This week’s training included:
Monday – Mile time trial (+ 1 mile warmup and another to cool down)
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – 5 miles hills
Thursday – 4 miles easy
Friday – rest
Saturday – 10 miles LSD
Sunday – 4 miles easy
Total: 26 miles
The big victory of the week was the mile time trial.  Slower than I’d hoped (though to be expected after months of NO fast running), but at least I ran without pain.  Yay.  🙂
After successfully covering 13.1 last weekend, a fast mile without pain was my green light to sign up for Vegas.  
Both with running and beyond, God has been on a big water kick lately.  There’s no need to belabor the importance of hydration in the heat of summer, but this goes beyond that.  Last week at church, a woman talked about the water flowing from Jesus’ side being a River of Life (with allusions to the river in the Garden and the river described as flowing from His throne in Revelation), and Pastor Alan preached on this verse:
Then someone I had never met shared this verse with me:

As I’ve been planning the Vegas trip, I’ve found myself drawn to the Bellagio–home of the magnificent fountains and O, Cirque’s water show.  (While reading about the music, lights, and color in motion in God’s throne room, it occurred to me that the description sounded a lot like Cirque Du Soleil!) 

As the puzzle pieces came together, something clicked: God is calling me to seek Him and His living water in the desert.  (Sin City, no less!) 

Such an awesome invitation, but I was still struggling with the committing the finances to book the hotel room.  The Bellagio isn’t cheap…and the rates are even higher during race weekend.  I wondered if it was the right call or if I was being indulgent and irresponsible, knowing that I could do the trip for less if I stayed somewhere else. 

God answered the question loud and clear on Wednesday.  I woke up to an email from the Bellagio in my inbox and then listened to a podcast on “The Cost of Worship” on my run.  It referenced the woman with the alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume (worth a year’s wages), with which she anointed Jesus.  Everyone stood around and judged her, saying in effect, “That’s not good stewardship!”  Jesus defended her and told them to back off.  And God whispered to me in that moment: Sacrifice before stewardship.  That is worship. 

So that night, I booked a room at the Bellagio…one with a fountain view.  🙂

The water theme continued on my last run of the week.  Toward the end of the run, I came upon some deep puddles, the kind I would normally go around.  God highlighted this as a micro-fear–fear of wet feet and getting dirty from the splash.  Dry feet are important for distance running because wet feet are more prone to blister, but this was the last quarter mile of my run, so there was no cause for concern.  I felt challenged to go through the puddles instead of around, so I did.  The cool water felt refreshing as it filled my shoes and cleaned them at the same time, illustrating the benefits of facing head-on that which is usually avoided.  Something tells me this is only the first in a series of victories as God continues to liberate me from fear on every level!