What a weekend! Saturday, the boys and I headed down to Springfield for my 3rd 5k. We met up with my two cousins; Tabatha and Tanya, my brother and his wife and kids, and my parents. We were all signed up to run in the Bass Pro Marathon/5k. My grandparents live down there so we thought this would be a fun way to see them and also do a race. For my boyfriend, sister-in-law and cousin; Tanya this was their very first 5k. It was also my Dad’s very first full marathon.
I really don’t like running. I always enjoy a good walk but I have never been one of those people who say things like “Man, I can’t wait to go on a run,” or “There’s nothing like a good run.” That’s not me. But something about doing it with other people, in a race, is awesome. And when its your family, its even better.
Sunday morning we all rose early and headed out to Bass Pro for the big event. Tanya and Melissa decided to stay with each other and Tabatha and I together. Since Tabatha had done many of these, she agreed to stay back with me and help set my pace. Johnny was going to run the entire thing and so I didn’t even attempt to run with him. My Dad had already started his marathon at 7.
Let me set the mood here. Hundreds of people all decked out in running gear, their numbers pinned to their shirts. Ages ranging from infants in strollers to 85 year olds. Kids, with their parents, people pushing their loved ones in wheel chairs. While in the huddle at the starting line, some are stretching, some with their headphones on, others quiet and nervous. We were all pretty excited but I definitely had the runner jitterbugs.
Then the countdown begins. A shot goes off and everyone starts. At first it is really congested but people begin to spread out, to run ahead, to fade to the back. During the run it’s a constant struggle of mind over matter. With Tabatha by my side, I was able to run the first 1.2 miles without walking. That is a HUGE success for me. The last time I did that was….well..never? During the race I was constantly talking to myself, ‘It’s not that bad. Keep going. Make it to the stop sign Chelsey. Okay you are at the stop sign, are your legs giving out yet? No. Then don’t walk yet, run to the end of the street. Yay, you made it to the end of the street, now pretend someone with an axe is chasing you, would you stop to walk? No. So keep going to the next street.’ And so on. I did end up walking a few times, but tried to keep the pace up and normalize my breathing. Tab kept cheering me on, encouraging me along the way. Once she said, “you hear that music, that’s the finish line.” It was like all these emotions came over me. It’s just a silly race but knowing you are so close to completing something is so awesome. When we got over the hill and saw the finish line Tab said, “Give it all you got.” I did. I ran. Tears almost streaming down my face. Not from pain, just from pure joy. There are tons of people on the sides of the road cheering you on, “You can do it, almost there, keep going, you got it girl.” Cowbells ringing. Clapping. When I crossed the finish line I saw Johnny who was already done in front of me. (He ran it in under 24 minutes) It was emotional. I didn’t let any tears fall but just knowing we all did this together was so cool. Something you can’t describe or won’t “get” until you have done it.
I had to remind myself several times over the next 4 hours that my Dad was still running his marathon. We ate some breakfast. He was still running. We went back to the hotel, changed and checked out. He was still running. We got back to Bass Pro. Still running.
My family all lined up at the finish line to cheer him on when he came through. My mom looking gorgeous as ever, nervous and excited, leaning over the fence trying to see if she can spot her man down the road yet. At last, we saw him. There was my Dad, running his heart out, knee in pain and not giving up. We all cheered and hollered for him. They announced, “Here’s Randy Power finishing up his full marathon,” as he crossed the finish line. He completed something so awesome, something to be so proud of. We all hugged and congratulated him. People often wonder why on Earth anyone would want to run 26.2 miles? I don’t know all the answers but I know that there is always victory on the other side of struggle. For 4 and a half hours my Dad was wearing his body down, giving it all he got, tired, hungry, at times in pain, but knowing that he would be victorious in the end if he just kept pushing and it would make all the pain worth it.
When in your life have you been going through something or struggling with something and wanted to give up? Did you? Or did you keep pushing, trusting in God, knowing that victory was just on the other side. Maybe it is a physical struggle, like eating clean, losing weight, working out. Any woman who has birthed a child would understand this. 9 months you carry a baby, watching your body change and for some of you feel ‘miserable.’ Then labor comes to top it all off. But after hours of pushing and pain, victory comes in the smallest form of a crying baby that is a piece of you forever. Or maybe its an emotional one. Going through a breakup, moving to a different town for a new job that’s a fresh start. Perhaps its spirtual. Struggling with your faith, Satan tempting you to just give in to him because it is “easier” than what we are called to do.
God is a faithful God and he will never fail us but we must trust Him. We must know that victory on the other side. I never once questioned if the finish line for me was actually 3.1 miles away like it was supposed to be, I just trusted it was and would see it when I got there. While, we may not find our ultimate victory or “prize” here on this Earth, it is definitely available to all who want it. James 1:12 says “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”