I woke up early full of jitters and nervousness. So much so that I could only eat a few bites of my banana, 1/2 a cup of coffee and some water. I knew I needed to eat more but I just could not stomach it. My husband encouraged me, the kids encouraged me and we set off for the start line. It was a cool morning. I could not wait for the race to start so I could warm up and start running off the butterflies.
I lined up in the middle of the pack and tried to keep what little I did have for breakfast down. After several long, excruciating minutes we were off. Although my brain was telling me not start out too quickly, my legs did not listen. I went out fast and caught up with the leaders of the pack in a few short minutes. My butterflies disappeared and I was full of energy. I was on a runners high and feeling pretty good. That was very short lived.
I passed by several watering stations. I could not be bothered by stopping and tried to rationalize that I was saving time and did not need to stop. By mile 10, I was really struggling. I was hot and thirsty and just ran by the last water station. I told myself that there were only a few more miles and it was no big deal. By mile 12, my pace dropped by half, my left hamstring was injured and my whole body felt like it was literally being hammered into the ground. My body was screaming to stop but my
I kept running the best I could which was painful and much slower than before. I saw the 13 mile mark and became ecstatic until I realized that I still had .2 of a mile to go. That seemed like another 10 miles at the time. I might have started walking or crying if it was not for the *Kirch kirch kirch kirch* sound I heard behind me. For the most part, I had been running alone. Occasionally another runner would pass but they were few and far between. This runner was different. I was almost to the finish line and she was on my heels.
She helped give me the extra adrenaline I needed to finish. I did not want someone to pass me so close to the end. I sped up to where I thought she would not be able to edge past me and then made the mistake of slowing down slightly right before the finish line. She fought her way past me and beat me for second place in the women's division.
By ONE second. One. Uno. 1. 01. I finished in 1:50:58
I came in 3rd in the Women's division and 16'th overall. I also came out of the half-marathon with a pretty bad hamstring injury and feeling like I was beat with a bat. I was lucky to have finished at all, let alone place. I did not train like I should have and let my pride get in the way.
As usual, God watched over me and would use this experience to teach me a lesson in pride, grace and wisdom. The winner of the marathon was wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13. That has always stuck with me and I have used that verse and the meaning behind it to become a better runner and a better person.
I am proud of that race but not because of my standings or the trophy I went home with. I am proud because it helped to guide me back to God and a personal relationship with him. From then on, my running turned into my prayer time. It became a time to set goals, reflect on my life and try to find the person that God so graciously sees me to be. He has used my running time to love me, shape me and provide more grace than I could ever hope to deserve. I am not anywhere close to being a good Christian or a good example of one. But I'll keep running until God is done with me. This might take a while.