Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Finishing the Race

About two years ago I decided to run my first 10K race.  I had run several 5k races, and thought it would be great to challenge myself by pushing it up a notch.  I talked to my running partner, and she was also on board for the challenge.  We trained for a good part of the year, and I did a practice 10K run on my 43rd birthday.  I finished with a decent time and thought I would be prepared for the famous Peach Tree Road Race on July 4, 2012.  The night before the race I drank coconut water, ate pasta, and woke up ready to run.  The adrenaline and excitement was pumping through my veins, and I felt ready!

I started the race strong.  My first mile was my own personal record of 8:12/mile.  I couldn’t believe it!  I stayed on a steady pace with each mile coming in well under 9 minutes, which again is very good for me.  There were some monster hills that I had to walk some of the way, but my time was so good, it didn’t stress me in the least.  I kept on trekking.  I got to the 4 mile marker, and I started to feel a little fatigued, but I was more than half way done, so I was able to push through it mentally.  Finally, I got to the 6 mile marker and I knew the end was near.  Then I saw the red carpet and cameras and I knew I made it.  I did it!!!!  But the runners around me were still running.  That finish line was just a photo op.  There was still about .5 miles to go.  I said “AWE SHIT”, and started running.  This is where everything became a blur.  I could see people out of my peripheral vision talking about me, and then I saw a person on both sides of me holding me up.  Next thing I remember is waking up in the medic tent.  A red head was trying to reach me and I began to focus in on her.
This is where things get a little crazy.  What I remember most about those moments after regaining consciousness is a transparency of my heart.  I remember feeling completely raw and honest.  It was amazing, because the fear we sometimes meet with being truly authentic, was not there.  I didn’t care about what anyone thought of me, and I was wide open.  That poor red head had the privilege of hearing all my secrets, my fears, my vulnerability; she heard everything.  Thank God I’ll never see her again!  Though I don’t remember what happened before I woke, I will never forget the freedom my soul felt during those intimate moments with the infamous red head.  As I got closer to regaining my senses, I did not think I finished the race, and I felt completely defeated and disappointed.  At this point, I burst into tears because I had gotten so close to the finish line, and in my eyes, I failed.   Everyone tried to console me, but there was nothing anyone could say to make me feel better.  Later that evening when I was home resting, my running partner texted me and said YOU FINISHED THE RACE.  Your time is posted!  I could not believe it.  There was a link on the website that actually showed each runner passing the finish line.  I did not believe it until I saw it for myself.  The two people I saw in my peripheral indeed grabbed each of my arms, and they walked me over the finish line.  At that point I was about 10-20 steps away from the line.  As soon as I crossed over, I collapsed in their arms…I’ve since wrote a thank you note and was actually able to connect with one of them. 

I often compare running to life, because just when you think you can’t go any further, you find strength deep inside to take just one more step.  I’ve been thinking about the race a lot over the last few days, comparing it to the life journey I find myself on.  At the beginning I made such great leaps and strides (just like the first miles of the race), but the last several months have felt like the last two miles of that race.  I’ve been fatigued and I’ve felt like giving up more than once.  But over the last week, just when I felt like I was going to pass out again, I saw help in my peripheral.  It came in several different forms, but what I'm realizing is, just like in that race, I’ve come too far, worked too hard, not to finish the most important race of my life: ME.   Just like God sent those angels over to me during the road race, which gave me the support I needed to step over that finish line; I feel like he’s sent an army of angels to surround me over the last few weeks.  These angels have come in various forms from people to books to text messages to signs that are buried within a particular lesson.  I am in such a clear and authentic place right now, and I know without a doubt it is because of all the angels that continue to give me support.  It is ok to ask and accept help in crossing the finish line.  Until the next race...So grateful!

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