I feel at a loss for word.  If you know me at all you realize that does not happen often.  I just arrived home from Duluth.  It was a very exciting weekend. 

   I first want to thank the Minnesota Pork Board and their members for allowing me the opportunity to represent them.  I feel honored to have been involved in promoting pork. 

   The weekend started out a little rough.  My daughters and I headed up to Duluth on the tail end of a rather violent storm.  We thought that we were in the clear, but the storm swung aroung and we were in the van on I 35 in the grips of a violent storm.  Our prayers were heard and we calmed ourselves and proceded to Duluth.  It was scarry and I am sure we will never forget it.  

  We arrived Friday morning wearing our bright yellow Pork Power shirts and when you place 5 people in that color it was noticed.  We went to pick up our race packets and easily found the rest of our clan.  (They were also in bright yellow shirts).  We warmly greeted by people that we had never met before.  My husband Joe spent much of the rest of the day hanging out at the booth and talking to people that attended the expo.  The girls and I looked around.  Later in the day Shayna my 13 yr old and Callie my 9 year old were involved in the whipper snapper race and both did well in their age groups.  It was fun to sit on the lawn in the park and see all the energy of the young people.  Later that evening we watch Lori, Brett, Adam, Jenna and Joe run the 5 K.  They did a nice job!  After that we went to the hotel so the kids could swim.  

I now want to tell you about my 1/2 Marathon run.  I feel overcome with emotions as I write this.  I feel so blessed and honored to be able to run.  As I run 13.1 miles I notice every inch of my body at first.  Every emotion is on the surface.  I notice all the runner around me.  I am entertained by the people along side the road as they watch.  I feel a chill as the Jets fly over indicating that the full marathon has started.  I listen as a man in a kilt plays the bagpipes.  The morning weather is perfect.  The breeze soft.  The smell of the lake and pines are wonderful.  I find my pace and settle in.  I transition to an inner space.  One that only I feel.  It is quiet and rhythmic.  I know my breath and it is steady.  My ability to sense others around my decreases.  My head is filled with positive thought  “you can do it”  ” you are feeling great” .  I challange myself to push harder.  My body responds.  I feel blessed again.  As I arrive at the 10K mark I realize that I am on pace for a 2 hour finish.  I am excited and feel confident that I can be close to 2 hours.  I return to my calm place.  I do noticed the crowd is getting heavier.  I am in the city limits of Duluth and enjoy the diversion of cheering and sideline parties.  At this point I am interupted by a pain that I have never felt before.  It is located in my right knee.  I think that it must be a tightness and will stretch as I continue to move.  It persists.  I slow my pace.  It continues.  It is sometimes sharp and intesifies as I run down hills.  I try to return to the quiet place and that does not help.  I adjust my stride but it still continues.  I come to the realization that it will be with my for the rest of my race.  I settle into the idea that a 2 hour marathon is not going to happen.  I am disappointed.  This is where the Irish in me comes out!  I focus hard on what needs to be done and I dig my heals in and finish the race.  As I run down the last stretch I was not aware of anything.  I cross the line and stop running.  As I was getting in line for my medal I look back to see 2 hour and 9 min and 54 seconds.  I am overcome with joy.  I realize that I had just run 9 minutes faster than I did 2 yrs ago.  For a female of my age to cut 9 minutes off  her time is awesome.  I am proud of myself. 

Why do I run?  Because it is mine.  I own it.  It makes me stronger physically and mentally.  I am example for my children.  I will heal and I will run again.    

Thank you Dale and Lori for inviting my to do this.  I appreciate your friendship!  Shafers – you are awesome people and I look forward to spending time with you again.  To the Stevermer, Stevermer and Schafer kids, Thanks for cheering me on.  Finally ,Joe,  Thanks for being there.  I knew that it took time away from  farming at a very busy time, but I appreciate it.