so today was the day i've been waiting for for a LONG time!
i ran/walked my first half-marathon!!
when i began training, i had hoped to be able to train to run the 13.1 mile race, but as i trained more and more, i began experiencing pain that would occur even in short distances. so i stopped my hardcore training and decided i would run what i could and walk when i needed to.
but nevertheless, Christ strengthened me GREATLY today and finishing my first half was the best feeling ever! (Also, the race i ran was the Palmetto Half Marathon and something i REALLY admired about this race was that the race coordinator led us in prayer before we ran! i LOVED that!)
...but let me share a little secret with you.
it doesn't matter how much we train.
it doesn't matter how many races we've run.
we always need encouragement!!
this is the sign i made to wear on my back as i ran.
1) to keep as a memento of running my first half marathon (along with my bib, timing chip, and medal!) and 2) to remind me of WHY i was able to do it.
i'm usually a "front-of-the-middle-of-the-pack" runner.
i usually run about a 10-minute pace, but i knew today i had to be a little more conservative in order to avoid calf cramps and shin splints and to make sure i could endure through 13.1 miles. i started where i normally would and started strong. but as soon as i felt like i needed to walk, i did.
but several people ran up beside me during the race to wish me luck ... or to say that they loved the sign ... a few people definitely encouraged me, too, in the moments i was walking: they would either encourage me to run again or they would tell me to "keep it up" or i was "doing great!"
those moments are definitely what made my race more memorable and enjoyable.
about 4 miles in, i was getting a bit tired. prior to this morning, the furthest i had run was 7 miles, but i KNEW i could endure it. i just had to keep up with my spirit. at this point, i was probably in the middle of the pack, where a lot of people, like me, were alternating walking and running. but i made a point whenever i passed someone to tell them "Good job! Keep it up!" some people ignored me and kept running, others would say "thanks" or "you too". but i feel like most of the people who responded were encouraged and it gave them that little extra ooomph to keep persevering! ((plus, focusing on who i could encourage made the miles go by a bit quicker! i wasn't worried about "5 down, 8 to go ... 6 down, 7 to go", i was thinking "that woman in the red shorts started walking, if i can make it to her before she starts running again, i'll tell her she's doing great!"))
if you're a runner, you probably identify with me.
(and even if you're not, you probably still identify that being encouraged can turn a gloomy day upside down!)
sometimes, all you need is someone saying "You can do it! You're almost there!" to give you that extra spring in your stride.
sometimes, all you need is someone saying "You're doing great!" to give you confidence to finish.
sometimes, all you need is to see a sign that says "I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me" to remind you of the truth.
i was proud to wear that sign today!
i was proud to be the encouragement that someone needed to run today.