|The Patrick Family after their first 5K|
The victory was showing up...ready to race, ready to compete, ready to finish!
<--- This is Bryan, nearing the finish line. Look how strong he's finishing! I met Bryan over 10 years ago when he came to work as the worship minister at the church I attended. He and his wife, Amy, were (and still are!) a dynamic couple...gifted in so many ways and sharing those gifts to bless the world around them. Like me, however, Bryan and Amy were overweight. Unlike me, I don't think their degree of unhealthiness reached the point of obesity...but nonetheless, they carried a lot of weight on their bodies. About the same time I began my journey, these two began their own. Bryan blogs about it, and about many other great life lessons at http://OneStepForwardToday.com. I encourage you to check that out if you haven't already. I've learned much from him!
Watching him finish this race today was amazing! He's been doing much the same thing I have been in terms of changing his diet and exercising more. He was prepared and ready for this race today. He's been consistently running this distance and lowering his time for the past several weeks. He looked confident, strong, focused, HEALTHY as he sprinted to the finish line! Wow!!
And then there's his bride...Amy! She has been on her own quest for health and fitness and works out regularly. Together with Bryan, they've changed the eating habits of their entire family and are establishing a new culture and example for their 3 young children. She was nervous this morning before she began this race. I could see it in her eyes. But something happened to her when the starter's pistol fired. She had a different look. Determination. Excitement. She trained for this and was prepared and ready to run it. I snapped a shot of her as she passed by the starting line and she was smiling, looking strong. Later, I captured this shot of her as she finished. She didn't quite sprint to the finish like Bryan did, but she was doing something I'll never forget. She was smiling. It was a HUGE smile, too...not some slight grin. She could tell you about it herself (and if you check out that blog, I'm betting there'll be some mention of it!) but I'll hazard a guess here anyway. I think Amy felt that victory coming. She could see the finish line just ahead and knew what it represented. The culmination of her effort, her training...the showcase of the progress she's made in completely transforming her health and fitness. And it felt good. No, that's too mild. I'm betting it felt GREAT!
And then there was Erin Ashley! I love her! Really and truly! She's funny, she's gifted, she's an encourager...and she runs! Erin has been at this fitness quest a bit longer than Bryan, Amy, and I have...this wasn't her first 5K. But she had a great victory here just the same. You see, Erin has been sick this week with a really bad cold. She even had to take off work yesterday... because squeaky-voiced people don't belong on the radio, as she said! (Did I forget to mention that she's an incredible DJ in the afternoon on my favorite radio station?!) But she showed up today and started the race...which was more than enough of a victory in my opinion. Until she finished this race in a STUNNING time. You see, she was planning on walking it. She ended up running parts of it...even though she had trouble breathing. She finished the 5K in 40:30, smiling and happy! She even took time to pick flowers along the way to decorate her hair, cuz that's just how my girl rolls! (Anyone who uses zebra-print duct tape is an AMAZING decorator...so why not accessorize her look while running a race?!)
What I take away from all of this, sitting 6 weeks out from my own 5K race, is that victory is not always winning the race. Victory...true victory...is showing up! Bryan, Amy, and Erin each had obstacles to overcome in order to run the River Valley Run today. And each of them did what was needed to arrive at this day ready. Ready to compete. Ready to race. Ready to run. Ready to WIN!
I am surrounded by greatness in this journey I'm taking to find a New Angie, a healthier, happier version of me. It was such a pleasure to introduce you to these three friends and mentors today. And I could introduce you to so many, many others I have in my life that inspire and motivate me, too. I hope they have that same effect on you. I hope you take away from their efforts the same thing I did...that there's truly NOTHING that is impossible for us when we determine that we are going to achieve something.
Our God promises that through Christ we can do all things. These 3 are living out that promise...are you?