Below is a letter I wrote in response to the Bass Pro fitness festival's request for runners to write about their experiences,(training, what motivates you, etc.) regarding the upcoming November 7 event (marathon and half-marathon.) The fitness festival coordinator's response was very positive. She said that on race day my running bib will say, "let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." I say, Hallelujah!
Here's my story:
I am a 39 year old wife and mother of two children, ages 4 and 7. This is my first half-marathon.
I started running when I was in my 20's during graduate school. I was inspired by a guy that I was dating who ran from where he lived to where I lived; and it was a long way. He encouraged me to go running with him. When I did, I ran for 30 minutes because I didn't want him to think I was a wimp. The dating relationship with the guy was very short-lived, but I will forever be grateful for the love affair that began for me with running. It has been my friend throughout the seasons of my life.
In the late 1990's I trained for my first marathon with the Leukemia Society Team in Training. I got up to 21 miles, which I ran two Saturdays in a row. I over-trained, got hurt, was getting married, was stressed, and regrettably never ran the marathon. The marriage did not survive, but the running remained.
Now 11 years later I considered training for the Chicago Marathon with some friends who ran with team World Vision. Love the cause, but couldn't commit to that level of training at this stage of my family's life. So a friend of mine said she was going to do the Bass Pro half, and I was in. I was ready to have a goal to work toward in my running. I wanted to accomplish this especially as my 30's are ending. (The best years are yet to come.)
So my two girlfriends got my rear-end out of bed at 5:00 a.m. in August. I was already running, but wanted a training schedule. So my friend came up with one and off we went. I started having insomnia. I would look at my clock all night long and think, "I have to get up in 2 hours and run without sleep." Or my 4 year old would come in our bed and steam roll me all night. Other than being exhausted, I was enjoying training. However, due to a variety of different stressors, I started feeling really overwhelmed and wondered if I could continue with the training. I took a whole week off in September. I thought I was ruined for taking a week off, but I had already invested too much in my training, and I'm not a quitter. I persevered, and with the encouragement of my awesome running buddies and my husband, I just started right where I left off. My morning runs haven't been as consistent since its been cooler in the mornings. I haven't run as much or as often as I should some weeks, but I've done my long runs.
I have wondered some times if I will be able to complete it. I've wondered if my thighs will ever stop chafing (just discovered Body Glide:) For awhile I had diarrhea after my long runs. Sometimes I've felt guilty when I've had to leave my family to go for a long run. I've wondered if my toe nails will ever be pretty again. Sometimes I've dreaded my long runs. Some have been more difficult than others. But I've done it right. I've walked for a minute when I needed to. I've taken days off before my long runs. I've fueled and hydrated and stretched. I've had the support of my running partners and family. I've prayed and felt God urging me to press on. I've listened to praise music that inspires me. I've blogged about my running experiences. I've revisited in my mind all the places, cities, and seasons I've run in. I have felt the freedom and empowerment that comes as I run.
I will run, I will succeed. To God be the glory. See you November 7.
"..one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14.)
"..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.)
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever" (1 Corinthians 9:24-25.)
"let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.." (Hebrews 12:1-2).