So after watching the movie "The Wild" with Reese Witherspoon walking the Pacific Crest Trail I really wanted to see the Bridge of the Gods. So last year Randy and I went to Cascade Locks, Oregon and stayed the night and explored the area.
When we were there I discovered that every year they do a half marathon and you start at the Bridge of the Gods. In my crazy head I was like "I have to do that." I have been running for about a year and knew I could run 10 miles, but wasn't sure if I could complete a half marathon and by the time I discovered it, it was too late to run last year.
So as soon as we got home I watched online and when they announced the race date for 2016 I signed up. I even signed up my husband! I was able to book us a room for the night before and we were good to go. I had a whole year to either get ready or talk myself out of it and before I knew it the 8 week countdown to race day was here.
I trained everyday for 8 weeks. I either was running or lifting. I cleaned up my diet and was dedicated to doing everything I could to finish 13.1 miles. I wasn't planning on winning or placing. I just wanted to finish. To prove to myself that I could push myself. I could do hard things. I had the ability to sacrifice for a goal. That I could show my girls that when you set your mind to something and work hard you can do anything.
If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I would ever run 13.1 for fun or even better, pay to run 13.1 for fun, I would have told you you were nuts. I hated running. I hated everything about running, except maybe the cute work out clothes :0). Then I had Raygen.
I watched my newborn daughter go through the hardest, most invasive, lowest survival rate heart surgery and survive. I watched my baby not only survive one, but three open heart surgeries. I watched my daughter go through hundreds of pokes, echo's, ekg's, x-rays, ear tubes, g-tube, trach, and so much more and continue to fight. I watched this little human who knew pain minutes after her birth fight a huge battle with grace. Raygen inspires me to be better, do more and never tell myself "I can't."
My first run was a small 3k race to raise money for the Hand's on Children's Museum where Raygen's lite brite wall was going to be displayed. My love for running started because of Raygen. I discovered this sense of empowerment of accomplishing a hard thing. That amazing feeling after a long run.
I never imagined I would be the mother of my hero. It is such a blessing to see miracles happen. They always say "Seeing is Believing." I truly have "Seen" miracles happen. I see a miracle everyday when I wake my daughter up in the morning. I hear a miracle when I hear her giggle and chit chat to herself. Raygen leaves me speechless. She is a wonderful, amazing, loving little girl and you would never know from how happy she is that she ever went through everything she did. You can't meet Raygen and not feel a burst of love surge for her. You can not walk away from Raygen without thinking how lovely she is.
Raygen is the reason I ran 13.1 miles in two hours and finished 199 out of 934. Raygen and Zoie make me complete. I watch Raygen learn everyday through her ABA therapy and struggle but fight through it. I watch my daughter Zoie ride horses like she was made for it. I watch them both do hard things and win.
It is possible to do hard things. It is possible to set a goal and if you work hard enough achieve it.
In the early days I would always wonder "why" God had chosen my daughter to have half a heart. Why did he think I was strong enough to handle it? To care for her? To be the mother she needed to go through everything she had along the way. I still wonder if I will be able to handle the bumps in the road were bond to cross in her future. I have quit thinking "why us" and choose to look at it like "why not us." God put me in situation for it to change me. To make me the person he wants me to be and he knew I would would become. I feel so very blessed that he thinks so highly of me to bless me with not only one amazing daughter, but two.
Thank you Raygen and Zoie for being such an inspiration to me. I love you two so very much.
I have already signed up for my second 13.1 race in November!!!
We can do hard things and survive. God will not give us more then we can handle and I trust in that.