Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Finish Line

2007 Tyler Half Marathon

Sometimes I think of life in terms of a race. As a distance runner, I understand the importance of training, of ingesting just the right things to keep you strong, and the desperate need to have fans cheering you on when that hill in front of you threatens to beat you once and for all. I like the challenge of having a big, intimidating, "seems impossible" goal, because in the middle of a tough run, I find that spiritual moment where I know how weak and insignificant I really am. And when I'm at the end of my rope... at the end of "me"... I find there is always more. That surprise, that realization that you are capable of more than you think, tells me a lot about how small our perception of God is. If we really KNEW just how big He was, if we really KNEW just how much more we could do on this earth, if we really KNEW how much more potential He has placed in each of us- then we would get off our rears and be challenged to make a change. (Disclaimer: the previous words are being influenced by my current reading of Crazy Love- talk about uncomfortable... I am squirming just THINKING about Chan's chapter on lukewarm Christianity.)
So- the main reason I run (really far distances) is that it teaches me something and I like the challenge of conquering something seemingly impossible. And here's why I am EXCITED about the "finish line" in a couple months.

Summer, 2003: I decide I am going to run a marathon. I form a training group, pick a race, and talk a bunch of other people into my crazy idea. (I also meet Brad in this training group and we get to know each other through those grueling 6 a.m. long runs.)
November, 2003: Three weeks before the race, I get injured at the 20-mile mark and can't run the marathon (coincidentally, so does Brad with the same injury.... ahhh... kind of like sympathy pains?) I was pretty bummed after all those months of preparation.
Fall, 2004: Attempt #2 for the marathon, get another injury during training at the 15-mile mark. Grr.

Spring, 2005: After a new-found love for adventure racing has taken over, decide to train for the marathon a third time. Get another injury over half-way in to training and can't make it.

2006 Tyler 12-hour Adventure Race

Winter, 2007: Decide I want to, ONCE AND FOR ALL, meet my goal and run that marathon. Brad and I decide to run the Cape Cod Marathon for our 30th birthdays in October of 2008. Instead, (surprise change of plans!) I delivered Grady at the same time we would have been crossing that finish line (let me insert, here, that 30 hours of labor is a different kind of marathon, so I didn't miss out on that "challenge" aspect of the weekend. But what an adorable result!)
Present Day: Aren't you excited for us after reading my dramatic journey up to this point?! Ha- not sure anyone will ever read this. (I haven't blogged in like 6 months?) We are just 2 months away from FINALLY crossing that finish line when we run the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll marathon in November. I've changed my training approach (translation: I run a LOT less) and am so far injury-free... hang in there, little IT band!

So, if you hear the shouts of triumph all the way from San Antonio as we hobble across that finish line on November 15th, know that it's been a process over many years to finish this race (if we actually make it this time!) ... and be encouraged that just like the set backs in running, you are gauranteed to have ups and downs in your life. But you are also gauranteed to finish the race- and you aren't alone on the journey. With fans cheering you on and a heavenly Father that scoops you up when you fall, keep trudging along. There is going to be one MAJOR post-race celebration on the day we all get together at the ultimate finish- I hope there will be Chick-fil-a chicken biscuits there. :)

2009 Oklahom City Half Marathon


morgan atchley said...

MEL- i love this post not only because I love the feeling of running but it is exactly where I am at in my life right now. such a great analogy. you are such a great encouragement! love you!

Sarah Miller said...

Thank you for writing! Very interesting!!! I will pray for no injuries!! Wow, this has been a long time coming - how awesome! Hopefully Leslie and I will run into you there - we are doing the half. Maybe cheering you on. Actually you may even finish before me :) Im crazy slow!

Elisa said...

November 15 is getting closer all of the time. I'm excited for you!

Chad, Jennifer, and Hudson said...

Yeah. You are a terrible blogger, :) but are clearly really good at lots of other things. I'm so surprised to see a post. I guess if you ran less - like me - you could blog more...:) good luck and God's speed at the race. Now, pictures of Grady, please.

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Anonymous said...

So did you finish? Are you injury-free? =]