“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
I can not believe that I did it. I ran the St. Jude Half-Marathon race. I finished the course. I did it! It was the most mentally and physically challenging thing I have ever done.
To be completely honest, I didn’t even know if I was going to run the race until 10 pm on Friday night. I kept going back and forth. I just did not want to go. I lost all motivation about 3 weeks ago. I was sick and then Jim was out of town so my training just stopped. I didn’t enjoy running in the cold and I didn’t enjoy getting up early and running. I hit a wall. It wasn’t until the Monday before the race that I even got my running shoes out of the closet. I ran 3 miles on Monday and then 3 on Wednesday just in case I decided to run on Saturday.
Well, I got up Saturday morning and decided to go downtown Memphis. I knew that I would regret it if I did not go and at least attempt to run the race. My only goal was to run 9 miles without stopping since 8.6 was the farthest I ever ran during my training.
When I parked and walked to the start line the weather was 27 degrees and I was FREEZING. I was questioning why I was even out there. By the time the race started, my toes and fingers were completely frozen and I didn’t know if they would thaw out during the race. The first two miles were intense because I was running with frozen feet. (not something I would advise anyone to ever try). Once I reached the third mile I started to warm up and defrost but I was still not happy about running this race. (I told you I have been in a funky mood lately)
It wasn’t until the 4-5 miles that it all clicked. The course ran through the St. Jude Hospital grounds and a few of the kids and their families were outside. My eyes filled with tears and I almost stopped because I was so overwhelmed. I remembered that I could very easily be the parents to one of those children.
As I reached the ninth mile my knees started giving out on me. I could believe it. I began to pray asking God to help me make it to the 9 mile marker. I stopped for just a second to stretch my legs again and then I kept on running. I MADE IT! I crossed over the 9 mile marker then I decided I want to go to 10. “Can I make it to 10?”
I made it to 10, then 11. I must admit 11-13 were long, hard and painful. My knees, calves, ankles and feet started shutting down. They hurt so badly that they didn’t hurt anymore. The pain was numbing. As I was getting closer I realized that every time I started thinking, “I can do this,” my body would shut down but when I prayed and asked God to get me through one more mile I would make it. It was a journey!
“Just down the hill…you can see AutoZone Park!” This what I remember all of the fans saying as I approached the last half mile. I couldn’t see it but I just believed what they were saying. They were cheering us on and I just kept on going. I knew I was so close. I just prayed that God would let me finish.
I entered AutoZone Park and turned the corner and I saw the FINISH line. I kept thinking “I am almost there.” I crossed over it. I DID IT! I MADE IT! I RAN THE WHOLE WAY!I finished in 2 hours and 38 minutes.
God was so good to me to let me finish the race. He was with me the whole time and I know that I would not have made it without Him. It was an amazing experience, one that I am not eager to try again anytime soon.
This is the only picture that I have from the race. It was taken right after the race. Once I crossed the finish line they gave me the cover so that I would stay warm. I must say that it was still FREEZING cold after I finished. I was frozen again as I slowly walked back to the truck.