We began with a 5 am wake up call, dressed for success, and headed out to pick up 2 neighbor friends before heading downtown. We knew 17,000 people would be running today, but it didn’t quite sink in until we saw the line of red tail lights all getting off at one exit. After a 40 minute wait, the girls decided to jump ship to head to the starting line in time. Aaron so kindly gave up his on-time start to locate a parking spot (which he had no money for since it was in my pocket, gulp).
With a warm-up under our belt, we were ready to start, weather was great, spirits were high, and then… the people. So many people, in fact, there was no more room in the starting corrals. We had to wait for the race to start and the herds to move in order to make room for us to jump in. But before we knew it, we were off!
Right away, I was given a gift. Four years now, I have had a friend experiencing the same adventure. As we ran alongside each other, my mind repeatedly relayed glimpses of sights, sounds (and smells) that have transpired over those same roads. What a joy! My legs were treating me well as we zigged and zagged around people and road obstacles. At times I felt like we were in a video game, a familiar one at that. The miles ticked off, one after another, and the thought that washed over me was this…
What a joy. What a privilege. I hope I do not ever take for granted the gift of the ability to be ABLE to run.
Pain free? Not so much. I had a nagging injury related to my sciatic nerve. It reached up and grabbed me at mile seven. What it didn’t reach was my mental stamina. I found myself at peace. One mile at a time. I ran just as my training runs have been, running in the moment how my body could handle. Amazingly enough, I was able to maintain a pretty steady pace. Some may call this tenacity, I know the source of this capability, and it’s not my weakened body.
I found myself praying throughout the streets. I wondered how Aaron was faring. You see, he decided just two days prior that he would run. Many would say he was crazy, just now coming back from an injury, but he had been taking great care of and listening to his body, and ultimately, He was trusting the Lord. His story is one for the books. He has such a marker for the remarkable power of the Lord’s ability to restore despite the odds. He too ran with peace.
I prayed for my friend Amanda, you see, as I was veering off to finish, she was only half-way done. She ran with such peace when I saw her. Just one year ago, she experiencing a crushing blow from a car, and here she was again today, just content to be able to finish such a task. She finished well. She finished with her best time to date.
I also prayed for my friends Jen and Richard. We ran for Gracehaven today due in part to their passion in getting the word out. This was their first. They finished well. I prayed for my sister-in-law and her sister, running together. I prayed for friends Heather, Keith, Dave, Chris, Angela, Stan, and Trevor. A few of the many who had trained for this special day.
The race ended with a time that exceeded my expectations, but more than that, I realized what God was intending to show me today as both Aaron lifted me high in a hug, then my father who wrapped his arms so tightly around mine…
Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.