I remember sitting on the ground, crying from the pain and wondering if it was broken and also feeling deeply disappointed because I had planned on running three miles that following morning.
It was a slow seven weeks of wrapping, taping, icing, elevating, and adjusting, but eventually my foot healed as I continued to run.
I registered for the race seven weeks into my training. (Yes, you read that right.) I trained for a half marathon and then signed up for it the week before the race. (You can’t blame me though, as I wanted to ensure my foot had healed properly.)
On my last training run - three days before the race - I woke up to my alarm and to the sound of rain.
I got out of bed and laced up my shoes anyways.
I ran in the steady rain and felt like I could have been on a Nike commercial. I smiled when I realized that I had trained in all of the possible elements come Race Day - heat, humidity, cool, wind, hills, and…rain.
I came home, soaking wet, to find my husband so I could tell him I was officially trained. I was fired up and he just smiled.
Race morning, I drove myself down to a block away from the Start and pinned my bib onto my shirt. I ensured I had my gloves and my recipe card of various scriptures I had written down to read during tough parts of the race. I put a banana bread muffin in my jacket pocket and slipped my iPod Shuffle into the pocket of my running tights.
The start was electric as a wide variety of ages, stages, and body types had all gathered to run the 5K, 10K, and Half. I stretched nervously with five minutes to spare and stood proudly with my hand over my heart when someone sang the National Anthem.
I had goosebumps, and not only because of the brisk, 58-degree morning.
I had asked God if I could be awake and He had said, “Yes!”
This was my year to run and my morning to race.
Knowing that Clinton’s Half Marathon has its fair share of hills, I ran every possible hill I could during my training. If I’d see one, I’d look at it and say, “I’m going to train you so I can scale you.”
It was helpful, as come Race Day, we ran north on Springhill Drive which is a steady .8 of a mile of climb. I had trained that hill (only backwards) and told that to Frank Bay, a 78-year-old gentleman who was running next to me. I was wound up and he just smiled.
I stuck with Frank for a few miles and then realized that he intended on running at a much quicker pace then I had trained for, so I decided to back off a bit.
I was going to run my race.
And on Sunday, September 9, 2018, I did just that. I ran the first 6 miles listening to nothing but the sound of my breath, steps, and fellow runners around me. Miles 7-12 I listened to worship music on my Shuffle. At Mile 12 I was still running hard and with a little over a mile left remember thinking, I am not ready to be done!
I wanted to soak up every last part of the race, so I put my Shuffle away.
As I ran my last 1.1 miles, I couldn’t help but smile and thank God.
I thanked Him because He had healed my foot and kept me injury-free all training. He had blessed my early morning runs of waking up at dawn in order to get my mileage in, to find the children still asleep when I arrived back home. He had given me energy not only for those early morning runs, but also for the rest of the day. He had graced my husband to be supportive of me and my children to be interested in me. He had given me encouragement along the way from handfuls of friends and family who inquired of my training and wished me luck on Race Day.
I had faithfully run over 120 training miles to run 13.1.
That morning, I embraced all of it. I welcomed the sunshine, slight wind, hills, and quick sips of water and Gatorade at Miles 2, 6, 8 and 10. I thanked the spectators, cheerleaders, and friends that had made up signs and given me hugs from the curb. I ran hard and fast and when I looked down at my watch and did the math, I couldn’t help but smile. I was going to PR.
And I did. I ended up shaving 19 minutes off my time from 2015 when I ran it three months pregnant with my fourth child. This year, I got 4th in my Age Division and was one of the 116 participants to cross the finish line.
And when I finished, my emotions were so full that they ended up spilling from my eyes. I had done it and God had been with me every step of the way.
Isaiah 40:30-31 says,
30Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31but 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.
So wherever you find yourself in the journey of letting things sleep or embracing them fully, may you trust His timing and answer.
And until He says something different, you’ll find me awake…and running.