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Welcome to Elizabeth's Team Page

Elizabeth Wong

Elizabeth Wong

Dear Run for Zion (RFZ) friends and family,

Finally, after three long years, it will be “Next year in Jerusalem!” for Jerusalem Marathon 2023! I’m exciting to join Run for Zion to run the Jerusalem Marathon Half Marathon in honor of my late grandma. Grandma loved great food, singing “I love coffee I love tea”, and hearing about Israel. Back in May 2019, I had a chance to make homemade chicken corn wontons for her (and she liked them!), share about my first running trip to Israel, and give her my finisher's medal. A month later in what would be my last in-person visit with grandma this side of heaven, I found the finisher’s medal draped over her reading lamp, where she had her beloved devotionals, Chinese food menus, and magazines.

I had planned to run Jerusalem Marathon in 2020 (see foxnews.com/faith-values/israel-christian-run-jesus-jerusalem-marathon-2020) and even wrote a piece about lifting the travel ban that emerged in February 2020 (see jpost.com/opinion/lift-tel-aviv-marathon-ban-and-promote-spirit-of-courage-618947). I never imaged that COVID would not only change those plans, but also change the world for the next few years. Since that time, however, I have come to cherish how each moment with loved ones is a gift, and to make the most out of those moments.

This upcoming year will be super special to run in grandma’s memory. Will you consider partnering with me this coming year for running the Jerusalem Marathon with Run for Zion (RFZ)?

As background, the RFZ ministry partners with various Israeli nonprofits to feed the hungry, assist Holocaust survivors, comfort terror victims, and more. During the COVID years, RFZ continued to sustain many of these ongoing projects and launched new projects to build bridges between Jews and Christians, such as (but not limited to) producing the Inspiration from Zion webinar series and podcast, helping families and churches impacted by last year’s devastating tornados in Kentucky, and providing urgent humanitarian relief to Christians facing unprecedented crisis following flooding and disease in Pakistan. 

I need to raise $4,000 (for land package) by November 30, 2022, and I plan to personally match 1:1 the first $2,000 donated by that timeframe. See the donate functionality on this page to donate. All donations are tax-deductible. This page will also have the latest and greatest blog updates on the journey to Jerusalem running journey.

Thanks so much for your time, consideration and prayers,

Elizabeth
NOV
28

When not playing violin... trying out the ukulele! Nice time with friends celebrating the love story of two amazing people!

What a glorious sunset on an amazingly peaceful beach with my sister.

The sliced prime rib was definitely worth the wait after the long run!

Dad's amazing meat carving skills

The shoe on the street is so random. Love this view of the foothills and the canyon. The mountains are calling!

Family had turkey, etc.; was able to have an alternative due to food allergies and sensitivities.

Road to Jerusalem Marathon week #7 - Food adventures and time with family: I recently heard a blog on how food = fuel when training. What I haven't realized over the years is how the extra force of running (pressure up to to 5-7 time body weight) can really impact diet, in addition to the ever growing list of food sensitivities (but hallelujah - I can have nuts and sourdough bread again!!!). While the list of food allergies and sensitivities - whether from the food or from training - seem to be a moving target, it was so great seeing family for thanksgiving this past week! Dad has this gift of cutting meat, and it was awesome to have deli-style prime rib sandwiches (not pictured) and salad along with mom's special chicken - what a nice treat! My aunt also made her rendition of grandma's special herb soup, which was nice and hearty. (Grandma's herb soup is just a story on it's own. :)) During the weekend long run, I had a chance to hone in fueling strategy (finally found a gel that works and makes my stomach happy, yay!) and see the ever inviting foothills. It was soo tempting to run trails and hills, but that will have to come after marathon training. Before heading off back to AZ, my sister and I had a chance to have coconut cream sorbet and chai while soaking in the sunset on a peaceful, completive beach. Just priceless. Lastly, it was so great seeing a training buddy and friend get married! It was a nice break to have great fellowship and eat gluten free cake (always room for some sugar and chocolate :)) and see the L-rd orchestrate the love story of two amazing folks.

NOV
21

Volunteering at a run station for Ironman Arizona. Feet are still tired from the concrete, but awesome to cheer on the athletes and give some cheering support and lots of water!

Picked up my first 1st place age division medal! So unexpected but also really cool!

One of the few red meat days - homemade braised short ribs and dairy free polenta for friendsgiving!

Meeting up with gym and running buddy Karen! Her smile helps liven up the wee hours of the morning workouts!

Road to Jerusalem Marathon week #6 - A Lifestyle of Giving Back: Israel has two very famous large inland bodies of water - 1) the Sea of Galilee (aka the Kinneret because it is shaped like a harp; it also looks like a large lake more than a sea), and 2) the Dead Sea (aka Yam Hamelach - or the Salt Sea). As you may have guessed, the Sea of Galilee has fresh water - it is fed from a river and out of it flows a river. The Dead Sea, however, is super salty - so much so you can float on it and read a newspaper. You can't, however, easily drink the water. From an analogy of drinking water, the Sea of Galilee lives a life of giving back - it receives and gives water. The Dead Sea only receives water, and the water drinkable. Thanksgiving is the season of being thankful, and maybe we have a choice to be receivers or to be givers and receivers with a joyful heart. This past week, I had an opportunity to meet fellow gym buddy Karen Draeger, make friendsgiving food for friends (there are some days in training where there is a not eat so healthy day :)), pick up up my first place medal at the Runner's Den, and get my first experience helping pass water out at Ironman Arizona. In training, it's super important to have folks cheering you along and sometimes even the smallest gestures of encouragement make a difference. Karen is an Ironman athlete who definitely brings the piles of smiles in the wee hours of the morning to bring the energy in the room! At friendsgiving, it was so great to fellowship over great foods and just feel grateful at the gift to get together. At Ironman, I had a chance to give back saying water so many times that it sounded like "wader" and "waaaatteer" and "water water water". Even made up some songs and jams with the word water, which brought many smiles as the Ironman athletes ran by (they had to swim and bike prior and some were out on the course 12+ hours). There were so many thank yous and words of gratefulness expressed as well. Having been on the other side, I can definitely relate to the amazing feeling of someone handing water, snacks, etc. on a race. It almost felt even better though to give back and hand out the water, as if it was a small way of saying hey maybe I want my life to be a freshwater spring, not because of a checklist item, but because of a culture of thanksgiving and gratitude for giving back in the big and small things.

NOV
13

And speaking of the big and small things, so thankful and grateful for Veterans (and their families) who have served our country. I am reminded of a spur of the moment adventure my family had with grandpa, who was a WWII veteran (Pearl Harbor 1944-1946). As background, grandpa would love to say that "There's the right way, the wrong way, and grandma's way!" But he missed one.. there was also grandpa's way - his ever present legendary work ethic (he retired in his late 80s) + doing one's best AND the ever present kid at heart who years for adventure and to playfully tease grandma. One day, about seven years ago, I planted a seed of maybe it would be great to go to Yosemite! Grandpa of course decided not to tell grandma (until coming back from the trip), and my family and I did a whirlwind day trip there. We arrived at the iconic Glacier Point. My family and I helped grandpa with his walker. As he approached the vista, he walked even faster, encouraged along by the multiple rainbows, with the storm clouds temporarily held at bay. Grandpa gleefully proclaimed, "I haven't been here in over 50 years... since your mom and your uncles were kids!!!" I'm so glad grandpa agreed to join in the adventure and that he was able to do his best and make the journey.

Thankful and grateful to Veterans (and their families) who have served. One of the favorite memories with grandpa - the spur of the moment family day trip to Yosemite, which grandpa noted was his first trip to Yosemite in over 50 years!

It ended being an unofficial PR!

Pre-race pic with Coach Caleb Guest and his wife Nicole.

Road to Jerusalem Marathon week #5: Doing Your Best in all Things, Great and Small: The past two years have been a journey of taking a bit longer to heal from running injuries and trying to be a bit wiser in staying injury free. After two years, I finally returned to road racing for a training race, and with only a couple weeks of track workouts in. Initial thoughts were "Maybe I can muster marathon race pace in a 10K (6.2 mi)". Even the pre-race warmups were uneventful. I said a quick prayer and asked loved ones to also pray that I could muster ~36 turns and stay injury free. At the start line, I noted to runners next to me if they planned to do the pace I intended, thinking that maybe my best today would just be marathon race pace (which is way slower than 10K race pace). Then the race started, and I had a sense in my spirit to just aim for race of perceived effort (RPE) and just have fun and do my best instead of stressing out over the watch times. Started on the first few turns through the parking lot and weaving through the usually traffic-laden roads of downtown Phoenix. Soon, the miles started to fly by, and as I approach the only big hill (overpass) in the race, Coach Caleb Guest with Triplex Training Chandler noted "Great job, Elizabeth!" I had no idea that I would I actually get even faster from those words of encouragement and also just that sense of perfect peace (shalom) running. By the time I passed the final miles and sprinted to the finish line, I was shocked at what I saw, something like 47:33 ish time (and to be fair the watch came up a tad shot at 5.93 mi on this non-USTAF certified course). But even with an adjusted 10K time of ~50 min, this would unofficially would be my fastest 10K time, breaking a 13 year prior time! I wasn't even training for a 10K PR and just humbled to get an awesome time and also unofficially (it takes up to a few days for times to finalize) get 1st in my gender/age group as well and to be injury free! I think it was G-d's reminder to me that nothing is wasted - even in the years of injury prior, those hills and valleys are all part of the journey for getting stronger.

NOV
6

Road to Jerusalem Marathon week #4 - thanksgiving: Sometimes, it can be easy to take things for granted - that health will be sustained, that loved ones will always be there to cheer you on, that there will always be a community to workout with and a track to work out on. This week marked my first back-to-back weeks of working out on a track in 18 months. When CV hit and changed the world, most tracks closed, so many runners made makeshift tracks using roads, with orange cones as mi markers. Shortly after tracks opened early last year, various injuries, including my first ankle sprain on Desert Classic trail (it was definitely a classic), derailed training for quite some time. In the down time, I learned how to speed walk and tried to make the most of it. But it would take until this year to start getting over the ankle anxiety of falling again (brain kept replaying falling on the trail). In the months of recovery, I can seeing folks walk effortlessly - and in flip flops - at Costco and Target and wishing I could as well. And when that day came to be able to walk without pain, it was like tears of joy and the feeling of not wanting to take walking for granted! During the recovery time, community really helped, from the amazing workout buddies and trainers (Meriem at Triplex Training, you are awesome!), to training buddies at the track, led by Caleb Guest, to the amazing small group times (had an stupendous girls night this week). Hills and valleys will come our way, but it's how we make the most out of each moment that counts. Time is a gift, and this thanksgiving, appreciating all those moments big and small. So thankful for the ability to run now pain free!

What a great night with this awesome group of ladies.

Trainer Meriem knows how the mix the music jams in the morning and bring the joy! She is pictured her with her super protein oats.

The gym owner Kyle decided to give bunny ears in the photo.

My first back-to-back weeks on a track in 18 months!

OCT
30

Low 30s for the start and by the time the sun came up and warmed up the land, it was in the 50s.

More of those awesome red rocks with a crystal clear blue sky.

Some of the many rolling hills in Sedona, the morning hues echoing the reverberations of nature's songs. Some hot air balloons (not pictured here) also joined in the reverie and the red rocks gloriously glistened.

Grandma loved history and afternoon tea. It was really a special time to serve her afternoon tea with homemade goodies on her special china from England.

Road to Jerusalem Marathon week #3 - the power of forgiveness to change the world: I had the opportunity to train in Sedona this past weekend and contemplatively meditate on the power for forgiveness while going up many rolling hills at altitude. In Hebrew, the word to excuse (like saying excuse me) - slicha (think "ch" as in Bach) - has the same root as the word to forgive - lisloach (pronounced lees-loh-ach). Forgiveness - such a short word for such a powerful gift, and though it may be said practically every day in Israel, its deeper meaning never gets old. One of my favorite memories with grandma was when I had a chance to help lead her in prayers to forgive the past of some challenging childhood memories and to forgive the present as well. While I started leading, grandma soon took the lead and I could see a miracle unfold before my eyes - some of the sadness and sorrows she carried since childhood melted away like butter to tears of joy and gladness. After praying, grandma said "I love yous" with such abandon like she was a child in a candy store filled with wonder and excitement! From that moment on, many would know grandma by how she would say she loved them - so much so it was shared in her eulogy. We all have those hills and valleys we have to work through, but when we forgive and also receive one's gift of forgiveness, it has the power to change the world one life at a time.

OCT
23

Road to Jerusalem Marathon week #2: Shout out to Nathaniel Chan and Kelly at the local running store Sole Sports (also voted one of America's top 50 running stores) for the great running tips and for several months back helping me find my new favorite road shoe! As background, I was in a different brand road shoe for years, and alas, the recent updates in the last few years weren't working out for my feet. So thus began the journey for finding a new favorite pair - no small feat! (no pun intended). It felt like matchmaking for shoes - right fit for the right foot! Nathaniel and Kelly helped me find that new favorite pair - the Brooks Hyperion tempos, which are durable enough for distance and light enough for tempo runs (i.e., faster runs)! And they could understand the journey because they are avid runners, too! So I picked up another pair this weekend! Excited for the next couple hundreds of miles! Also a big landmark - so I had on my wish list year to get to over 200 mi per pair of shoes for thanksgiving - and I finally did! In the past, would abnormally wear the shoes out prior, and it wasn't pretty nor cheap (though I would go to shoe repair to replace soles to try to have more shoe longevity). Finally, all the form work and drills are starting to pay off! Woohoo!

Nathaniel and Kelly with Sole Sports in Tempe, AZ! Great folks who understand runners because they are runners!

OCT
19

I walked 1.12 miles towards my goal!

I walked 9.84 miles towards my goal!

I ran 2.42 miles towards my goal!

Road to Jerusalem Marathon Week #1: Visited Lockett Meadow Sunday to kick off road marathon training. Legs were a bit tired from the trail 1/2 marathon the day prior, but the views were well worth it. Unlike in prior years, it was going the extra mile * 6 to just get to the trailhead due to forest road closure to vehicles. When I walked up to the meadow, it was clear to see the big impact the last huge fire and floods left. First time on that road to have such solace and not traffic. Beyond the meadow and on the way to the inner basin, most of the tree scenery was intact, but many trees leading up to the Aspen groves were pretty charred. Forest life is slowly re-emerging from the ashes.

OCT
17

Lockett Meadow right after the rain and snow the evening prior.

I finished my last trail marathon for the year and now am kicking off journey to Jerusalem 1/2 Marathon training! Decided to see one of the most scenic views in AZ - Lockett Meadow. Nice time in nature with a scenic view is good for the soul!

From the last time I saw grandma this side of heaven. She had my finisher's medal from my first running adventure in Israel on her reading lamp by her devotionals, Chinese food menus, and magazines.

Meet my grandma, who loved Chinese foods, especially wontons. I had an opportunity to share about my first running adventure in Israel and also homemade chicken corn cilantro wontons.

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