Running for Redemption: Trying Something New

For those of you who have been following for some time – or who know me personally – you know that this past year has been a little different than I planned. You also know that I went from an active, competitive runner, to someone who was wrecked by my past 2 distance attempts, leading to a scratched full marathon and a serious decrease (okay, halt) in all things running.

It’s been rough. However, over the past few months, I’ve had lots of time to think about WHY it’s been so rough. At first, I thought maybe it was the competition side of it. Anyone who knows John and I knows that we are competitive. It’s not a secret, and sometimes it’s a lot of fun. But, sometimes, it can be a serious negative.

This is what running became to me. Regardless of my health and other life issues that needed to come first, I put running first instead. I loved races and I loved being able to be competitive in those races. However, this was seriously detrimental…physically AND mentally! Some things just aren’t worth it.

You’re probably wondering why I’m following this series of statements with a race announcement. But, bear with me for a second. During the past few months, as I’ve thought about things and prioritized, I’ve been able to step back a bit. I came to realize that what I miss most about running isn’t running. It’s the feeling of inclusion…of belonging to something bigger than myself. For someone who stood on the sidelines for a long time, I have watched communities of runners band together to do great things. That’s what I enjoyed being a part of…that’s what I miss these days!

I then began to realize that being part of that community can be completely separate from being competitive. Being a part of that community means showing up, putting the right things first and looking for causes that matter…things that are bigger than just me. That’s why, as a part of this race, I will be participating for FUN…that means some serious walking, and training to do so. The finish time is irrelevant…with medical clearance to do so leisurely, I will be following doctor’s orders while finding a way to give back.

One of my goals for a long time has been to fundraise for a cause. About 2 years ago, I learned about Team Toby Mac and the Nashville Half Marathon. Toby Mac is one of our family’s favorite musicians. We’ve attended concerts and love the message of HOPE and LOVE that his music spreads. However, there’s more to Toby Mac than his music. During the St. Jude Children’s Hospital’s Nashville Half Marathon, team Toby Mac members raise money (not only for St. Jude, which I have made a contribution to), but also to New Hope Academy. The mission of New Hope Academy and Team Toby Mac is as follows:

Run for Hope is on a mission to turn racial division, class segregation, and spiritual poverty into community, possibility, and hope.  The runners and walkers of Run for Hope will compete in this year’s Country Music Marathon (Full Marathon, Half Marathon, or 5K) on April 25, 2015.  We are comprised of fans of our Artist Partners, like TobyMac, members of numerous area churches, as well as individuals from the community.

With every dollar raised, the course of a child’s future is changed forever through the work of New Hope Academy – The school that sparked a cultural movement. Dramatic cultural transformation may start small – with children and a school – but that is only the beginning.  New Hope Academy is a school on a mission to set people free.

New Hope Academy is a remarkable and inspiring place, one that provides an academically rigorous and Gospel-centered education to children who come from varying economic conditions.  New Hope Academy offers an excellent education to children from low-income families, creating a ripple effect of hope and opportunity far beyond its walls.

I think this message rings ESPECIALLY true right now, with the country especially focused on race and class issues. I’ve been looking for a way to do more, and I think this is my opportunity to do so.

This morning, I signed up to be a part of the team. While my fundraising page is still being set up, in the next few months, I’d like to ask you to consider donating to this amazing cause. I’ll post the link as I have it. But, I’d ask you to start considering this worthy cause now!

Thanks for your support. I am excited to try something new, to stop the competitive mindset and to join this amazing team.

I have received my fundraising page! Please visit: or click here if you’re interested in donating! Thank you!

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