Dear family and friends,
When I was in 8th grade, I researched the Six Day War for History Day. I was astonished to read how Jerusalem – against all odds – was back in Jewish hands after 2,000 years! That research project sparked a lifelong quest to find out more about Israel. In 2019, I had the amazing opportunity to run the Jerusalem Marathon on behalf of Run for Zion (RFZ) during Israel’s 70th year of statehood and the American embassy’s first year in Jerusalem! I was amazed at how the community really came out to support sending me there. People who ordinarily would not be interested in Israel were fascinated about the idea of running a marathon there. Even more special, I was able to finish all 18 hills of the marathon and dedicate the race to my grandma, who is currently battling cancer, and take the finisher’s medal home to her!
March 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the Jerusalem Marathon, and I hope to lead a small running team there with RFZ. For those of you new to RFZ, RFZ partners with various Israeli nonprofits to invest in orphans and at risk children, comfort terror victims, support Christian communities, and more. RFZ will also host three special community-building events: a pre-race pasta feed and prayer time, a Shabbat dinner (special meal, songs, and blessings), and a Sunday worship service.
Will you partner with me in sending me to the 2020 Jerusalem Marathon for this opportunity of a lifetime - to not only run the marathon, but also to lead a team there? I need to raise $5,000 by December 31, 2019.
To donate online, please go to: runforzion.com/elizabethcwong2020.
Run for Zion (runforzion.com) is a ministry of the Genesis 123 Foundation (EIN 83-0789162), whose non-profit status was recently approved by the IRS.
Thanks again for your time, consideration, and prayers.
P.S. For partners who give $150 or more or for those who will pray for team Go for the Gold weekly, I will send you a custom partner medal as a way of thank you!
Road to Jerusalem Marathon Week #6: Jerusalem is a deeply spiritual place, and I feel grateful and thankful for the opportunity to again run this marathon with the support of many family and friends. In starting off this new year, one of my priorities is to have more quiet and meditative/prayer time, including over race prep. This past week, I had chance to reflect of some amazing experiences on the journey of life thus far, from the first Night to Honor Israels my congregation would hold and a research project in junior high on the Six Day War - these experiences sparked an insatiable desire to learn Hebrew and more of this G-d that does miracles today, not just miracles written about in days of old. When I see Israel, I see a land expectant with miracles. I think of how even how visiting a place half way across the world, one can somehow bump into somehow they know there and not even plan it! I think of a land and a people - against all odds - are still here today and a testimony to G-d's promises and faithfulness and how they are "Yes and Amen!" This year's run is so special to of course run in memory of my late grandma, but also to join many other runners across the country running/walking/cheering for a great cause (see www.runforzion.com). And this is the land where Messiah walked and prayed over the Land and offered His greatest gift and where He will return (for some) and will come for the first time (for others). While time is spent pounding the pavement (got in about 1000+ ft of hills during a long run), a lot of it is in the recovery and quiet times and examining one's heart - to approach the marathon with great expectancy and humility and joy. Excited what this new year will bring and am thankful for all the big and small things people do to encourage me along the way - from those every inspiring post it notes, high-fives, words of encouragement, etc. to sharing the word, making connections, helping with meal prep, etc.
Getting it done, hills and more hills at 40 degrees!
My running team mate, the AMAZING Rhonda Morrison!
Time visiting family for the holidays!
I had a chance to meet Olaf!
Road to Jerusalem Marathon Week #5: Hope you had a great Chanukah and/or Christmas, if you celebrate, and happy new year! Excited to log in the first few runs of the new year! Since we finished a couple round of holidays, I'd like to answer a couple of more frequently asked questions (see below). This past week, I had a chance to visit family and friends for both the Chanukah and Christmas holidays. Even saw Olaf at a great holiday community event! And FINALLY, I got to meet my running team mate Rhonda Morrison for Team Go for the Gold for Run for Zion, soooo exciting!!! Lastly, wow, what a nice and hilly training run that recently transpired. 870ft of incline and decline over 14 miles, starting to build that running endurance for hills! +++ Do runners get a chance to eat ice cream or other sweets during training? Well, nutrition is super important and making all those calories count to sustainable energy! It's also nice to have a few morsels of sweets - you know, the occasional slice of carrot cake (slightly healthy, right? lol), hot cocoa, and apple crisp (there's apples :)). Doing all this in the first half of training shouldn't be too detrimental, but particularly before long runs and the days leading up to and on marathon day, it's very important to keep to the nutrition plan. Don't runners get cold running in a cold weather race? It's important to keep head, hands, feet, and your core warm. Some races have outdoor heaters or fire pits, which can be nice! Other folks like to bring a trash bag to wear and insulate the heat in or an emergency foil blanket to keep warm. Most all races for marathon distance have bag check in up to about 30 min to the race start, so you can wear warm ups while you are warming up. Good rule of thumb is if feel slightly cold at the start line, that's good, once you start running, you'll feel 20-25 degrees warmer. If there is substantial rain, wear waterproofs! Do you feel like running and training everyday? There are definitely some days I do not feel like getting up and running, and during the last few weeks, I experienced a couple of those days. But then, I thought of keeping to the training schedule and taking one day at a time, and it didn't seem so overwhelming. Since it is winter, sometimes it takes more mental fortitude to get used to running in colder weather and getting out the door, though. :) #runforzion #marathon #jerusalem #jerusalemmarathon #runner #runners #marathons #marathoner #marathontraining #marathonrunning #jlem #runforlife #jerusalemmarathon2020 #irunjlem #irunaz #irunarizona #distancerunning #distancerunner https://www.runforzion.com/elizabethcwong2020
Running buddies in sub-zero weather - the few, the proud! Great Christian friends who also love Israel.
Great memory from 2 years ago from the COLDEST run in my life with friends - at -19 F!
There are eight nights of Chanukah. As the nights progress, there is even more light!
Great time celebrating the Christmas and Chanukah holidays with family! Our pile of smiles!
Thank you Jen and Jen for joining me for a long run, you gals are so awesome!
Road to Jerusalem Marathon Week #4: This week was peppered with the end of a ton of running, followed by a recovery week - just in time for the Chanukah and Christmas holidays! So thankful for my fellow Bounding Moosen friends who joined me for a 11 mi run (see the pics with our funny Moose antlers). Thank you Jen and Jen for joining me, and looking forward to tackling some hills in January for our long runs! As the week progressed, I had the opportunity to celebrate Christmas and Chanukah with family, such a special time. It was the first set of celebrations this time of year without any grandparents alive, and of course grandma (she passed away a couple months back) - we all remember her cooking and we cooked some of grandma's recipes. One of the greatest gifts this season of lights and miracles is the gift of family and friends together, and I'm grateful many were able to safely come and visit. With the various storms coming in and several major highways closed via snow, I am also reminded of one blistery run that happened a couple years ago. A few years back - on 1/1/18, some friends and I decided to run in the midwest on a -19 F day (with windchill). Now you may be wondering - what the heck does one wear for such blistery weather? Well, 2 pairs of trousers, 1 pair of wool socks, 3 jackets, gloves, and like cover every ounce of skin, less it feel like it burns. Made it 4 mi that year and was able to get another bucket list item down - running in sub zero weather! The iPhone lasted about 10 seconds before the cold weather zapped it, but it is these journeys along the way in training that make race training so memorable. Okay, back to 2019, so thankful for time with family, also time to light the candles of Chanukah, remembering the faithfulness of the One above, and excited for the next week of training ahead! You might wonder - do runners have cookings and sweets during training? Um, yes! A little of that happened, and now, it's back to the training plan of eating a bit more healthy! It's this time of year that makes eating sweets fun with family, though! I also want to take this time to thank family and friends for praying for me, providing coaching advice, and supporting me during the journey to Jerusalem Marathon 2020 with Run for Zion! The journey so far was been amazing, and I'm excited to bring you the journey along the way for the next few months leading up to the race! And yes, I miss grandma, but I sense and feel she is cheering from above and is a place with peace and no pain. Many blessings to you all, and may the next year be the best year yet! #runforzion #marathon #jerusalem #jerusalemmarathon #runner #runners #marathons #marathoner #marathontraining #marathonrunning #jlem #runforlife #jerusalemmarathon2020 #irunjlem #irunaz #irunarizona #distancerunning #distancerunner https://www.runforzion.com/elizabethcwong2020
Moosen running team breakfast!
Road to Jerusalem Marathon Week #3: This past week, started some brief weight lifting and ab stability exercises as well as form drills to help with the running form. Saw lots of the treadmill during the week and during that process got to dial in a good, comfortable easy running base pace while listening to "Eye of the Tiger" and other great running tunes! For sprints that will follow in the weeks ahead, I'm sure there will be some Beyonce's "All the Single Ladies"! So things to be thankful this week - I'm really thankful for the Bounding Moosen running club, who hosted a great team breakfast, abundant with some great running foods such as bananas, pancakes, orange juice and other delights. For those reading who are new to running, you might wonder, what are some frequently asked questions people ask about running? Here are some I'd like to highlight for this week: Do you run the WHOLE distance? Well, for easy runs (pace you can talk at), I usually just run those straight through. But sometimes you have to stop, like for stop lights or bathroom breaks, etc. For speed workouts (usually you can't talk at these paces), it's usually intervals - so fast, then recovery, then repeat. Sometimes the recovery can be a jog. Do restrooms exist on the marathon course? Haha, yes, of course! And it's really a strategy of when to go, esp right before the start of the race and to also miss the long lines that can form. At Jerusalem Marathon, there were porta-potties at the beginning, end of race, and by Hebrew University. I must have been tuckered out by all those hills last time, because I don't recall seeing any porta-potties in other parts of the race. Usually, though, there are porte-potties every several miles, usually around the water and aid stations. Do you eat or drink a lot of water during a race? About 2-3 days prior, I'm diligent in hydrating around 64 oz a day. The evening before, I usually carb load on pasta and also have some protein (either chicken or fish). The morning of the race, I usually have an organic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some pretzels, and an electrolyte drink (making sure it's around 300 cal or less prior). Once the race starts, I usually have a mixture of pretzels and gels. By the end of a marathon, orange slices are sooo amazing!!! As well as ice cream!! Ok, that's it for now, will highlight more questions next week, which is Chanukah, the festival of lights, and also Christmas, in this season of miracles. #runforzion #marathon #jerusalem #jerusalemmarathon #runner #runners #marathons #marathoner #marathontraining #marathonrunning #jlem #runforlife #jerusalemmarathon2020 #irunjlem #irunaz #irunarizona
There was an elf, too!
Christmas Tree and Santa on top of the mountain, hiked up with some great hiking buddies
Happy running trails from the east coast
What a view from the top of a mountain! Got to see Santa, an elf, and Christmas Tree, too!
Road to Jerusalem Marathon Week #2: Enjoyed a wonderful time visiting friends back east and during that time, had a chance to enjoy some of the scenic, rolling hills, reminiscent of reading some great poetry about the fall, golden leaves the provide the perfect frame for peaceful lakes. Upon returning home, did some cross training and hiked up a local mountain with some friends. It's rather amazing after some hills and more hills how the transition to the flats actually is a transition. So it's back to the treadmill for modified hills and searching for interesting paved long run rolling hills back in the Phoenix and East Valley area! One is reminded how - while one day can be easy taking in 9-10 mi, forgetting a water bottle can definitely make a flat run on a treadmill a LONG run. Reminder to self - bring a backup water bottle to have electrolyte drink for 5+ mi treadmill runs.
More fun sister running time
Getting to cheer my sister along for a 1/2 Marathon.
Road to Jerusalem Marathon Week #1: I'm going to kick off this running blog post with a great memory of running with my little sister. I've ran probably almost 40 races now, but one of the most memorable by far has been a couple weeks ago when I ran with and helped pace my sister for Malibu Half Marathon & 5K. While it was a far cry from either of our personal records (PRs), we shared much laughter, sweat, tears, and memorable views of a beach reminiscent of Katy Perry's California Gurls music video. The race reminded me of how any race effort - especially a tough race - is a team effort, from the small things like a team mate posting "You can do it" on a Post It on your car window to the locals with signs cheering you on to the family and friends encouraging and cheering on for the long haul. Malibu Half - my slowest time ever for a 1/2 marathon - taught me more humility going into the Jerusalem Marathon training schedule and also taught me consistency in the slower paces. Excited for this journey ahead and am buoyed by your encouragement and prayers! Update: I'm $2,390 of my $5,000 goal by 12/31/19. For a donation of ANY AMOUNT given today or tomorrow, I will mail you a Run for Zion partner medal as a way of saying thanks for being a part of Team Go for the Gold (my running team). If you want to join my team as a virtual runner, please message me, would love to have you join! #runforzion #marathon #jerusalem #jerusalemmarathon #runner #runners #marathons #marathoner #26.2 #marathontraining #marathonrunning #jlem #runforlife #jerusalemmarathon2020 #irunjlem
So thankful for great training buddies and friends! It was all our first Rim to Rim, and - just maybe - one day we will do R2R2R. But until then, completed hills initiation to start training for hills for Jerusalem Marathon! Woohoo!!!
The bold and beautiful and mighty Colorado River
This rock formation looks like a ship. Onward to the Colorado River, then the lovely 6,000 ft or so ascent over 14 mi.
Around Indian Garden on the lovely Bright Angel Trail, we had fun descending a couple thousand feet in the wee hours of the morning, to be greeted by the ethereal rays of morning, which lit the red rocks with splendor.
Scoping out the route from the North Rim
A couple of weeks ago, I experienced an amazing runners high. Sooo thankful for a great weekend with friends and to kick off Jerusalem Marathon training, woohoo! To face the inevitable hills (all estimated 2300 ft of up and down in the marathon), I ventured to the Grand Canyon to do my first Grand Canyon Rim to Rim, which for us was about 27 mi (yeah, first ultra marathon!!!?!!!) and 6,000+ ft of climbing, ending at 8,300 ft in 11 hours and 15 min or so of true grit work! Def super cool to finish this bucket list item with friends. Now, onward to Jerusalem.
First sister 1/2 marathon run in the books this past weekend! Was excited and elated to help pace for my sister. It was a gorgeous day, a bit cold in the beginning, but the California sun did not disappoint! I also got to work a bit more on relaxing and running form while pacing! One more week of hill "initiation", then full on to training for Jerusalem Marathon's 18 or so hills!!!!
During the race, we had many, many rolling hills and an abundance of ocean views.
Yay, first 1/2 marathon with my sister! More hill training with Malibu Half, fun times!
The partner medals! There are two different versions - one with the back noting Jerusalem Marathon 2020 and the other a noted verse about running the race with endurance!
We now have partner medals for partners who either donate $150 or those who will regularly/weekly pray for Team Go for the Gold for Run For Zion
Shalom y’all, Exciting announcements - 1) we now have partner medals for partners who either donate $150 or those who will regularly/weekly pray for Team Go for the Gold for Run For Zion; and 2) finally have a running team member on my team! Rhonda Morrison will be joining the team and am super excited to have idea share on training, new areas to train on hills in AZ (she’s a local), and maybe also music (she is a musician). For the running medals we will will have two versions - one with Jerusalem Marathon 2020 in back and the other with a scripture verse on running the race with endurance on back. Lastly, shout out to local artist Alyssa Mehlhorn, who gave these trees from Redding, CA (which survived a major fire and were dying) a second chance at life with her beautiful creations. Relationships built along the way on this journey is what it is all about, and excited invest in these to help you all feel a part of Team Go for the Gold! Excited for more hills and soon, Jerusalem !!! I am already over 30% of my goal. Any amount helps!
Will be working on form more in the next few months and fine tuning training!
Just recently got off the phone with a dear fellow local runner who will be joining my Go for the Gold! Running team for Run For Zion!!!! Super excited (words cannot fully describe)! Stay tuned for more info! (See picture jumping for joy :)). Looking forward to the camaraderie, sharing running training notes, working on form, finding NEW places with paved roads to train on hills here in Phoenix area (photos below are from the visit to CA at Monitor Pass and Sagehen Meadows).
Jumping for joy at Sagehen meadows. Yay, I have a future running buddy for team Go For the Gold!!!
Shalom y’all, Working on hill training to build up endurance for Jerusalem Marathon in 2020! This year, I’m doing more to help you all feel part of the team. For everyone that partners with me, I will personally hand deliver your prayers to the Western Wall. To those who partner and donate $150 or more, I’m partnering with a talented local artist to create running medallions with Run for Zion logo and Team Go for the Gold! (My small running team) on the back! So back to the story, wanted to see the fall colors and get more high elevation training in, so ventured off with family to see the eastern Sierras and Lake Sabrina. Here, took a nice job up to Blue Lake and went up about 1,500 ft to 10,400 ft elevation to see the graciously blue and sublime lakes! Excited for more hills and elevation training when back in AZ for Rim to Rim, then Jerusalem!!! I am already over 25% of my goal. Any amount helps!
A waterfall along the side of the path.
The fall colors are simply gorgeous to see while doing hill training.
Running near Lake Sabrina during a family trip, getting in some high altitude training in at 9,000+ ft.
Pushing through the hills.
Testing out the trails at 10,000 ft during fall colors.
Capturing some golden hues during some hill training. The leaves sounded like nature's tambourine in the sky.
Shalom y'all, What a week, it was a somber, emotional, reflective time as I had a chance to speak and play violin for my grandma's memorial service. She wasn't a runner, but she was a great supporter, cheering on even when she didn't have much strength. I'm reminded in life there are a lot of hills and valleys (hills below from Alabama Hills near Mt Whitney portal), and it's the big and small moments with friends and family that make a huge difference. This week, I was able to get some speed workouts in. It's quite nice doing these workouts at 70 or so degrees vs. the 100+ degrees of summer. :) Trekked out with friends to near running town USA (aka Flagstaff) to see the fall colors and hearing the wind blow through the leaves like nature's tambourine revitalized my steps. The crystal blue skies from around 9,000-10,000 ft were a beauty to behold, and looking forward to more hill training for the HIIIlLLLY Jerusalem Marathon (18 or so hills). I'm already 25% of my goal of $5,000! Please partner with me to for Jerusalem Marathon 2020 as part of Run For Zion! Also, I may have a fellow running buddy joining me as part of Team Go for the Gold for this marathon, so super excited! Please stay tuned!
Here's a picture of me presenting the 2019 Jerusalem Marathon to grandma. Love you grandma!