Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I just have to say that I have had a love affair with the state of Montana for many, many years. I have been here to visit several times, and it is where my spirit feels most alive on the whole planet. I'm not sure why, except for the fact that I feel closer to God here more than anywhere else on the planet too. Maybe the two go hand in hand?
This was the hardest thing I have ever done physically. Ever. Even harder than the race we did 4 days prior. We hiked 10 miles up into Glacier National Park to a place called Iceberg Lake. The entire hike which took over 7 hours hosted absolutely spectacular views the entire hike. There were signs of grizzly bears all around, none of which we saw here. About half of the way up, it began to rain and very cold rain, and began to snow on the peaks right above us. I was in shorts and a light jacket. Note to self. . .check the weather on the peaks when you go on a 10 mile hike in Glacier. Beth is sporting the ranger's coat because of her lack of preparation also. This hike showed me I could get myself off a mountain when I absolutely have to. Great for building those determination muscles!
Well now this is a first, that's for sure. As we were walking up to the stables to mount our horses and ride through God's country, the backwoods of Montana, my heart was beating so hard I nearly choked on it. The last time I was on a horse, I was 8 years old and was bucked off. Hornery creature. I have finally learned how to just take the fear with me and do whatever it is I am afraid of. Once I was on and learned how to work with my horse, it was the most fun and greatest thing I ever did! I LOVE horseback riding. This was the first of many, many times to come. The lesson is, fear can certainly control your life if you allow it. I, for one, am choosing not to allow it anymore!! Sweet victory again!
Oh those Montana whitewater rapids! And yes, helmets are necessary! Now that the marathon was behind us, it was time to have a few days of fun and relaxation. Some would question the relaxation part. I remember when I was over 400 pounds watching some people whitewater raft, and I was so envious that there were people who actually got to do things like that. Finally, I AM one of those people, who can now be fully engaged in life, however I choose to be. Oh what sweet victory it is.
I am disappointed to say that I finished second to last place. I REALLY wanted to take last place. My friend Beth and I thought this would be a perfect title for a book. . ."Last place in the marathon. . .First place in life!" Oh well, maybe I can take home last place in my next marathon. . wait. . .didn't I say I wouldn't train for anymore of these events? Oh that's right, I am a woman, entitled to change my mind!! We crossed the finish line without too much trouble, although it was the most difficult race I've ever done, mostly because of smoke and hills. I was profoundly proud of receiving this medal.
After all the things that nearly shut this trip down, we were finally at the starting line of the Grizzly Marathon at 6:00 a.m. with a warning that this was the time of day the Grizzly bears feed, so watch out for them! OK, uh, right. We'll watch for them. The smoke in the air was as thick as my anticipation and apprehension. I knew my 6 months of training and raw determination and dependence on God would certainly be a match for the smoke and the hills!