~ ~ where some see a hopeless end, others see an endless hope ~ ~

Friday, August 10, 2012

Still Running… Foot to Pavement, ’Soul’ to Earth

People say I’m crazy.  Since I was little, “Yeah…that Amanda…she’s crazy.”

I get it from everyone.  Friends.  Family.  Family friends.  People who know me and people who don’t.

And ya know? 

I’m okay with it.

“Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History”

And, it’s not so much that I’m not behaving… I just like to do things differently.

Why NOT run a marathon to raise awareness and funds for my little butternugs in Africa?

Why NOT go right back to Rwanda after I just got back?

Why NOT devote my time, my energy, my Friday nights and Saturdays, weekday mornings and ‘what not’ to training my life away to cross a finish line 26.2 miles away so I can devote my time, my energy and every piece of my heart to children thousands of miles away?

Pounding foot to pavement.

‘Sole’ to Earth.

You see, when I do things… yeah, I’m a bit of a dreamer.  I like to do things Big.

You see, I was never a runner.  I never wanted to just ‘run’ as a hobby.  

And then I signed up, and finished, two half marathons.   As I’ve seen myself do with things in life, after I finished that first 1/2 marathon in San Diego in 2004-- I said, “There.  I’m done.  That was insane, tough, brutal, and ... hard.  And I don’t EVER want to do it again.”  And I was finished.  I had my heart set on quitting the running world....

And as life has it, the road between then and today was the bumpiest, curviest, most challenging journey I’ve faced.  And almost 7 years later, I felt the emptiness creep inside as my heart tugged towards the pavement.  I was to be out on those early morning training days, and I knew it, but thought I would never be there again.  The training was hard, but I was at such a low place in my life that running was like therapy to me.  It got me through some pretty muddy water and some really tough times, and crossing that finish line for the 2nd time was even MORE victorious for me than the first.

But something was still missing.

As I crossed that finish line at LP Stadium in April of 2011, running 13.1 miles around Music City with 35,000 other runners and even 25,000 more people cheering me on, there was still an emptiness inside me.  One that said I needed more.

I wanted to keep going.

So, here I am, another year later and wondering WHAT IN THE WORLD I have gotten myself into as I endure the long training season for my very first, very long, Chicago Marathon in October.  Hundreds of miles of rough terrain ahead of me.

But instead of wanting to quit, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of this world again.

THIS is what it’s about.  This feeling.  The nerves are there, the adrenaline.  You feel the encouragement from fellow runners.  The high after hitting certain mileage.  How all your conversations usually revolve around which trail, which shoes, which shot block, Gu, or mileage you’re at.

They say it’s a lifestyle, and now I know why...

You see, just like committing to the 1st, and then the 2nd half, I NEVER thought I would ever go to Africa.  I didn’t even think I would ever work for an organization that deals with orphans oversees.  I went to Uganda and Ethiopia last summer and Rwanda this past May.... and like those half marathons, it was hard.  Those trips are tough, insane, brutal and .... Life Changing.

And when I get back.....something is always missing.  Like that 2nd marathon, I know I need more.  

I want to keep going.

And so here I am, committing myself to yet another race to Africa.

My heart is beating.  I’m scared and nervous and anxious and excited and overwhelmed--just like training for a marathon. 

But my heart is beating.

This is what makes me feel alive.  Like pounding foot to pavement in a race, we pound foot to dirt on the mission field.  My heart beats.

I get to visit orphans, telling them how important they are.  That they have a purpose, a destiny.  That they have been forgiven, or that they have a place in this world.  I get to love on them.  And when it’s said and done, it’s probably more therapy to me than them.  And my heart beats.

They say it’s a lifestyle, and now I know why...

Because of this, I wanted to DO something I love FOR something I love.  I’m running this marathon for THEM.  When I cross that finish line, I want to remember that I’m running for a Cause.  There are 163 million orphans in the world.  I’m running for THEM.

I’m asking you today, to remember every race, triathlon, or competition you’ve ever run, any award you’ve ever won.  That feeling you get crossing the tape.  The excitement you feel with each accomplishment.  The overwhelming joy you receive as each step gets you closer and closer to the end.

That’s how I feel when I get to visit these children, and I’m asking for your help in getting me there.

We have opportunities for individuals to sponsor a lot, or a little.  Anything will help.  Any contribution will get me closer to that finish line...

**There are many ways to sponsor if you’re able.  The easiest, and I like to think, most convenient way is to go to our DONATE page on the website.

 -Drop the menu to CHICAGO MARATHON
*Amount to Donate
*Repeating Donation (you can click NO)
 -Click Team Member or ministry and type my name, AMANDA HERDINA in the box

And there ya have it.  You will be well on your way to helping change and inspire an orphan’s life forever.  You’ve already inspired mine....

Run ‘til the end,
Amanda Herdina

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