"I was wondering if you might want to be my running partner for the Wichita Marathon Relay in October?" my friend Amy asks me in July. I was a little hesitant because ever since my "swelling days" I am leary of committing to something I may not be able to fulfill. There are days where my body is completely normal and other days where I feel like I am carrying an extra 8 lbs. I say that because I literally carry an extra 8 lbs.
I tell my friend Amy I will do it. Although I was unsure, God knew and I felt like it was okay.
I trained off and on depending on how I was feeling. I knew I could do it but my heart wasn't sure because of the water weight. I guess you could say I didn't really care. During my "hard core" running days I took pride in running and counted every mile to the training log and more. I just HAD to do it everyday. Everything has changed. Now I don't feel bad if I just don't want to run.
About a month ago I was doing so good with my running and swelling. I was keeping a steady pace for longer distances (thanks to Tracie for allowing me longer lunch times) and I hadn't swelled in so long. I was feeling good and confident. I got the stomach flu and it all faded away. I was so sick that I did not care what happened with me and running. I couldn't even think of running. I didn't train for a week-I couldn't. I started to get fearful of this virus and would I be able to fulfill my part-which was the first part! I just rested up and didn't stress out about it.
One week before the run I was feeling better. I started to run and was really shocked at how much faster I had gotten. I just knew I could keep this pace and get a better time than my time at the Oklahoma City 1/2 Marathon (April '08). My time was 2 hours and 7 minutes. I was ready to see what was going to happen.
A friend of mine called me on Monday and laid her heart on the line about how she had an ailment and was afraid she would not be able to run at the race. I told her I would be praying for her and believed that she was supposed to do this. We were excited about how it was going to turn out and agreed to rest when needed.
Then it happened. I woke up Tuesday morning with huge ankles. My calves were tight and my upper legs were heavy. The water had arrived. I sat Tuesdays run out and decided to do it the next day. Well the next 4 days came and went with no running. It feels like my legs are stretched tight and I cannot even enjoy the run because I am concentrating on being done. It is very uncomfortable to go through. I am currently taking a water pill that helps flush out the water but sometimes it is not enough. I cannot eat too much salt and I have to intake lots of protien.
I prayed for God to help me make it through the race and for me just to enjoy it. Running is supposed to be fun and it is. I do not want to stress out about constantly looking at my pace or worrying about breaking a record that I may miss something God is trying to show me.
I woke up Sunday morning (race day) and immediately looked at my ankles. Yep, the water was still there. I just shook my head. I wasn't even nervous because all I could think about was my nemesis. I still just laughed a prayer of how only God can pull me through. I believed Him.
We started out and I was feeling good. When I reached mile 3 I began to feel tight. I almost stopped and honestly gave up but I could not stop. My mind had given up but not my heart. That is where God communicates with you and there was no way I was stopping. I pressed on.
I uploaded new music to my MP3 player. There are songs I don't really listen to but really enjoy the beat. Songs like "This Is Why I'm Hot", "Golddigger", and "Pjanoo". Yeah after about 2 rounds of that I was ready for worship. The only problem was I had accidentally deleted all my worship songs. I was feeling tired and I noticed a mile marker. It was mile 7! I had no idea I had already ran 7 miles. Then a song came on that made me pick up my pace. "California Love," thanks to Tupac and Dr. Dre (I think) I was able to get to mile 10 in no time. Getting to mile 10 was a breeze, it was what came after that made me doubt all God had ever given me in running.
I was running on base on gravel, dirt, and bumps in the path. Not to mention 20-30 mile winds. I felt myself slowing down more and more. That was okay. I just wanted to make it at this point. I made it past mile 11 and 12 and I was beginning to feel relieved. I had turned off the MP3 player and wanted to take in the last part of the race. I am glad I did.
I was on the home stretch to mile 13 when I told myself "I'm done!" I came to the point where I was okay to walk the rest of the way. I only had 3/4 of a mile to go-I was fine to walk. I ran passed a volunteer and she said "Good job! Almost There!" I looked over and it was my friend Cindy. I said "Hey Cindy!" and she said "Wendy? Oh! I was wondering if you were running today!" At that point her son, 15 year old Zach, said "Wendy? Is that you?" and he took off after me with his Heely's on. Huffing and puffing I said "yeah, Zach it's me!" He plopped his Heely wheels up and said "I am going to run with you!" and he did. I told him, "I wish I had wheels right now." He asked me, "Is this your first race since your feet were swollen? It is cool that you are running!" All I could say without crying was "Zach you came at the right time. Thank you for running with me, I almost gave up!" He just laughed. I asked him, "Are you going to be a runner now?" He laughed and said "Oh! I can't run!" Then I laughed and said, "you are now!" I was nearing the finish line and I told Zach, "Thanks so much for running with me, you came at the right time. You will not know how much this means to me." I patted him on the shoulder and he said, "no problem." As I crossed the finish line I noticed him turn around to go back to his mom, only this time he plopped the Heely wheels down.
There was so much going on around me that I could not take in what had just happened. I thought about it on the bus ride out of the base. This is what I concluded. God doesn't want me to do this alone (race and life). I had a running partner to finish out the marathon. I did 13.1 miles and when I was done she picked up the rest of the 13.1 miles. Therefore we completed a marathon-together. When I was to my breaking point (which we all get to in life, not just from exercise) I was done, then God could step in. Although Zach may not have known what was going on, he was being used by the Lord. Zach did not have to run with me, but God used him to show me I am not alone in this "race." We all need someone to "run" with in this life. Someone to cry with, laugh with, and just have fellowship with. We are never meant to be alone or think we can handle things on our own. God is there and he sends people along the way to help you get through. Sometimes we just need to take off the MP3 player to hear what He has to say.
What will happen with the water weight, I do not know. What I do know is that God isn't worried about my health as He is my soul. I know He doesn't want this for me but if I can see Him more through this, then why would I want to rush what He is doing? Like a marathon, you have to pace yourself. You can't get ahead of the pace God set before you or you will fall out. Let God be your trainer. His training plan is one to make you a true champion!
Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. Hebrews 10:35,36
So I finished the race with 2 hours and 7 minutes. The same exact time as the one in April. Amy finished in 2 hours and 27 minutes. A total of 4:34 minutes. We finished 5th out of 10th.