Texas Independence 203 mile Relay – 2012
About the Runner
I am Rochelle Frazeur, a single mom from Coppell Texas. I grew up amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains of Pennsylvania. I am the middle child of eight, and my mom was a single mom. I attended a small Christian School growing up. My mom married my step father when I was 5 and he divorced her when I was 16. My step father was verbally abusive and neglectful to say it kindly. One memory that stands out is when I was helping him chop wood one summer he asked for a cup of water. I went in to the kitchen, got a tall cup to put ice and water in and carefully carried it out to him. He took one sip and threw the rest on the ground and said “I didn’t say to put ice in it!” Another time I had been biting my arm to see my teeth marks and he put a dog collar on me and leashed me to the banister stairs in our hallway to teach me not to bite. He was either quiet and you couldn’t talk to him or he was yelling and I was terrified hiding in my room, behind a couch or running through the fields to get away. While growing up I survived several occasions of sexual abuse from teen age boys and adult men until I went away to college. I was and am grateful for the Christian upbringing I had from my mom and the school I went to. I was always taught to go back to the Bible for answers. Psalms was my favorite book as it constantly reminded me that no matter how bad things were, God was there to protect and defend me. I can look back over those years and see how He did protect me and keep me from some of the truly awful things people go through that were so much worse than what I faced. He used those bad things in my life to create endurance and a determined spirit to survive in spite of what happens to me. He taught me that He can and will bring good things in the end. After college I married what I thought was the perfect Christian guy. As I look back I can see that soon into the marriage the relationship was not the kind that modeled Christ’s love for me. The desire and will to make it work coupled with my need to please and be loved set the stage for 13 years of verbal abuse. It ended as I was driving home from work and making a left hand turn onto the street where we lived. There was a semi-truck coming down the hill and for an instance I wanted to turn into its path to end the pain. I had two beautiful children so I knew this was not an option and I had to get out. We separated that November and two months later he filed for divorce. It was finalized in April 3rd, 2007 and he remarried in June. My world that I had been covering up had been exposed and I was back at the beginning but this time with two children to support, yet God had been preparing me for even this.
I grew up running through the fields in the country and did it to keep my sanity, feel the sense of freedom, and get away from the problems. In 2005 I was introduced to the world of ultra-running. Anything over marathon distance is considered an Ultra marathon. There are many races at the 50k, 50 mile, 100k, 100mile distance and most are run on dirt trails. There are also 24, 48 and 72 hour races where you run on a small track and complete as many laps as you can in the allotted time. My first marathon was the year my daughter was born and that began my goal to eventually run a 100 mile race. My oldest brother who was in the military had informed me he had done 100 mile road marches with an 80lbs ruck sak so I knew I would have to run further than that to impress him! He is 10 years older than me and as I had no real father and a poor example of a step-father, his was the example and approval I looked for growing up. I doubled my marathon distance with my first 50 miler in 2005 and it was the hardest thing I had ever done. In Feb of 2007 I ran my first 100 mile race and finished thinking that was harder than anything I had ever imagined. Then I saw a description of what would be my first 200 mile race, “Tom’s Run”. It was an all trail race which went from Cumberland to Bethesda MD. I wondered if that was something I could do so I trained running at least one 100 mile or 100k event each month for the 4 months leading up to the race. By the grace of God I finished the race in 68 hours 53 min and realized that this was the gift he had given me to use for His glory. A funny thing happened as I was training for and learning to run these long distances. I thought it was my escape, or way of coping with what I was going through personally, but in the end found the lessons I learned to push through the “walls’ of a race were the same ones I would need to run this Race of Life. Someone recently asked what are the three things you need to run 200 miles? My answer is this…no matter if its 2 miles or 200.
1. You cannot think about the finish line. Stay in the moment, tackle one mile at a time and sometimes it’s just running to the next object you can see in front of you. How this relates to life is that God gives us grace for each trial. He doesn’t give it to us all at once when we are born but as we trust that He will help us through the trial, over the obstacle or mountain He supplies us with the strength and energy we need to go that next step.
2. Relentless Forward Motion. One foot in front of the other without quitting doesn’t mean you can’t slow down. Don’t focus on the pain but stay focused on moving ahead and what it will take to do that.
3. It’s not Failure until you stop trying. The only way to get to the finish line is to not quit! I’m not the fastest runner in the world and I may not run the farthest but If I do what I set out to do and don’t quit I can and will finish the race.
My life verse is this I Corinthians 15:10 By the grace of God I am who I am and His grace that was given to me was not in vain but I labored harder than all, yet not I but the Grace of God that was in me.
The reason I get up at crazy hours of the morning to run before my kids get up, or deny myself certain things as caffeine, alcohol, sleep etc. is to use the gift God gave me and prepared me for in running extreme distances. The example that others see in my life and in my runs is that God is using a small (4 ft. 10 in 105lbs) bit of nothing to do the seemingly impossible. I want others to see that there is Hope and they can finish, run strong when they ask God for the strength. I want others to see that when you are at your end and can’t take another step that is when you are at your strongest. When you have reached inside, pulled yourself up by your bootstraps and done everything humanly possible and you can’t go on, that is the moment you begin. God promises that when you are weak that is when He is strong. As I ran to my physical end (about 50 miles) I would turn and pray for strength not to fail, not to stop and God has always been faithful to supply the strength, energy, fuel (food), crew (friends), rest (sleep) to get me to the finish.
A race of endurance
The Texas Independence Relay (TIR) is just that, a relay. It is run in groups of 8-12 and everyone chooses the time they expect to finish and what pace they will run each mile so they can finish by a certain time on Sunday. This race began in Paige TX just north of Bastrop and East of Austin and runs to the San Jacinto Monument on the other side of Houston and is divided into 40 legs. I have wanted to run this race as a solo runner for many years, but do to training or time commitments it never worked out. This year I was planning on running the Volunteer State Run (317 miles) across TN in July but my nephew decided to hold his wedding on the same weekend. Since I rely on my family to help get me through these events I decided it was best not to miss the wedding for a race. That left me wondering what long race to run for 2012. Work had been non-stop 6-7 days a week from the time I got back from The Adventure Corps Badwater 135 Mile Race. We worked on the flooding in Minot, and then got hit by the Hurricane in the North East, followed by all the subsequent flooding. I had been running long runs before work on weekends at 2 and 3 in the morning before I had to be at work at 7 so my mileage base wasn’t very strong. In January I signed up for Bandera 100k in the Texas Hill Country to ramp up my training, and about 40 miles in I was done with 22 miles to go. I prayed, had my family pray and God did amazing things with my legs! I finished and knocked 26 min off my time from last year. I looked in to TIR and found out they moved the start to the end of March so that would give me an extra month to get my mileage up. I signed up for Rocky Raccoon (RR) 100 and decided if I could run that then I would officially enter TIR. Rocky went well in spite of torrential down pours during the first half of the race that left the course a literal mud fest! I was laboring the idea of the last 20 mile loop and a friend who had dropped from the race offered his pacer, so I jumped at it. I set off and his pacer caught up to me and introduced himself, hi, I’m Mark. It was 1 a.m. in the morning, muddy and nasty, and this stranger offered to help me finish and to do it in less than 24 hours which left us less than 4 hours. I thought I would have a ton of blisters for 24 hours of muddy wet feet but God answered prayer in a miraculous way and I had none!
Sunday was recovery and I decided I would run TIR but wanted to support a charity so would have to move fast as the race was only 8 weeks away! I went to a Patio Princess Meeting Monday night. This is a group of women from all over Dallas that come together once a month for 2 hours and find the best patio’s in Dallas and spend time getting to know each other and make new friends. I was sharing with one of the girls that I had just finished RR and wanted to run TIR but needed a charity. She lit up and said “oh you have to meet my friend, Lisa her sister runs a charity called “Society for Women Who Love Shoes”! Well it was like a bright light from heaven! Considering I’m only 4’10” I wear heels almost all the time. I even get teased because my flip flops have a heel! It turned out this was a foundation formed because Dianne Samoff, the founder had come from an abusive relationship and while getting out of the relationship she went on an interview. At that time someone had given her a pair of red heels and a new suit. That act of kindness gave her the confidence she needed and she got the job. That was the beginning of new life for her. She went on to have a successful marriage to a wonderful husband Roger for over 20 years now and together they have 6 children. She worked for 20 years and recently retired to follow her passion to help other women escape the abuse she had faced. After we met the following week I knew this was God pulling all the pieces together for this race and this cause!
Society for Women Who Love Shoes was undergoing some exciting changes and additions. They finally were granted their 501 c 3 the week before the race and they were changing the primary name of the foundation to The Power of Shoes. Their board was excited and motivated to get the word out about the race and what we were partnering together to do.
I focused on getting a few more long runs in to prepare for the Solo attempt at TIR. I ran Cross Timbers Marathon two weeks after RR. It was another rainy day and the course was very muddy and hilly so the training was good and my legs were feeling it by the end. Two weeks after that and 3 and ½ weeks out from TIR I ran Nueces 50 miler. This was a hilly technical course and the USATF 50 mile championships so it was another good race to get the legs ready. While careening down one of the hills I felt a twinge by my right knee but it didn’t last so I didn’t worry about it. After the race I went down to the Nueces River to sit for 10 min as a supplement to my ice bath but after I got home my quads were still pretty tight. I went in to see Dr. Dukes who does Chiropractic and more important ART (Active Release Technique) on Monday as they do a good job of stretching me out after races and preventing any injury. I took off the following weekend and only ran 4 miles. Then the weekend of the 11th I was out for an easy 12 mile run when 8 miles into the run my knee started hurting. It was the same spot as two weeks before during the Nueces Race so I decided to keep moving hoping it would just go away like it did before. Four miles later and it was worse but I was home. My Dr. was on vacation for that week so I stopped running till Wed and went in to see one of the assistants who worked it loose but within 4 miles of Thursday night’s run it was tight again. I saw Dr. D the following Monday, just 10 days before the race and he seemed to loosen it up with things bound up in the quad and TFL area. I had an IT injury a few years back on the left side and he fixed it in 2 visits and I was able to go from running 2 miles and tightening up to running 93 miles in a matter of 10 days. So I wasn’t too worried about this one and just prayed for God to heal me and to give Dr. Duke’s wisdom on what needed fixed. I went back twice that week but was still not able to run without it tightening up within the first 2 miles. On Thursday a week out from the race he told me no more running until the race as I had managed to compromise my whole right side from shoulder to heel. He proceeded over the next week to stretch out the issues in the back and calf muscles and had isolated things down to the hip area again. On Wednesday morning he said I could run and test things out but within a mile it was tight and I was frustrated. I found a stretch on the abductor seemed to relieve the tension on the knee, so I felt like I at least had a coping method. I went back to the Dr. Wednesday night and he taped me up with what he called the bionic leg. The tape was flesh colored so I was hoping it wasn’t as obvious as it seemed, but I was taped from below the knee to the hip to hold the muscle in place and away from the knee as much as possible. He assured me I wouldn’t do any kind of permanent damage by running on it for 200 miles and it just may take a little more effort to fix me up when I was done. I stopped at Choir practice on the way home and as we were singing I realized I had been praying so hard for God to heal me and that likely wasn’t going to happen. Then I heard that still quiet voice that reminded me of why I’m running this race. It was for abuse victims who face pain that is way more excruciating and life threatening that what I was or would feel. If my race was to inspire people to take the next step and get out of an abusive relationship, how much more effective would that message be by my doing the same while tolerating some pain the whole way. I had no idea what new lessons running with an injury were going to teach me, but I so glad to know I had purpose in going.
We got up Thursday morning and my mom and I got the kids off to school and did some last minute cleaning around the house. ABC was sending a videographer to do an interview and get some footage of my leaving for the run. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_3zPFuV5JE&feature=youtu.be
(YouTube video of the interview by Shelly Slater) Dianne the founder of the charity came to lend moral support and help with the last minute packing and by 9 am we were on the road to Smithville. We had an appointment to meet Mark Bunte the Mayor of Smithville who had read a proclamation declaring that day domestic violence awareness day. We met them at the site of their new Memorial Park for soldiers that had lost their lives in the war. This was instigated when 5 of their young men in their town were killed in the Iraq and Gulf war within 2 years. Per capita this was the worst hit city in the US, 3 of the boys were from the same graduating class. I was struck with how close knit this town was and how involved the mayor was in the everyday life events, even laying concrete with the other men. http://www.ci.smithville.tx.us/Home/City-of-Smithville-News/Memorial-Park-Project.aspx (link to the Smithville Memorial Park website) While in Smithville we stopped by The Comfort House Café and visited with the owner and foundation president Teri Costlow. The Café is open to the public and using its resource to bring awareness to the community about abuse, including drug and alcohol, domestic violence and child hood abuse. Once a week they hold meetings in the evenings and offer housing and jobs working at the restaurant as part of the recovery program. I was hoping to get a chance to try the food as it smelled delicious but we were short on time so I’m planning on going back. From Smithville we went to The Family Crisis Center in Bastrop and spoke with Sherry Murphy and she talked about her program and the amazing things they are doing to reach and help abuse victims to recover those in the surrounding counties. She thanked us for what we are doing to get the word out. We spent some time getting pictures with the local paper and Charlotte gave us a shirt from the Bastrop Pedal Thru the Pines cycling event used to help raise money for the shelter. http://www.family-crisis-center.org/aboutus.php (Website for Family Crisis and more information concerning the BP MS 150 event)
It was about 4 pm and race time was at 8 so we stopped in town at Cindy’s to get a bite to eat and my last real meal for 3 days. They made a superb grilled chicken sandwich and some great chips and salsa. This place had such great atmosphere, it was located on Main Street in downtown Bastrop right on the corner and reminded you of a real TX saloon with true hardwood floors that looked more boot scrapped then hand scraped! We drove the 20 minutes to the start line located at the home of some local ranchers and Dianne made sure I was settled before heading back in to Bastrop to pick up a few last minute things and check in to the hotel. I met Jay and Joy, the race directors who were setting up the flags for the race and getting ready for the teams coming in on Saturday morning. The owners allowed me to use their bathroom and park the SUV around the side of the house with an amazing view and breeze. I took a good hour nap and woke up with a slight panicked feeling at the thought of what I was about to undertake. 3 days of little to no sleep, running with this IT band still so tight, it was going to be so much work…deep breath, relax and there it was. That still small voice was reminding me of all the promises God had given me. We had sung a song that Sunday in church that resounded with me as we sang the words.
“Scars and struggles on the way but with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone Carried by Your constant grace Held within Your perfect peace Never once, no, we never walk alone Never once did we ever walk alone Never once did You leave us on our own You are faithful, God, You are faithful Every step we are breathing in Your grace Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise You are faithful, God, You are faithful You are faithful, God, You are faithful
As I laid in the back of my SUV capturing those last few seconds of peace, that line of the song repeated in my head “every step breathing in your grace, ever more breathing out your praise”. I was able to relax knowing that this race was not about me or my ability to run this distance as I had been stripped of that with the injury. I was going start, run, and race with complete dependence on the Grace of God. It’s amazing how much pressure that took off of me and I was ready to get up and go!
I pulled around to the start line in the middle of a field in Paige TX that was surrounded for the first ¼ mile with TX flags. Jay and Joy and some others were there and Thomas and Dianne called to say they were only a mile away. Thomas is a very fast ultra-runner from the Austin area. I met him last year when one of the girls in my running group was telling him about my being invited to run the Badwater Race. This has been his goal race and he contacted me with an offer to help me train or do whatever I needed to get ready for the race. I was humbled by his offer and so thankful for all the encouragement he sent me as I prepared for that race. When I was talking about TIR he was also considering running the race solo but after his sub 20 hour finish at RR 100 he decided he wasn’t ready for a 200 mile race just yet. I was so impressed with his time I talked to him about training for the US Men’s 24 hour team with a race in November and he agreed. He offered to help crew and pace me at TIR this year to have an idea of what he was looking at if he ran it next year. It was 7:55 and we shot the video for the start of the race in the red high heels but since it was muddy and rocky we didn’t run very far. The television interview stated I was running the whole race in high heels but that was incorrect. Our start in the red high heels was a symbol of Dianne’s start into a new life with her red high heels over 20 years before. I did a quick change into my sneakers as Jay lit the cannon for a resounding start and I was off. Thomas met me as we were leaving the ranch and I gave him the list of things I would need in those first few miles, lights, ice, hat, drink. Dianne said her goodbyes and said she would see me the next day in Schulenburg for an interview with the local paper. After the first few miles I could feel the IT muscle getting tight and wanting to pull on my knee but thanks to the tape job from Dr. Dukes it was only a slight annoyance. Thomas was keeping pace with me in the truck as we were on a deserted country road. David Ruddick from The Power of Shoes board of directors works with the Media and had a team of people setting up interviews along the race route. He asked for video of the running and so Thomas was driving ahead to video as I passed or would jump out and take pictures every now and again. He was also keeping up with Facebook posts to keep everyone updated on where we were. The first leg brought us to the start of Bastrop State park where we ran about 8 miles. It was a spooky experience as the night was dark and the trees that were left were all charred black with only their trunks remaining from the devastating fires last summer. I had worked files from this disaster at my job with the SBA Disaster Assistance Program and for the first time saw some of the homes that had been lost in the fire. I recalled how the shelter in Bastrop talked about the sense of community that they saw as people helped their neighbors to begin the rebuilding process. I was thankful we had a small part in that and for my job that allows me to help these victims. The knee was becoming more noticeable so we stopped to try and work out a knot in the quad a few times hoping that would help. Thomas would play The Message, my favorite radio station from XM Sirius to keep me distracted. I tried to keep my stride short so as to not aggravate the knee and it seemed to work so we kept on pushing. There were some miles going through the State Park where I felt so frustrated by the pain as it would grip me and I couldn’t run a full stride like my heart and body wanted too. I was so physically prepared for this race distance but couldn’t make this nagging pain go away. I began praying the song I had sung that Sunday and asking for God’s grace. I reflected on all I had learned in Bible College and knew the whole event from the time I decided to run, to the charity I was running for, to the race and eventually the finish line was part of God’s plan. There was no other way this would have all come together in such a short time. While God wanted to use me, Satan didn’t want me to finish. There was a spiritual battle going on about me, but I knew God was there to help me with every step. The Bible says He has legions of angels in heaven that watch over us so I prayed he would line the whole route with them. As we were exiting the park there was a couple standing on the side of the road cheering for me. Thomas told me he had driven ahead and saw them camping and they asked what we were doing and why. They were so impressed and wished us well. I was surprised to see anyone awake at that hour let alone in the middle of a burned out forest! These were the first of many people God would put in my path on this race to remind me this was not about my ability to finish but why we were running.
We hit Leg 4 about midnight heading in to Smithville where we had spent time during the day and it was nice to see some familiar territory. There were a few people out on the benches in Main Street that Thomas had shared what we were doing with and they cheered as we ran by. We headed out into the dark again and by now the tape was no longer able to do its job so we took it off. Kay one of the girls from North Texas Trail Runner (NTTR), my trail running club, had called and said she had gotten a late start but was on her way and would be there about 1 am. She was planning on helping the full weekend and had taken off Friday to be there as soon as she could. Kay is an ultra-triathlete and runs triple ironman races in addition to ultra-running. I can’t imagine how people train for three sports and she does it as a single mom with 3 children! I was so blessed she had reached out and offered to help. Thomas was only able to stay until 7 am as he was unable to get off work but had promised he would come back by Saturday and stay till the finish. It was 2 am and Kay had stopped for some ice and was almost to section of road where we were so I ran a little longer and we stopped for our first rest Break just a little before 3 am. I crawled in the back of the SUV and we iced from the hip to the knee. They dragged me out 20 min later and rubbed down the muscles and we were off again.
Getting video in the dark was a bit of a challenge and now we had 2 vehicles so Kay and Thomas spent time driving behind or parking ahead to get enough light for a decent shot to send to ABC for their story. It felt like two bees buzzing around a flower and kept me distracted so that the miles ticked by more easily. I was running okay for the first time and with the lights behind me and the trees shadowed along the sides of the road I could visualize the hedge of angles I prayed for lining my path along the race. I hit the sleepy’ s about 5 am which is pretty normal but we worked through them and before long it was day break. Thomas and Kay took turns pacing beside me in the car or Crew Vehicle Kay told me about the crazy day she had and all that went on just to get her to the race and I had even more appreciation for her sacrifice in coming to help. Thomas kept me up to date on FB posts, where I was, how fast each mile went, how long until the next exchange point and so on. Thomas and Kay worked out that she would drive my crew vehicle and he would take her car back to Bastrop to the hotel and pick up his own to drive home. Kristi my crew chief was coming in that morning about 11 and her mom was coming with her so they would pick up Kay’s car and meet us along the route. We stopped again about 8 am for a quick nap and I slept well while we iced everything. I made a quick change to my running shorts as the skirt I started in was weighed down with the water dripping from the ice under my hat and was becoming uncomfortable. New shoes, brushed my teeth, some more calories and I was off again. The fields were so beautiful with Indian Paint Brushes and Blue Bonnets and Kay was catching pictures of them as they lined the highway. After that morning stop the pain in my knee began to get worse. I had to stop and stretch every mile or so and our pace suffered. We were to be in Schulenburg, mile 55 at 8:30 and didn’t’ end up getting there until 10:30. Dianne was waiting with a Popsicle as the temps were getting in the mid 80’s by then and with the highway there was no shade. We passed right by the Schulenburg Stickler’s office and they came out to welcome me, take pictures and cheer me on. The gentleman doing the article walked about ½ mile with me while I ate my treat and asked questions and shared that just the week before they had the domestic violence awareness week in their town and our timing was perfect! He turned back to get his camera and said he would catch up with us on my way out of town. He and my crew found me at just the right spot for a quick picture for the paper in front of the “Welcome to Schulenburg” sign. We continued on through the next few legs with Kay meeting me every other mile with fresh ice that we put under my hat, in my gloves, and around my neck to keep me cool. She would tell me how long each leg was and what I had to look forward to in the next miles. The race director had great details and elevation profiles written out for each leg and that went a long way in helping me play the mental game and stay in the moment.
Kristi my crew chief had called that morning to let me know she was on her way and picking up her mom in Austin and then they would pick up Kay’s car in Bastrop and meet us along the route. Around lunch time Kay informed me that her car had “blown up” when they tried to drive it from Bastrop and that she would go back with Kristi’s mom when she got there to fix the problem. Kristi came about 1 and as she was pulling up I realized my right knee was really swollen. It didn’t hurt except for the cramping in my leg, hip and glute area so I kept moving. Kay and Kristi’s mom went back to get her car and Kristi and I kept moving toward Columbus our next big city. It was great to have Kristi there as she had crewed my 223 mile Capital to Coast (C2C) Race by herself and was part of the crew for Badwater. Of everyone, she knew me the best and knew what I needed, when and how to get me to keep moving. This plays a big part in helping with the mental game and allows my mind to stay focused on the push and not what I might need to keep moving. Not to mention she has a great sense of humor to keep me positive and laughing along the way. During C2C she named by water bottle “my sippy cup” and it stuck all the way through the Badwater Race and now this one and makes me laugh every time. We stayed on the same 1-2 mile crewing with a brief 20 min stop about 1:30 to get out of the heat. The afternoon got warm but that seemed to work to my advantage with the knee, so the pain wasn’t as bad, but running with temps near 90 and full sun made the trek slow. By about 5 p.m. we had almost made it to the exchange at leg 16, mile 76 and I was ready to get out of the heat. We decided to take our 1 hour break here to get out of the heat and cool my body temp down. Kristi said we were very close to the hotel for the crew that night and it was just off the race course a few blocks. I thought about it for a few minutes, a cool room, nice shower, bed to sleep in. Then I pinched myself and said, no I think let’s just pull off into some shade I don’t want to get too comfortable. This worked like a charm and after I woke up and got moving again I felt great and ready to make up the lost time from the slow afternoon. I headed out of Columbus, a cute little town, with a good stride that lasted about a mile before the all too dreaded cramping started up again. My knee was still swollen but the pain was in my hip so we took a picture and sent it to my Dr. to get his opinion. There I was back to square one, running, stretching and pushing through one mile at a time. As darkness approached my mood got the better of me and I really wanted to push through the pain, hoping it would just stop. I began praying again thinking about my night before and how praying the hedge of angels had gotten me through and took the pain away. I know there is power in the name of Jesus so that was my prayer. With every step I was saying Jesus, take the pain away, Jesus, let the cramping stop, Jesus give me strength for just the next step. Then at times simply saying Jesus, Jesus, Jesus with each fall of my footstep. But still in my spirit I wanted to do this with strength and power, not this slow pace the tightness demanded. Then the craziest thing happened as I was praying with my head bent to see the ground in front of me, through the beam of my headlamp I saw a snake. I screamed Jesus as that was the name, thought and word on my lips at the time. The sight dragged me out of my rut and I began to think about how many times I hear people trying to encourage others and say “it all comes down to YOU, or YOU can do it, or YOU have the power in YOURSELF” etc. But what happens when YOU come to the end of YOURSELF, hit bottom and realize YOU can’t do it anymore? Is it really over? God say’s no, when we reach out for His hand to help us that is when we just begin the story of triumph over tragedy in our lives. Satan wants us to feel defeated but in God there is victory over failure, sin, pain, death and the grave. In the book of Genesis Satan came in the form of a serpent, and that snake on the side of the road reminded me that this race was a spiritual battle that I was not equipped to handle. God’s grace is what would get me through not my own strength or ability to push through the pain and I had to “let go and let God” take control. Once again I was back to leaning and trusting and the pressure went away so that I could focus on one step in front of the other. I got to leg 18 mile 89 for my next 20 min stop and Mark the guy who paced me to the sub 24 at Rocky had come in from San Antonio to get me through the night. About the same time Kay came back with her car in running order which was a miracle as she couldn’t find anyone to work on it. Kristi and her mom left for the hotel to get some sleep. I wasn’t making great time with the shuffle stretch shuffle so in talking with a friend back home I decided to do a strong walk the next few miles to give the running muscles a break. I shared the plan with Mark who thought it was a good idea and promised to keep me on a good pace. Within a few min I realized I was outmatched with his fresh legs and 6 foot 2 frame but did my best to keep up with his stride. I’m a fast walker and can do a 17 min mile by walking but this was going to be a challenge. He chatted and told me stories that kept my mind off the pain and the miles ticked by more easily. We were on a lonely dark stretch of road all night and he talked about his job, family, military life for 20 years, friends, running and so on. Most of what he said I can’t remember as I was operating on 2 hours of sleep since Thursday and we were now in the wee hours of Saturday morning but one story caught my attention. He was telling me about a race a group of his guy friends do for this charity where they all run in a red dress. As I had started the race in Red high heels I asked if he ran in matching heels but he said no. We had been going for a few hours by now and as we would reach the Crew vehicle he would walk over to Kay and let her know what we needed and I would keep going. He would catch up to me easily with a quick run and no time lost on my part. This was a good pattern but the constant push was getting hard and I was hitting a wall. When this happens I usually bend my head like a bull and focus hard on step after step with a slight grit of my teeth in sheer determination. Mark had caught up again and began chatting as normal and soon the sound of “swoosh, swish, swoosh, swish” interrupted my focus so much I glanced over to see what it was and I immediately burst out laughing. There was my 6 foot 2 inch tall, lean, military haircut pacer in a very loud red Marilyn Monroe style dress with a V neck scoop showing chest hair and flowing full accordion skirt down to his shins! This managed to shock me out of my stupor and he proceeded to tell me he had to do something and this was the most effective. Well it did work and we made it to the next crew stop where I expected he would take it off but no he didn’t and proceeded to wear it the rest of the night. I was a little embarrassed for him at first but since we were on a deserted road in the middle of TX and no cars anywhere I just went with it. We were working our way up this long hill and I heard a tractor trailer hauling about 70 mph on the downhill behind us. He flew by and got almost to the top of the hill and came to such a screeching halt I could smell his breaks. He then put the truck in reverse and started back down the hill toward us. The crew vehicle was out of
sight somewhere over the hill we were climbing and Mark quickly said maybe the dress wasn’t such a good idea. Here he was in the dark of night with a red dress and me in my running skirt and all I could think is this trucker thought he was about to get “lucky”! We had a good minute to discuss our options as he managed to drive reverse the whole way back down the hill. When he got to us he asked if we were okay and Mark said something to appease him and he was off again. I’m sure we made his night and gave him as a good of a story as he gave us!
We got to mile 99 leg 20 by 5 am and took another quick nap. The rest seemed to help along with walking most of the night. My feet were sore from being on them so much so we started back to running, shuffling and were able to move a little better. Saturday morning was a blur, but Mark stayed with me, and Kristi and her mom came back out. This gave Kay a chance to get cleaned up and to get some rest. My mom and kids were on their way so I wanted to work and get as far as I could by the time they got there. Along the way Mark who had been keeping pace with his Garmin watch informed me he had just run his first ultra as we had just gone 31.2 miles since he started with me the night
before. I thought “run” was a generous thought as we had to walk most of the night but since he had never gone more than a marathon before I was so proud of him. There on the side of the road was a tar line so I hobbled ahead, took out my phone and made him raise his arms like it was his finish line! He said he felt great and wanted to keep going so off we went.
Dr. Dukes had responded to my text of my knee with “I’m sorry but I think maybe you should stop”. I had already covered another 40 miles since that picture with no worse pain so I asked him to call. We talked and he said if there was no pain I was fine to continue. He said he and his family would try to stop on their way to Galveston that night and he would check in with the crew closer to that time. We made it to Simonton mile 125 just before 2 pm and headed toward Fulshear. The temps were in the low 90’s today as Texas was having an early spring so we decided to stop and do our long nap now. Kay met up with us again at this point and mom, kids and another friend Carl had showed up as well. Mark lay down on the ground and was out immediately. I crawled in for a nap and icing while they visited with Kristi. When I got up I was starving as usual so we began pouring calories in me as I worked on draining more blisters. Because the heat is so intense on the road with no relief or shade I use baggies of ice that we put under my hat to keep my core temp down while I’m running. There is a small hole for the water to drain out as it melts that serves to keep me wet, but cool as it drains down the front or back of me. The only disadvantage is having wet feet and subsequent blisters that form in spite of my best efforts. That was one of our longer stops at 1 hour 45 min with 1 hour sleep time but leaving there I was feeling good and able to run again so we worked our way to leg 26, mile 130 with little to no issues. After leaving leg 26 we were on a wide highway that was getting busy at this time as evening was approaching. The temps had begun to fall which meant my leg started cramping again too. Then I realized it wasn’t the only thing that was cramping. As a woman doing this sport I’m sometimes subject to more aches and pains than the boys, so with 133 miles on my legs I called Kristi and asked her to meet me at the next stop with a tampon and we both had a good laugh over this new obstacle we had to deal with. Fortunately I had some extra in my race kit and we made some quick adjustments and were on the road again. The family had gone to the hotel to get settled, swim, dinner and some sleep. And we continued through legs 27 and 28 (mile 140). It was getting dark again but we had hit the outskirts of the city of Houston by now and it was alive with sights and sounds. Mark who had now run his first 50 miler, 100k and heading for his first 24 hour race kept pacing me. Kay had come back, Thomas had come in again from Austin, Carl was back after getting the family settled and to my relief Dr. Dukes and family were on their way too! The crew was going through some exchanges as Kristi got everyone coordinated and then she and her mom went to the hotel for some rest. We all combined at a CVS in the middle of leg 28 where Mark and I were on the ground with feet on the back and side of the SUV so the blood could drain back to the heart. Since I had been walking more the past 24 hours my big toes felt like needles poking through them and the pain made me cry out as the numbness wore off. Carl and Kay took turns rubbing them and moving the blood flow back down the legs. The guys were sent on mission for popsicles, more ice, shoe polish to decorate the SUV for The Power of Shoes and tampons. It was an unseemly sight I’m sure and I’m so grateful for their willingness to deal with whatever they had to do.
Mark and I headed off to finish the leg and head into George Bush Park. There is no vehicle access so the crew drove to the next exchange point and Kay biked in to us with fresh ice and reports that Dr. Dukes and family was there waiting. The temps dropped down to the upper 70’s again and my hip, leg and knee had been getting progressively worse. We worked our way through the park and towards the last ¼ mile things had gotten so tight I was limping. I made it in the parking lot by about midnight to see the table set up and Dr. Dukes with his wife Chambry talking with my crew. Their three children were in the back of their car asleep and the lights of the crew vehicle lit up the table area. They laid me down and he and his wife went to work trying to undo the damage from the past 148 miles. It hurt at first and I was cold from the sweat, breeze, and not moving so they covered me up. I must have fallen asleep at one point because when I woke up I was taped up again and things were feeling less painful. He told me he worked out as much as he could and that massaging the IT band caused the glut, hip area to seize back up. There was no way to get the muscle tension to release any further than it had without complete rest. With 52 miles to go he knew that wasn’t going to happen so he gave us his blessing and said he would see me on Monday. I could move much better than when I came in and it was about 1:30 so we had to get started on the next 2 legs which were the longest of the course. We said goodbye and I couldn’t thank them enough for coming down to a park in the middle of the night to help me be able to finish this race.
We hit the next leg with a vengeance. I was able to run and shortly into the leg Kay spotted an alligator off to the side by the creek which had me running even better. Mark had rested again while they worked on me so he was still with us and had his first 24 hour race now. He always stayed a few steps ahead of me. I was slowing down toward the end of the leg but would run till I caught up to him, then he would run ahead and so on. We were on the other side of the Dam in Houston at this point and lots of deer were all around the path and off to the side. Kay was carrying everything on the bike and doing a great job going back and forth at my slow pace for a bike. At one point as I almost caught up to Mark again I told him I would eventually pass him, he laughed and said “yes at some point you will but not now” and off he went. We worked hard and finished that leg and met up with the crew. I rolled around on the ground on the tennis ball we brought for massaging the glute, back and hip area to see if it would help but it wasn’t enough. We set off on leg 31 and I was getting the 5 am sleepy’ s pretty bad. There was a park on this section with short little ups and down, very remote and I was having a hard time keeping up with Mark. Kay caught up and said the crew was meeting in another mile and she talked me through the wall. She was so sweet and said such kind things. I don’t remember what her words were but that she stayed right with me on the bike and kept repeating in this strong kind voice I could do this. I was at such a low point at the end of this third night, the pain of 3 days unrelenting and no will power or mental toughness to push through. As I look back I realize how that is exactly what happens when there is a death or traumatic event in our lives. People who love us come and lift us up and help to carry us until we can walk again. We rarely remember their words but their presence is what is never forgotten. When we got to the guys and crew vehicle again I had to sleep and simply lay on a towel at the back of the SUV on the ground. Thomas covered me up and said he would wake me in 20 minutes. Kay and Carl left to get her car and put her bike away as we were in the city now. When it was time to get up again I just couldn’t move so Thomas picked me up off the ground. He held me under my arms until I could balance on the front of my feet and allow the quad muscles to engage again. He gave me some boost for calories and the blood did its job and soon I had enough energy to put one foot in front of the other ever so slowly. Mark slowly came too and we headed off into the dark trail again. It was going to be light in an hour and this was truly the moment of “the darkest before the dawn”. After we were out of sight Mark joked “if we laid down in the grass over there do you think anyone would find us?” He was finally feeling the effects of going almost 80 miles at this point over the past 36 hours. I was feeling down but then started remembering all the text messages from all the people at The Power of Shoes, the emails, FB posts and so on. These people were already proud of me for taking on the journey and when they looked back on it they were not going to talk about how it took me longer than 65 hours to finish. They would be inspired by the fact that we finished. I called out to Mark and shared my new inspiration with him at the top of my lungs. No one in sight and it was empowering. “Mark, what we will remember about today is not how fast we finished but simply that WE FINISHED! BY THE GRACE OF GOD WE FINISHED!” He responded with agreement and the mental game had been won in that moment. The hills were very steep through this section and it took a little while before our pace was anything more than a mummy walk. We passed under a bridge where I thought the crew would be and since they were not there we kept moving and I called them. Thomas couldn’t believe he just missed us but promised to be at the next stop just a mile up. I finally woke up enough and started power walking and passed Mark! He was too tired to notice. He was within ear shot so I kept making sure he was with me and that really kicked me awake and I was able to start running a little again. Kay and Carl had made it to the next stop and she started hiking toward me. When I saw her I asked her to check on Mark and I would keep moving. I got the parking lot in a few minutes and wasn’t sure which direction to go. Thomas was still on his way with our crew van and Carl didn’t have a map in the extra car. The first of the relay teams had just arrived to see their runner who was just behind me so they pointed me in the right direction. My speed had increased from the mummy walk and with it my appetite so I was starving. I was not sure how long till the crew vehicle was going to get to me and I knew I needed some calories. We scrounged around in the back seat for anything the kids may have left behind and found a payday somewhere. Beggars aren’t choosers so I took a few quick bits and off I went. The teams coming behind me gave me some pep in my step and we were able to work through the next legs more easily. Mark decided to sit out but had called a friend from Houston who was coming in to help pace. Kay was running with me and Thomas in the crew vehicle. Kristi was on her way back and all the activity was great. The relay runners from the front running teams would slow down and run with me as they passed and I was able to meet some great people who inspired me more than I did them. As we passed through the check points they would cheer and clap and I was so humbled. We would ice the knee on the run and it seemed to help for a few legs.
4 Thomas and Jess Icing down my knees and legs.
Mark’s friend Jess had come in about leg 32 and was pacing now. She was young, tall and had a great demeanor. When she first started I was mentally with it and gave a brief overview of what to expect. I would let her know what I needed before the crew stop, Ice, for hands, head, neck, drink food, etc. I would need her to remind me to eat/drink every ten minutes to keep my energy up as I lost track of time easily. Then if I was walking too much a gentle reminder of “hey let’s try to run to the next sign, tree or whatever goal I could see”. She did a great job and got me in to leg 34 in pretty good shape but I needed a break since I had been going since 5 am. We passed through the check point and I lay on a towel to roll out my hip area with the tennis ball again. I know I looked like a scary site in the middle of this big park as people kept stopping to stare but I was too tired to care. They had a bathroom there so I got to use a real facility for the first time in a while. They had port a potties at the exchange legs but the legs would be anywhere from 4-6 miles apart. That works okay if you are only running that distance alone. My diet is mostly liquid to keep my stomach from diverting blood flow from my legs for digestion and after 100 miles I tend to have to pee every 30 min. This was a challenge in the city and the crew would stop by a storm drain open both car doors and hold a towel up for me to potty with privacy. (Sorry for the tmi but you wouldn’t believe how many questions I get on this subject .)
When we were leaving this leg I heard someone say the next leg was 2 ½ miles. I was feeling good from the rest and there was a nice long downhill so we decided to push the pace. We had 30 miles to go and I knew I couldn’t take it by 1 pm (the 65 hour time goal) with only 2 hours to go and it would be more like 8 to 10 hours as we were down to 15 to 20 min miles with all the stretching. I tried not to think about the end but in my mind I was constantly thinking about pace and what we could do, then trying not to feel defeated for missing the original goal of 65 hours. Disappointment is a relentless attack that requires great mental focus to overcome. I was doing this when we were barreling down hill just about 2 miles after we left our crew. In my head we would see them in a ½ mile at the exchange so I told Jess I didn’t need anything. She stopped and talked with the crew and then caught up quickly. We worked our way down into this park system that runs underneath the highways and it seemed to go on forever. I was frustrated that we missed the crew and there were some changes through this leg that I don’t know if we did correctly or not. We had the directions with us but I had left my phone to be charged so we were out there on our own. I love down hills so we tried to run as long as we could but I soon ran out of my fluid and Jess was sharing hers. We worked our way through the trails partially shaded by the highways above and they just kept going. You could see the sky scrapers by now towering above and it was good to see Houston for the first time in my life. We saw a lot of relay runners on this section and so with a ½ mile to go someone yelled out we were almost there just up the stairs. I couldn’t see them but it was the encouragement I needed as I spent all I had on that leg. We got in the exchange and it was a beautiful walk up these stairs with the fountain that looked like it was going the whole way down to the river (I think there is a river that runs through downtown Houston or was I imagining it?). As we reached the tent there were a ton of people everywhere and we couldn’t find our crew. We asked to borrow a phone and I called my mom as it was the only number I had memorized. As I was talking to her I saw her car driving past were we were sitting. She said they were all there but were having trouble parking. There was a triathlon that same day and Lance Armstrong, a fellow Texan was participating and it drew a big field. I told her we would stay put and have someone come find us. I laid down on a bench and put my feet up on a nearby pole. Jess rubbed my feet to get the blood flowing back down my legs. I fell asleep for 5 minutes and woke up to see Mark back. He got me on my feet and said the crew vehicle was just down the street. We met up with everyone just a bloc
k after the exchange and did some quick blister work as I had taken off my shoes and they filled up again and it hurt to put them back on. Mark was feeling better and came out to pace the next few legs through town. 24 miles to go and the teams were passing with great cheers along the way.
I felt like we were moving okay, still stopping to stretch every few minutes and icing as much as possible as it was getting pretty hot. This last stretch was going to be tough with the heat; no planned rest breaks as we were going to work until the finish. We went through South Houston and I was glad Mark was there but not wearing his dress anymore. There were some sad sights of homes with people sitting outside to get fresh air as they had no air conditioning to cool off. This was such a poverty stricken area and the people looked sad. The kids, who are resilient as always, were playing in the parking lots. We passed through the Hispanic section and one of the crew gave me a Popsicle which had become my new favorite food. This was a lively neighborhood with lots going on and music everywhere. We got stuck at a train crossing so I took a nice 3 min break with my feet up at the bus stop right beside it. We started heading out of town into some neighborhoods and it was somewhere in here Dianne and Roger, The Power of Shoes founder and her husband, caught up to us. She gave me a huge hug not minding my sweaty smelly body after 3 days and told me not worry about anything. They had planned to have CBS meet us at the finish line to do a story for the nightly news and they told her they would come no matter when we finished. This would have been great publicity for the Foundation and their real goal of raising awareness of Abuse so I was relieved to hear her say that. My crew was all on board with staying with me until the end which looked like 8 to 10 pm. Considering we all had to get up to go to work the next day and most of us had a 3-4 hour drive home I was over whelmed with their commitment.
7Krist, Carl, Leah and Roger and Dianne at the crew vehicle ready for whatever I needed.
I wanted to push so hard and start running again but every time I would change my stride I could feel the cramping begin and didn’t want to go back to the stretch run stretch pace. We kept a strong walk for a while and Roger came out and paced with Carl. They chatted about all kinds of things that kept my mind off my feet and how they were starting to ache more and more. Occasionally I would stop mid stride and sit down just to get a brief relief and they would pull me back up. Somewhere between leg 38 and 39 I called Kay who was sleeping and asked her to come pace me. After I realized I woke her I was so sorry but she immediately reminded me that was why she was here and she would be happy to take over for a while. So she and my son Luke came out and paced me while Carl took a break. Roger said he was still good to go and continued on, talking with Kay about where she was from and what she did. Luke paced in front of me, happy for some “mom time” and we talked about how his trip had been going and what they had been up to in the past day. Boys are so fun, it’s a good thing I have a degree in counseling as the need to ask 20 questions to get the details comes in handy. Luke stuck with me for a few miles and then my daughter Leah, with our dog Perrita, came out for a few blocks. The three of them kept trotting in front of me, keeping me on pace. Luke was getting hungry and we passed a Burger King so Thomas who had been stopping to film from his vehicle every few miles picked up his favorite chicken fries. I was getting pretty sore and wanting to stop more often, it was about 8 pm and the 8 o’clock sleepy’ s where hitting me hard. It had been 8 hours since I was off my feet and they were literally screaming with every step! I knew to just relax into the pain, but no matter how much I tired I was not able to get over this mental wall. I saw the crew pulled off in a parking lot and I crossed the street to sit for just a few seconds. Luke gave me a chicken fry and that gave me some energy. I was so tired of all the other options and the combination of fat, protein and carbs did the trick. Leah, Roger and Kay paced me from leg 40 with 5 miles to go. With a large steep climb up over a highway I held on to Leah and Roger’s hands as the quad muscles had no strength left. At the top of the hill you could see the monument in the distance but it looked like it was still 20 miles away. It was dark now and with no break in the stinging pain we walked on at the most determined pace I could muster. Roger and Kay were talking to me but nothing was registering. In my head everything was drowned out except the need to move forward and not quit. Leah was her normal chatty self and it was a nice having her along. She is such a great encourager and when she saw the pain and wincing on my face she would say how great I was doing and how proud she was of me. She is so grown up for her 11 years. The three of us, Luke, Leah and I have become such a team over the past 5 years. Having the kids come to the races and see not just me but others endure and persevere is evidenced in their own lives. Leah loves to sing and so I asked her to sing some of my favorite songs while we were ticking off those last few miles. In the quiet of the night her soft voice singing one of my favorites.
I love the way You hold me, By my side You’ll always be You take each and every day,
Make it special in some way I love the way You hold me, In Your arms I’ll always be You take each and every day, Make it special in some way I love You more than the words in my brain can express I can’t imagine even loving You less Lord, I love the way You hold me
For the past 3 days the Lord had carried me, calmed me, and gave me strength to finish what we set out to do. He provided the friends and family I needed in ways I had never experienced before in a race. The support had been a constant reminder that I was not here for my goals but to bring awareness to the abuse that is going on all around us. The picture the race painted was one of constant physical pain, yet the ability to go on because of the amazing support and encouragement from my crew and then people I had never met. I need to share a few of the texts sent to my phone during the race from numbers I didn’t recognize. At all the right times they inspired me to stay focused on finishing.
“I just wanted to say thank you so much for running for my grandmother’s charity. It really is a great thing you are doing, thank you and good luck” Ashley Samoff
“I’m so proud of you and pray God is giving you everything you need. You are strong and beautiful and inspire women everywhere to be their best! So proud!! Keep fighting girl” Shelly K
“Just wanted u to know that I prayed for u that God would strengthen and bless you as u run for this worthy cause.” I’m in Al Kelly’s small group
“Good luck!!! What you are doing is monumental! I have known Dianne since 1995, she is an amazing and wonderful woman I love and admire!! Very loyal and dedicated woman!!! Thank you for all that you are doing!!” Unknown
“Rochelle, I am a member of Dianne’s brother’s small group at church and I am praying for you to finish your run.” Unknown
“Go Girl Goooooo!!! Praying for you and asking GOD to give you strength. Go Girl Go!!! Almost there!!!” Eric Dyson
“Rochelle, want u to know we r praying for u. We can do all things in Christ who strengthens us” Peggy
“Hi Rochelle, wanted to thank you for ur dedication and to encourage u with a bit of God’s word. Jeremiah 33:3. Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not. Our small group will pray for you.” Dianne’s brother
“Thank you so much for your courage, persistence and determination to do this. We have been praying for you and you are now close to the finish line! We love and appreciate and sooo admire you. Because Jesus lives you can live and Finish. Make history today…You so got this…we are cheering you on!!!” Kennedy
“I can only imagine what you are feeling…just know that we are behind you and praying for you!! “ Unknown
“You are amazing for what u r doing, do only what u can. Thank you for what you have already done. The power of you and your shoes will forever have a footprint in all of our souls.” Cathy
“Wanted to send you warm words of encouragement!! Keep strong and you have done an amazing job. You are stronger than I could ever dream of being!! My prayers and thoughts are with you.” Unknown
“Hi there I am with Seeks, hang in there. You will be successful. We are all behind you. “ Lani
“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13” Unknown
“Hey hon thank you for ur dedication…I know its hard but I want u to picture the finish line…standing there is the Heavenly Father with his arms open waiting for u so He can embrace his child that is standing up for those who can’t…look to ur right then to ur left…there r those who lost their life running with u…u r not alone…breath deep and feel their spriits…and press on my friend…ur a hero in all our eyes already” Rita
“there is a woman standing with the Heavenly Father to greet u…her name was Vicki…she was murdered by her husband and his brother…we found her car with driver’s door open and there on the ground lay her restraining order covered with her blood…to my knowledge her body was never found. Keep running and let her know she has not been forgotten after all these years…I wish u could see the power behind u and the love they are pouring out to you. You are doing this for them and all future victims. Thanks to you many lives will be saved and u will never know it…what an honor to have the Heavenly Father choose you to do this run…he did for a reason…why??? Because He believes in u…his daughter.” Rita
That last line sums up this event “what an honor to have My Heavenly Father choose me to do this run” While I had experienced years of emotional abuse I had never felt the physical pain that so many women and children are facing each day. If only they could see and hear the same support that I got over the 3 days of running so they can reach their own finish line.
8 the very dedicated sponsor of the women’s shelter in Houston waiting at the finish with balloons to celebrate the victory.
woman from the Horizon Shelter in Houston with a handful of purple balloons which are the colors of Domestic Violence Awareness and tears in her eyes.
9Jay the race director of TIR putting in some extra hours to present me with the finishing medal.
I walked up to the gate that had been locked hours before, all the relay teams had passed through and gone home and so we sat down in front of it with the lights of the vehicles illuminating the dark quiet night. I was welcomed with lots of cheers from my crew Kristi, her mom, Thomas, Kay, Mark, Jess, my Mom, Luke, Leah, Carl, Roger and Dianne. They presented me with a poster signed by my team and sponsor’s, a shirt with The Power of Shoes and our sponsors listed on it, Earth Day Dallas, Tix for Cause, Luke’s Locker Plano, Run On Coppell and the finishing medal.
10Dianne and Roger with Luke and Leah presenting me with the poster for Power of Shoes.
The news crew didn’t make it but I know the story was told the way it was supposed to end. As it happens in so many victims lives somewhere in the middle of the night they reach the end of the nightmare. There are no crowds cheering them on or asking for an interview or an autograph. What they have is a crew to help them move on. Maybe its friends, family, a neighbor or a shelter that is there to pick them up and put them back on their feet in the right direction.
More than anything I want this race, this report and the testimony of what we as a team accomplished to inspire others to never give up. When the road before you may seem impossible and you have reached the end of yourself God will make a way when there seems to be no way. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 &10 He promises, 9 And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. God proved Himself strong in my life yet again with this race. When I submitted my weaknesses and prayed for help He gave me strength to overcome. In the weeks climbing up to the race this song from when I was in college kept playing on the radio. I had no idea at the time the lessons God was going to teach me that allowed the words to the song to ring more true than ever in my life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfYZgxV3g4w
In Christ alone will I glory Though I could pride myself in battles won For I’ve been blessed beyond measure And by His strength alone I’ll overcome Oh, I could stop and count successes like diamonds in my hands But those trophies could not equal to the grace by which I stand
Chorus: In Christ alone I place my trust And find my glory in the power of the cross In every victory Let it be said of me My source of strength My source of hope Is Christ alone In Christ alone do I glory For only by His grace I am redeemed For only His tender mercy Could reach beyond my weakness to my need And now I seek no greater honor in just to know Him more And to count my gains but losses to the glory of my Lord
Figure 11 From left to right Carl, My Mom, Kristi, Thomas, Kay, Leah, Rochelle, Luke, Mark, Jess, and Roger
I am truly honored to have run for The Power of Shoes and to have the chance to bring awareness to the epidemic of domestic violence and child hood abuse in our country. I am humbled that God would choose to use me, a small, single mom over 40 to reach others with the news that there is hope, healing and a way of escape. But this is His promise from 1 Corinthians 1:25-31 25, Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For behold your calling, brethren, that not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; 28 and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea and the things that are not, that he might bring to naught the things that are: 29 that no flesh should glory before God. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 31 that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. I hope you are inspired to use the gift God has given you to make a difference in someone’s life today.
I give my Creator, life sustainer, Jesus Christ all the glory for the ability to train, race and finish this run and all those I have completed so far. I thank my amazing crew for their willingness and remarkable unselfishness in everything they did and said to help me get to the finish line.
12Shoes, medal and smile for some hard fought miles.
To those who called, texted and prayed, it was in the power of those prayers we received the victory of being the first female to complete the Texas Independence Relay Solo. To The Power of Shoes Foundation thank you for your emotional, financial and unwavering support. To our sponsors thank you for believing in us and supporting this effort. To the abused, YOU ARE LOVED AND WORTH LOVING and we are all here for you.
In closing I’ll leave you with this song that Dianne reminded me of as I was facing my last night. She asked me to think of my favorite hymn from church when I was growing up and to sing it to myself as my encouragement that God was with me in the fight. Without knowing my answer, this was the song that immediately came to mind.
BECAUSE HE LIVES
God sent His son, they called Him Jesus He came to love, heal, and forgive. He lived and died to buy my pardon, an empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, All fear is gone. Because I know He holds MY future, and life is worth the living just because He lives. And then one day I’ll cross the river, I’ll fight life’s final war with pain. And then as death gives way to victory, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, All fear is gone! Because I know He holds MY future and life is worth the living just because He lives! Words: Bill & Gloria Gaither.