On Sundays when I do my long runs, I really use that time to think and clear my head. The last couple of weeks before this week, I'd had a running buddy with me. It was super nice to share with one another about our struggles and before we knew it, the run was done!
However, this last week, I was without my running buddy. And y'all, the 11 miler I did on Sunday was BRUTAL.
Miles 1-3 are my warm-up miles. I get myself situated and my body warmed up.
Miles 4-6 are my golden miles. It's when I really get into my rhythm. I usually have hit a water station or two by now and I feel my absolute best.
Miles 7-8 is when things tend to get a little harder.
I'm still very new to this running thing. Yes, I've been running all year, but long distances are a whole new world for me. I should also add that I really think my hardest through miles 1-8. I get out all my aggression or stress during that time. I really lay out my troubles to God.
Guess what happens around 8.5-9 miles? I'm tired and my body starts to hurt. I am in good shape. At this point, my coach says that I am physically ready for this race. But long distances are hard on the body. They just are.
When I'm running with a buddy, this is where the encouragement and conversation is an EXCELLENT distraction. I hurt, but I am thinking about what the person is saying so I can contribute to the conversation.
My running coach also says that running by yourself is good for you mentally because you have to prove to yourself that you can do it.
Mile 8.5 hit this past Sunday and I felt like I couldn't go any further. Mercifully, there was a water station, so I got some water, walked through finishing my cup of water, and then started again.
And all I could think about was how sore I was.
I thought about how much further I still had to go. 2.5 miles isn't that far and is chump change in the grand scheme of things, but when they are the last of the 11 miles, things get hard and quick.
When I hit mile 9, I took another walk break. When you're training, my coach has told me to just stay on my feet the entire time and that a little walking doesn't hurt.
At this point, I didn't know how I was going to finish off the last two miles, but God did. I started saying out loud "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)
I said it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...
....and over and over and over and over again.
Around mile 10, I saw a lady and she asked me how far I was going, and I told her 11 miles. She said, "Just keep going!"
I didn't know this lady at all. But she knew my go-to phrase. And I got the energy I needed. I don't think that was coincidental either.
Right after I passed her, the light from the sun broke through the trees and lit up the running trail and I knew that it was one of those moments where God was just letting me know He saw me.
I cried when I hit mile 11. I even shouted "YES!" really loud!
Running those miles, just me and God, was a powerful moment for me.
I can't wait to run with Him on race day!
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