OK, yesterday was the day that has been marked on the calendar for months. Since June 4th when I signed up for the half marathon, there has been an internal clock for October 16th. It honestly came much quicker than I thought it would. It seems like only yesterday when I was laughing about this “opportunity.” I knew running the 1/2 wasn’t my idea so when I’d jokingly talk about it with people, I knew it was a God invitation. But I would decline it over and over again. It wasn’t until Amber started telling others I *may* do it that I started to seriously consider it. Really, God? Me? Run a half marathon? The guy that hasn’t really ran in years except to get ice cream from Marble Slab. This guy? The guy who told Amber when she did a couple half marathons a few years ago that I would support her every way I could but would NEVER do one. Were you not listening? You got the wrong guy, God. To me, it was the same conversation that Moses had with God on 1/1000th the scale. Really God? Me? I stutter … I’m not a leader … I can’t lead these people out of Egypt. I feel your pain Mo.
Nonetheless, I accepted the invitation/challenge on my birthday of all days. And the training began. It wasn’t really training in the beginning. I had to get to a comfortable 3 miles even before thinking about training. So for the next few weeks, I worked out to being able to “comfortably” run 3 miles. I then found a 12 week training program for the half marathon so I had the plan. I sent letters out letting family & friends know about our adoption, the orphan crisis, and me running the marathon for our adoption. I asked people to pray for me and our daughter and if led, to sponsor me running the race. The goal for the sponsorship was $3000. Well, through His people, God met that before the race. He is faithful! Absolutely amazing! So humbling as I described a couple stories before and I could tell you more and more of those stories. We raised the goal to $3500 and I think we’ll hit that as well since we’re $100 from that and some people said they want to still sponsor me but haven’t gotten it to me yet.
Yesterday morning came way too early. I was up at 5am to get ready. The race started at 7am but we had to be parked before 6:30 as they were closing roads. Amber decided to get up with me to go cheer me on with Silas. We got Silas up at 5:40am as we wanted to leave the house by 6am. As I was putting him down Friday night, we talked about getting up early for the race for sister. (Side story but when we ask Silas who I ran for, he says ‘sister’ … LOVE IT). So I turned the light on in his room and he slowly pops up and says, ‘Race?’ “Yeah, buddy, we gotta get ready for daddy’s race”. ‘Yea Daddy!’ (what Amber and him had practiced for the race) “Thanks buddy!” … Wow, boy knows how to make his daddy smile :)
The drive to the race was uneventful. We actually got there quicker than I thought we would. We met up with my buddy Kris that ran the 10k with me. He and his wife just got back from Israel and he wasn’t sure if he was going to run. He ran over there but once they got home, he got sick. So he had only ran once in about 2 weeks but he decided to still give it a go.
It was pretty chilly Saturday morning but it was perfect running weather. But with that cold weather came one thing … having to pee. Kris said the same thing. This started the conversation of what he experience when he ran the Nashville half marathon last year. This is probably TMI but I couldn’t believe it. So, skip the rest of this paragraph if you want. :) Kris was about 5 miles in to the race last year when the guy in front of him actually poo’ed on himself. Down his leg and everything. I’ve heard of competitive runners doing that because their time actually matters. Kris is not a fast runner and for someone in the middle of the pack to do that was pretty hysterical/wrong/nasty/etc. Anyways, back to my story … it was a couple minutes before the start of the race and I figured that once I started moving, the feeling would pass.
Silas chugging his milk as we were hanging out before the race
Me and my boy pre-race.
Kris and I all smiles with no pain before the race
Silas stretching with me … his better stretches weren’t caught on camera but they were hilarious
The starting line…
Apparently Silas LOVED this pig. I guess the pig was talking to another adult who was trying to fix his arm in the pig suit. Silas just kept pulling on his leg yelling ‘pig, pig, pig’ until the pig finally turned around. Silas was so generous to offer up his little dinosaur to him…
The gun goes off and here we go. The moment that all that training had been for had begun. It didn’t take long for the crowd of runners to spread out and for me to get him my normal pace. I warmed up quickly and felt pretty good. Each mile always feel farther when it’s not on your own turf. Well, I get to mile 2 and still gotta pee. I see porta-johns but decide to keep going. The first 6 miles or so actually felt pretty good. My pace was about normal for me. I did the first 6.3 miles in 1:04:33 which is a 10:15 pace.
Amber and Silas met me right around the 6.5 mile mark.
Kris running by the same spot a couple minutes later. Interesting how he’s all smiling … I don’t think I had a smile anywhere after 5 miles.
So Amber had to entertain Silas for the race … pictures became one way of doing that along with eating breakfast, playing, etc. Here are a few of the pictures from the wait…
I love this picture!
Mama and Silas waiting for me to run by
Silas about to practice his running … on your mark, get set, GO!
Here he comes!
Look at the concentration and determination. We may have ourselves an athlete here. He’s definitely QUICK!
How can you not love that boy!?!
The next 6.8 miles were another story compared to the first 6.3. Especially the last 2 miles. I was really starting to wear down and still had to pee (sorry for all the pee talk). I decided at mile 11 to stop to go. BAD MOVE. By stopping my lower back and calves thought it was time to lock up. I could not get them loose again. I did a run/walk for the last 2 miles. I’d walk and try to stretch them out but it didn’t really work. There was definitely alot of praying and alot of thinking about my baby girl. As I said on Facebook, I was praying for the rapture those last 2 miles. Come now LORD JESUS! :)
About 1/4 mile to the finish line!
AHHHH … there it is!
All that matters is that I finished! That’s the main thing. And my goal was 2:20. Can you guess my time??? 2:19:39!! I’m telling ya … God is faithful!
My buddy Kris finished in 2:27:52 which was a personal best for him … which is incredible being that he had only ran once in 2 weeks.
After the race by the finish line
Kris and I after the race … yes, that is about as fake of a smile as you’ll see out of me.
How am I feeling today? Sore as you can imagine. My quads are pretty painful and stairs are my worst enemy. Nevertheless, I’m alive and well. And it’s fun to tell the God story … the marathon is just the instrument God used to see if I would be obedient to Him. It’s crazy to see how close I was to saying no … who am I kidding … I did say no many times … His grace let me finally say yes to Him.
So some things I learned from this race….
- I hope to not see that much of the town on foot again
- If I do ever do a race again and gotta pee, bite the bullet and go early on in the race
- I already knew this but Africans can flat out fly (guy that won it is from Kenya and his time was 1:05:43 (that’s 5:01 miles!)
- If God invites you into something that you have no real desire doing, He will carry you through it.
So here’s the real question– What is God inviting you to and you’ve been telling him He’s got the wrong person?? It’s funny that we think that the One who created us doesn’t know us or what is best for us. If I could suggest something to you … respond today with “Here I am Lord, send me!” He will guide you, direct you, lead you. I am living proof of that.
Thanks again to all you who have sponsored me, encouraged me, and prayed for me. I sincerely could not have done it without you. THANK YOU!