Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Crossing the Finish Line--Together!

Rindi: When Stalee and I were little, we slept in the same bed. I am only 21 months older than Stalee, and we have always been really close. We spent a lot of time through the years participating in the same sports, going to the same schools, and hanging out with the same friends. It seems like that in every big moment in my life, Stalee has been there cheering for me. She has a very no-nonsense attitude about life that keeps me laughing, keeps me calm, and keeps me going. I can remember years ago being in our bed at night next to Stalee. I usually had a hard time falling asleep…but not Stalee! So long after she was asleep, I would reach my little hand over and find the warmth of her fingers. And then interlocking our two hands, I would fall asleep knowing that she was there by my side.

Stalee and I wrote this post together! We crossed the finish line on Saturday...and once again, I’m so glad that Stalee was by my side.

Happy! And ready to run!
Stalee: This last weekend, I had the great opportunity of running a relay with Rindi and a few friends. It is called The Lake to Lake Relay and it was 52 miles. There were five girls on our team, and we each ran two different legs of the race—each about five or six miles. I was so excited for this race. I have done a few other races but I had never done a relay. I was so thankful that I had Rindi running with me because I felt like I had an ally. We had been talking about this for weeks and training together.

On Saturday morning we met at 6:30, and we were both so very nervous. We did not know our paths, we weren’t used to running twice in one day, and we were really hoping that we would not die! Some of the legs were named Navigational Nightmare, Man o’ Warrior, Washington “Dam” Hill, Dirty Climber, and Sand Finale, just to name a few. I was very intimidated. I had never run a race where I had the pressure of knowing people were waiting for me. I felt that if I did not go fast my team would be disappointed and so that kept my anxiety really high. I started thinking back to the first time I ever ran a race. It was at a time when my self-esteem was in the dumps. I did not think I even knew who I was anymore. I had spent so many years giving myself to everyone that I sort of lost sight of who I was and what I liked to do. Sunee sort of pulled me into running since she had run a couple of marathons. So I set a goal to run a half marathon, and I started training. At first I didn’t know if I could even run more than five miles but one day Sunee said, You need to prove to yourself that you can do this. I will never forget that race. I ended it crying…not because I was in pain, which I was, but because I was so proud that I had actually accomplished something. I had done something hard. It gave me the boost that I needed to keep going and I have not stopped since. I love running. I start with so many issues and problems and end feeling like I ran through all my problems. It helps me emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

My first leg of the race went okay. It was 5.7 miles, and it was not flat. I felt like I was running uphill the whole time. Because of the adrenaline of the race, I started out too fast and burned my legs out, but I did it in pretty good time and I was happy about that.

Run, Stalee, Run!

Rindi: Stalee did so awesome on her first leg! It looked so hard and very uphill, but she came in very strong and fast. I was really proud of her.

Stalee: I do have to brag a little. Not about me, but about Rindi. Rindi is a competitor. She is tough, and she does not give up. I kept begging her not to go too fast because I was so worried she would lose too much energy on her first leg. Well, we barely drove to the end of her leg and sure enough Rindi was running in. When she finished I was so proud of her. Her first leg was 4.7 miles and she ran it in 7 and a half minute miles. That is so so so so so so fast. That is like sprint! Men run faster than that sometimes but most girls do not. She did so well. (Rindi: Okay, it’s not THAT fast, but it was way faster than we had trained!)

Rindi...ready to get started!

Rindi: Early that morning, I decided that I wanted to give this race my very best. By the time I ran my first leg, it was already sunny and warm. I got the handoff and just soared out of there. I could see a bunch of people ahead of me so I just kept catching up and passing the next person. I felt really good and it seemed like I was running fast, but I had no idea how far I had gone so I was unable to judge my speed. (I won’t do a relay without a GPS watch ever again!) I ended it so much faster than I thought I would! I was proud of myself, but I'm sure I used up too much energy. Still, it felt great…the weather was beautiful…and we were running! So fun! On Stalee's second leg of the race, I was so worried about her! It was really hard with a lot of hills and a HUGE dirt hill at the end. I didn't know how she would make it over that, because I knew how tired she was, but she did! She did awesome again.

Stalee: Before my second leg of the race, I was about to puke because I was so worried I would not be able to do it. My legs still felt tired and my stomach did not feel the best. I had no other choice but to do it. Right before I started, I said to Rindi, “I don’t think I can do it.” She was the best; she pumped me up and I felt a lot better after talking to her. So I started my final run, and I actually felt a lot better than I did my first one. I took Rindi’s watch so I could try to gauge my speed, and I had tried to memorize where the mile changes were. I was feeling pretty good. At the very end of my leg there was this huge dirt hill that I had to go up. Rindi told me later that the hill was so steep that the van had a hard time getting up it. When I saw the hill, however, I was relieved because I knew I was almost done. It was hard and steep and dusty, but once I made it to the top I could see everyone at the bottom and I knew I had made it. I was so happy to be done, but I was concerned for Rindi. Her last leg was 6.3 miles long and pretty much uphill the whole way. When she started her leg it was about 2:00 p.m. and it was warm. While running, it felt really hot! She had to run around the entire Sand Hollow Lake. The hard part was that after about one mile the car could not follow her at all, and she was all on her own the whole time. When we left her, she looked hot and tired. I was so worried. It felt like I had left her alone to die.

Don't worry, Stalee. I'm still alive and runnin'!

Rindi: My second leg felt really long. Longer than I thought it would be. I started off at my fast pace again and I was feeling good, but already a little tired. I had to run almost seven miles around Sand Hollow. After about a mile and half, I had a big dirt hill! I wasn't expecting that and it nearly defeated me. But I passed two guys who were walking, so I had courage to go on. For probably the last four miles, I was having a constant battle in my mind about putting each foot in front of the other. I was hot and tired and the ground was so sandy and rocky that each step was difficult. Somehow I just kept running. I kept setting goals for myself like, just run to that turn, and then I would make it there and then I would set another goal. The whole time, I kept thinking of Stalee waiting for me at the end. It kept me going. Finally I started wondering, if I just sat down and died, would Stalee come and find me? My eyes were tearing up out of exhaustion and I just kept running. (The reason this race was extra difficult was because of the extremely competitive nature of it! We were all pushing ourselves much faster than normal. We were never expecting that much pressure and I think it took it out of every runner on the course!) I kept looking at my watch and trying to decide how much farther I had to go. I couldn't see the end, but I was hoping it would be close. Twice I was deceived! I saw a parking lot with cars and set my whole focus upon making it there. When I got close enough to see that it wasn't there, I just stopped running. It was devastating. Based on my time, I thought I should've been close, but I couldn't see the end (it wasn't until I ended that I found out that my leg was really a half mile longer than they originally told us). I somehow willed myself to keep running. I have to say that it was very lonely. I was the only runner around for most of this leg. I could see two runners way up ahead of me, but it was quiet and lonely and hard. Finally, when I was ready to give up, I saw Stalee at the top of a small rise. There was a crowd of people and she was waving her arms at me. I nearly cried, but I didn't have the energy to even do that! So, I just kept running. If Stalee wouldn't have been there when I needed her most, I wouldn't have made it. When I made it close to her, I breathlessly said, "Is this the end?" and she replied, "Just a little bit more." I could see that my team was there to run to the finish line with me. I told Stalee, jokingly, "I CAN'T MAKE IT!" But she grabbed my hand, and I got a good boost from my team, and we sprinted through a parking lot and across the finish line. I was soooo happy to be done! Once it was over, I immediately felt better. I actually ran my last leg in an hour and five minutes--which is still pretty fast for us! It just felt a whole lot longer.

Stalee: When we drove to the finish line I heard someone say that this leg was actually 6.7 miles long. I had a heart attack. I knew Rindi didn’t know that it was almost a half mile longer. I can’t tell you the anxiety that I had at that finish line. I had to wait there for about 45 minutes worrying if she was o.k. When I finally saw her way off in the distance I was so relieved that she was o.k. She was still running but I could tell she was spent. I waved really big so she would know she was almost there and met her and we ran in together. I was so proud of Rindi. She ran so much farther than the rest of us. It turned out to be about 11.5 miles while some girls only did 8.5. (Rindi: I didn’t have the hardest runs! Maybe just the longest!) It was not easy terrain either. We were on dirt roads and huge hills. Between the five of us we ran 52 miles. That is so crazy to me. It was such a wonderful experience.

Our team at the finish line! We did it!

A guy in my ward who ran it with his brothers and dad, (Rindi and I ran it with his wife and sister), bore his testimony about it in church. It touched my heart so much, and I wanted to share it with you. He said that it was such a neat experience running with his brothers and dad. He said when he started his leg of the race, he knew that he had to run fast and give it all he had because he knew that his family was waiting for him at the end. He knew that they were cheering for him and wanting him to do his best so that their whole team would do well. He said he ran faster and harder than he had ever run because he could not let them down. He also knew that they would ask him about it and he wanted to be proud to tell them he had given it his all. He got thinking while he was running that this is how life is. We are all sent here to earth—our race to run. We are expected to give it our all because we know there are people at the end waiting for us and counting on us. We know that we have a Heavenly Father waiting to ask us if we did our best and if we did everything possible in our lives. Look at the bigger picture in life, just as our raced ended, our lives will end too.

There was a point while running that I told myself over and over again, This pain will end and I will be done, so push harder. One day our lives will end and our pain will end so push harder in life. Give life your all. When your legs are tired and you feel out of breath, remember you have people cheering you on so keep going.

I love Rindi. I am so thankful she ran this with me. I had the best time with her. I will always cherish this race. Rindi has always cheered me on in life. She has always told me I could do something when I felt self-doubt. When I am running I feel thin, I feel alive, and I feel happy. So I will keep running until I can’t anymore. I have also always been so proud of Rindi and all of her accomplishments. I am again today as I remember how fast she ran and how far she had to go. Thank you Rindi!

Rindi: I've been thinking a lot today about how it felt to push myself to do something scary and hard. I gave it my all, and when my all didn't seem good enough, Stalee was there on the hill waving her arms at me and encouraging me to come on. I'll never forget that image. I needed her and she was there. I'm so thankful that she knows me enough to know that I was hurting and tired and that I needed help. We did this together! It was so awesome. There were 50 women's teams and our team took 13th place! I am so proud of our accomplishment and so happy to know that we gave it our all. On the drive home, I felt very "alive"! The breeze felt good, the sun was warm, and I was so happy to have accomplished this goal. Sometimes you need to prove to yourself what you CAN do, instead of sitting around telling yourself all of the things you can't do.

Rindi’s final words: Stalee, thank you so much for convincing me to do this. I love you. There are still times in my life when I need to reach over and feel the warmth of your hand in mine and know that you are by my side.


Anonymous said...

Rindi and Stalee, Great Job! I am so proud of both of you and I had to shed a tear or two thinking about all of my sweet little girls. I miss you all and I miss my little ones.

Thank you for that great post and giving me the courage to keep going. Love, Mom

Tami said...

I give kudos to you both! I can't believe you both did do well with your race! I can't even imagine. Running is hard without rough terrain! Good job, girls!

Anonymous said...

You are two amazing women and you didn't need a race to prove that, but it is incredibly AWESOME! and it made me cry to read your post! Shows your strength of character that I look up to so much!! What a tender story about how sisters can prove to be there for each other when the times get tough! Love you!, Jill

P.S. You Haws girls should make this blog into a book! I think you could sale it and you would inspire many women to do great things and give them laughs too! You all are so amazing!!

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