Saturday, August 22, 2015

Marathon Training Update

Training update: 63 days until Leslie and I are standing on the Start Line for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.  That feels like forever away but I know that it will be here before I know it. This year's training has meant quite a few days running by myself. Definitely more than last year. And I won't lie, it has made the training a little bit harder. I love running with people. But as I sat down to write this post, I thought back over the last two months of training and they really have been great. I have been grateful for every day that I have had to get up and go for a run, sometimes before the sun is up.

Running for as long as we do for the training runs gives me lots of time to think. Usually, this leads to me overthinking things. But for some reasons these runs this year have allowed for time for me to be quiet and pray for and think about others. I have found myself being more engaged with the run instead of merely trying to check off the box. And it has been so good.

I often find myself thinking about Inheritance of Hope and the families they serve quite often. It seems every year I hear about more and more people that I know getting diagnosed with cancer or other terrible diseases. And these people are not old, they are young and have families and lives. But I have also seen communities come around these families and support them and walk through the hard days with them. Inheritance of Hope comes alongside families who have a parent diagnosed with a terminal illness and helps inspire hope and provides support. They have Legacy Retreats in which families can participate for absolutely no cost. It is a place where the whole family can go and make memories together and laugh and cry and share with each other. I encourage you to go check out their website to learn more because I could go on forever about it.

Part of running Marine Corps Marathon with Inheritance of Hope means fundraising for them. This year my fundraising goal is $750. I would love to even surpass this if possible. Won't you join me in my support of Inheritance of Hope? A donation of any amount is awesome. And will be put to good use, I can promise you that.

Click HERE to go to my personalized donation page. Every dollar is greatly appreciated. Seriously, even $5.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In Case You Didn't Know, My Mom is Awesome

I just wanted to take a minute today to brag about my mom, Stacey Noll. She was recently selected to be the new Camp Manager of a Wyldlife camp in Florida called Southwind. This is a big deal. She's like running the whole camp. And she deserves every bit of that position and to be celebrated. Everyone who knows my mom knows how capable she is of taking on this new role. Anyone who thinks otherwise...I'll see you outside.

My mother is a great leader who cares always cares about her staff. She is funny and smart and when she sets her mind to something, it WILL happen. And most of the time, it will happen a lot faster than you can prepare for. She volunteered for Young Life for a long time which was awesome because we got to spend our summers at Young Life camps which is pretty much THE single best way to spend your summer as a kid.

For the past few years she has been on the regional staff with Young Life in Texas where she has been doing amazing things. She has also for the past few summers been running Camp Buckner, a camp in Texas that Young Life rents out for Young Lives and Wyldlife camp during the summer.

She is also the first Woman camp manager in the history of Young Life but guess what, that's not even why they hired her, that's just a sweet added bonus.

This next step is a big one for her and for my entire family, but it is definitely one that is to be celebrated and encouraged. I really cannot think of a better person for this position. And the even greater more important thing is even though my mom is really good at being in charge and making things happen, all of this, her whole story, has been painted and directed by Jesus. All of it. And she will tell you that. She has worked really hard and set goals and dreamed big but at the end of the day, Jesus did it all. Seriously. It's very humbling to her and to us as a family.

So Southwind, get ready, you are about to get one of the greatest Jesus loving, go getters I have ever known. I just hope you can keep up with her.

Monday, June 29, 2015

I'm Baaaaaack!

2015 has been an interesting one. It has been filled with a little traveling, a lot of laughing and of course, running. I have decided to run another marathon for Inheritance of Hope. Last year, as you probably remember, I ran the New York City marathon with my good friends Jenn and Leslie. This year Jenn and her husband Kyle welcomed a sweet baby boy and thus are not training. Leslie and myself decided we would run the Marine Corps Marathon on the Inheritance of Hope Team this year which takes place in Washington, DC on October 25th.

Next Monday, July 6th, we will officially start training. For the past 6 weeks I have been doing a bit of 'pre-training' to make sure I will be able to start really training next week. Sounds crazy, I know. I am currently in day 36 of a 40 day run streak in which the goal is to run at least 1 mile every day for 40 days. This year seemed more difficult than years past. I am once again in the middle of a move and keeping a consistent schedule seems impossible right now. But I have been getting it done even with a couple of 11pm 1 mile runs squeezed in at the last minute.

I am excited to be running Marine Corps with Inheritance of Hope. The experience last year was so great and the motivation of all of the families that are impacted by the donations I receive is the best.

I am so grateful for the ability to run and that I enjoy doing it.

Won't you join me again this year on my journey to the start line of the Marine Corps Marathon?

Click here to donate to my fundraising page and help kickstart my training journey.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Belgian Thanksgiving

This year for Thanksgiving I made plans to go to Leuven, Belgium to see my sister Mary and her husband David who are studying in the university in Leuven. I made these plans in July and was so excited when the day finally arrived to board a plane headed for Belgium. This trip was exciting because I was able to spend good quality time with Mary and David but also because I was able to turn my phone of for 9 whole days!! My job requires that my phone pretty much be nearby 24/7 so 9 days phone free was a vacation in itself!
So here is a quick trip summary since I didn't post any pics while i was gone:

Saturday, Day 1:

Landed in Brussels and took a train to Leuven where Mary greeted me with the lovely sign in the train station. I somehow managed to not even be the slightest bit jet lagged..
I toured Louven with Mary and then we all saw Hunger Games Mocking Jay Pt 1 with some of their American friends. It was awesome. You have to go early and get your tickets and reserve your seats. Yes, reserve your seats. Which I actually think is a great idea. They also had like a full candy store inside the movie theater. I was pretty much my favorite movie theater ever. 

Sunday, Day 2: Trip to Antwerp!
Sunday we took a train to Antwerp and walked around the city all afternoon. It was so fun. The train station there is ridiculous and I must have taken at least 10 pictures of it.

true love

It was really fun to have David and Mary know where they wanted to go and what to go see. We ended our trip with an amazing Indian food meal. It was so delicious. 

Monday, Day 3: Skool dayz
Mary and David are both in school currently. David has finished one masters in Philosophy and is working toward a second. Mary is working on her masters in education. So they were busy with class during my trip which meant I was able to sit in on a couple of classes. Monday I went with David to one of his classes and got to experience grad school Belgian style. The university they are at is full of international students and it was pretty fun to get to now be able to picture what they tell me about. 

Tuesday: Day 4: Education Conference
Mary had a very cool mini conference on education on Tuesday in Brussels so she took me with her. During the morning we sat through the conference and then after lunch it was time to shop! She took me to this kitchen store that was so adorable. It was called Dille & Kamille and I lived there, all my things would be from that store.. Then we went on a walking tour of the city and got THE best hot chocolate I have ever had (sorry Grove Park Inn). It was literally a chocolate bar melted in a glass of milk. 

Later that evening back in Leuven we went up into the central church bell tower for a twice a month bells concert.  It was really cool! Classical music mixed in with a little Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. 

Wednesday, Day 5: Spa Day
Wednesday was the day that I went and spent for the first time in my life an entire day at a Spa. It was glorious. Let's just say it was very Euro and clothing was optional. I leave it at that..It was so relaxing. I read more there in a day than I think I have in the past year and everything was perfectly relaxing and not that crowded which was a plus. I am so thankful for that day. 

Thursday, Day 6: Not Thanksgiving
So while everyone in America was celebrating Thanksgiving, Mary and David were busy with class and work. We kept making jokes about how at least all the stores were open for shopping! So I spent the morning hanging out and then walking around a bit and just some general hanging out! Mary also introduced me to Belgian Waffles..o my deliciousness. Crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside and so cheap. 

We spent the whole evening skyping with family who were celebrating Thanksgiving. Thank goodness for Skype.

Friday, Day 7: 
On this day I slept in and then went to class with Mary. It was really fun to get to experience a little bit of what her daily life in class is like. The rest of the afternoon/evening was spent hanging out with David and talking about about the last 15 months in Belgium. We also played Pandemic, which is my new favorite board game.

Saturday: Day 8: Feuxgiving
Saturday  was the day we celebrated Thanksgiving! They invited the same American couple that we went to the movies with earlier in the week to come and join us. We went all out! Here is the menu. It was uh-mazing and everything was made from scratch:

I even brought over things to make green bean casserole with. Mary made an apple pie from scratch and we had the best appetizers. We spent the afternoon/evening playing Ticket to Ride: Europe, Pandemic and laughing and telling stories. It was so much fun and I definitely did not want it to end because this meant my trip was coming to an end..

Sunday, Day 9: The Return
Sunday came too soon...I woke up really early, said my goodbyes and made it back to the airport. Thankfully I had a window seat for the 9.5 hr direct flight to Atlanta. I watched so many movies I lost track. But I made it back and then had to drive home to Asheville in the awful Thanksgiving traffic. But I didn't even care because going to Belgium was so great.

I wish I could have spent weeks hanging out with Mary and David. My family is currently living all over the world and that gets tough at times. I miss the days when we were all living under one roof and in the same town. But I am thankful for things like social media and skype that help make the world a little smaller. 

I spent the whole week missing Mary and David and wandering through the streets of Belgium. Can't wait for my next visit!

We finished!!...a month ago

So this post is a long time overdue and somehow I did not take the time to do a final wrap up from the marathon so here it is! Short and sweet:

WE FINISHED! And not only did we finish..but we finished together. Jenn, Leslie and I without knowing all wrote this same goal down together and stuck in on the 'goal' wall in the race expo the day before the race. It was so awesome.

Race day was amazing! It was so cold and windy. But once we got started and headed over the first bridge the excitement pretty much made the cold not even matter. Leslie, Jenn and I kept a great pace and got to enjoy taking in each neighborhood in the city! Here are a few pictures from the race!

Pre race selfie with the NYPD

Verrazano Bridge Selfie!

 Mile 13 feelin fine!

This last photo was taken what we deemed the 'zombie walk' out of Central Park. I ended up in the med tent due to a severe quad cramp in the last few miles but after we met up we still had to walk over a mile to get out of the park. It was more of a shuffle. But we were still super fired up!!! Once the cobwebs cleared my head it was so fun to realize what we had just accomplished! I couldn't have asked for a better team to run with. It has been a month and I miss our Saturday morning early runs and the excuse to get together all the time and talk about running! 

Jenn's husband, Kyle also ran and absolutely killed it! He started and finished far before us so when we finally met up we had plenty of stories to tell each other. 

After the race we took a few days to enjoy NYC. The first day involved a lot of waddling around with sore legs but by the second and third day we were feeling great! It was so much fun to spend some time just exploring the city.

I am so grateful for this experience and all that it brought along! Thanks to all of you for being a part of it with me!

Friday, October 17, 2014

I Can Almost Smell the 50,000 Stinky People

This was taken last Friday upon completion of our 20 mile run. The longest run we have before the big day!! Look at those smiles!

15 DAYS????????

I mean..this is real. In 15 days I will be in New York City waiting to start the New York City Marathon. What a journey it has been. You probably noticed (or not) my severe lack of blog posts on my training and fundraising process. I am sad about that. But here is one that will hopefully encapsulate the last two months in a less than a small paperback.

The last two months have been hard. I don't mean just kind of tough I mean HARD. My job has been super demanding, like 50+ hrs a week demanding. I have been also trying to fundraise and be a Wyldlife leader to the best of my ability. Oh, and I forgot the couple of hundred training miles I have run on top of all of that and the numerous other life responsibilities.

 But as tough as those days have all been I have been reminded each day of families and even friends of mine who have it even tougher. They don't have the ability to even get out of bed most days. They are fighting to stay positive for their families in the face of more pain in diseases than I can even imagine. And this is not meant for me to say I have it better or I should not be hurting or complaining about how busy I have been but for me to be reminded of why those and so many others keep fighting. And that is Jesus and the hope that he offers.

This verse has been constantly in my mind in the last two months and is something I have to remind myself of daily if not hourly when I am not sure how I am going to make it through the day:

"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -John 16:33

This is quite possibly one of my top 5 verses. The exclamation mark is my favorite. It gives me chills and gets my blood pumping because I can almost feel Jesus grabbing me by the shoulders, looking me in both my eyes, at the same time (he can do that he is Jesus) and telling me to 'Take Heart!" It is also a gentle reminder, encourager and jumpstart for me on the days when I cannot see through the chaos. I have to stop myself and remember that I know how this all ends! And by remembering that I can set my alarm clock for 5am 4 days a week, lace up my shoes and head out the door to run for the Inheritance of Hope families who need to be reminded of how it all ends amidst their pain and their suffering. And just maybe by remembering how it all ends they can learn to smile and have peace in the middle of it. A peace that is only possible in Jesus. 

So in a nutshell that is what I am so desperately working on in my life and honestly the month of August/September were a huge emotional struggle in this for me. But I am so grateful to be on this journey and to not be in it alone.  

Jenn, Leslie and I have put in the work, we have run the miles, iced sore legs, listened to way too many podcasts and Usher songs and downed so many gallons of energy drink. But I know for a fact it is all worth it.

The donation deadline for giving to my sponsor page for Inheritance of Hope is Oct 29th. Won't you consider giving today?? Like right now? This very second?

And may you remember how this all ends. It ends with the victory of Jesus. It has ALL been done. We get the opportunity to share that with people. May we share it with Joy! And not forget it ourselves. maybe a small novel and not a paperback but hopefully you read it!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Training Update- 100 miles!

I officially hit 100 miles in my training plan this weekend!!! Jenn and I ran a 12 mile course on Saturday through the streets of Asheville. Some of those past 100 miles have been easy, some have been hard but I have run them all gladly. Almost all of them have been run in the early morning hours.


I am 100% a morning runner. There has always been something for me about getting up before the sun, slipping on a pair of running shoes and running for miles before most everyone else even wakes up. The air is fresh and the day holds so much possibility. I do some of my best thinking in these early morning runs and also some of my best praying.

During the workweek in this past month I have done all of my runs by myself but 'by myself' usually includes a little help from Spotify. This weeks playlist was Best of the 2000's. So many gems in that one. And sometimes you just need a little Nelly and Usher to get you moving. Some days I run without music but I have to say, I LOVE running with music. I also love running with people and I am so glad that Jenn, Leslie and I are doing this together. So much easier to get through 10+ miles when you are telling random stories to each other, ok, while I tell them random stories. But they help check off the miles so they deal with it.

I am so glad to be running as part of the Inheritance of Hope team this year. I've mentioned before that this will be my first charity run. It's a pretty cool feeling to walk out the door for every training run knowing that there is a greater purpose for what you are doing than just checking off some miles or trying to stay in shape. I am so glad that I said yes to this Team and this race.

I can't wait to see where I am after another 100 miles! The days are getting shorter but the miles are getting longer. Bring it on.

Also, I am currently sitting at $980 towards my $3,000 fundraising goal. Won't you please join me in this journey and help me reach this goal? Any amount you can give is greatly appreciated! Click the link below to give:

Thank you!