Its race week. The days are winding down. Quickly. There are only 4 more days till I run 26.2 miles, for the first time, EVER. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I never expected to do this my whole life. About a year ago, I ran my first half. If you would have asked me at that time, “Are you going to do a marathon one day?” You would have received a big fat NO. Little did I know God had something bigger and better in store for me. For my first half I registered 6 ½ weeks before race day (talk about a spontaneous decision). With very little training, I finished that race. I started the race thinking I was going to have to stop and walk at some point, expecting a time of 2 hours 10-20 minutes. After each mile, I said a little prayer, “Lord, thank you for getting me through that mile, help me to get through this next one. Keep my legs moving.” I gave my legs, my body, and my mind all to God. I trusted in him to get me through this defeat. I trusted him to keep my legs strong, heart pumping, and mind determined. Guess what?? He answered those prayers and he supported me each and every step of the way. During my training, I couldn’t even complete my 10 and 11 mile long runs without stopping. But, during this first half… I didn’t even stop AND I finished in 1 hour and 52 minutes. WOW, The Lord did wonderful work. On this cold, rainy, day in October, I grew stronger in many ways. I grew stronger in my heart, and my love for myself. I grew stronger in my mind, and my ability to finish a hard task. Most importantly, I grew stronger in my faith.
Now, a year later, I have continued to grow and become stronger in my mind, body, and spirit. I have a second half marathon completed and a full marathon approaching. I remember when my friend, Katherine, and I started the countdown till the marathon,it was something along the lines of 276 days away. Now.. its 4. Four days?!
This past week I have been so nervous and all my friends have been asking, “Are you ready?” I just want to sometimes say, NOOO! I’m flipping out!!! I DON’T KNOW WHY I THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA! Then, I take a second to gather my thoughts. Yes, of course, I am ready! I have now trained for 4 months, I ran 3 days a week with 1 day of cross-training. I ran 20 freaking miles. Which, I still am in disbelief about. I still feel like that was a dream. I’m ready to get this over with. I’m ready to have a Saturday, that I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn for a long run. I’m ready to run. I’m ready to feel alive. I’m ready to put my faith fully in God, again, to get me through another race. I’m ready to love myself and God more.
Now, I finish the wait, eating, stretching, rolling, icing, and praying. Even if something happens and I don’t finish the race, I still have so much to be proud of. I have trained my butt off for 4 months now. Through hours of running, through woods and neighborhoods, I have had a lot of time to think. This Sunday, I may be running 26.2 miles and yes that will be a HUGE accomplishment, but I think the biggest accomplishment I have gained from all of this is my greater ability to appreciate and love. Challenging and pushing myself though all the knee pain, hip pain, and completing run after run with hours to myself to think about all the love and people in my life has allowed my heart to grow full. I have felt more gratitude. I have felt more purpose. I have felt more joy. I’m quite the extrovert and thrive off the presence of people and get anxious in times when I’m by myself. This time to myself during all my runs, has allowed me to reflect on myself, my faith, and my relationships. I have a deeper faith in God and appreciation for his gifts. I have a greater love for myself. I have had a lot of time really think about my anxious thoughts during runs. I have been able to dig deep into them and really give them up to God. I have been able to reflect on that fact that I am not perfect and don’t need to be. I have been able to reflect on my relationships. I have been able to think about ways I should talk to people, treat people, forgive people, and love people. I have grown to appreciate the simple things my friends do that bring joy and love into my life. I have learned to love my friends more deeply. I have grown to love myself more. I have grown to love God more.
I never thought running could be so powerful.
“They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
they will soar on eagles’ wings;
They will run and not grow weary,
walk and not grow faint.” – Isaiah 40:31