Today is another anniversary of my 29th birthday. Yep, I’m still 29!
I have a messed up idea of a ‘fun’ birthday gift because I can barely move today. My bucket list included running a marathon and I figured there could not be a better time than before I turn 29 again. I didn’t decide to start training until about 6 weeks before the Land of Oz Marathon in Olathe, KS. Most marathon training schedules are 16 weeks. I felt pretty good about being able to finish it and that’s all I really wanted. My expectations couldn’t be too high with such a short training window. I didn’t sign up until the day before the run because I wanted to make sure the weather would cooperate. I did not want to run in the cold, rain or high winds. The forecast looked good, not cold and very low chance of rain.
It’s going to get a little deep now. Not “pick up your feet Season’s full of poo” deep, but more like “Deep Thoughts by Season Schwind.”
I am a person of faith, but I rarely express it outwardly. I can’t quote bible verses and I don’t post religious material on my blog or Facebook. I do believe in God. I know He is with me and has led me through some difficult times in my life. A while back, I was looking for something new to listen to while running and a friend of mine told me their church does podcasts. I really enjoy the preaching style and messages of Lifechurch’s pastor and I look forward to downloading each week’s message to my headphones. I has saved up the last 4 weeks worth of messages to listen to during the marathon. I usually turn my headphones on when I start running, but someone gave me the tip to run for a while without listening to anything. Then, turn the headphones on when you need a boost to keep going. I decided I would run seven miles before turning my headphones on.
Remember the part about me not wanting to run in the rain? Well, someone had another plan in mind. I turned my head to the left about two miles into the run and saw a lovely dark blue cloud-filled sky. I thought to myself, “Seriously, I am going to have to run this in the rain! This is not fair. This is not what I signed up for.” The clouds followed us and the rain started to come down at mile seven. As planned, I turned on my headphones and started listening to the first of a series of messages called The Counselor. As I rounded a corner between miles 8 and 9, I was dealing with rain, wind and going uphill. It didn’t look like there would be a break in the clouds for days. How was I going to finish this? I had barely started! I wanted to cry.
I started to really listen to the message and the cliff notes version goes like this - God is with you in the storm. The storm can be any struggle one faces, but in my case, on that day at that moment, I was in an actual storm during a physical challenge. I was just amazed that this was the message I turned on when I needed a boost to keep me going forward. Here are some points that stuck with me:
“Don’t let the presence of a storm let you doubt the presence of God. He is with me in the storm.”
“God is my strength. He is my ever present help in a time of trouble. He is with me in the storm.”
“He never promised me the storm would not rock me. He promised the storm would not sink me.”
“Whenever you face trials of many kinds, rejoice. Because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
“You are in the storm with the presence of God. He is for you, with you, working in all things to bring about good to those who love Him.”
I kid you not, the rain stopped when I was done listening to that message. God really wanted me to connect. I just thought it was such a perfectly timed message that I had to share it here.
Well, I finished. I ran the whole thing and in less time than I expected. I’m no Boston qualifier, but I was thrilled with my 4 hour 12 minute time.
Of course, I have to share some pictures!
One of the main reasons I picked this marathon was that it went right by my dad and Mary’s neighborhood. The kids got to visit their grandparents and walk out the door to cheer me on and give me a high-five!
Dustin did amazing running the 1/2 marathon and then he helped me run the last couple miles of the marathon. I was pretty worn out by mile 22, so I needed his help to keep me going.
Finally! The yellow brick road!
With the help of grandma and grandpa, the kids made posters and watched me finish.
I need to say a few Thank You’s.
- To our parents who entertained the kids so we could go on long training runs.
- To dad and Mary for a great carb-loading dinner and birthday cake the night before, for cheering us on and for taking pictures.
- To Dustin for supporting me in training, encouraging me and for making sure I crossed the finish line.
Now, wish me luck as I attempt to stand up, walk out of my office and up the stairs. Ouch!