Running a half marathon is hard. It's physically and psychologically demanding. But, the Finish is so worth it. I finished my second half marathon in 2:16 minutes (4 minutes better than my first). This time I was in better shape physically, but there were a lot of elements to overcome. I had to deal with the wind, heat, thunderstorms and rain, but a race is a race. No turning back, even though three miles into it, I was like God, please let it storm? Please? If it's lightening, they'll have to stop the race and I get an out. My stomach hurts and I'm tired. Well, in fact it did start to storm during my 10th mile and at this point, I decided no way; I am 3 miles from the finish. I'm finishing this race. I pushed on a little more, trying to get to the finish line and then it started to rain (I'm at mile 12 now). Great, and I'm so close. Then it started happening. I started breaking down on the last hill right before the finish. I got up the hill but then I stopped to walk. This girl beside me said "no, you can't quit. You're too close." You have to keep going. "Thank you!" I told her "Thank you" and picked it back up and dug in for a strong finish. You never know how you will affect or be affected by someone's encouragement. Those words spoken to me on the overpass at Clemson Road helped me more than she'll ever know (I hate I didn't remember to look for her at the finish line). I just wanted a break. That's all. I knew I was close to the finish and I knew I could finish but I was just ready to stop. My body needed a break. Life is a lot like running. Sometimes you just run and run and things get thrown at you left and right and you think, God, I just need a break and then I can keep going. The reality is we don't get a break. We don't get to say, "God, take this from me for a moment and when I'm ready, I'll pick it back up." But we do get the peace of knowing that our Heavenly Father is right there with us during the struggle. He gives us strength daily to keeping running our race. It's up to us to determine how fast or slow or determined we'll be to get to the finish. Now that I have Half-Marathon number two completed I have a few more lessons to share:
13.1 More Lessons From My Journey
- Run your own race. It's about you and you only.
- Run with faith and stop looking back and having doubts.
- Believe. It all starts with what you Believe.
- You can make it through the worst conditions as long as you keep going.
- Sometimes it's ok to slow down and even to walk, but never stop and never quit. As they tell me, it's during those times when your breakthrough is right around the corner.
- Hills make you stronger. You see what you are made of when you can run up the hill without stopping. Runners hate hills but they are unavoidable obstacles in a training and in a race. The good thing about running is you get to see the hill and anticipate how steep or long it will take you to climb. In life, you don't. You just have to activate your faith and believe you're moving closer to the top.
- It's easier to become discouraged than it is to try.
- It takes Determination.
- Encouragement is priceless. Two people spoke something into my spirit during my race week that was totally unexpected, but right away I knew it was God-sent. Run without restrictions and self-imposed limitations and anxiety. God wants us to have faith and to believe. When you start to relax and run freely, you'll see all kinds of strongholds breakaway and you'll start to run your best. He'll restore to you what was taken away.
- The enemy is real, but guess what God made me a promise and he'll restore everything (plus more) that the enemy stole. In due time…..
- Running builds relationships and character. As SMC pointed out, we bond over runner's trots, a hard run and sore muscles.
- You can't do anything alone. Even while running my own race, I lean on the encouragement of volunteers cheering on the course, runner's agonizing beside me, friends at the finish line and my trusted running buddy who always comes back to get me. "Come on, you can do it J!"
- And don't let me forget, Black Girls DO RUN! Yes, we do. And, some of us aren't afraid to sweat out our hair either.
I am grateful for my wonderful mom.
I am grateful I can say I've completed two half-marathons.
I am grateful that I know God.
I am grateful for a day off.
I am grateful that one day (soon I hope) Apple will re-stock their IPAD 2!