Faith, Running, Travel

D.C. With Kids, the Marine Corps Marathon, and My Surprising Take-Away

Earlier this year I was drawn to run the Marine Corps Marathon. I didn’t really want to run another marathon, but I did want to run this one. We planned to take the family to Washington D.C., see the sites, run the race, and come home…and that’s pretty much what happened.

However, days before we left we decided to leave “the baby” home with Nana and Poppy. At seven-years-old it was a toss-up, but this was ultimately a very good decision. He would not have managed the fickle weather and miles of walking like the big kids did. Win #1.

We booked a tour with “DC By Foot“: a “free to reserve” tour service that relies on your tips afterward in any amount you see fit. It was great!

The weather that day was cold and misty but our guide, Becca, made it into a pleasant experience for our whole family. She was prompt and very knowledgeable, and kept things spiced with funny, weird facts. We saw everything on the National Mall and around the Tidal Basin. Win #2.

We also went to some of the Smithsonians. We started with the Natural History Museum. The kids loved seeing the animals, but evolution was woven into all of it as truth and that was disturbing. I’d rather do the Creation Museum again. Truth wins everytime.

However, the American History and Air and Space museums were the “bomb” (the kids loved seeing the nukes and weaponry)…the big kid Dad did too. Double win.

We also got to meet up with our friend from college and his family. They took us to Carmine’s where I carb-loaded like a pro. BIG win.

Love that family.

And then there was the race…

As soon as I got on the metro at 6am it was like being an ant in one of those little glass ant farms for the rest of the morning.

I just went with the flow of the crowd all the way to the start corrales (I did not make it to mine), through 26.2 miles (though my GPS said 27), through the finish zoo, I mean “festival”, and back on the metro.

The crowd was a downer for me…I don’t like them, but the inspirations along the route made it worth it: A mile (or more) of signs with faces…marines who sacrificed their lives. Young men, women, healthy, strong, happy. Plus, all the marines in uniform handing out water and encouragement…peoples’ little boys and girls, who turned into men and women, doing what they think they need to do. Inspiring and humbling. Win #…I’ve lost count.

I definitely didn’t get a P.R. (that’s “personal record” for you non-runners ;)) but I’ve never felt so good and strong at the end of a marathon. That’s a big win for me.

And this is my last marathon…for real this time.

And now we head home. Tired and depleted, yet full of new memories and inspiration from all the heroes we saw represented on our tours and wonders of God and man that we saw in the museums.

The number one take-away for me surprised me though. It’s about women. Women in history, women in military, family women, women today, and women of the future.

The statue that struck me most was the one of “Faith, Hope, and Charity”, depicting the nurses from the Vietnam war. The image just wouldn’t leave my mind. True humble servants just doing their jobs. Not flashy, not glory-seeking, just working…quietly and with purpose.

King captured the statue from all sides:

Faith, on her knees in prayer
Hope, looking up for help
Charity, helping the wounded

Then there were the marines at the race. It was a beautiful, young girl who put my finisher’s medal around my neck. And I was humbled. She was congratulating me, but there’s no way I could do what she’s doing. Once again, she’s just working, doing what she does…it makes a difference.

Finally, the friends we met up with have four beautiful babies…all under 5, a dad who works long hours, and a humble servant of a mother who wrangles those kids with grace and peace that can only come from the Lord. I know her days get long and messy, but I know her reward will be great.

Women…we do have a lot of power, and we can cause a lot of trouble too. Haha. I’m not really into the whole “women can do anything men can do” movement, but I do think that whatever the Lord puts before us He will also give us the tools we need to get it done. Whether it’s on the frontlines…or on nursery duty…

IV bought me a shirt with this on it. 😉

Let’s do it for the glory of God.