“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?

Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Cor 9:24

Dec 16, 2009: Stephanie had her first seizure

June 1, 2010: Started training for my first half-marathon

Oct 3, 2010:   Stephanie had 3 grand mal seizures within 24 hours, the last of which caused a cardiac arrest

Oct 10, 2010: Ran my first half marathon

Oct 13, 2010: Stephanie passed into the arms of Jesus

Do you know how there are some things in your life that are defining moments? I’ve just shared with you a timeline of an event in life that was one of those.

In June of 2010, I decided that I would run my first half marathon. I began the training with my good friend Leslie. If you’ve ever trained for a race, you know how disciplined that you need to be. There were many early morning runs. Many sacrifices to get to bed early. To eat to nourish my body. To stretch out properly. I enjoyed the training process mainly because it gave me a few hours to catch up with my friend, but it also was such a feeling of achievement! Each Saturday when I came home from my long runs, I felt such a high that I was able to increase my mileage and do it fairly easily!

October 4th, 2010, I received a message on my facebook from my friend Stephanie’s husband (Brad) stating that she had 3 grand mal seizures within 24 hours, the last of which caused a cardiac arrest. I received the message early on a Monday morning. I remember exactly where I was standing when I read it. I remember exactly what I did when I read it ( I prayed) and I remember exactly what I felt when I read it. A pit in my stomach.

Stephanie and I knew each other because Brad’s family and my husband were very close. I guess you could say I knew Stephanie more “via facebook” than any face to face contact. We had met a handful of times at birthday parties or holiday celebrations, but mainly our friendship had grown thanks to the internet. We were pregnant with our first children at the same time. We were pregnant with our second children at the same time. She made my little girl’s hairbows. We shared tears over miscarriages we both had. We shared a love for our children, homemaking, our husbands and more importantly, our faith.

Stephanie had been struggling with seizures for a year. She had many posts on facebook about random seizures that she would have.  One of the things she would say was the worse parts of the seizures was the fact that she couldn’t drive. Each time she had a seizure, they reset her “drive’ clock another 6 months. Being a stay at a home mom of 2, she definitely had her “ go crazy” days! She took it all in stride and was quite amazing through it all. (and humorous including her last post she ever wrote regarding having a seizure while eating Taco Bell)

I received the news that she had gone into the hospital less than a week of my first race. Immediately, my nerves and concerns (which I KNOW I would’ve had) for the race went to the wayside. I (along with hundred of other people) were consumed with reading the day by day, moment by moment real life facts that Brad shared with us via his blog. I had never been so entangled into someone’s life as I had hers and judging by the many comments of readers, neither had they.

I think it was the 2nd day that she was in the hospital that the parallels of what was going on in their life and the race that I was getting to run were revealed to me. Sure. As I trained in the summer, I was able to make many connections between my physical training and my spiritual training. But this. This was unreal.

Here, I was nearing the end of my journey. I had spent months preparing for this race. I had spent hours training, preparing physically and preparing mentally. I purchased the correct shoes and the correct socks. I didn’t eat certain foods the day before I had long runs. I specifically ate certain foods the morning I ran.

I could taste the finish.

I was days away. There were plenty of times when I was exhausted. When I didn’t want to do my training runs. When I wanted to eat whatever I wanted to and stay up late. And did I do it all 100% correct? Heavens no. There were 3 weeks in August when I was way off my training regime due to vacation!

Stephanie was nearing the end of her journey too. She had spent months taking medications to try to maintain her seizures. She had spent hours meeting with doctors to find out exactly what was going on. She had spent lots of extra time at home playing with her children as she wasn’t able to drive around.  I’m pretty sure if I was sitting with her right now she would say that she didn’t do everything 100% correct, yet she was on her journey. Putting one foot in front of the other….

(part 2 here)