Running the Tetons. 

Day 5 was the culmination of our trip. Race day! Waking up to a dark, cold morning (4:00am)  in Jackson to run 13.1 miles in these mountains. 
It was hard to get started. It felt like everything was working against me. Had a small moment the night before where I felt so defeated, but thanks to awesome friends and the resort hot tub, I kicked those thoughts to the side. Weather was chilly for sure, my muscles felt slightly tight, it was so so early, we felt frazzled. My odds weren’t feeling ideal to finish or finish well.
Once the race started though, it felt pretty good. I had what felt like my groove. Ran with friends, made new friends, and kept moving praying that my muscles would warm and I’d be able to finish. 
Hip update. Hips were so good. Barely any pain until mile 11. I had to walk most of the last two miles…BUT I finished a half marathon! At altitude, with a hip I didn’t think could do it in the time I had. And next to the most beautiful mountain range.
God spoke to me through so many things in the past month, and here I was with tears in my eyes watching these beautiful mountains cheer me on. I couldn’t contain them as I ran towards the finish line! 6 months of healing, or therapy, small amounts of training and I just finished my first half. 

I could not have picked anything better. These girls. These mountains.
When I found my friends at the end, hugs and tears…more hugs, were all I had. Happiness is an understatement. Joy. Pure joy. 
Praise Jesus for miracles! 
 

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Tetons. 

Day 4: Into the Tetons 
Friday morning was the calm before the storm in the Tetons. We’d get to meet them! Hike into them and find out just what they might have to offer us. Over the last year I’ve heard over and over not to rush through them. Like the rest of this trip, they did not disappoint us. Vast. Massive. Impressive. Mighty. All of these words have new meaning after this trip. I’m more in love with the mountains than I even knew. They are breathtaking, though some might say it’s the altitude, I know otherwise. Mountains are my love language. I literally am at loss for words. Just thankful that my eyes have the opportunity to see something this beautiful. In every sense. The sun reflecting off lakes of water, the jagged mountains covered in snow, the evergreen forests, the grassy plains. The fresh piney air in my lungs here. You can’t have a bad view here, every direction I take a photo thinking nope this view is even better than the last. 
We grabbed coffee and baked treats in Jackson at the cutest little bakery called Persephone and found our way through the city of Jackson before heading into the park. 
We drove into Grand Teton National Park and oh my. My, oh my. It’s magnificent. Whether it’s the fact that everything is flat and then all of a sudden huge 13,000 foot mountains rise up, or maybe something else all together. 
My heart sees something about these mountains it understands on another level. It relates to how hard the trek can be, it relates to the beautiful views from the top or maybe just along the way. It understands feeling tired, worn out, achy. It understands that it’s not always easy or great, and sometimes you start scanning every which way checking for bears or snakes or mountain lions oh my. It’s like life. We prepare and we try to make plans but around every corner something new, amazing or scary, presents itself. 
At the end of the day, God has blown me away. He is amazing. He got us here on a dream. And we sat on the dam at Jackson lake knowing in basically twelve hours we were running that dream. 13.1 miles, with this incredible view. The mountains as our spectators. 
Friends…chase after what you love. Make sure to make time and save money for things in your life that take your breath away. It’s so easy to get caught up in the grind. To get stuck in the rut. To rationalize that it’s too much time or money, but I’m here to tell you it’s possible. Chase it. Pursue those heart eyes. Your dream might not be running through the mountains, or even mountains at all, but chase it. And never forget it’s worth it. 

(We hiked Jenny lake, taggart lake, and Bradley lake. We sat at oxbow bend and the dam at Jackson lake.)

Road to the Tetons. 

Day three of our adventure to the Tetons was an eight hour drive to meet their snowy, jagged lines and incredible wonder. It is incredible. 
Funny thing is that I got a text from a friend along the way who was being silly and said that the journey isn’t about the destination, which is true, but the literal road to the Tetons has me thinking of the mental one that’s gotten me here. 
I wish I could express to you without being overcome with emotion how God planted this dream in my head through my sister and then my friends and family…almost 9 months ago and here we were driving through Wyoming to actually complete it. 
Listening to country music and talking about all that life has brought our way and we made it here. Laughing, feeling like we’ve lost our minds to altitude and maybe a little bit to sugar high. 
Reflecting on the mental preparation for this race is more than difficult for me. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t sound or look inspiring. It’s not clean neat lines. It’s defeat. It’s pain. It’s hopelessness. And tears. Many, too many tears. Good thing my friends and family are rockstars. 

Over a month ago I sat in a hospital room feeling like I couldn’t run this race. It didn’t matter how beautiful everything else was. All I could think about was hip pain. 

But there’s also faith. Hope. And the goodness of God that shines through even the worst situations. 
I know life could be worse. I know I have it good. But defeat and hopelessness and hurt try to make their way into your life and no one is immune to that or excused from it. Those things will try and try and try again. 
Eating BBQ at bubbas and dipping our feet in our hot tub was the part of the start to our welcome to the Tetons, but this trip is going to end with breaking our fears. Breaking what we thought we couldn’t do…and in all that we are coming out of this place better than we went into it. 
So thank you for this push. All the people who’ve contributed and supported. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, even when we don’t feel we have it to give. 

When you don’t think it gets any better…

Day two. 
I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time. 
It’s hard to describe how a person feels at that moment when you have no idea what to expect. Not for certain what you’ll see or encounter. And yet here we are road tripping to maroon bells in aspen, Colorado and hanging lake in glenwood springs. 
Heart eyes are a terrible understatement. Any words I use will most likely be a disservice here. They don’t quite fill the shoes. Massive is a word you don’t understand the definition to until you feel how immense something this phenomenal is…no words. Like I said. 
Every time we see something I feel like it cannot get better than this…and then I’m put in my place again. Oh, but it can. 
God has seriously just given us gifts being here. It’s a trip for the books and only day two. 
Colorado, you are rad. As I fall in love. Reflect. Trip over my own words. And encounter the incredible idea of breath taking. Speechless. Wind knocked out of me. I give you a few photos (I took 400) of places a human like myself feels only exist in movie sets and fairy tale worlds. 
From tropical oasis waterfalls and straight up hikes, to panoramic, aspen covered mountains and slow steady hikes…covered in snow, my heart is so so so full. Thank you Jesus. 

Colorado. 

Day one and my heart is already over flowing. How I missed this jagged horizon. 
Seeing the snow on the peaks as we landed was literally heart eyes, happy tears, and a million other emotions. 
It’s too hard to describe the vastness. 

It’s too hard to describe how massive the mountains truly are. You just have to experience them. 
We were all exhausted today. Hardly any sleep maybe 12 hours all three of us combined. I can’t tell you though how thankful I am for friends who are cool with this.

This crazy adventure. Days packed with hiking, driving, and anticipation of what we will find. 
Tuesday we drove to the broadmoor at Colorado Springs and then to hike garden of the gods.
The broadmoor I might say was more than expected. It started to rain upon arrival and the troopers I have for friends say we are going to take on the 224 stairs….steep stairs to view all seven falls. Not only that, but to hike inspiration point at the top, in the rain. Facing our fears of heights, we did this together. 
The second adventure of our day was hiking through garden of the gods. I spent too much time with “mountain brain” laughing with two girls as we named our own rock formations instead of just finding the ones  given. 
Thankful. Beyond thankful. We are beyond pumped for what the week brings. 

Love

I sat at the park yesterday and remembered someone saying once that because they’ve experienced heartbreak they know love.
I started to think about that and quickly decided comparison in that way may have some ability to increase gratitude, but should never define how we measure or understand love. Experiences are all different. But we don’t grade papers based off the best kid in class. We grade papers off the truth. 

We need a constant. An absolute.
I know love, because I know Jesus, not because I live in a broken world and anything better than broken will do. 

Proverbs 27:7


#raisethebar

Wildly free. 

This view. I woke up to so many of the sweetest messages from friends and family and I’m so blessed. Blessed to call Kentucky where I am learning to grow deep roots. Blessed because my home is scattered among the hearts of people I love, in different places. Blessed to have a family of friends ,and friends that have become family. Blessed to get to celebrate their best moments and be present in their worst.  
I woke up this morning and the cold was beckoning me outside. Wrapping me in a big blanket and urging me out in my sock feet. Breathing in the cold air was harsh in my lungs and at the same time it reminded me of these mountains. It reminded me that I’m small…but mighty. I’m made of jagged grey, a million lush variations of green and speckled with vibrant gold. These mountains remind me I can do hard things. And when I can’t…that’s ok too, because He can.
Give up your defeated I can’t for the beautiful freedom of He can.
#raisethebar #lovenotes #kylo