It really happened...again. I ran another marathon! I cannot believe that it was here and gone already.
Saturday June 18, 2011 proved to be quite the day. The morning began with down-pouring rain. As I looked out the window of the hotel, my mom and I chuckled at what was to come. And really, the rain didn't end up being the issue...
To preface the run....
Charisse and I go way back. We met through church about 4 years ago. Ok, so maybe we don't go 'way' back, but it feels like we should :) Charisse is what I call a 'soul sister'. Ever since I met her and have gotten to know her, we've realized over the years that our spirits connect in much the same way. Not only do we see God in similar ways, but we also have similar morals and values, work in the 'baby world' together, we understand each others ways of thinking, and we have even physically, emotionally and spiritually hurt when the other person is hurting.
And over the past few years we have found out that not only do we run a similar pace in life, but also on the road.
So, as I thought about running this marathon, I didn't waste a moment asking Charisse to do it with me.
As we began our run, I felt great. The rain had stopped. We were at a good pace. Lots of excited people around us. And one of my best friends at my side. What more could a girl ask for?!
However, after only a few miles into the run, I began to sense that something was wrong with Charisse. I could tell she was having to really work to get into pace, to tell stories...to focus. She abruptly stopped running after only 2-3 miles into the run. She said she was having troubles breathing. We then tried setting a little different pace, but still had the same results. For 16 miles (!!!) we ended up doing a walk/run...more walking than running. For many of those miles I tried to encourage Charisse, pray over her, push her, walk with her, love on her, etc. But nothing was seeming to work! She tried to convince me for many miles to run on ahead without her. I was determined though to stick with her. I wasn't in this race to win it after all!
However, after many miles of us going back and forth...Charisse trying to convince me to run on without her...me telling her I wouldn't leave her side...she won. She finally said, "Heidi, I think you might be the 'problem.' I think I feel like I'm holding you back and I need you to go on without me." When I finally had that release, I felt ok leaving her. I knew that she would be ok. I knew there were plenty of people around to take care of her if something happened.
So at mile 16 I took off.
I don't know many people who can say at mile 16 they felt awesome, but I did. I feel like it was actually a blessing from God that I hadn't extorted all my energy...that I felt so good. I felt like I was sprinting. As I ran by people I had enough energy and 'peppiness' to encourage them, cheer for them, push them to keep going. I even had some guy yell at me as I passed, "hey lady, you have WAY too much energy for mile 20." And with a big smile, I turned around at him and said, "Thanks, I KNOW! And hey, way to go. You got it. Push it to the end!!"
I was filled with so much joy in running the last 10 miles. Words just cannot explain it. I was also able to catch up to a co-worker of mine and run with her for a while. Finally at mile 25 she told me, "Heidi, you have WAY too much energy for this point. Please go on without me and push it all the way to the end." And that was just what I needed to sprint the last 1.2 miles to the finish.
Charisse ended up coming in after me only a few minutes later. She said that after she had 'released' me, that she felt so much better and was able to run without walking! Praise God.
We still don't understand why it worked out that way. But we both agree that its what needed to happen. For some reason we were both suppose to run our own races that day. We also both have great stories of people we were able to run with the last 10 miles. People that we were able to encourage. People that we probably wouldn't have encountered unless we were NOT running together.
I guess God had it all in his plan.
I also got another little blessing at the finish line. I had originally had a goal to finish the marathon in 4 hours, 45 minutes. However, when Charisse and I had those difficulties with the first 16 miles, we were projected to finish well over 5 hours. I had battled deep within myself to 'get over it' and just be a good friend. It was honestly a very tough battle that went on within me as I tried to stick it out with her. God did a lot of work in me to help me to release my expectations of finishing in that time and instead to just trust in Him.
With that said, with the energy that I had to run the last 10 miles, I was able to make up for lost time. I finished exactly in 4 hours, 45 minutes and 46 seconds!
Wow is all I could say. I'm still amazed.
I write this blog many months after running the race. I had started writing it out a few days after the race, but really couldn't find the words to say or what the race even meant to me. This race just didn't go as 'planned'. However, it wasn't a bad race in the end. If you would have asked me though (during the first 16 miles) what I thought of the race, I would have probably grumbled. However, looking back now and seeing all that God had planned for the end, just amazes me. A good reminder that when we cannot see the end in sight, we need to keep trusting that God has all things in control. And that he CAN and DOES see the end.
So, with that said, I was finally able to finish writing my thoughts on the race. I have many more, but this will do. I'm also able to see the bigger picture (perhaps) of what the Lord has been teaching me this summer. I feel like God is trying to ween out of me some expectations that I've set up of myself and others. And I think this marathon was just the beginning of breaking through expectations that I have on this race called 'life' :)