Psalm 26:2

Test me, Lord, and try me,
    examine my heart and my mind;

I really don’t think there is a more perfect verse to describe the marathon; nothing really teaches a person more about tests and trials than the marathon.

I’m proud of you

I’ve heard those three words a lot in the past few days. Sure it feels nice to have the support, but it’s difficult when I’m not proud of me. I’m honestly not sure why that is. I’ve been staying consistent with my meds, I’ve been seeing my therapist, but something still feels off. Yes, I know that a marathon is a huge feat, but it just doesn’t seem all that impressive anymore. In middle school when I did my first marathon, I was literally the only kid participating in the sport. It made me different; it made me special.

Now, there were loads of other participants completing in the race that once defined me as a person- I was, “that marathon girl.” Obviously, I’ve since learned that it’s a horrible idea to place my identity in anything other than Christ alone. That mental switch happened in the midst of my struggle with anorexia. The doctors prohibited me from running, walking, and any other form of physical activity. In addition, the amount of appointments I was required to attend inhibited me from forming friendships with my peers. The absence of running and community with others really messed with my head. I was a social runner, and when I was in the grips of anorexia, I was neither. I was nothing. I don’t remember exactly how or when it happened, but God decided to remind me who He was, and therefore, who I was through Him. Since then, I have learned to no longer identify myself with familiar things of this world.

The race started off really well! I ran with a solid group of friends for the first 4 miles, and then split off to just run with Aly for a while. I really enjoyed miles 8-10 which were run on a dirt trail out in the middle of absolute no where. It was a nice reprieve and break for my legs and joints.

About mile 12, I was split up from my group. I was feeling fine bodily, but my lungs simply could not get enough air in. I was beyond defeated while I watched my friends run further and further ahead of me. I mustered all the strength I could, and tried to move my legs faster in effort to catch up with them. By mile 13, they were out of sight. The 4-hour pace group had passed me as well. I started walking, and felt the tears start to well up. It was over. My goal of 3:59:59 was out. I just wanted to collapse and call it.

Thank God for my Josh. He biked alongside me through miles 13, 14, and 15. Although all I wanted was to hop on his bike and ride home, his company was so appreciated. He talked to me, told me stories, and distracted me from the horrible, self-deprecating thoughts swirling around in my brain.

tim

At around mile 15, I met up with another student in my running class. Tim and I ended up running and finishing together. It was such a Godsend to hIMG_20160501_120336168ave someone to actually run with. Although we were both frustrated with the fact that we wouldn’t make our time goals, we tried to remain positive and shared Bible verses with each other.

Dealing with Reality

Success is a pile of failure. You’re just standing on top of it, not underneath it. -Dave Ramsey

I do need to work on redefining what success means. It’s difficult when I didn’t meet my time goal, nor did I get to finish with Aly or Jon. However, I  often allow my idealized version of a situation steal the thunder from the actual reality of the situation.

In my ideal world, I would have finished the marathon in 3 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds holding hands high with Aly, Brian, Ben, Tim, and Jon.

In reality, I finished in 4 hours, 24 minutes, 58 seconds still with hands held high along with my solid brother in Christ, Tim.

Reality wasn’t that bad. I still finished. God still got the glory.

Gratitude

Words really cannot even begin to describe the level of gratitude I have for a large number of people. First and foremost, I am confident without a shadow of a doubt that that marathon would still stand uncompleted if it weren’t for my sweet Jesus. I had verses scrawled on my hands and wrists for the race, and they serves as energy bursts when I needed them most. I used them to encourage every person I ran with. They reminded me to pray for the half marathoners when their race started at 9:15. They kept me from quitting; He kept me from quitting. He nourished me with subtle love through the generous acts of Josh, my parents, my fellow running companions, faithful fans, and race officials along the route.

Secondly, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the sacrificIMG_20160501_115902428_HDRes and unconditional love of my beautiful parents. They have never missed a single race I have run in, and this one was no different. They saw me over ten times throughout this race, and brought cowbells, inspirational signs, and most importantly, their loving smiles.

Obviously, it goes without saying, my Josh was phenomenal. He spent over 2 hours on Saturday mapping out the course and coming up with the best possible route for him and my parents to follow. We even drove the course so it was nice and familiar, and he spent over an hour at the marathon expo on Saturday with my running friends and me. During the race, he biked in and out of traffic and saw me a couple times each mile. I honestly couldn’t have done it without my wonderful, handsome, loving, and and all-around amazing man.

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We even got to meet up with my dear friend Torie. I trained with her for last year’s marathon before getting injured. I was overjoyed to learn of her recent engagement to her wonderful boyfriend, James.

I’m indebted to my KINS 186 running class that trained me for this race. My professors were absolutely amazing and I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better training season. There were long runs every Saturday morning at 8am. Our professors would map out our course and provide support (energy gels, water, Gatorade, and smiles) along the way. I learned so much about nutrition, my body, motivation, and mental toughness.

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Selfies with Dr. Evans

My appreciation of people I met and the friends I made throughout this semester is overflowing. I am so thankful to have been able to train with such beautiful souls all semester long. It was such a treat to train with individuals so close in age, considering my last two marathons I trained with people quite a bit older than me.

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Next time?

Yes, there will definitely be a next time. Many more next times. Until then, I have to go get another pair of running shoes, make some money, finish up finals, and sign-up for the next one.

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