Monday, November 9, 2015

Of Running and Such

Yesterday was my day. I haven't run a half marathon in well over a year and a half. I did an obstacle equivalent in March and it was an experience all its own, but running, you see that's my heart. I was the girl who dreamed of running, yet never believed she could. I was the girl who couldn't run the warm up lap at boot camp without stopping. Then 4 years ago all that changed. What I had been working towards for the two years before that finally began taking shape. I was changing. My world was changing. And it was ugly and beautiful and terrifying and amazing all wrapped into one. Little by little I began. Running saved me. He gave it to me so I would not be crushed under the weight of what I was walking. It was my way out on the days that were too much. It was the beginning of a conversation between He and I. He gave me this ability. These legs. These lungs. This heart. This mind. They all have to come together to make it a possibility. And I certainly pray for that first mile. I give it all over. Offer it up. It's not about me. It's where I have to let it all go. You can't hold on tightly and run. You have to lay it all out and leave it on that pavement step after step. 
I woke up at 3:30 am. My nerves were gone. And then I heard the rain. Do they cancel runs for the rain? The answer is no, they do not cancel such things for a little bit of water. I drove to her house. I've never done a run without her. The whole way to the race I kept thinking how will I do this in the rain? Is it possible? Can I make it? It was a course I have never run before. Had no idea where I was going. That was actually a benefit to me. We parked and went to the start. In the rain. So many runners. 13.1 or 26.2. That's where we were going. And it was quieter than most I have been to. I looked around at all the faces. It's funny to me you get a shirt for the race but how many people actually wear them. Few. I have specific things I wear. I've been doing this for a while. I know what will get me to the finish line. Nothing fancy. Just what suits me best. And all of a sudden the gun sound. It startled me. I wasn't prepared for it. And we began. And I settled in and started praying. It was going to take more than me to get back to the finish line. A mile in I was alone. I'm not afraid of that anymore. And I saw her. The girl in the blue. And we stayed round about the same pace. I let my breathing settle and came up to my very first hill. I've eased up on myself a bit. You can't go distance without a plan. And that plan has to include grace for challenging inclines. I saw him. A vet. He was running with the aid of an artificial leg on one side. And it made me grateful. Grateful for this beautiful ability God gave me. I run because I can. Because it is in me. And I never want to take that for granted. It passed faster than runs in the past. I paced with the girl in the blue pants. The wind and the rain left us all soaked to the bone. I prayed my earphones would survive. At mile six I just decided it was good. And I was happy. And I was gonna do this my way. And I stopped trying to pass the time and just started being thankful. We paced each other she and I. She go ahead and I'd eventually catch my breath and move up past her. She'd fall back and then move up the same way. Neither letting the other too far out that we couldn't catch. It's motivation. Keep moving. By mile 8 we spoke. Obviously we were both keeping pace together. And it was working. By mile 10 we approached a huge hill and I was beginning to feel the effects of all the running. Do not stop whatever you do. Just keep moving. Before long we rounded the corner and mile 11 found us both dragging. I would pull ahead and then when she came up to me we fell into a steady jog. I would fall back and rest and she would move ahead. It reminded me that we have people come into our lives for a specific purpose or reason. Just for a time, a season. She was the one I needed to help me through this journey, no more no less.  I saw a big yellow crossing up ahead and thought there is no way that's the finish. It's not in the right place. It's all wrong. What is it?  It was a transition. Just before the end we had to cross it. Seems fitting for where I'm at right now. The end of this journey is coming but I'm finding myself in a huge transition I was not expecting.  Mile 12 found us discussing previous times. I was just over 3 hours last year. She said you will be under it if we keep this pace. And so we did. And the last mile had me believing this would never end and I couldn't make it. Everything I owned hurt. And none of the previous 12 miles felt like this. I saw it. In the distance. The finish. And I got closer. And the pain was sinking in but I sprinted. It's what I do. Pull it all out, run your own race. Let all the hinderances go and cross that line. And so I did. 5 minutes faster and soaking wet I did. And I never saw the girl in blue again. I gathered my people and we headed home. I did it. Thankful. 

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