Thursday, November 14, 2013

Run with Perseverance!

The evening of October 26th I laid out my very important outfit for the next black & pink ensemble for my very first marathon! 

My alarm woke me up at 6:00 am on the morning of the 27th.  Ok not really I was awake way before my alarm went off, laying there thinking about the day ahead.  I had 3 hours before my race began... a race of 26.2 miles to complete with over 2200 feet of elevation.  Not necessarily the best choice for a first marathon but getting to experience this race with my dear friend Rachel (and the breathtaking scenery) was worth it!!  I had quinoa with bananas, blueberries, almond milk, and brown sugar for breakfast!  Then another banana and a bar in the time leading up to the race.  I drank coconut water too!! 

at the starting line!
As we gathered at the starting line I had this moment of fear..."can I really do this?"  I reminded myself of how hard I had trained and prepared for this moment and that everything was going to be fine.  So much about getting to the finish line is being mentally strong.  I had a strategy to go out at a 12 min/mile pace for the first 5 miles, then increase to 11:30 pace up to mile 13, 11:00 pace to mile 20, and then 10:30 pace for the last 6.2 miles.  This would give me an overall average pace of around 11:00 minutes per mile and a finish time of around 4 hours and 48 minutes.

Waving to my family!

My supportive friends cheering me on and holding up signs!

A photo at the turnaround point (mile 11.8)

I was so blessed to have several friends, my parents, and my girls all there to cheer me on.  It was so beautiful out but after the turn around the wind started to pick up, the sun disappeared behind the clouds and it started to rain.  I just kept pressing on and on but as I approached the 18 mile marker I was beginning to feel tired.  I also knew once I passed the 18 mile marker I would be going further than I had in my training.  I passed my group of friends cheering me on and asked them to pray.  It was an uphill climb for several miles and I knew it was going to be tough.  Later they shared with me that they gathered and prayed immediately, then looked up and saw me running up towards the top of that portion of the hill. 

Between miles 18 and 23.5 I was on a paved trail with no through traffic, so I was without any support from my family or friends.  It was raining rather hard at this point, I was running uphill, and my phone died so I had no music to help motivate me.  I had forgotten to grab more fuel/food from my friends the last time I had seen them and was out of my electrolyte drink.  Basically everything I relied on to help sustain me, motivate me, encourage me and keep me going was taken away from me. 

I remember calling out to the Lord, "You are the only one I have to sustain me and get me through this Lord.  Help me to stay strong and keep moving forward.  Give me the endurance, perseverance, and right mindset to make it to the finish line." As I continued running I was feeling like I needed to get some carbs in me quickly and suddenly I saw a wrapper on the ground that caught my attention.  I picked it up and discovered it was an unopened packet of gummies.  I couldn't help but smile..."Manna from heaven" is what I thought of in that moment.

I prayed for someone to be up at the top of the hill (mile 23.5) so that I could get more food/electrolytes.  Sure enough my family was there to greet me and give me what I needed.  Now it was the downhill and final miles to the finish line!!  As I came down the winding road around mile 24.5 I suddenly heard clapping, cheering, shouting...and saw my entire group of supporters cheering me on.  I was filled with such emotion and began to cry.  It really gave me that boost to keep going and finish the race.

My biggest fans!!

What an amazing feeling it was to cross that finish line!!  Victory!!  Success!!  Perseverance!!  Relief!!  Joy!!  I was overwhelmed by so many emotions and so so so thankful to be done!  I crossed the finish at 5 hours, 13 minutes, and 27 seconds.  A little slower than I had hoped but taking into consideration all the hills I was very proud of my accomplishment!

And Rachel did amazing...finishing in 3 hours and 51 minutes!  I am so very proud of her and how well she did!! 

A few photos after crossing the finish line!

Every gal in this photo is a homeschooling mom!! 
I am so thankful to have had this experience.  It. Was. Hard....but so worth it!  Running has so many comparisons to our Christian walk.  I didn't just go out and run a marathon.  I had to train & prepare my body, mind, and spirit.  I had to be disciplined.  I had to push through even when it was hard.  As a Christian, it's a growing process and requires discipline.  We train ourselves to trust God, to lean on Him, to walk in our spirit and not in the flesh, to be humble, to forgive, and so much more.  In our life we experience hills, obstacles, rainy seasons, fatigue, and hard times.  But there is purpose in every step we take.  We can not give up...we must keep moving forward...we must press on and run with perseverance the race set out before us!
I am so thankful for everyone who has supported me, encouraged me, and prayed for me during the past few months of training and on race day!  A very special thanks to Rachel, Sarah, Anna, Sandi, Mary, Bob, Gracie, and my girls!!


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