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,--Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Training Week: 12/5 --12/11

I'm still training for the Little Rock Marathon, and feeling better all the time. But if you've ever participated in any kind of sport, you know that practice can get to be a real drag if you never get to compete. You can meet goals and accomplish great things during training, but it still doesn't have the same feel, the same effect, as the actual competition.

That's why I love to try and work actual races into my training schedule as often as possible. Until the end of the year, I'm running four days a week and trying to average 30 miles per week. So when I saw the Fayetteville Half Marathon listed on the calendar for last week, I knew I wanted to work it in.

Two six-mile runs and a 5-mile run during the week, along with the 13.1 mile race on Sunday would be enough to put me over my 30 mile per week goal. Even better, they had a 5K companion race that Janice and Courtney could participate in! So we packed up the car and headed to Fayetteville on Saturday.

Training Week: Dec 5 - Dec 11

Monday0 miles
Tuesday6 miles
Wednesday6 miles
Thursday0 miles
Friday5 miles
Saturday0 miles
Sunday13.1 miles
Total30.1 miles

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."--Philippians 4:13

Finishing a half marathon always feels like an accomplishment. I still remember the first time I crossed the finish line after 13.1 miles. I'm not usually an emotional person, but I got choked up when I heard them call my name and when I crossed the mat that recorded my time. It's one of those feelings that's just hard to describe to someone who hasn't experienced it. But this time was even better.

I knew throughout the race that things were going well. I could tell I had a good pace going because I never saw any of the pace groups pass me. My previous best time in a half was 2:15:41 and I came to Fayetteville hoping to break 2:10. The Lord gave me strength to keep pushing, even though the hills were wearing on me.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. "--Colossians 3:17

I don't know how many times I said the words, "Thank You Jesus!" throughout this race, but it was a lot. At the top of every hill, at the end of every long, straight stretch that seemed as if it would never end, at every mile marker, and water stop, and even some points in between, I thanked Him for getting me to that point and for giving me the strength to keep pushing beyond.

When I finally came into view of the clock at the finish line, it read 1:59:24. I tried to step it up, hoping to cross before it read 2:00:00. I didn't have quite that much left in me and stepped over the mats as the clock ticked 2:00:11. But that was the gun time, not the time recorded by the chip tied to my shoe.

Once we arrived back at home, I logged in to search the race results and was pleased to see my chip time was 1:59:59, one second less than 2 hours! Not only did I finish with a PR (personal record) but also broke through a major milestone for the half marathon. God gave me the strength. Without Him, I could never have crossed the finish line, let alone beat my previous best time by almost 16 minutes!

I hope and pray that everyone who saw me cross that finish line also saw me kneel and give thanks to the One who really achieved something on Sunday. It wasn't me, but my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who strengthened me and pushed me and carried me through the training and through the race.

It was an awesome week, and it's always a great time to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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