Saturday, December 13, 2008

Before the Christmas post!

Wow, so much has happened in three weeks, where do I begin?

Well, let me tell you about the 1/2 Marathon. Francisco and I flew to Philadelphia on the 21st. It was snowing when we arrived, it was beautiful! We had reservations at Residence Inn in downtown and my room was in a corner, so I could see the City hall and the Macy's building.
We went to have lunch at the market place and later we went to the convention center to pick up our goods for the 1/2 Marathon.
After that, we walked around and took a city tour, it was awesome! At night, we went for a run, brrrrrr! It was cold!!! 
The next morning because of sleepy head, we almost missed our super breakfast, Belgium Waffles!! When you stay at the Residence Inn, breakfast is included.They have WAFFLES, you can make your own and eat as many as you want!! At noon we went shopping for more layers, the Floridians could not run 13.1 miles without the proper gear. We walked around the city and visited the Bell of Liberty. Of all the things and places we visited, it just struck me how this nation used to be so closed to God and now it feels like they never knew God and that God is something new that is being imposed by the church....I think many people don't take history class at school, it should be required! Anyway; The city is just amazing and inspiring.
On Saturday night it was the traditional Pasta time before the Marathon. So, we headed again to the convention center and we had pasta with all the other runners. When we were having dinner among the other runners, I noticed a little girl, her name is Julia. Her entire family was wearing t-shirts "run for Julia". Julia is one of the many kids that struggles with cancer. So we approach their table as we were leaving the convention center and we offered to pray for Julia and to run for her the next day. We promised that we would be praying for her health and comfort of the family, for the next 6 months.
Taaaraaahn, 5:15 A.M. it was time to wake up! We dressed up and headed out. At that time we didn't know but the temperature was 21 degrees! I guess it did not matter, I was determined to run and if I was not, Francisco was. It was an amazing experience. At 6:00 A.M. there were about 15000 people on the streets of Philadelphia! The Mayor was there at the start line and it was such a rush being there waiting for the sun to show up and hear the sound of the start mark. At 7:00 A.M. Rocky's music was playing and all the 18000 participants were jumping and shouting..The excitement was building up!! 
We started at the museum of art and on that avenue they do have all the flags of every country on the world. Perhaps you can see them on the picture. As I ran by each flag, I thought of Matthew 28:19 therefore go and make disciples of all nations, our journey with Christ has that purpose, doesn't it?! Well, check the video but come back to read more, you don't want to miss the story...video moment ..
It was very emotional for me, I had been preparing for this for so long and finally I was going to run! Francisco was right next to me and he was cheering me up and encouraging. And then, there it was, majestic, vibrant, lighting up the city- we were both speechless, the sun came up at last! the city looked amazing. The Marathon runners left by that time and now it was our turn. People around us were gathering and we stepped on the side, we prayed and invited Jesus to come along with us. Then we Hi five the mayor of the city and we started our race!
I can tell you that the scenery was just super great, I tried to enjoy the route instead of focusing on the cold. That was hard to do but I had a great cheerleader next to me. Francisco was constantly asking me how I was feeling, if everything was alright with me and he reassured me that I could do this. I was happy, that at least one of us knew that we were going to finish and that I could do it! We made a list of the things we wished to pray for that are important to us and each mile we dedicated prayer to one item at the time. Julia was one of them, she is still in my heart, can I invite you to pray for her health and for comfort and strength for the family?

Our race in life is pretty much the same I figured, along the way we have strangers that will cheer us, next to us we have a special friend in life that believes you are a better and stronger person then you think you are. At many points you feel like you want to quit. Nevertheless at one point, quitting is no longer an option but a bad idea! At some points the body feels like giving up, but then you have to open your eyes and see the journey and look at the scenery and not to the problem and you find the strength out of the living word that refreshes your soul and you can see the finish line. At this point nothing can get in the way. Your perseverance and determination push you through. Lets check out another video moment.. but come back!
Some were running for the people they love, others for their family members who lack of health, others run to find strength in their life, I was running for Christ, my medal is for him.
We ran 3 hours and 22 minutes and then we crossed the finish line. Yeah, Jesus granted me endurance and we did it!!
Weeks after the Marathon, I am still enjoying every moment of it. It is the passion, the endurance of the body, the training, the determination of the people to accomplish a goal; getting to the finish line. We were all one body going for the reward, we all knew there can be just a few winners but still we all wanted to finish the race. Here is a glimpse of the emotions at the finish line, lets take a look video moment..

Hebrews 12:1
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 
I hope that you could live and enjoy a little bit of what we experienced in Philadelphia.

Thank you guys for all your prayers. I can never thank Francisco enough for training me and for being next to me during this race, he was like my guarding Angel, without him, I could not have done it on my own. To God all the glory!
Thank you Jesus and Thank you Francisco, thank you for all the answered prayers!
I love you all!
Julieta

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