So here we are. Marathon race week. In four days, in the early morning hours on Sunday, I will find myself in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium with 26.2 miles to run in front of me.
Two weeks ago on a 20 mile training run, I tweaked my left knee. I barely made it through a 7 mile run only a week ago. Every night I've been rolling out my IT band on that side and icing it for at least an hour. It is loosening up, and cooperated on a three miler on Monday, but it is likely that I will feel pain with every step I take on Sunday.
The weather report on Sunday calls for rain. That's right! In Southern California, the ONE day I need the weather to cooperate? It's going to be 52 degrees and 70 percent chance of precipitation. Anyone who ran the LA Marathon last year can tell you ... it was a miserable 26.2 miles. A friend of mine posted a photo of himself running in the downpour on Facebook. It does not look like he was having fun. And coming from a woman who has only had to endure a few sprinkles on one run ONCE during my training? Oh dear. I am hoping and praying that the rain miraculously blows through the night before the race.
And the last month! GOSH. First I had pneumonia. Then both of the kids got some kind of mutant preschool virus for which there was no help except Tylenol and popsicles. Then Syd fell and busted her lip and nearly knocked a tooth out! Then John came down with severe bronchitis and a sinus infection. FIVE trips to urgent care in 2 weeks, y'all! WE GO BIG in our family.
And still the marathon, all 26.2 intimidating miles of it, looms unwavering in our future. Come rain or shine, injury or argument it remains a constant. It will be run.
Right now it is really easy for me to feel sorry for myself. I just want to throw a pity party every time I roll out my leg, moaning and groaning like an idiot on the floor of my bedroom. I have run for nearly six months with NO PAIN and two weeks before the The Big Race this happens? I am angry about losing an hour in the time change just a week before the race. My precious nap schedule! The kids' bedtime! ALL SCREWED UP! Just in time! Everyone got sick and weakened for a month straight ... basically all of February. Why couldn't we just get sick in April when it wouldn't matter?
Here's the thing about me: I NEED to be humbled sometimes. I need my weakness to be the headline. Because if all I'm allowed to do is just focus on how Awesome I am because Look At Me I Am Training For a Marathon, then I totally forget why I'm doing it in the first place.
Because when I'm injured? And my kids are sick? And it's raining? And when Regular Life is just all-around challenging? I have no other choice but to remember that this is NOT about ME. I started this journey back in the fall because I wanted something for others, not a medal around my neck. My goal was to run so that a person in Africa would have an answer to their thirst. So that a child across the world could go to school instead of facing peril on the road to water. So that a family in East Africa wouldn't have to bury a child because of a preventable disease like dysentery or cholera.
When I remember that, it makes all the other stuff seem very small. Whining about rain or a tweaked knee seems really kind of lame. Complaining about *having* to take a sick child to urgent care *again* seems really stupid when I think about a child with explosive diarrhea never EVER receiving ANY medical care and dying as a result. God forgive me for complaining. I have excellent medical insurance and a place to take my children when they are sick. I can afford the medicines I need to comfort and cure my children of most anything that ails them.
And so, this is why I am running. Because you needed to know that it only takes $50 a person to completely and eternally solve water crisis in the life of someone in Africa.
My family, friends and the readers of this blog have donated $1878.20 that will go directly toward providing clean water to 37 children, women and men in Africa. Add that to the $1077.40 that was donated when I ran the half marathon, and the head count becomes 59.
Fifty-nine people will now have clean water for the rest of their life.
My initial goal was that a total of 100 people would receive the clean water they needed by the time I ran the LA Marathon this Sunday. Fifty-nine is not a number to turn your nose up at ... there are about sixty kids in attendance at my daughter's preschool, for instance. Just imagine! An entire preschool worth of kids in Africa receiving clean water FOR LIFE! And yet, forty-one people still hang in the balance. At $50 a person, that leaves a total of $2050 to be raised, and I can still collect donations up until two weeks after the race.
In my prayers about this it is my hope that the total for Sunday's race will reach $2000. That's $121.80 to go, and will bring the race's total to 40 people with clean water. Even now as I type this in my heart I know that this goal is too small, that probably? This should be my goal for today. I refuse to give up on the 41 people who still deserve a chance at new life. I am asking for $1 per mile, just $26.20. Anyone who donates that much (or more) will receive a free t-shirt scarf! Please keep in mind that for $50 you can completely change the course of someone's life by providing them with all the clean water they will ever need to drink, bathe, clean their clothes and homes, and water livestock and crops.
Every cent helps. Any small amount that can be spared goes directly, and immediately, to the field where 85% of your donation goes into the work of World Vision Area Development Projects that work to change communities from the ground water up. This is something you can do in the life of another person. I will run the miles. When I am tired and feel like walking and when my knee hurts I will remember that you stepped up and said that these lives matter to you. You have prayed for me and you have prayed for them and you have gone over and above to change lives.
And I will most definitely see you at the finish on Sunday. Come rain or shine. In fact? Let it rain. Let it rain on this race and let it rain clean, fresh water in Africa. This is why we run.