In my running group, Chilton Runners, there has been a lot of discussion about marathon training. I realized that I have never written about the ONE marathon I’ve completed. We ran the 2013 Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, AL in February, so any facts about it are coming to me randomly. I’m just going to list what I remember now & then add more thoughts as they come to me later.
-It was FREEZING COLD! The first picture(top left corner) is us just before the race started. I remember being a little concerned about Matt. Lesson #1 learned: buy a cheap jacket at the thrift store that you can leave somewhere for a homeless person….or…I saw a lot of people wearing trash bags. I assume this allows your body heat to warm you. It was fun to see all the trash bags being thrown in the air as the race commenced.
-Lesson 2: Don’t discard your gloves too early. As the race progressed my body temperature rose. Thinking that I didn’t need my gloves anymore, I threw them on the ground. I was WRONG! My hands froze. The funny thing was….I just slipped my hands up into my jacket to keep them warm. I could tell how surprised bystanders were to see this handless person running towards them. They were amused(and I believe, slightly disappointed) when I would pop my hands out to relieve their concerns.
-…and #3: That big bowl of gummy bears that they hold out for you may LOOK good, but could be hazardous to your health. Just don’t breathe in deeply at the same time that you throw one in your mouth. It’s a choking hazard. Trust me.
-This was by far the most exciting racing event I’ve been a part of.
-There was a sweet lady holding a sack of candy bars to give away during the race. I didn’t realize what she had until I had already passed her. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. 🙂
-The course loops around twice. So I had a moment of glory…I had news crews in front of me & police escorts behind me….as the 1st place winner lapped me. (BTW, he finished in 2:18:47)
-I felt humbled as I ran past the Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Hospital. My race would only last a few hours, compared to their race of a lifetime.
-Most of the race, I ran behind a lady who’s shirt read: “4 marathons, 4 months, 4 my 40th birthday” I found her to be very inspirational along the way. About an hour after the race, we stopped for frozen yogurt on the way home. Guess who was there? Yep! It was her! Pretty cool right?
-I loved the signs, music, news crews, & supporters that lined the course. They were invaluable for the first half, they made it fun and the time passed quickly. At the same time, they were sparse for the second half. Just like real life, there are times when you could use encouragement the most, that you find the least support around you. You can draw strength from within during your toughest moments. Strength from the Life giver Himself, Jesus Christ.
-I couldn’t wait to get to the finish line where I knew my family would be.
-On a whim, I added this song to my playlist the night before the race(It makes me think of Matt):
It randomly played two times in a row just when I needed it….and I thought that was really neat… ❤
-“The Lord is my strength, He makes my feet like the feet of deer…” I meditate on that scripture often when I am running. During this race, I would picture Him literally being my legs, my arms, my body. He is my source of strength…in Him I am complete.
-My parents came to this race. It was so nice to share this first marathon with them. I am disappointed to find that I forgot to take a picture with them. I do have a picture of my dad’s hand holding a poster, and my mom’s gloved hand outstretched to me as I neared the finish line. That too is a mirror to my life. They have always been such a great support, mostly behind the scenes. Never pushy, but still, always present. I love them for that.
-I gave my family all “5’s” before crossing the finish line. I obviously didn’t care what my finish time was…I was just thankful that I finished standing upright and before the balloon lady. The announcer said that I was getting extra style points.
-My foot was hurt before race day. In fact I wasn’t able to run at all the last 3 weeks before the Mercedes. Even the Thursday night before the race weekend, I tried to wear high heels to a wedding and couldn’t do it. I honestly felt in my heart that I was supposed to run this race, or at least try. I don’t recommend doing that normally, but I’m glad I did…this time.
-I believe that you always need a “WHY”. Why will you stay focused when you want to quit? Last year’s WHY’s: To earn a 26.2 car decal. Because I don’t think Matt would have wanted to run it without me. For my friends that needed to know that it’s possible. It is possible to do those things that your mind and body says, “No way. That’s a crazy idea. Not possible.” If the Lord says to, then…”Yes, you can.”
-One of my goals this coming year is to cross the finish line in time to get one of those free massages. Last year, as I entered the building, they were walking out.
-Training for, and completing a Marathon with my husband is one of the most rewarding things I have done in my lifetime.
-and of course…from this marathon came the name of my blog:
My favorite mile. 23 behind. 3.2 ahead.
The cheering crowds are far behind and yet, just ahead… They are NOT in the NOW.
A transformation if you will. No longer only a belief that it’s possible.
But a knowing that it IS.
More than a dream… A reality.
My favorite mile was Mile 23. That was the point where I realized that all I had believed and worked for was actually going to be accomplished. It was no longer only a belief that I could and that the Lord was my strength…but it was the point that a “knowing” came into my life. A peaceful assurance that the finish line was in my grasp and was surely just ahead.
I have found that running imitates real life. In this life, we have all been at mile TWENTY-TWO many times haven’t we? I hope my blog inspires you to KEEP MOVING FORWARD through all your mile 22′s. Mile 23 and YOUR finish lines are surely just ahead!
I’m sure that I will be adding to this in the future, there were so many things to take in.
I had wished that my eyes were a camera.
Here are a few links that I found about the event if you are looking for more Mercedes Marathon info: