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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Life Is A Marathon

It was my first marathon.
I had never ran 26.2 miles.
I began the race full of excitement that I was taking on this challenge.
And I had a stomach full of butterflies!

I was completely new to such an experience, but I had my cousin was running it with me.
A half marathon was more familiar to us and I knew it would be the easiest part of the race.
This first 6 miles was just the warm-up.
At mile 10, realization finally set in when the half-marathoners split off to the right and we kept straight.
There was no going back.
This is also when I lost my cousin.
I knew I would not be able to locate her in the massive pack that continued like a stampede.
I looked forward and kept running, realizing I was now going at this alone...
(But I was not going at it alone.)

At mile 15 a surprising unassurance came over me. I knew that my body would carry me to mile 20, but could I run the last 6.2 miles? At the steady pace I was carrying?

Up ahead of me I noticed a group of guys running together, one of them holding a sign.
It was a pace group.
Pace groups are there if you want to finish at a certain time.
I thought, 'Oh! there is the 4 hour 30 minute pace group.'
But my eyes had deceived me, as I etched closer the sign's numbers stood out as if it were a neon sign in the dark..

4:00 estimated finish.
Should I slow down?

Two things went streaking through my head:
1. I had extremely underestimated my ability to run the race at this pace.
                                          2. At mile 20 I would fall over and be left for the buzzards.

Contemplating both heavily, I hit mile 16 and came upon a young boy holding up a sign, that read:
"Trust Your Training"

Let me make a side note here. I never run with a watch.
I usually am very much against it.
It doesn't matter if I am running a half marathon or a 5K.
I run because I love it, not to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
I like to listen to my body, if the pace feels good I run it, regardless of time. I only wore one for the first time this day, because I did not want to overdo it the first half and NOT finish (adrenaline can do that)..

But I was listening to what my training had taught me.
SO I trusted it, like the sign said.
Mile 15 to 20 were the longest, one mile from the next felt like eons apart.
But I kept pushing forward at the same pace.
At mile 21 I was feeling great. It was the farthest I had ever ran!

My legs felt good.
But my mind was exhausted, it was all mental at this point.
Mile 24 hit me hard, emotionally. You think the last 2 would be the easiest, or the most exciting, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had come so far, but realized I could not do it alone...AND had not alone the whole race...
I could feel God pushing me further, telling my legs to keep running.
I could feel my pace quicken in that moment.
He was there.
But not until that very moment, out of any single moment in my life had I truly felt God's strength within me.
Then the song My Redeemer Lives by Nicole Nordeman came on my ipod.
I started to cry but stopped myself, not wanting to drain myself, knowing that crying would only make breathing difficult.
I wanted to cry, not because of any pain... but the joy inside me.
I was extremely overwhelmed with such a passion.... for running, for life and mostly for God!
It was just...
And the pavement.

At mile 25 it was one long, slow hill.
 I get to the top of the hill and it is mile 26, just 400 yards to go!
I turn the corner to complete the last stretch, and the one person,
whose face could push me through, is there.
My mom.

The look on her face will be forever engraved in my heart.
There is literally one foot between us. We both look at eachother and I start crying.
Her eyes start watering as she yells, 'Go Aeron! Run! You are almost there!'
Such strength possessed me at that very instance.
And the guy who had been running beside me looks at me and yells, 'let's do this!'
We both take off.
As we run I look to my other side and see my mom and my sister running along the fence beside me, both chanting my name.

It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life.
And it was captured.

I cross the finish line with my hands raised high to the Heavens.
I cry and smile at the same time.

I did it.
The marathon was a beautiful comparison to life itself.
I started off the race, not alone but with help.
The farther I ran the more I grew.
There were moments in the race when it was just God and me.
There were hills, lots of them. It was not easy, but they made me stronger.
He sent encouragers, like the guy pushing me to run faster with 400 yards to go.
He sends us messages.
Like the boy at mile 16, holding the sign 'trust your training'.
Or knows when we can do it with His strength alone, like mile 20-26, that is when I truly grew...
..not only as a runner, but as a child of God.
Someone told me that after this race I would never be the same, he was right.
I am not.
I feel that I truly understand what it is to have the strength of God pushing me onward,
carrying me to the finish.
It is a feeling like no other.
And one day when I have reached the pearly gates of Heaven,
I will see all those faces precious to me... like my mom's, like Jesus!
Waiting for me at the finish line.
Then too, will I run with my hands raised high and a smile on my face..for I have completed the race called life.

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

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  1. Your post is absolutely moving. The words you write with paint the true picture of what you went through. Tears were in my eyes reading the words because they vividly explained your experience. Inspires me to go after one of my goals of running a half and hopefully one day a full marathon. Life is a marathon!!! And Jesus face will be a great peace at the end of it.-Larissa

    1. THANK YOU, Larissa! You should go after your goal, you can do it!