“God’s asking me to be the thing that he’s already created me to be. And he’s asking you to be the thing he’s already created for you to be”- Shauna Niequist
I would have never guessed my season would end in my taper week, days before the actual race at The North Face 50 Mile Endurance Championships. It was the race I set my heart on back in July after a scary finish to my spring marathon. After time off, blood tests, lots of rest, and prayer, I really felt like the Lord had a new season for me, outside of preparing for a marathon. I spent months preparing on the trails, winning my first 50k at the San Luis Obispo Ultra. And, in so many ways, my body is refreshed, but also, my heart and spirit.
Being from California, I am well aware of wildfires. From living in Mammoth Lakes during the dry seasons, watching ash rain from the sky blowing over the Easter Sierras on the Kastor’s treadmill, to watching our beautiful mountains in Santa Barbara burn, lighting the sky on fire with deep oranges and reds. And, when it felt like the whole town was finally starting to come back to life and rejoice over rain, the most devastating mudslide came pouring down the bare mountains, plucked dry from the fire, to ruin and devastate homes and lives. Working in real estate, I recently showed a home off of Olive Mill. Time and time again, I was reminded of the devastation, looking across the street to a beautiful home now gone. The house I rented only stands because it sits high on a hill. But, slowly, I’ve watched Montecito rebuild and repurpose and renew. I deeply believe, the Lord intended this season for me. He has refined, repurposed, and renewed me. In many ways, this season wasn’t about lining up and competing to place at TNF 50, but to spend hours on trails praying, thinking, taking in the gift of my life the Lord has given me.
"God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’”-Job 37:5-6
I knew in my heart that the race was off and shouldn’t happen in the midst of devastation. I felt completely at peace, and quite honestly, relieved when the race was officially cancelled. Of course, there was disappointment, but at the same time an overwhelming peace. As many scrambled to find another race to capitalize on fitness, I chose to be still and listen for the Lord’s voice. While validating my hard work with a race seemed like the natural course, I really felt like taking time to be still was the actual fulfillment of this season. As I re-read Job 37:5-6 this morning, I am reminded to be who the Lord has called me to be.
This season wasn’t about just racing or completing 50 miles; it was so much more than that. In fact, it’s been one of the richest seasons of my life. I raced my first 50k and experienced something entirely different in a race setting. After back to back marathon build ups since 2013 (2 a year), I felt completely out of my comfort zone in many ways. What a beautiful thing; don’t ever stop learning. I explored trails in Santa Barbara that I never touched as road athlete. I watched my husband, Seth, qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Dublin, Ireland, running a stunning 2:14.28. I am so richly blessed and filled. Success can be defined in an infinite amount of ways. While on paper, I didn’t accomplish much, I feel like I’ve accomplished far more than I thought I would this season.