Let's back up to July....
I got an email from David Montague encouraging residents to sign up for the 2010 St. Jude Marathon in December. I had been feeling dissatisfied with my body, and decided this is the motivation I needed to start exercising. It worked for about 2 1/2 months. I went running at least 3 times a week and was working up my mileage... but then the life of a teacher happened. I began working super long hours and was unable to run anymore.
However, something crazy came over me this past Thursday when I got a text from David asking if I wanted him to pick up my packet for the race I had signed up for in July. I decided I wasn't going to let school stand in the way of my social life any longer. I had to follow through with this commitment.
Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and headed to Autozone Park. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I was running on 5 hours of sleep, ate a heavy dinner, and didn't even have the pins to pin on my bib. I had to ask a stranger how to do it. I also had no clue what a D-tag was and how to put it on. I aimlessly wondered out to the starting line and stood waiting to see anyone I knew. I finally found some MTR kids. I stood around pretending that I was pumped when really I was terrified. I began having flash backs to 6th grade Cross Country. I hated 6th Grade Cross Country, but if there was one thing my mom and dad taught me from that was to not quit once you've committed. I was committed.
It was brutal. Around mile 2 I made a friend with a woman that was an expert on half-marathons/marathons. I was so impressed with her knowledge. She is the one that helped me through. She walked with me even when I couldn't walk at a faster pace than a crawl and beat me to the finish line just so she could be there waiting for me.
This half-marathon quickly became one of those moments where the Lord reminded me of my place. As I rounded the first mile and a half I began to feel the pain. I was thinking I was crazy for even thinking about doing something like this. Then I came down the hill down to riverside drive, and I saw thousands (and I mean thousands) of people that were going before me, paving the way. Tears immediately came to my eyes as I realized the reality of this in the world... Thousands of people have done life before, and as I make my way through life I will have people on the side cheering me on, people walking beside me to encourage me and help me make it through. So here I am tearing up with each step I take, and I continue running until around mile 7 1/2.
Around that mileage, my feet began developing terrible blisters. My meniscus was also beginning to pull and felt like it's going to break on me at any moment. I slowed down and began to walk. The further I went the more painful it became. Soon I was in tears not because of this profound revelation, but because of the pain I was experiencing. Every muscle, every step.. I was limping by this point. People were giving me crazy looks, because of the amount of pain they could see on my face. Then I had the realization that this is how I should be at the end of life. Exhausted, hurting, broken, and humbled. Needing mercy and grace. The amount of relief I felt as I stumbled through the finish line was almost unbearable. I was so choked up I was unable to talk.
After taking a few pictures with my friend I made in the race, she escorted me to the medical center. A nice student nurse treated my blisters (that covered the pads of my feet), and my friend Jessica and her family came down to check on me. I finally got some food, got something to drink, and my swelling finally got better after a few hours. I walked home and soaked in the tub.
The last few days have been extremely painful. I pulled almost every muscle in my body. I have trouble walking because of the blisters on the bottom of my feet, as well as my pulled leg muscles. Making this the worst decision I have ever made, but I wouldn't trade it. It felt like I was given the opportunity to bear a physical burden and have my eyes awakened to the life that Christ calls us to live. Victory through the hard things.