remembering my london marathon…
it started with a date with my love. the one who has been sacrificing his own sleep, comfort and pride to build me up, cheer me on and support me in my goal. not just now, but for the last 12 weeks. effortlessly, too. the one who He sent to me. the one who loves me in sneakers & hair pulled back. takes me just as i am. we board & switch trains and he looks for the quickest paths, to spare my legs as much as possible. greenwich park, marathon start line, our destination.
and i thanked Him for him.
and then we arrived at the start. and tears were beginning to store up in my clenched jaw line. he snapped my picture before leaving. and sent it out like crazy. the race started at greenwich park, the center of the world: 0° longitude. he called me the center of his world at the center of the world. and i embraced it. because it’s the center of His world and my lover and my opportunity to race, those are gifts from Him. and there was literally no place i would’ve chosen to be than right there. with him. and Him.
then i used a female urinal. ever used a female urinal? don’t add it to your bucket list.
but all of us. all of us women, men, runners… we were in it together at this point. no spectators past this line. and there was some competitive spirit and there was some pride and too coolness, but there was also camaraderie. camaraderie that stirs my soul to think back on. it is unlike anything else. it is one that we could stand to breathe into all facets of doing life together, fellowship, sisterhood, tackling life before us.
the start. the slow, climatic walk to the start line. knowing the clock is running, people are beginning, but my feet have not quite begun their race yet. my heart is pounding, adrenaline ready to burst, tears from the heart push the jaw line tears closer and closer to the eyes. i wish that i could have this moment for life. cause in this moment i just feel so alive…
and i start. my race. tears welling up, spectators cheering, competitors vying for a spot, bottleneck as we each try to give it our best. you can see the competition or you can see the common goal. discourage or encourage, give in to frustration or embrace togetherness. and oh, the tears. thank you, Lord. for the health to push, for the awareness of your creation and your love for me reminding me that i can run. i can push myself knowing that a heart looking to you will be strengthened by you. your promises, your unique design, your favor. i laugh audibly at my sentiment.
and then i do it. on mile 2, i stick my hands up in the air and praise my heavenly Father. and i will call upon your name and keep my eyes above the waves, when oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace, for i am yours and you are mine. what a freak! yes, yes indeed. i am home, in His arms. the love, the home that happens anywhere i remember to rest in it.
and for awhile, the miles come quickly. just give each mile, each step all you’ve got. spectators 3-deep along every inch of the route. keeping eyes focused on my feet, my path, repeating thoughts this is your race. shoulders relaxed. marathon etiquette: water bottles to the side of the road, overtaking runners with caution and allowing others to pass with grace.
and there’s my love again. mile 11. highlighter yellow jacket so i can spot him. he cheers, i blow a kiss, the tears again. hop in my step.
the miles seem to be spreading out a bit. must be further in between each. keep running your race. this is the opportunity to capture all of your training, all of your hard work, your goal & accomplishment into 1 time slot of effort. beautiful sites abound but focus remains on the steps in front of me, uneven roads, feet beginning to ache. dear minimalist shoes, i love and hate you all at the same time. every bump.
yes, feel it all.
a beautiful blur to reminisce on. seeing mo farah run by in the sparse front of the pack. oh, we must do that section where those elite guys are running next. i’m sure we just turn around right up there. ok, next bend, for sure… 2+ hours later, we do that stretch. and i laugh again at the way our bodies are created. to thrive. they are so freakin’ fast! what a masterful, detailed creator. can you imagine? thankfully, no. i cannot.
somehow getting thru those tough miles. 16, 17…22, 23…and then at 25. big ben is on my left, i know we are rounding the corner towards buckingham palace. the finish. feet don’t fail me now. “KAAACEEEEY!!!” and there he is again. this time with daughters strewn about him, on his shoulders, in his arms. baritone voice, big smile, sweet faces & small cheers “go, mommy, go!” and i do. goodness, i just try to go. this is it.
800 m left, laughter, pain, shouting, passion. round the final bend, finish line in view. and i can’t believe He knew i would be right here, right now. and when we think there is nothing left in our tanks, He puts it there. just when we think that our own striving is necessary, He gently reminds us that it’s not, He’s taken care of that. and when we cross that finish line, that end of whatever it is. that has the potential to bring US satisfaction or glory; He reminds us that this is just a snippet in the story. that this is just another opportunity to feel His love, experience His love.
cause even tougher? is when there isn’t cheering, adrenaline, obvious accomplishment. during the every day. the mundane or painful or simpler joys. all the same. all the opportunity to purpose as His beloved. those moments when they just keep arguing and i am called to step in with patience and consistency, and i fall short. or the moments where the hours in the day seem daunting. love seems distant. there is hurt & pain in relationships, brokenness. appalling stories on the news and from friends & acquaintances. fears, inadequacies, temptations. whatever the waves are, keeping our eyes above. and did i think all this during the marathon? probably not, but it is so apparent now. and requires the same free arms lifted, cry for strength, passion but is just so much harder to muster.
and i cross THE LINE. and i stop. i finally get to stop running. gingerly walking. yep, that’s my present and future for the next several days. blisters, black toe nail, absent quad muscles.
and finally, across the finish line. across the runner’s area, goodie bag collection. past the meet & greet. He greets me with the sweetest little gifts of love. covered in dirt from playing at the Horse Guards Parade waiting for my arrival. they hesitate because “you’re sweaty.” but i sweep them up and almost fall over. then he hugs me. my lover. and for that brief moment when he picks me up and my feet are off the ground, i am floating, tingling, smitten.
and we make our trek (slowly) to the tube, to our stop, to our home. after this race, in this city, in this season of life.