Feeling Strangely Fine

Two weeks ago I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon.  My first ever marathon.  Here is a pic of me pre-race:

pre-marathon

I may look like my normal silly self but truth be told I was really, really nervous.  I mean mega-nervous.  Perhaps more nervous than I have ever been before any physical challenge I’ve ever done.  This was my first marathon – the longest race I’d ever run before this was 13.1 miles, which was 2 years and 1 baby ago.  I did 100% of the training and preparation for this by myself.   I didn’t have a regular time of day or schedule for running, because when you’ve got 3 kids pre-K and under you don’t really have the luxury of having a schedule for your hobbies, let alone even have hobbies.  So I stuck with a plan as best I could, worked it around my girls’ dance, soccer, swim lessons and illnesses and showed up on race morning feeling completely overwhelmed and underprepared.  “If I’d only had more free time I’d have done way more cross-training,” I remember thinking.  “I just need to pick a reasonable pace per mile and stick with it.  I just need to cross the finish line.”  My goal was just to finish the race with some level of dignity.  So with the help of my trusty Garmin watch I picked a pace that seemed modest, tamped down my adrenalin and forced myself to stick with the planned pace even though I so badly wanted to tear off at a faster clip.

My distance runs during training started off strong.  But as I got further into training I found myself getting burned out, so I had to back off running a bit and try to find a better balance.  But in backing off I also ended up unexpectedly having to pack and move our family of 5.  Subsequent distance training runs suffered and rocked my confidence.  I would call my (non-runner) husband (who loves me but thinks distance runners are nuts) mid-run when I was struggling and he would encourage me to press on.  I would often come home, feeling dejected, shaking from running 18+ miles and wondering how in the heck I was ever going to run 8 miles further.  It was beyond demoralizing.

Race morning was a humbling experience.  Feeling like I had bit off WAY more than I could chew made me want to throw up.  I have always been an athlete, a competitor, and feeling like I can’t do something isn’t how I operate.  “What if I don’t make it to the finish line,”  I wondered, “What if I get injured and can’t finish?”  “What if all the time I spent preparing and training just wasn’t enough to press out those last few miles?”

I did what I always do – I took it to God and prayed for my safety during the race.  I prayed for both physical and mental strength and tenacity.  I prayed that I would just finish the race.  I thanked the Lord for giving me the opportunity to run.

And a funny thing happened – as I ran I started to think about my finish line in life when I go to the Lord.  Will my training and preparation be enough for me to cross into Heaven?  Much like the marathon with some easy, some difficult miles, we have easy days and hard days when it comes to our faith and our ability to avoid sin along our life’s course.  But at the end of it all we can blame our “life marathon” result on no one but ourselves. Only I am ultimately responsible or accountable for the choices I made during my time on Earth.

I know how scary it was feeling I was unprepared on race morning — I can’t even begin to imagine how petrified I will be going before the Lord knowing in my heart that I am not worthy.  All I can do is focus on the training.  To keep studying His word.  To continue fellowship with fellow Christian sisters.  To continually pray.

Crossing the finish line (I’m on the right)

I will never know while I’m here on Earth if my preparation truly is enough to cross the finish line into Heaven.  What I do know is that I will never stop preparing for that final mile, minute, breath.  Fortunately for me 2 weeks ago, my preparation was more than enough for the Pittsburgh Marathon and I finished easily in 4 hours 33 minutes.

super proud 🙂

“Keep running the race that is set before you with endurance.” -Hebrews 12:1

Run by faith,

Lindsay

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. allieksmith
    May 21, 2012 @ 23:29:29

    You ROCKED it!! I’m so happy for you!

    I love how you connected our lives to marathons … we have good miles and bad miles. SO true.

    Again, great GREAT job!!!

    Reply

    • marathonmom12
      May 22, 2012 @ 01:58:31

      thanks allie 🙂 definitely a life event i will NEVER forget! and i would SO totally do it again – it’s absolutely amazing how truly dynamic and strong we are made. God is so good! & thank you for your encouragement throughout my training – it definitely helped push me when times were tough!

      Reply

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