So, my friends, I've been back at the running. I haven't really ever completely stopped, but I haven't completely kept up with it like I was doing this summer. Does that make sense? For instance, I was a sponsor of the Run Club at school, so I was running with the kids once a week. However, making a run more than once a week? Um...it's been hard. Yesterday definitely gave me the motivation to keep at it, though!
This summer I signed up for the St. Jude Marathon RELAY race. The relay race was a new event this year that split the marathon into parts. Each five member team ran the entire course of the marathon broken up into 5k, 6k, and 10k legs. Originally, I had planned on taking a 10k leg, but I just hadn't trained like I wanted to so I switched the 10k leg for a 6k leg.
On Thursday night, I met up with a couple girls from my relay team at Starbucks to pick up my race packet stuff and talk running. It was a fun night of quick fellowship that was much needed. Even if I did take the baby with me. I have been so pumped about this race especially since my friend's daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer in early November. I wish I had signed up for the half and trained!
Friday was a crazy day, and Friday night was even crazier. I packed up Micah and all our stuff to head over to my mom's house. Since I had to leave for race day at around 6:00 AM, I wanted to not have to wake up the baby. So we spent the night with my parents while C worked his odd shift. I also had to run all over the world buying groceries to start making a dish for our connection class (Sunday school) Christmas party and pick up my Praying for Ava shirt from her aunt. Finally, I went to bed around 10:30 on Friday night pumped about the next morning.
Let me just say that I've only participated in one other race this past summer, and there is nothing like a race day. However, a marathon day? The atmosphere in the air is absolutely electric. It made me want to be an actual half or marathon race participant, but let me tell you--four miles was a big goal for me this day. I've only ran a 5K (3.1 miles) one time in my life. Other than that, my runs are typically 2.2 miles at the most. Basically, this race was pushing me at double my typical run.
I arrived downtown alone because my mom was watching Micah, my dad was working, my husband was working, and my sister was originally going to be out of town. It was an interesting morning because I was alone in a world full of people I knew and people I didn't know. I went back and forth from being excited to having time alone to sad that I had no one to cheer me on for the day. Is that weird? Logically, I knew that Mr. C would love to be there cheering for me, but it still made me a little sad to have no support. But guess what? Just when I thought I had no one, a sweet teacher from school walked over from her house to cheer me on! It was awesome to see her! Thanks, Emelia, if you read this.
On the other hand, I didn't know what to do with myself, and that was so much fun! I was the third leg of the relay out of five legs, so basically I had time to kill. I got there way too early, so I spent a big part of the day wandering around, watching people, walking to relay shuttle stops, and cheering on the marathon runners at my relay post. I also got hit on (as in by a guy not mob hit--I mean we are in Memphis) and had some random conversations with strangers I'll probably never see again! Haha! Getting hit on was a surprise, but I wasn't wearing my wedding band nor did I have my son or husband by my side. Christopher & I laughed a lot about that one. Other than that randomness, it was an awesome day! I saw lots of my friends run by, and I had so much fun.
Finally, after hours of waiting and enjoying some time to myself, it was time for me to run my leg of the race. I basically ran (for people from Memphis) from Overton Park around the Zoo alllllllll the way past Target House and LeBonheur to Beale Street. It was kind of crazy running down Poplar because never in a million years would I have run down this length of street. Haha!
I don't have an "official" time because I think they only gave us a total marathon time as a group. However, by my Nike app, I did my 4 miles in about forty-six minutes at an average pace of 12:05 minutes per mile. That's really, really slow. I know. However, on my first (and only) 5k, my time was 39:00 minutes. Considering I did four miles in right at 45 minutes, I consider that a success. I know that if I had trained effectively, I would have done a much better job. Honestly, I've never done anything better than an eleven minute mile anyway.
Today was just about making a new memory, pushing myself farther than I've ever run before, and running for sweet Ava & her family. It was also about giving back to St. Jude, and I love how our city shines on days like today. I'll never forget all the cheers, the faces in the crowd, the signs, the runners who ran in memory or in honor of someone, and just everything about this day. It was SUCH a special day that will last forever in my heart. And I've finally gotten where I can draw so many spiritual parallels in running because most of the time I actually like running.
After finishing my leg of the race, I made my way (along with a million other people--ok, just 18,000 but who's counting?) to AutoZone Park to watch the marathon runners at the finish line and collect all my race day goodies. As I watched, I couldn't help but think of these verses:
Hebrews 12: 1-3
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Another great verse was brought up today on Facebook, so I thought I'd share it, too.
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
After a great morning, I made it to my mom's house to pick up Micah around twelve-thirty in the afternoon. I picked a far place away to park, but that ended up being in my advantage as I got out without a stitch of traffic & only paid $5!
I spent the afternoon trying to nap, but I think Micah knew I was back because he woke up extra early. I cooked our enchiladas for our Sunday school social, and I was able to get C to wake up in time to go. That was a feat, in itself. All in all, my Nike app showed that I walked about 3 miles throughout the morning, and I ran 3.98 miles for my leg of the relay. So I basically clocked seven miles throughout the course of the day. We spent the evening with our Sunday school class as the kids destroyed the Bastnagel's house. At one point in time, we had fifteen kids running around with at least ten adults. Brave connection class leaders, and we're thankful for our new class at church. We were sad to leave our old class, but we really are enjoying this smaller class with some kids closer to Micah's age. =)
That was our weekend in a nutshell. I hope you had an awesome journey this weekend, and keep praying for sweet Ava. Running was difficult yesterday, and I am so sore today. However, I'm just happy to give back to an organization that supports friends like mine who are in the battle of their lifetime. You can check out their Facebook page here.
The Rotens posted this picture of Ava watching the runners today, and I stole it off of Facebook. I know that Brandon (her dad) took it and wouldn't mind. This picture is the one that melted my heart. It's amazing to see the outpouring of love on this precious family. I've seen some Christians reach out in amazing ways, and St. Jude is just an awesome organization to give to. Please continue to pray for this precious family! I know they are going to need it as this journey has just begun for them. We Believe!
Next year...I think I might actually try to do that half.
Have a great week!