Growing Apologist

Becoming a Defender of Truth

Don’t Stop!

I just recently ran in a half marathon road race with Paul, a great friend, running coach and youth Sunday school teacher.  We had been preparing for this race for months as a stepping-stone to a full marathon road race taking place next May in 2012.  I was very nervous for the race, not because I’m new to racing (I have raced long distances for college) but because I was still coming back from two years of being a couch potato.  My longest run in preparation for the race was 10 miles and for those of you unfamiliar with half marathons, the race was 13.1 miles long.  We had a plan though: we were to run for nine minutes and walk for one minute.

At the start of the race, we were towards the back of the 600 runners competing, and our first mile was something like 11:46—SLOW.  There were elbows, and shortening the stride to not step on the people in front of you, weaving in and out of people, trying to find the gaps.  My realistic goal was to run the 13.1 miles in 2:05:00, which is about 9:30 min per mile pace.  My not-so-realistic goal was 1:59:59—9:00 min per mile.  At the start though, it was a major challenge to just to keep jogging with all the people around us.  I shrugged it off, temporarily let go of my goals, and told myself to go with the flow.  As Paul had said repeatedly, “This is supposed to be for fun, right?”

We were able to pick up the pace after about mile 4.  The miles flew by fast.  Before we knew it, we had 2 miles left.  These last two miles were a struggle, more for me then for Paul.  Paul has this incredible base mileage as he has been running for some time now, and three months before, he completed a half marathon.  I was still getting my legs back.  We started talking in short two or three words: come on, we can do it, not much further.  That talk turned into: God’s strength, not mine, run for Christ and I will run and not grow weary.

At a half mile left, my stomach lurched.  Oh no, I thought.  Stay down.  We crossed the bridge and the parking lot.  Right across the street, the finish line loomed.  A couple of dozen spectators were there, cheering for the finishers.  My stomach lurched again, my legs begging to stop.  Stay down, I tell my stomach; just knowing that everything was going to come up right at the end.  We crossed the street, our legs flying beneath us.  Paul glanced down at his watch—I could see the excitement in his face at our time.  The spectators were cheering for us.  Go, go, you can do it!

Well my stomach had other plans.  Not a hundred feet from the finish, with all the people behind the ropes of the course, cheering us on, my stomach finally rebelled and whatever was left in me came up.  The cheering stopped immediately as everyone watched me empty my stomach.  They had no clue what to do.  Paul grabbed my arm and pulled me to my feet.  “Come on,” he said.  “We got to keep going.”  I nodded and forced my legs into motion.  Thirty seconds later, we stumbled through the finish line, staggering, gasping, and sweating.  Our time was 2:01:14.  Incredible.

After we walked around for a little bit, life coming back to us, I started to laugh.  With an elbow, I nudged him.  “Did you hear the crowds?”  I laughed again.  “They totally went silent when I puked.”  It was an awesome run.

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