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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Despair at Mile 9

"but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:31

This past weekend, my husband and I participated in the 5th year of the Hollywood 1/2 Marathon as Legacy Runners.  I always look forward to this run, primarily because 1) it was the first time I realized, I COULD be an athlete, 2) it gave my husband and I a common hobby and goal, 3) the Race Directors and other Legacy runners are so stinkin' nice.  

However, this particular year has posed to be quite the hurdle. I started to go to school full-time to get my teaching credential and my Master's degree.  I have also been teaching in a full-time capacity since October.  My kids love to dance and are at the studio 5 days a week and then there are the obligatory domestic duties that must be accomplished.  All of these activities certainly limited my time to train for a half-marathon. Yes, my life is a completely crazy and chaotic mess right now, BUT I wouldn't change it for the world.  I am following a call that God has given me, and for now this is a season.  

All of this to say, I ran the CRAPPIEST 1/2 marathon time in EVER for me.  I made a series of rookie mistakes beside the lack of training, and to be honest was just lucky to finish vertically.  I purchased a new pair of running shoes, and although I thought I had worn them enough to break them in, it was quite evident that was not the case.  I, being a teacher, could not just take a 1/2 day and leave early to pick up my race day packet in time before the expo closes, so I sent my husband and kiddos up before, and I explored the world of public transportation.  I took Uber from my house to the Trolley station, to Amtrak, to the Metro and walked up a hill with my school books in tow, to the hotel, making my destination shortly after 10pm.  I hadn't eaten a real dinner. I mean I did down a couple of Rubio's fish tacos after work thinking that would be good enough but... and then there is race day fuel... I packed a multi-grain almond butter sandwich for myself and a banana, which has always been standard race day fare... EXCEPT, I smashed my banana in my book bag on my excursion.  Yuck!  

Race day was to have the possibility of rain, and it looked like it was going to hold off and the temperatures were nice and chill.  I kept praying Isaiah 40:31 trying to have God hear that I wanted Him to hold me up through this race, and I felt as if He acknowledged me, by showing me a group with this verse on their shirt.  I know it is a common one, but nevertheless...  However at mile 9, I was done, Done, DONE!!! I was beyond tired, hungry and sore.  I was starting my pitty party.  Throughout the race there are these wonderful individuals who sacrifice their own race times to cheer and motivate other runners, like me who are struggling.  I spotted this man Michael a couple of miles in, and for some reason he, in particular, motivated me.  I saw him several times even in not so good times, motivating me to keep taking those steps forward.  They were so awesome.  I happened to look at my phone to see that a friend had started a 1 day challenge with me just to root me on during the race... That was super encouraging and Valerie, you will never know what that meant to me!!! Then despair once again sat in, funny how negativity or Satan always can wiggle in...  Again, the pangs of hunger, the ache of my ankles and toes, and this time... the pouring RAIN reared it's ugly head... Yes, pouring rain!  Yes, I may have said some not so nice words, and yes, I may have added to the water table by crying a bit.  I then decided to take a hold of the negativity... remembering something that Oprah said as I recently attended a conference, "the energy you put out is the energy you get back."  Then a song came on Spotify account, "Break Free" by Ariana Grande.  There is a line, "This is the part where I don't wanna, I am stronger than I've been before"  I needed this song... I started to cry good tears, it was then my thoughts changed to: Who am I to complain about being hungry?  I have passed way too many people whose homes are on the curbs, sleeping in doorways and bus stops... THEY know hunger... Who am I to complain about my hurting feet?  I have feet that are moving me ever forward...  

The largest thing that helped me, and no words can express my thankfulness enough was that my husband, who had already finished, walked with me for the last 2 miles.  That is love!  He talked talked to me and distracted me, cheered me on, pretty much like in the movies... I just LOVE that man!!!

Perspectives can change, and yes, I am not too happy about my time, 3 hours and 15 minutes, but I am pretty happy and the change in my attitude, and the God moments that I found in the midst of despair.  See you next year Hollywood 1/2