Thursday, April 28, 2011
Boston Marathon Journey
So this post is about my journey to running in the 115th Boston Marathon. The most prestigious marathon one can run. It attracts marathoners from all over the country and world. I am completely humbled. I am completely honored. I am completely hooked and want to go back and try it again!
I spent endless hours training for this race. I tried to train my body and preserve my health with hopes of running my best race ever, however, God had a different plan for me. Of course like many times in life when our plans don't go according to "our plan" we are left feeling disappointed, discouraged and sometimes even distraught. Well, I found myself at those places there for a brief moment.
About a month prior to Boston, I was feeling really strong and very excited. One simple Tuesday evening I went for a normal training run and toward the end started feeling some pain in my groin. The next morning I could barely walk. The pain was horrible and I assumed I must have pulled or strained my groin muscle. Of course I started researching my symptoms on line. I spent an entire day on the couch 'resting' and researching my treatment plan (which is hysterical, because most doctors will tell you that the Internet is NOT where you need to turn for medical advice...haha)
However, the symptoms didn't really fit a pulled groin muscle according to my pain. SO I researched pelvic pain and soon enough found that every single symptom I was experiencing (and even the little pains I had experienced over the past few months of training) were pointing to a PELVIC STRESS FRACTURE....OH MY GOODNESS....my heart totally sank...as I began to read symptoms and treatment option, I became outraged at myself...NO RUNNING for sometimes up to 6 months to a year in some cases....Needless to say, I felt 100% destroyed.
Soon enough though I had some precious little girls hovering over me, praying for mommy's leg to get better. On the same day, I had to have a conversation with Claire about being 'disappointed' in life. She was having a terrible day after a friend decided not to come spend the night with her. She was SO upset. She had been planning this hoorah for weeks and had built her hopes up so high. It was such a perfect reality for me to sit there and explain to her that "LIFE" is full of disappointment and the Devil uses it to his advantage to tear us down, keep us bitter and full of anger. As I was trying to witness to her and counsel her with some motherly advice, I didn't even realize the speech I was giving her was truly for me as well. God is amazing in his ways. I am consoling Claire at a very fragile moment when her emotions were all over the place and explaining how there are true tragedies happening and having a total meltdown and bad attitude about something she had her hopes on and was really looking forward to is just a minor disappointment in the realm of so much more. I even seeped into what spiritual warfare is and how powerful it can be in our lives because Satan is working so hard to steal our joy, ruin our Faith, keep us from trusting our Father. He wants to rip us apart and destroy our lives.
Long story short. The speech was for me. Spiritual warfare was absolutely all over me during this journey. It is pretty simple really. I felt confident in MYSELF before I became injured. I felt hopeless in MYSELF once I became injured. I needed God's power more than ever to make it through the rest of that journey. I had to forfeit my ways and really open myself to HIS ways. I never once thought God didn't want me to run that race. He just wanted to make sure I realized (AGAIN) that some situations I find myself in are a direct correlation to my weakness and HIS STRENGTH.
I went through deep tissue massage the week prior. I was on anti-inflammatory and Advil weeks leading up to the race trying to calm down the inflammation that Dr. Carr felt I had built up over time of over training. I had the injections (OUCH). I didn't run but maybe 4-5 times over the course of the month. I did everything physically I could to strengthen my body, relieve the pain in my body....when all the while in the end it wouldn't be my body that got me thought it, it would be my God.
There were thousands of people (27,000 total running the race) but about 10,000 in my pace group. I felt pretty good starting out. I stayed conservative hoping for a strong finish. 8 miles in I started hurting. By 10 miles I was in major pain. For those of you who have never run a full marathon, there is a mental game you play with yourself...get to half easily, push harder for a third more of the way, and then give it all ya got at the end b/c 6 miles just isn't that big of deal. BUT 16 MILES IS A LONG WAY TO GO WHEN YOU ARE ALREADY HURTING REALLY BAD. Every step I ran was pain. I can't really describe it, but the pain was horrible. About 10 miles in,I started doubting myself. I was praying, really begging praying, sad to admit it, but I was....I was trying to stay positive and confident but I was being so attacked by Satan. I looked up ahead of me in the sea of thousands and saw a bright blue shirt, and written in BIG WHITE LETTERS, it said, MIRACLES HAPPEN! OMG...I did two things, teared up (of course) and chuckled...It was a message from God for me. I have always called it a post-it note from God when a little message like that appears at the perfect time you need it. Here I am running the race of a lifetime in the worse physical condition I have ever been in, battling Satan's schemes, my doubt and disappointment and the GOD who holds the universe together and makes it all work, spoke to me! Unbelievable....
I continue on, one mile at a time. The pain is insane. I picture Christ in my mind. Hanging on a cross after being brutally beaten to almost death. His flesh mutilated, hanging off his body. I see his face in agony and complete suffering. And I remind myself that His pain and suffering was for me. For my soul, Christ lived the perfect, flawless life, and died the most horrific, horrible death...for me.
So with every step I took and all the pain I endured, it really wasn't suffering at all. It was a huge disappointment at the time, but I pressed on. Every few miles when I would feel more fatigue or felt that my body just couldn't go anymore, I would be reminded with those 'post-it' notes from God. At mile 15 I looked to my right and was running shoulder to shoulder with Dick Hoyt (his son Rick Hoyt as Cerebral Palsy) Dick is 70yrs old and has carried his son through 4 iron man competitions, marathons all over the world, and even ridden 3,000 miles across the country with his son. WOW..perspective and strength from seeing the Hoyt team.
I finish the race. I was so emotional when I finally made it to to the last turn. The historical corner known as the 'Boylston and Hereford' corner. I had .25 miles to go and could see the finish line. I was completely in AWE OF what GOD had done through my broken down body and restored Hope in Him.
I finished in 3hr 37min. 47sec. and when I crossed the line, I cried, nearly collapsed, and cried out THANK YOU to my KING!
Fast forward to the airplane ride home. The best part of the journey. Last plane ride. 29 min. left before we land back in Bham. It is dark. It is totally silent. I am praying/praising God for the entire journey to Boston. I have so many memories to cherish forever. I decided to pull out my ipod and listen to a few of my favorite songs before we landed. When I turned it on, there was one song left on the my play list. I didn't realize it when I finished the race because I had turned it off. But the very last song on my play list was "You Carried Me" by Building 429....and folks....that is not a post-it from God....that is a banner from God.