PERSEVERANCE: by jodi stilp

Good morning ladies. At this time next week most of us will be nursing sore muscles and gingerly getting ready for church.  But we’ll be beaming because we finished what we set out to accomplish.  You just might be tempted to wear your finisher’s medal to church. I was going to write a post about what to expect on race day, but any information you would ever need to know is beautifully detailed on the Helvetia Half Marathon website, including a What To Expect on Race Day article.  Please take the time to review all this information.  You will be glad you did.

You have worked so hard over the last twelve weeks persevering through one of the wettest and coldest springs in Portland’s history.  You’ve spent money on new shoes, workout gear, and race registration. You’ve endured blisters and achy muscles.  You’ve forced yourself out of bed early, stayed up late, and pushed your body to go distances you didn’t know you were capable of.  You’ve been mentally, physically and emotionally challenged as you embraced the vision that you are Not Your Own.

There’s only one hurdle left. The race. Can you visualize the finish line?  Family and friends eagerly scanning the crowd of athletes (that’s you) awaiting your arrival and erupting in chaotic cheering when you round the bend and come into sight.  You are almost there and I know you can finish what you started.

I ran track for one season.  I was in 7th grade, awkward, and unsure of myself.  I was a decent sprinter but distance was my specialty.  My favorite race was the 800 meter (1/2 mile) or two times around the track.  Most runners (me included) would start off sprinting and then fizzle as they rounded the last corner heading into the home stretch.

My Dad understood this race and he’d plant himself on the grass inside the track, right at the 700 meter mark.  He’d wait for me to come around the corner, see my agonized look and know that I was at my breaking point.  It was in that moment he’d start screaming at the top of his lungs.  “C’mon Podi.  You can do it.  They’re closing on you.  Run Tweedle Dee!  Just run!”  His encouragement was what I needed to dig deeper and just run. All the way to the finish and into his arms.

Hebrews 12:1 is one of my favorite verses.  It says, “Therefore 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.”

On Saturday you will be surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.  They will be watching you run, especially how you finish.  You’ll experience exhaustion.  You’ll question why you got talked into all this nonsense.  You might even want to hunt me down after the race and give me a piece of your depleted mind.  In your moments of weakness listen for your Daddy screaming encouragement and run with perseverance the race marked out for you.  Just run. All the way to the finish and into His arms.

Persevering with you,


Don’t forget to:

  • Let us know if you can volunteer at packet pick-up on Friday, June 10th at the Scholls Ferry location of Portland Running Company. They need help from 3-6 p.m. so if you can serve in that time frame, please email so we can add you to the volunteer schedule.
  • Pick up your race packet. There are four options available.  I highly recommend that you do not wait until race morning to pick up your packet.  It’s worth the extra trip to be prepared ahead of time.
  • Eat a good meal on Friday night. Fuel your body with the right energy so you’ll be in tip-top shape for the race in the morning.
  • Lay out your race day supplies some time on Friday afternoon: shoes, socks, bra, undies, shirt, shorts/skirt, hat, sunglasses, energy foods, water bottle if you’re racing with one, timing watch, bib number, ipod, earbuds, and clothes to change into.  The adrenaline starts pumping when you do this which is why I recommend starting hours before you want to go to bed for the night.
  • Give yourself enough time to get to the stadium. I’ve heard over and over that traffic to the stadium on race morning is a nightmare.  Plan your route and then double the time it normally takes to get there.  You’d rather be early and have time to chat with other Not Your Own athletes than be late and miss the start of the race.
  • Look for the Not Your Own tent. We will have a tent set up in the vendor area around the stadium (I’m sorry I don’t have a specific location yet) to gather before and after the race.  We’ll pass out Not Your Own wristbands and pray before we head to the start.  This will also be a great opportunity to put faces to the names of the ladies who have been training.  Ask ladies if they are running or walking and what pace they hope to maintain. Find a buddy to line up with at the start and make a friend while you race.  We need each other.
  • Email to let us know about your race experience. We’ll share some of your stories in future posts.
  • Happy running and walking!