Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Marathon of Lessons

My beautiful and fast running friends

I just finished my 11th marathon. 11! And I have a secret admission, one that most people won't believe, but is still true.
Before the race

I don't love running.

There. I said it. My running friends are probably all shouting at the top of their lungs right now, "What?!?! How could you even say such a thing?"

So why then do I run through pregnancies, choose to do all the races, get up early most days of the week, never sleep in on Saturdays, and drive hundreds of miles to run another 26.2?

My first response after reading that last paragraph is to say that I must be a little crazy (which is probably true). My next response is that I want to keep off the pounds and be fit for my family. That may also be true, but it's not the REAL reason. The true reason that I run is because of the lessons I learn along the way.

As many of you know, I like to write an inspirational word on my arm before I do a long run. When you run for long distances, you are tested in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ways. I like to use these words to help me focus on what is important to me at that moment and maybe what I want to work on - as a runner and as a person.

For this marathon, I couldn't decide on just one word, so I chose two.

Why fly
For this marathon, I decided to focus on the scriptures. I wanted a word that would help me feel light when my legs felt heavy. It comes from this scripture: ". . . yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind" (Psalms 18:10). The rest of the chapter is amazing. It focuses on the Lord being my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength. During marathons and life, I need Him to help me when I'm feeling down, to lift me up and help me fly.

What about finisher
I chose it for a couple reasons. One, I wanted the reminder throughout the race that I finish what I start. My second reason is the scripture that inspired the word: 
". . . let us lay aside every weight . . . and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross . . ." (Hebrews 12

I feel like this marathon was a big test for me - I had a painful running injury the entire time I trained (hamstring tear and adhesions). On our way to St. George, we were in a car accident (rear-ended) that hurt my neck and head a bit (nothing serious, but not fun). Then, during the marathon, along with my hamstring tear, around mile 20, I got a horrible side-ache that made it impossible to run for about 2 miles, slowing my time down considerably. BUT, I tried to focus on my words. The word finisher really stuck out to me while I was in pain. I remembered the scripture and thought about what Christ endured. I will never suffer as much as He did and He did it for me. For me! I realized that I need to rely more on Him in hard times, not just during a race, but when things are tough with kids and work and money and just life in general. 

Running will always be hard for me. It just will. But I'm not going to stop because it teaches me. Every marathon I learn another lesson that strengthens who I am and who I want to become.

My sister and niece came to support my brother-in-law and I.
My brother-in-law came up from AZ to run the race.

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