Thursday, May 31, 2012

My second road to 26.2

So after my first marathon in February, I couldn’t help but want to stop training. I ran the race, I completed my goal. Why am I still running? These are the thoughts going through my head one day while me and Cameron ran a torturous 16 mile run around White Rock Lake one Saturday morning in March.  It was March 17th, I remember it well with all the St. Patty’s festivities going on around us. This was the day that I “hit the wall” for the first time.  My body was screaming at me to stop. My mind was repeatedly calling me stupid for trying to run another marathon. What was I doing? At around mile number 14 I just stopped. No more. I was done. Poor Cameron was trying to feed me encouraging words and push me to finish, but the wall was just too high to jump over. Rest was what I needed. Who cares if I run another marathon or not.

Okay so I got through that day. I got rest and a new mindset. I think I took a break from running for 7 days and rested up my body which was obviously hating me. I realized then that it’s okay if I don’t beat my first time. I wanted to enjoy the marathon, not regret it. April came before I knew it. I was running the country music marathon in Nashville, Tennessee. I was looking forward to going to Nashville for the first time. We stayed with my friend Kara Hicks who I worked with at Parkland. She currently lives in Nashville while attending Vanderbilt University to become a nurse practitioner.  Thanks so much for allowing us to stay with you! You are a great host! ( I have to give her a shout out J). We also found out that our friend from Waco, Sam Orr, who we met running with the Waco Striders, our local running club, was also going to be running the CMM.

So on April 28, 2012, Sam Orr, John Lassitter, Cameron and I set out on a hot humid Nashville morning to run 26.2 miles. I believe it was 64 degrees when we started at 7AM and 88 degrees when we finished before noon. It was awesome to see 30, 000 people that morning running! And the start line is on a hill so as we are running we could see thousands of people in front of us and behind us as the slope allowed  us to see a much larger distance. That was a cool moment! It was fun running with the guys as they are all talkers so they were a great distraction as I listened to them telling stories back and forth.  Sam in fact had done his undergraduate schooling at Vanderbilt, so he entertained us with several stories from his college days. By mile 6, I realized that I was dripping with sweat.  I remember looking at Cameron and saying "I am sweating!" and he said "me too". We just laughed as I knew that this was going to be a long day.
At mile 11 I saw the split. The half-ers went one way and we went another. I was so ready to leave the boys and just do the half. But I didn’t fall to the temptation. I was very proud of myself in this moment. But then it happened again at mile 13. A second chance to fall short. I could see the finish line. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I thought long and hard about the choice in front of me. But I knew I had it in me to finish the full marathon.  So I kept going. “Just keep running, Just keep running” was the chant that I could hear Cameron telling me. I was so ready for this race to be finished and it just seemed long to me. We saw people dropping like flies throughout the run, many people started walking. I couldn’t blame them. I half wanted to as well. But mentally I was ready for this. No matter how hot or tired I was I just had to keep going.

Of the 4 of us running it, I was the weak link. They were all stronger and more seasoned marathon runners than I, but they were gracious with me. They allowed me to set the pace and they sat back and enjoyed the run.  Although I can’t say I enjoyed the whole run, and especially not the several inclines/hills that we were faced with, I did enjoy the feeling of finishing! The 4 of us, hands in the air, crossing the finish line. It took us 4 hours and 19 minutes which was just fine with me J I didn’t beat my previous time like I had initially hoped. But this marathon was more of an experience for me. I endured the physical and mental toughness needed to finish this race. I did it! I firmly believe God continues to watch over me and give me strength to push myself to new limits. Sunday after this race we sang the song during worship, led by our friend John Lassitter, How can I keep from singing. Here are the lyrics:

There is an endless song,
Echoes in my soul,
I hear the music ring.

And though the storms may come,
I am holding on,
To the rock I cling.
How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough,
How amazing is Your love?
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King,
And it makes my heart want to sing.

I will lift my eyes,
In the darkest night,
For I know my Savior lives.

And I will walk with You,
Knowing You’ll see me through
And sing the songs You give.

How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough?
How amazing is Your love!
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King,
And it makes my heart want to sing!

As I sang this song I couldn’t help but just be filled with the Glory of God. He got me through a tough season of training and finishing two marathons. He was my rock, whether I clung to Him or not. He is always there for me. I sang this song with a cheerful heart for I know my savior lives.  

When comparing this marathon to my previous marathon there were so many things that were different. My runners high from the adrenaline which lasted most my race in Fort Worth only lasted about 2 miles during Nashville. The weather conditions couldn’t have been more different. Cool and breezy vs hot and humid. Course: Flat vs. inclines.  People: 6,000 vs. 30, 000. I am glad for the two drastically different experiences.   
In other Tennessee news:
So the Nashville trip was more than just running a marathon.  We drove the 12-13 hour drive with our friend Angie Vega who was tagging along to visit her fiancĂ© and our dear friend John Lassitter who lives in Knoxville, TN.  We were spending half the week in Nashville, and half the week in Knoxville. Me and Cam had a great time exploring Nashville with one of my college friends/Nashville groupie Dre. She drove up to Nashville that same weekend to do some volunteer work and watch us run. She showed us several hot spots in Nashville. After the marathon, we drove the 3 hours to Knoxville to stay with John for a couple days. Cam and I got to go to Smoky Mountain National Park for some day hikes as well as hike to see some waterfalls. Surprisingly my legs were hardly sore after this marathon. We picked fresh strawberries! We got to see John lead worship at his church Ball Camp Baptist Church on Sunday. We really enjoyed Tennessee as it was a very memorable trip for us! We hope to some day go back!

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