Six of us ran the WHOLE marathon together. What amazing women that inspire me (and pulled me up the hill the last half mile!)
My running buddy through this whole process, Jess
My biggest supporter. Honestly, I could not have done this marathon without the support of my husband. He has been amazing!
Less than two weeks ago, a journey that I started about six months ago came to a end. I completed my first ever marathon- after pounding the pavement, mile after mile, week after week. I would actually have to say that this whole process was actually the beginning of a new journey in my life. Although the training process for my first marathon is done- it doesn't close the door to this chapter. More on that later.
Last April when I signed up, I don't know if I truly believed I could do it. I guess deep down I must have- I'm really not a quitter so I didn't see myself giving up. At the same time, the thought of running five miles, or ten miles, or fifteen miles, let alone twenty-six point two miles was horrifying (this feeling I pretty much kept inside). I took the training process week by week- getting up early in the morning when it was still black outside, running when I gagged, puked, and through other pleasant moments. Don't worry, I did have some really amazing running moments too. My body started to feel stronger. My mind started to tell my body it was stronger too! A huge key to this whole process were the relationships. First of all, my running buddy Jess. We signed up together and pretty much ran this whole thing together. I cannot even tell you how huge that was during this whole thing. We stayed together when one or the other had a bad running day and would keep the other going. And then there was "The Pack." This was a group of gals that are amazing people. We would talk, laugh, tell stories, answer questions about our lives, and distract ourselves from the amount of miles our bodies were running. Then there was Don, our coach. His weekly encouragement, emails, and prayers were inspirational and helpful. Each Saturday, many people from our team (there were over seventy of us) would wake up and come together to pray and to run.
Another piece of the puzzle for me was a motivation that was deeper than anything inside of me. It was a reason to do this marathon because of something bigger than me. Running 26.2 for Africa has deeply impacted me. When my body wore down while I ran, I would think about the moms across the world who walk miles and miles each day, just to get clean water for their families. I completely take for granted the fact that my family has daily access to water to drink, to bathe in, to use for laundry, and anything else I would need it for. If I could run this marathon to raise money to build wells with clean water for these moms across the world, that was one small piece I could do. Throughout the race - when the miles got tough- I would repeat over and over- 26.2 for Africa. It was the saying that kept me going.
I have grown. So like I said, this journey of my first marathon- running with amazing team members & training for a end result of finishing the Chicago Marathon- has ended. But truly, another door has opened in my life. Through this process, I have been inspired, I have found out that I am much stronger than I ever knew, and I see myself through different eyes. I can do things I never knew I could set my mind too. I plan to keep running- in fact my next race is Saturday- the Grant Wheeler 5K if I'm over the flu by then. Yeah, that is why I'm finally catching up on blogging! After that race, the next one is The Living History Farms Race in Des Moines. The biggest cross country race in the United States. That will be a fun and new challenge too.
Thanks to all of you for your amazing support through this process- whether it was your words of encouragement, your notes and cards, babysitting my child, your flexibility on my tired days, or your support of World Vision. I'm truly thankful- I know i couldn't have done it without a team of people behind me. Thanks for believing in me!