Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:31-
Focus. Breathe. It’s a Boston or Bust kind of day.
Imagine standing on a starting line with every dream the little girl in you wants to achieve. With only 26.2 miles left to decide your fate. And with all the love of God pumping through your veins.
On September 11, 2016, I stood on the Erie Marathon starting line a changed runner.
On one hand, I was scared. I was nervous. I was angry. I even let the thought of potentially not hitting my time at the end determine what my worth would be as a runner (so wrong).
On the other hand, I was excited. I was giddy. I was so ready. I was actually screaming inside with so much adrenaline.
All those emotions were fading in and out the week prior to the marathon. I would feel doubt and then suddenly be overcome with tears of joy because of what I was setting out to accomplish. I would feel unprepared and then look at my training journal full of unimaginable workouts that we really made happen. I would feel bloated and like I was gaining so much weight but then I would remember that if I was going to run, I would have to run with the body God gave me.
I have prayed the last few months more than I ever have. I pray and spend time with God a whole lot. But, I prayed in the last week enough times to make God the best friend I have ever had. All focus never left Him.
Ultimately as a result, I have never been so calm during a race week. Nothing mattered. No stupid guy mattered. No drama mattered. No injury or sickness mattered. No work problem mattered. I felt nothing. All thanks to the big man upstairs.
I ate so well last week. I ate my favorite prerace meal (3x’s). I hydrated well. I woke up race day morning feeling unusually light. So light I was concerned about where all that food I ate the day before went. I felt good.
Coach picked me up at 5am for our last long run together of the season. The race.
Talk about a perfect day to run a marathon. The weather was more than ideal. The course was flatter than a pancake. The people were hyped up.
From the moment we hit the starting line to the moment I held my medal proud, I am not kidding when I tell you that was not me. I had more of an out of body experience than I have ever had in my entire life.
From the strength in my legs, the ease of every breath, and the drive from my heart, I have no explanation for where that came from. All I can say is that I felt something I’ve never felt before. I have no doubt in my mind that God carried me. I have no doubt that He knows the reasons behind every mile I run.
I had every ounce of confidence in Coach when I asked him (probably 100x’s), “Are we good?” I trusted every move, every word, and every mile that coach was going to get us to Boston. No matter how stubborn I am behind crowds, on lines, and wanting to push the pace, he made us run smart, run with our legs, and let me finish with my heart.
It was his 33rd marathon and my 3rd. Good things come in 3’s, right?
I saw a sign in the last mile that read “You are going to Boston.” I don’t think it hit me until then that this was a reality. That this dream I have had for as long as I can remember was about to come true.
I crossed that line in 3:26.46.
I am a Boston Qualifier.
With tears in my eyes and from the bottom of my heart, that’s one of the proudest statements I have ever been able to say. I can’t even begin to tell you how much those words mean to me.
This day will forever be one of the best days of my entire life.
Thank you. To everyone who has followed my “Chasing the Unicorn” journey. To my parents for more support in the past few months than ever before. To my Coach for being my inspiration. To my friends and family for loving me and keeping me sane through it all.
I am so blessed. God is so good.