Tuesday, September 17, 2013

26.2 or bust

Holy blog neglect!  Sorry.  I've been running...Running miles, running kids, running laundry, just running.  So, here's an update of sorts because I want to remember this time.  You may have read my post 13.1 or life? that I posted after running my first half marathon.  I have found this journey to running my first full marathon is just that...a journey full of self-discovery, faith, challenges, & falling down.  Literally.  Just like life.
Yes, I really fell.  One mile into a 16-mile long run, I was turning a corner, got distracted by traffic, & hit that darn sidewalk entry wrong. The worst part was that it was light out & there were lots of people to witness me fall.  I typically run in the dark, but on this particular Saturday, I started later.  Nice move.  But I know I got back up & finished 15 more miles, so just whatever.
Another surprising aspect of this journey has been the Lord impressing on me the importance of community.  A lot of things in this last year have been as raw & painful as my above-pictured knee, & we (Joe & I) found ourselves isolating a lot.  Sunday mornings were just easier spent at home. I guess it's our prideful nature to not want others to see us emotionally bloodied.  But seriously, how stupid is that?  It's flat out buying into the lie that everyone else has life wrapped up all neat & tidy while we're over here in the ditch.  The truth is that we find strength & encouragement within community.  Thankfully we got our heads screwed on straight & found our way back into our church family.  So, what does this have to do with my running journey?  I have always trained by myself. I told myself it was because it was *me* time.  The truth is I was afraid.  Afraid of failing; afraid of falling on my face; afraid of not performing to expectation...I don't even know, but I have had myself completely freaked out about running with other people. 
Thankfully, God doesn't leave us to our own destructive thinking.  He sends people your way to bully tell you to quit being a stupid hermit silly & join in on life.  Our town has a running club on FB, so on a whim a couple weekends ago, I connected with some girls to run a half marathon as a training run about an hour away.  Though I look slightly possessed in the picture & the humidity was ridiculous, I had a great time. 
This past Thursday I had decided to take the day off, but my friend, Kate (this is Kylie's mom, & Kylie is part of my inspiration for training for this thing in the first place...Read about it at www.gokylie.com) informed me she would be picking me up at 9:00 PM for a 5-miler with a group. I'm pretty sure I told her no twice, but she was still here at 9.  About a mile into that run, it was POURING (like windy, in sheets pouring down rain) for the whole blessed rest of the run...& it was AMAZING!!! I love running in the rain, but it was even more fun to laugh with other people about it. AND we ate cupcakes soaking wet to celebrate Jill's birthday when we were finished.  At that point, I committed to meeting up with these crazies for the Saturday 20-mile long run, commencing at 4 AM. Yes, 4 AM.  I know, right?   
It was hard & wonderful all at once, & I hope I always remember the flashlights & blinky lights for safety, the "woo-hoo, one mile...19 more to go!" {oh my!}, the dark & quiet of the country roads, the flying roadkill (don't ask, but it's funny now), conquering silly hills, running while the sun is coming up, detouring into the corn at mile 15 (Kylie's mile) for a picture, the gallon of water one runner had planted to share right before mile 17, & finishing. 
Mile 15 ~ Kylie's Mile
Truly, the best part of finishing was having other people to celebrate it with.  Just as in life, the race isn't supposed to be run alone.  We run it together, to give encouragement & receive encouragement, spurring one another along to the finish.
This post has gone surprisingly sappy on me.  It has & continues to be a journey of the heart, soul, mind, & of faith.  I'm not running this thing to impress anybody, break any records, or to be skinny (over a year later, & I am still not weighing myself, thank you very much).  This experience has & continues to be a challenge to my mental, physical, & spiritual being.  I am praying that my mind stays strong, that my body stays healthy, & that my faith continues to grow.  The fact that the Lord has shown me friendship in a community of runners has been a surprise blessing in the midst of the journey, so I am looking forward to more memories with new friends, too! 
**On a side note, I love the above 26:2 scripture!!  Do you have a scripture or inspirational saying that moves you?  I would love for you to share it with me to get me through the next few weeks!  Please leave it in the blog comments or if you're reading from FB, you can leave it in the comments there, too.  Thanks! :o)