Got Wings. Will Fly!

September 13, 2010 | 25 comments

What does a grown woman do when she gets in her head that she wants to do something completely illogical and ridiculous wondrous? What does she do when she realizes that — against all odds — she really could run 13.1 miles? What does she do when she realizes that after doing that absurdly beautiful thing back in May, she would try it a second time on a cool morning in September?

What would she do then?

She would bring along a few good friends, of course.

Because when someone realizes that she can do the thing
that seems illogical,
run the course that seems unreasonable,
cross the line that seems unreachable,
she wants others to know they can, too.

And we did it. We really did it!

We gathered on the grass near the starting line, stretched these muscles and — with words and prayers and hair tussles and hugs — calmed the butterflies that left us woozy.

We’d already earned our medals. We just had to run 13.1 miles to claim them.

So we ran through the streets and through the pain. We ran along trails, and alongside one another. Some of us felt like throwing our hands up in the air. Others of us, … well, we just felt like throwing up.

Some of the folks up there in that picture are real athletes — the kind who have trophies in cases and blue ribbons from high school days. And some were already signed up to run this event, but joined our team of fledgling runners to be a part of this crazy community with the yellow shirts.

But others — like me — we were the ones picked last. We remember the humiliating moments of every recess, waiting as team captains picked the superstars then the agile girls, and the brute boys, down the line until they reached the scrawny kid leaning into the chain-link fence.

I was everyone’s last choice.

But — for the second time in a year — I ran a half-marathon.

I had no hope of finishing first, or even finishing pretty, but I finished all the same.

We wore yellow shirts and steely determination. We called ourselves Team Got Wings, running with the promise of Isaiah 40:31 winging us along our route.

And we all finished. We slung medals around our necks, and some of us vowed to never, ever, EVER do something so ridiculous again. And today, some of us are nursing aches in the hips and knees. Even our toenails hurt.

Philipp, an exchange student from Germany who ran with us, wisely observed: “Isn’t it interesting how you can do something like this and feel so amazing, yet we felt so terrible at times while doing it?”

And his host-mama — a woman who’d never run until a few months ago — said life is like that, too. “We have to go through the yuk to get to the ‘amazing,'” she said.

And so we ran, with purpose in every step — through the yuk to reach the amazingly, absurdly beautiful finish.

And our family? They were on the sidelines, cheering our steps. (And there’s my favorite farmer, leaning in, aiming the lens as his crazy wife nears the finish line…)

And after I claimed my medal, I found a spot near the finish line to cheer on a friend …

We ran for the Children’s Miracle Network. The little boy on the far left is a miracle boy. His daddy, far right, and I served as “coaches” for Team Got Wings (and we use the term ‘coach’ loosely). ~smile~

In the middle are Philipp from Germany and his host-mama, Michelle.

And this here? This is our “tired” look …

Kind friends, What one absurdly beautiful thing would you like to try? What would it take to step across the line and go for it?

by | September 13, 2010 | 25 comments


  1. ~*Michelle*~

    Oh Jennifer!!!!

    So PROUD of you! You inspire me in so many ways…..

  2. Jon P

    Great Recap Jennifer.
    It was a pleasure "coaching" with you. This morning my body can't imagine ever doing this again but then my heart tells me I have to. And I will! It was a great time training and even more exciting finally crossing that line and putting that medal on. How cool to look at that picture of yellow shirts and realize what this meant to soo many people. Everyone had their own goals, struggles and pains. And WE ALL survived to do it another. It may not be a half marathon for some or even another 5K but if you can do this survive, I sure hope it allows us to push ourselves in other areas! God is Good. So Proud of the TEAM today!
    Isaiah 40:31.

  3. A Simple Country Girl

    Congrats on this! And I agree, you do inspire.

    And your question, it can be a big thing. Or a lot of little things each day…


  4. Nancy

    Wow! Congratulations to you and your team (says a fellow girl-last-picked!). Great piece and great encouragement to one who currently is running through some yuk but hopeful, ever hopeful, that all will finish well. The hard thing I'm trying is this writing thing–feel like giving up more often than not. Your piece is an encouragement to persevere. Thank you.

  5. Carol

    I love you so much girl. I am so proud of you and who you are and what you do. Push me, mold me, make me into what YOU want me to be Lord! Your words touch my soul, as always, and make the goose bumps rumple. You have so many gifts and YOU ARE A GIFT TO ME!!!

  6. Kay @ Off the Beaten Path

    Yay for you Jennifer! So proud and thrilled for your success!

  7. Angel

    Jennifer, Thank you for the inspiration to do something "absurdly beautiful". God bless you!

  8. Deidra

    You did it again?!?! 😉

  9. Beth E.

    That's awesome, Jennifer…'m proud of you, too!

    What a wonderful way to support such a worthy cause…teamwork!

    Your question has me thinking. Gonna ponder it the rest of the afternoon.

  10. Laura

    You guys are beautiful. And, wow…can you fly.

  11. Jackie

    Wow, Jennifer… inspire me, girlfriend!!

    You're such a blessing!!


  12. Lyla Lindquist

    So clearly not everyone's last choice

  13. Melissa Runcie | Madabella

    What a feat, my sister friend! Those photos are awesome…they tell such a story!

  14. KJ

    You inspire me…to maybe even run one of those half "things" you speak of. I really don't want to use the word marathon b/c my knees ache at the thought….but….maybe???? 😉

  15. Colleen

    Great job! Congrats to all of you! Isn't it amazing what can be done if you just set your mind and heart to it?!

  16. B His Girl

    Tiffany sent me over to read your post. So glad you used your wings. Great job! Blessings, B

  17. Michele Williams

    You go girl! You inspire me! blessings..

  18. Graceful

    Oh my gosh, I can't believe you did it again — twice in one year! You fire me up!

  19. Connie Mace

    Love the photos–congratulations girl!LORD bless you for running the race for those whose race is also a supreme challenge.

  20. deb

    okay, I'm sitting here in my running clothes.
    and i will go now girl.
    thank you.

    and congratulations. you so rock.

  21. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Oh you …

    All of you. You make me smile today. I'm just getting back into the comment box today and seeing all of your lovely faces and your kind words.

    My hips ache. My feet are sore. And even my toenails still hurt a bit. But every one of you are like a soothing balm to this creaking body.

    Thanks for stopping by, for your friendship, your encouragement and your inspiration.

    My love to each of you …

    And yoo-hoo deb … I want to hear about that run. 🙂

  22. Sara

    Stepping into the absurd, learning to soar, something I do quite often. Like moving with an infant and a toddler to the middle of where? And moving back to the US once everything is normal and routine. Radically hearing the voice of my Jesus and the crowd that surrounds the end of my race … helps me lace up my shoes and run with absurd abandon.

    Thanks for the encouragement to lace up today friend.

    happy day,

  23. Sue

    Hi Jennifer – Juliann sent me here – and I am loving the beauty of your blog – the spirit, the energy of the run, the depth of your words – as I am moving down thru the posts. And I'm grateful to Juliann for having sent me to her sister!

  24. Runner Mom

    Love it, love it!!! Runner mom is tickled that the running bug has bitten you!!! Heehee! You are awesome! Love the pics of all of your friends. That's what makes running even more fun! We have a group of friends that will be running in Charleston Sc in January. I guess I need to start training!
    Love you!
    PS–Those sore toes are from shoes that need to be a little bit longer! I size up one whole running shoe size so that I don't bruise my toes and lose toe nails–it happens!! Promise!! Let me know!

  25. elaine @ peace for the journey

    Run a half-marathon. That's what I would love to do. Actually, run in any kind of race at this point. It's going to be a while before I can get my running shoes back on, but as I do, I'll be grateful for the opportunity to experience pain & glory all in the same breath.




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