Ragnar Review

After a three-day hiatus from this wonderful community of friends and family near and far, I thought it might be good to share with you, the reason for my absence. Though I have mentioned previously that I would be participating in the Ragnar Relay, prior to actual participation, that was but a glimpse of what was yet to come. So, without further ado, I will attempt to unpack some of the experience.

 

Meg Ragnar 2013One year ago, yesterday, I was on Whidbey Island with my boys, with the intention of watching my sister finish some crazy, long relay race, called the Ragnar Relay. As I stood beside her husband, watching the team of twelve running together in unison across the finish line, I wondered what could have transpired to bring a group of twelve friends and strangers together to stretch themselves to run 200 miles round the clock, until they had finished. Watching the exchanges between teammates as they snapped photos, hugged one another, high-fived, and shared laughs, I found myself drawn into the community of a close-knit team, wondering if I too, should take on such an endeavor.

 

In December, I decided that I was ready to really commit to running again. The process was a slow and painful one, as I had always beEncourage Each Otheren accustomed to being able to run far without my lungs complaining because they had not properly prepared for this. As the months went by, I slowly built momentum, ever improving as I found friends who were able to run too. In the late spring, I discovered a sweet friend from church was a perfect running partner. She and I not only logged miles together, but became fast friends. Our runs have been times to comfort and care for one another, each knowing that the other will be lifting the needs of the other up to the Lord, long after the run is done.

 

Ragnar nailsLast week, leading up to our race, there was running gear to organize, safety gear to purchase, nails to be painted, bags to be packed, and a plethora of other preparations to be made. At long last, Thursday arrived. After seeing my boys off on the ferry solo for the first time, and waiting for the arrival of my sister and brother-in-law, we three then made our way to the meet up for dinner with our van’s portion of our team. The relay teams are typically twelve members, so it was strange to meet up with only two others, and recognize that our five was it in our van, as one of our original teammates had to drop out unexpectedly. That being said, it meant that over dinner, we discussed our strategy as to how we would cover the three legs that were now vacant and needed to be run. It was a small and compatible group, so all was off to a great start.

 

We called it a night and returned to our hotel, where we would try to get a few hours of sleep. Our scheduled meet up time with the other halfRagnar Van Decorating of our team was 3:45 am, as we had to drive together up the Canadian border, where the race was to begin. The two vans made a necessary Starbucks stop at the halfway point, and it was the first time that many of us met one another. My dear friend and her friend were in the other van, and my sister and brother-in-law were in the same van as me. Everyone was a bit groggy, yet kind and optimistic. We were able to mingle and decorate the van windows before finishing our drive to the start line.

 

Van 2.

Van 2.

The two vans leap frog each other throughout the course. Runners 1-6 are in van one, and runners 7-12 are in van two. There are a total of 36 legs to be run, and they are all run sequentially and continuously, until the entire course is run. While van one runners are running, van two is resting, getting a meal, and moving ahead to the next major exchange in preparation for handoff.

 

Each leg of the race, presented its only challenges and rewards. The region where the race was run is very hilly, so hills could be counted on,Our team.

in EVERY leg. If you pass a runner while you are running your leg, it is called a “kill”, and “kills” are tallied on van windows. There is a sweet sense of accomplishment to mark “kills” when you are exhausted from running a leg. Each van follows and provides support to their runner along the course as they run. As a van, it is determined prior to running, how much support the runner thinks they might want (water, etc.) and the cheering van shows up, offering the words of encouragement needed, usually right when it is most needed.

Shan Ragnar 2014

Every step I took, I was aware of God’s goodness and His grace, as He so clearly was covering me and my teammates. Despite the lack of sleep and one less team member, we were able to do abundantly more than we thought we could. As I ran, I felt His presence and His strength, especially when I knew I should have had none. So often the song in my heart was “You Make Me Brave“, the lyrics in particular, “You make me brave, You make me brave, No fear can hinder now the promises You made.” In moments that I feared I could not take another step, I would breathe deeply in the truth of God, the fear would pass, and strength was renewed.

Ragnar tired 2014

After four legs run, very little sleep, only two proper meals, and countless stories of God’s faithfulness, grace and goodness, I am ready to sign up to be a repeat Ragnarian again next year!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, Your grace, and for Your protection over each one of us. Thank You for helping us do abundantly more than we ever thought we could on our own. Thank You that in You, we find our strength. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust You in all things and at all times. May our faith in You lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Let us glorify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

 

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Love this lady!

Love this lady!

Running His Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1)

 

This verse is particularly poignant as I am preparing for a big race at week’s end. I will be participating in the Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay for the first time. It is a 200-mile, twelve person relay, that is run from Blaine, Washington (near the Canadian border), to south Whidbey Island. The race will be run continuously, by each of our twelve members, until every mile is complete. Markers will be set along the route to keep our path assured, and proper planning and training have prepared us to bring appropriate layers that do not hinder us, and our miles logged will help each of us persevere on the path set before us. Stories told by those who have run this race before, claim that there are runners along the way, cheering the participants on.

 

In life, we must do much of the same. It takes ongoing preparation and training for each of us to know and understand the race that He has set before us. When we spend time with Him, we gain understanding and insight as to what may hinder and entangle us on the path that He has placed us on. Perseverance grows as we continue to press on in our pursuit of all that He has for us. God is faithful to meet us, mile after mile, if we are only willing to continue to seek Him. We are surrounded by those who have successfully run the race that God had set before them; those who faithfully pursued and persevered until their final breath. May we too, one day be among those who have run their race according to Christ’s race plan.

 

May each of us run,Running His Race

the race He has planned;

with perseverance,

in His strength, we stand.

Let us each throw off,

the things that ensnare;

so nothing can stop,

us from running there.

By faith, as we move,

may we be aware;

of those before us,

who’re already there.

Be not discouraged,

but rather, pursue;

for He is present,

running beside you.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have marked out a race for us to run. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each and every one of our lives. Thank You that when we come to You and seek You, You answer and remain present with us, always. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be hindered or become entangled by anything that is not a part of Your race plan for our lives, and help us to throw off anything that would be a barrier in our running the race marked out for us. Teach us to persevere, even when it hurts or the hills are steep and long, and grant us strength to endure far more than we think we can. May our perseverance be a testimony to those who do not yet know You, and may they too, come to know You as their Savior and King. Let us love others as You love us. Be glorified as we run with perseverance, the race You have marked out for each of us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15