Today was the Thunder Run 5K. Thankfully, for me, they had a 2 mile walker option. But, even with the modified course, I was hesitant to sign up. I wanted to do this. To accomplish something I hadn't before. I can "mosey" 2 miles and do ok. But, there is something about competing in a race, and finishing last, if I finish at all, that brings back all these terrible high school memories of me not being able to finish the mile for the physical fitness test. But, with the support of my friends from church, and my amazing husband, I decided to go for it.
It was not long into the race when I realized that things did not look good. By the time I was a 1/4 done with the race, I was far behind anyone else. At the 1/2 way point, I could no longer see another race participant. It was about that time that I began to sob. My muscles hurt, and I couldn't believe I had only done a mile. I was all by myself, and I felt despair.
I clung to the Bible verses that I had written down earlier. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." I prayed verses back to God from Psalm 51 and asked him to give me a steadfast spirit, and to remind me of the joy of salvation through this. I even one time said outloud, "Ok, God, You are my Walking Buddy."
As I had to stop and stretch out my muscles that were cramping, I was feeling like I was going to vomit. I did my best to rely on God, to not cry too hard, and to be proud that I made it over half way, and that each step made me closer to the finish line.
As I turned a corner, I noticed another person walking towards me. It was my friend Crystal. She did an amazing job, and finished the race in 22:10! She came back to finish the race with me. I saw her and just began crying because I was so embarrassed, but yet so relieved to have another person to walk with. As we continued, my friends Brian and Bethany appeared as well. Would you believe they came and walked with us too?
I felt so supported. As we began the downhill trek to the finish line, Cameron, Tenae, and Paula all showed up to cheer me on for the last few minutes of the race. I was just overwhelmed by the love and support I saw. Then, when the finish line came into sight, I could see David and Daren gathering a few people to bring to the finish line so I would have a cheering section as I crossed. I couldn't help but sob with relief, excitement and the overwhelming sense of love I had from my friends. People were cheering and clapping as I RAN to the finish line. My friend Misty has a young boy Logan, who I think is 6, who handed me a cold bottle of water. I remember hugging so many people, but the ones I remember most are David, who just held me for a few minutes after I finished, and then Cameron, who I think was crying just about as much as I was, and Lynette, who when she hugged me, made me feel like I had won first place. Oh, what an amazing feeling.
As I reflect on this day, there is a lot that floods my mind. The first is, I finished last in this race. But, I finished! And I improved a lot. My personal best for 2 miles before this was 55 minutes. This time I finished at 49:53 (The clock said 50:53, but walkers started 1 minute late!). The next thing is, not everyone can say they have an entire brigade of people WALKING WITH and CHEERING FOR them. I am so blessed to have the people in my life that I do.
All I can think about is a verse I had written on my card this morning. Hebrews 12:1 "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." How awesome does this verse describe this race, and my journey with weight loss all together?
The humiliation of finishing last (like not just kind of last, but so far back in last place that they would have never know I was coming, without people telling them) could have been terrible. I could have wanted to crawl in a hole and die. But, I actually forgot for a second I was last, the way my friends were at the finish line, cheering me on, supporting me.
I could never accomplish the things I have without the support of the people God gave me. What an amazing and humbling day. To God be the glory...for my friends, for my perseverance, and for my victory...even if I did get last place!