the journey

i ran the hardest race of my life yesterday.  the hardest run, actually.  months ago–Januaryish–i decided i wanted to try to tackle a half-marathon again.  the Indy mini, my first choice, was already sold out, so i settled on the Geist half, just two weeks after the Mini.  i gathered friends and we began training.

then an opportunity came up for me to buy two bibs for the Mini and my heart leaped.  i truly love that race.  so i bought them, and an entry to the Geist half, and vowed that i could conquer two 1/2 marathons in a 2-week period, despite the wisdom of a long-time friend and veteran runner.

the mini was wonderful, despite the cold weather and harsh wind.  by far one of the best runs i’ve ever had.  i had fun, enjoyed the run, learned what it meant to truly be present (not longing for the finish line or cookies waiting for me there), and finish something strong.  i had no doubt i could duplicate that two weeks later, given proper stretching and hydration.

i was wrong.

the Geist half was a whole different animal, complete with humidity and hills, hills, hills.  the minute we crossed the start line it hit me, the entire absurdity of what i was trying to pull off, and i immediately began to question my sanity.  by mile 2 i was already struggling.  i kept telling myself to stay present, to encourage my roommate and dedicated running partner.  but the running and the heat and the hills quickly wore me down.

by mile 8, i had to stop.  i told my roommate to go on, to finish her first 1/2 well and enjoy it without the weight of my exhaustion wearing her down.  she hugged me and went ahead, while i cried.  i felt utterly defeated at that point, all reserves completely gone.

i began to pray for Jesus to just be with me, to comfort me in what i considered to be a huge loss.  i tried and failed.  eventually, He let me in on a secret: every journey is different.  and equally important.  there are great runs, when we feel accomplished and validate and taste the delicious fruit of hard work.  and then there are runs that remind us of our humanity, of our complete brokenness and limitations.  they are both valid and important for growth.  especially the growth of our relationship with Christ.

so, in the morning after, i am still harboring bitter feelings toward that race.  especially as my body aches with each movement.  but i pray for God’s truth to continue to penetrate the lie that this race was a failure.

all that said, happy pictures from the weekend!

the runners-me, Megan (roommate) and Kelley

messages on the back of our shirts

ready for the run

at the finish, with my support crew


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