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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Race Recap: Day After the End of the World Marathon 12/22/2012

The good news: We survived what was supposed to be the End of the World according to the Mayan calendar! The even better news: That meant we got to run the Day After the End of the World Marathon!

Yes. We figured, what a better way to end life on earth as we know it than with a marathon, and, if the world didn't end, what a better way to celebrate than another marathon! So we signed up for both, the End of the World and the Day After the End of the World Marathons.

My friend Jesse Hardy and I ran the first one together, while our wives, Heidi and Janice, did the halves. That was Heidi's first half and Janice's second. For the Day After the End of the World, it was Jesse, Heidi, and I all running the full, and Janice doing the half.

I have to brag on both our wives. Janice's first half was at St. Jude, earlier this month. Only three weeks later she completed a double half for her second and third. Amazing! Then Heidi's first half was on Friday, and her first full on Saturday! Again, amazing! We are both blessed with absolutely amazing wives. :)

Now let me describe my race experience.

On this day, I'd wear bib #14. As always, I searched for a Bible verse to correspond. It's amazing how God's word can work through something as simple as the bib I wear in a race, but it does! Once again, I found a verse that fit fantastically.
"Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." -- James 1:4

Talk about a perfect verse to meditate on for the second marathon in two days!

As I went to bed the night before, after the first one, my legs were stiff and sore, so much so I wasn't really sure about the next morning. But, as I tested them out when I woke they weren't quite as sore, still sore, but not quite so sore. After walking down and back up the stairs to get a cup of coffee, they were quickly loosening up.

Still, I didn't know how they'd react when I hit the trail to run.

But the Good Lord had it all worked out, like He always does. As we crossed the timing mats that marked the start line, my legs actually felt better than they had 24 hours earlier when we started marathon #1.

Jesse had decided he and Heidi were going to use a 10/3 rotation, 10 minutes running followed by 3 minutes walking, to get through this race. I'd never tried this before, always going to a run walk when I HAD to late in a race. Never before had I started alternating like this. I went back and forth a little bit on whether to try it with them or go on ahead.

But try it I did, and it actually worked pretty well. We finished the first loop in 1:35, on track for a little over 6 hours to finish. The second loop we completed in 1:33, a negative split! Things were going great! The third loop took a little longer, 1:38, but we had walked the last 3/4 of a mile in on that one.

I (we) had finally hit the wall toward the end of the third loop. When I started up the last little incline on the loop, my body told me it was time to walk it in. But still, for the 2nd marathon in 2 days, things had gone really well. We'd kept up the 10/3 split, and a respectable time, for 20 miles of the race!

We walked the entire last loop, but I was pretty happy when we crossed the finish line only 14 minutes later than we had the day before. My chip time was 7:04 at the finish line and I was ready to be done.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." -- 2 Timothy 4:7

And that's what it was really all about, finishing the race.

The surprises that made the race more difficult, the long course on trails, the day before didn't catch me off guard on this day. We knew of them all too well by now. In fact, the only surprise on the 2nd day was the course had been shortened a little overnight. Instead of the previous day's 28 mile race, we ran a 27.2 mile "marathon" the 2nd day.

But the Good Lord above kept us going, finishing what so many thought was impossible, two marathons in two days. It wasn't any power of mine that got me through them. Having Jesse and Heidi there helped, but that wasn't enough either.

Just like in so many other things, from Amanda's death to finishing other races, Jesus Christ was the only reason I could keep putting one foot in front of the other until the very end. He kept me going when my body wanted to quit.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." -- Philippians 4:13

Two marathons (trail ultras really) in two days. It certainly wasn't in my humanly power to finish them. It was Jesus Christ who pushed, pulled, and carried me, once again. I can't explain it any other way.


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