If you're looking for a humbling experience, go run a marathon. Yesterday was the big day: 26.2 at the Lincoln Marathon. I've devoted 14 weeks to training, eating wisely, and sacrificing my Saturday morning sleep-in sessions. The training seemed easier than the actual marathon while the run was by far the most challenging activity I've ever completed. I set out with a goal of 4:30 and kept at the pace easily until roughly mile 22. You know "the wall" that many runners reference when talking about marathons? Yeah, it exists. And it's huge and terrible. I'm not quite sure if I was properly hydrated for the race, and the sinus infection I contracted that week didn't help matters. When I hit the wall I was extremely aware of the searing pain in my hamstrings and quads as well as the feeling of nausea creeping into my throat. My biggest fear was that I'd puke, spilling all the nutrients I'd been conserving for the past 72 hours, and I wouldn't be able to finish what I'd started. So, when the nausea reached the back of my throat (yes, I'm aware of how disgusting this is), I stopped to walk...another thing I had previously vowed to avoid. I allowed myself about 15-20 seconds of walking before I picked up the pace and ran until I felt again that I might puke. I followed this method for the last 4 miles. I finished my first full marathon in 4 hours and 49 minutes. It was tough--physically and mentally. And it was humbling. I'm a competitive, goal-driven person, and while I wouldn't admit this to anyone immediately after the race, I confessed to my husband on the drive home that I was disappointed with my performance. In my FCA lesson today we talked about the praise-driven performance---praising God even when we don't meet our goals or expectations because we realize that God works all things out for good for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). Like Job, I want to praise God even when things don't go my way. When Job found out that his kids were tragically and suddenly killed, he fell down and worshiped, praising the God who gives and takes away (Job 1:18-21). I wish I had a natural inclination to praise God in all circumstances; hopefully I can develop this attitude of constant praise. While I didn't meet my goal time, I do feel blessed that God allowed me to run 26.2 miles. I learned much about my faith, grew more disciplined, and gained a friend: my running partner, Kristin.
It's late, and I'm tired---so I'm breaking the marathon musings into two parts. Later this week I'll post photos from the day as well as a few highlights. Stay tuned!