"sending some love to my favorite missionaries"

The night before my birthday and into the early hours of my birthday, my mom and I sat in our living room and talked for a long time. The kind of talk I'll miss being able to have all of the time when I move. I was telling her about some experiences and thoughts I had while running my half marathon and reading her emails I sent to some of my very dear friends on missions. She said to me, "You need to share this. You need to blog about this." I don't think it's very special in particular, but I think about it almost daily now. The impressions I received, the feelings I felt, every part of this experience...it was all very unforgettable.

To preface this a bit, remember this post? I did run a 5K around Halloween with my sister, but I've not been crazy about signing up for as many races as possible (the expenses are piling up over here, especially with Seattle and grad school around the corner!). Holly and I signed up in January for this half and my plan was to train until graduation, then start doing the longer runs after graduation. I didn't train as much as I should have and I ran a lot in the month before the race. I was told I needed to take it easy, but I didn't listen and my doctor stepped in. To say it was hard is an understatement. I felt super embarrassed, but I didn't want to injure myself any more and put my health on the line. I kept up a good pace (in my mind) for the race and I finished under my goal. I had been praying the whole way that I could stay under a certain time and I did! I took some pictures while I was running, I kept laughing the whole time because I felt like I was in this scene in "Yes Man!" (minus the all-nighter and Red Bull, duh), but it was too gorgeous to not take any pictures.

Here's some excerpts from the three emails I wrote to three of my very dear friends on missions:

"So... I ran my first half marathon on Saturday (June 15th)! Now I can say I ran a half marathon before my 22nd birthday (June 20th)!! I know it doesn't seem like much and it probably seems way silly, but it was good for me to do that. It was insane! I was praying like crazy the entire time, but I made it!!  While I was driving down to the race, at 3 AM, I was praying in my car the whole way and I felt so many strong impressions. To put it simply, I felt super strongly that I was on the right path with my life and things would work together for my good soon. I would tell you more about everything that's gone on, but I don't feel like I can adequately explain everything in this already super long email...maybe I'll write you when I have more time this week. Anyway, it was awesome. We do receive answers to prayers! We do have the love and support of the Savior and our Heavenly Father! We belong to the true church!!! 

Anyway, I'm really not an insane, every day runner, but I've been running more in the past few weeks and I was able to do it! 13.1 miles, all downhill, at Big Cottonwood Canyon. Well, about 11 miles were steep down hill. The last 2 were flat and they were killing me, because I didn't have the mountain pulling me down anymore, if that makes sense, and my legs were starting to cramp up. My dad called me while I was running the last two miles and he said he was at the finish line with Hope and I was in tears, I was so happy. My friend, Holly, that I signed up for the race with had finished wayyy before me (she's INSANE at running, like you, Bree!) and she was waiting for me towards the end to run through the finish line with me. Once I made it the finish line, I threw up a bit in the bushes (TMI, sorry!) , but I felt so amazing. Isn't it awesome to know that no matter what, we will always have a support team waiting for us, helping us get through it all? That's what I was thinking at the end. Even if we feel all alone, we know that our Savior and Heavenly Father will always be there to cheer us on through life and to help us get through this race.

It was also really neat, because I found my mom's old iPod shuffle, ya know, the little tiny kind that can clip on to things? So I put a bunch of conference talks and songs on it (everything from MoTab to Beyonce...woops) to help me get through the race. At about my third mile, Elder Holland's talk started playing--The Laborers in the Vineyard--one of my all time favorites. I was so emotional while I was running down this beautiful canyon listening to these words--these were some of the passages that particularly stood out to me while I was running...

"...Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.

...This parable—like all parables—is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats. This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.

...There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. ...the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord.

...His concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not the hour of the day in which you got there."

Ahhhh. It was so amazing. I'm crying even just writing about it. Then at about mile 10, "This is the Christ" came on and I was SO emotional. I don't know if you've heard that song before, I'm sure you have. But President Faust wrote the lyrics and they are incredible:

"They heard His voice, a voice so mild;
It pierced them through and made their souls to quake;
They saw Him come, a man in white,
The Savior who had suffered for their sake.

They felt the wounds in hands and side,
And each could testify; This is the Christ;

This is the Christ, the holy Son of God,
Our Savior, Lord, Redeemer of mankind.
This is the Christ, the healer of our souls
Who ransomed us with love divine.

I read His words, the words He prayed
While bearing sorrow in Gethsemane;
I feel His love, the price He paid.
How many drops of blood were spilled for me?

With saints of old in joyful cry
I too can testify; This is the Christ;

This is the Christ, the holy Son of God,
Our Savior, Lord, Redeemer of mankind.
This is the Christ, the healer of our souls
Who ransomed us with purest love divine!"

It was the coolest, most spiritual experience and I feel so blessed I could have those experiences. Heavenly Father gave me this body and this spirit, so I could have these experiences along with many. To Him, I am forever grateful."

In conclusion, I am so happy I pushed my body and my mind so that I could finish this race. I can't wait to complete more in the future and see what my body can do. I'm grateful for the experiences I had while running. It really is all about your mind and your spirit while you run. You can only train so much, but if you don't believe you can or if you are bombarded with negative thoughts, you will not perform! I am grateful for the gift of a body and a spirit from my Heavenly Father. I know He loves me and He has created a beautiful world for us for enjoying, learning, and growing. For this and many more things, I can't even begin to adequately express my thanks. I'm grateful for these lessons I relearned while running this race and for these tender emotions, feelings, and impressions I had as I ran.

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