The majority of trail runners are out there on the trails for the beauty. No car fumes, no crazy drivers, no competitive runners vying for a prize...just the magnificence of the mountains that our Lord spoke into place. If I only ran trails for the rest of my life, I'd be thrilled. The difference is amazing.

Tomorrow, my precious friend (with the stomach issues from last year) is going back to revisit MMTR. She has prepared differently and is so strong! She is awesome. We are all so proud of her! I would just like to encourage you to keep her in your prayers on Saturday--from sunup to sundown. I know that she will finish strong this year. There are many things that she has to drive her. The biggest is a 12 hour cutoff. She will be pulled from the race if she doesn't meet certain timed cutoffs at the aid stations. That happened to three of us last year. By the time they pulled me, I was quite fine with being asked to stop the race! I was worn slap out! The next day, my breathing issues had turned into one of the worst sinus infections ever! But...God is GOOD! He allowed me to run the run with perseverance. I'll be forever grateful to my Holy Father for that!

I found this quote that I shared with Robin--who is running Saturday. I'd like to share it with you. Some of you may have seen it before, but it's SOO good, I want you to see it again!

"You are most fully alive when you are on an adventure with God." Erwin McManus

We can be on an adventure with God everyday, every minute, if we want to. I do!!! How about you?

Thanks so much for lifting up my precious friend in prayer. Her husband, Scott, and our other friend, Jackie, will be with her. They all would appreciate your prayers.
Scott and Robin

Many Blessings,
Friday Afternoon Update! I just spoke with Robin, and she says to please keep the prayers coming! God has already shown up in NC! An hour and a half outside of Lynchburg, they stopped at a rest stop and heard a noise from the car. They are now the proud owners of a new water pump to the tune of $500.00!!!! As Robin said, it could have happened tomorrow in the mountains while Scott was driving from aid station to aid station. Better now than then with no auto parts store for 50 miles. Oh, the rest stop was down the road from a Chevrolet dealership--God's timing and placement are perfect! :)
Saturday Night Update! I just hung up the phone with Robin....she made it!!! Woohoo! My sweet little friend completed all 54 miles of MMTR. Her final time was 11:25.08! She made the twelve hour cutoff. She is thrilled and tired at the same time--imagine!! Thanks to you sweet friends in bloggy land for lifting her up with your prayers! I really do appreciate it, and so does she! I'll try to post a picture next week.


Edie said...

Wow, I am really impressed! I've never been much of a runner but I've always loved to walk. I used to walk almost everywhere I went when I was younger and participated in some walkathons which I LOVED. Now my feet won't cooperate for that kind of endurance.

"You are most fully alive when you are on an adventure with God."
I love this quote. It fits exactly how I've been praying this year.

Lifted your friends up for their run. Bless you!

Chatty Kelly said...

This is the most shallow comment - but you guys have the nicest & tannest legs. I am having leg envy over here.

Getting past that, I want to say how amazing you are for trying the "long" race (LONG!?!?!?!?!?) Super long. I hope your friend will do well this year and that you all keep perservering. Your inspire the less athletic bloggies like me. I want legs like that. :)

Kimberly said...

Wow! Wow! And Wow!
I'm sorry...did you say 54 miles? Did you mention running for 12 HOURS? I'm about to pass out after running 12 minutes! :)

I will be praying for your friend! You are such a blessing to others, always asking us to pray for those you hold so dear!

Blessings, sweet Susan! (And I am super proud of you for running in the MMTR. Wow!)

Joyful said...

Susan, I found this so interesting. This past Tuesday I spoke at a Ladies event and the "feature" before me was a 70 year old lady who began running when she retired at 65 years of age. She had NEVER run, and within 2 years had trained enough and qualified for the Boston Marathon. She had an amazing story to share.

She shared about how to run physically and then I shared how our life is more than physical, it is also spiritual and God has called us to run a race and not grow weary and walk and not faint.

This dear little "Grandma" actually took a course entitled, "Learn to Run" at the age of 65. She certainly was an inspiration.

YOU are an inspiration!
Love & prayers,

The Patterson 5 said...

I will keep your dear friend in my prayers! Wow! May she have a great adventure with God on this beautiful run in the mountains.

I love Black Mountain, we go to Montreat every summer. The shops on Cherry Street are fun!

We hike the hills but I can't imagine the endurance it takes to run all those hills.

Gotta Run said...


Susan - the quote will stay with me the entire race. You will be with me as well. This year will not be the same but the trails that lead me here could not have happened without you and our Team Dirty Feet.

You are a dear friend and I cherish you!!!!!!!

Thank you for the post. You are one strong Ultra Running Momma!!!!

JottinMama said...

WOW! Ummm....54 miles? We humans can run 54 miles!?! I am amazed.

How inspiring. I was a sprinter back in the day and I recently have taken a liking to running longer distances. And by longer - I mean 2-4 20 :) (But maybe someday - you never know.) God has really spoke to me during the "distance" runs. There are so many parallels b/w running and running our race with Christ.

I will be praying for your awesome friend tomorrow as she runs.....all day long. WOW!

Kate :)

Amy said...

That is great. Congratulations on your training and running. I am impressed. I will be praying for you all. I hope you have a great time communing with nature and with God. Blessings.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Kind of makes my 3 1/2 miles yesterday pale in comparison! What an incredible goal. What incredible discipline. I will be thinking about your friend, even as I round my morning laps!


KelliGirl said...

Oh my! I'm a big proponent of pushing ourselves past our physical comfort, but your story...WOW! I know lots of people who do marathons and I'm impressed, to do twice that on terrain is unbelievable. Way to go! From the hiking we've done I know how awesome it is to walk with our Creator in nature. (I'll stick to the hiking, though.)

I'll pray for your friend.


On Purpose said...

I just have to point out...and toot a big horn for you...

You my friend are an ENCOURAGER!!

This post shines with your love and support of the people in your life. I feel blessed to know you my friend.

Praying for Robin and those in her circle!

Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

Go Robin! And her helpmate and hubby Scott, too! Can't wait to hear about it from Susan here when you get back!

And may the Living Water pump your heart and body all the way to the finish line! :)

Chatty Kelly is so funny...leg envy.

Yolanda said...

Totally awesome, totally! I saw that, as the longest I can run, is 3/4 the circumfrance of a high school football field. You all rock!

I also loved this quote: "You are most fully alive when you are on an adventure with God." Erwin McManus

Susan, what are you doing with yourself?

Love ya!!!

Sandy Toes said...

Look at you! I am so impressed with runners..I am a treadmill girl and that is fast walking!
-sandy toes