I'm dedicating this race to the three most beautiful women I have ever known.
|Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon route|
Miles one through eight, I'm running for you, Lizzy. You have amazed me every single day of your astonishing, courageous life--and I'm pretty sure you're just getting started! You climbed walls before you could walk, crawled headfirst into the ocean as an adventuresome toddler, earned your own riding lessons when I told you I couldn't afford them, and then went on to earn your associates degree in time for your eighteenth birthday. You have never taken the easy or expected path. You are headed for the Honors Program at Texas Tech and have impressed a local scholarship foundation so much that they're putting you through college debt-free. School has only ever been your day-job though. You have given hundreds of hours of time to help riders with disabilities at Equest, and now you're rocking your new job as a swimming instructor in the evenings. And, of course, you want to become a doctor so you can work for Médecins Sans Frontières and help people in crisis around the world. Look at you go! It's never been enough for you to follow where others have gone before. You plow your own furrow, and it seems like you're always looking for the next mountaintop. I see that determined look in your eye, and I know the world better watch out! Miles one through eight, Lizzy: you're going to get me started because I'm going to need your tremendous courage as I stare down the barrel of all the miles and miles to come.
And you, lovely Joy, miles nine through sixteen are for you. The first time I saw you on a hospital scan, you did a somersault. Wild thing, you made my heart sing, and I've been expecting the unexpected from you ever since. Double-majoring in Computer Science and International Affairs, zooming between college in Minnesota and regular trips to Washington and New York as you work for Middle East peace, stalk congressmen in the Capitol, and hang out with geeks and banking bods in your "spare" time, you are the quintessential biter-off of more than can be chewed--but then you always chew it anyway. You earned a huge grant for college with your academic awesomeness and have landed a fabulous paid internship doing something geeky with algorithms that I will never understand. Whether you're directing hilarious Shakespeare spoofs, community organizing, or grading your professors' papers (lucky them!), you work with integrity and steadfast determination for the causes that you care about--and it's that persistence I'm going to need after the initial adrenaline has worn off and worn out. Doggedness, an unswerving faith for what you believe in and a stubborn refusal to say "I can't," is the superpower of yours I'm channeling to get me through the middle miles. When I'm tired, and it feels like it's all too much and it's all too far, I'm remembering you.
And those final miles, mum, that last long ten: I'm running all of those for you. No one I've ever known, no one I've ever heard of, has taught me more about what the tough do when the going gets hard. You are the absolute overcomer, and your whole life is a lesson in faithfulness. I have watched you year after difficult year, decade after decade, walking the path of kindness and determination in the face of impossible odds. If I can run through a thunderstorm when every muscle in my body is screaming at me to slow down, sit down, give up, it's because you taught me how it's done. I never knew a woman with more dignity and strength, more derring do, or more grace, compassion, and love. You are my quiet hero, the one who keeps on keeping on when nobody's watching. I'm going to run all the way to the finish line in Oklahoma to honor you.
With all my love to the three most incredible women I have ever known,
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13