My First 5K

9:06:00 PM

March 12th, Saturday morning, 6:00am, my morning began. 
The sun was shining and I knew what lied ahead, but I woke up peaceful, not nervous, watched the news and had my usual cup of coffee.  Somewhere between sipping coffee and getting lost in the news, I looked up to check the clock and the reality of the day had just set in.  It was 6:55 and it dawned on me that I would be running in ONE hour.  That last gulp of coffee went down with a burn.  Through all of the nerves, I managed to scarf down 2 pieces of toast, had multiple trips to the bathroom, and fumbled my way out the door. 

Running late, as always, the plan was to get there at 7:40, just 20 minutes early to say a prayer with some other runners and then begin the race.  The stress of the race, running late and 2 hungry little girls, had my stomach doing flips.  We turned on the road to the YMCA and to my dismay, there were only a few cars in the parking lot.  Were we the only people running the race?  No.  We were just an HOUR early for a race that was supposed to begin at 9am, not 8.  So for those that we asked to come and join us for prayer... I love to pray and believe me I did my share before the race, but I would never ask you to pray an hour and a half before a race!  I bet you thought I was crazy or either REALLY nervous. 
Possibly both.

This turned into a blessing.  The extra time allowed for my nerves to calm, one more trip to the bathroom and for me to see all the pros and amateurs arrive. 

It was time to line up. 
I found myself standing in a large group of what looked like all professionals.  My only strategy... line up on the left side of the road so that I can wave at my husband and the girls.  I am absolutely sure that Tori who was standing next to me could hear my heartbeat pounding a mile a minute. 
Distracted with all of the nerves and my pounding heart, I didn't hear the horn...
just felt the flow of movement.  The RACE had begun. 

Here we GO!

I waved a quick wave to Wade and the girls, saw the flash of the camera and then looked forward.  Where did all the people go?  Wow.  They were gone!  Mile 1...  off to a pretty confident start and feeling good.  Tori and I were talking, loosening up and going a fast pace (for me), then we were faced with our first hill. 
(Little did I know that there would be 3 more) 
I was trying to take in every moment of it all.  I noticed when I was being passed, but also when I was able to do the passing.  The reality of what I was actually doing hadn't quite set in. 

Mile 2 is when the struggles began.  Thoughts of...  "Can I do this?" ..."Do I really want to do this?" were just a few.  It was really a mind over battle kind of thing.  It was like my heart had to literally keep convincing my mind that I could do this and that my body was MADE to do this. 
Then came a CRAMP in my side!  Tori instructed me with what to do, but nothing was helping.  The cramp was getting worse.  It wasn't until running almost a mile with a painful cramp that it dawned on me...  Here I do all of this "preaching" about prayer in a time of difficulty and here I was struggling to finish and I haven't even prayed.  I started to pray for my cramp.  I didn't realize it at the time, but my cramp pretty much went away as soon as I prayed. 
I guess I was distracted when I saw the Mile 2 marker up ahead.

Finishing mile 2 gave me an extra dose of energy in knowing that I had just completed most of the race.  Then came Mount Everest.  The hill in front of the Iredell County Hospital.  Okay, so for those of you that live in Statesville, don't judge... it was tough.  I looked up to the top and was almost defeated.  As I pushed myself forward, I thought of Jesus carrying the cross for me.  This thought alone was what carried me to the top.  Tori quoted Bible Verses and just hearing God's Words radiated HIS power through every muscle in my body. 

I made it to the top of the hill, legs a little wobbly and my heart rate was shooting through the roof, but I made it!  A few curves and some very vague moments that I can't remember (possibly about to pass out) I heard the all so pleasant words...

"The Finish line is just around the corner!"  With a few more pushes up yet another slight hill, I turned the curve and saw my hubby and my beautiful girls! They were standing along side the road cheering and clapping for me as I turned the corner. 

I could see the long awaited "FINISH" line, but my eyes were on Wade and the girls the whole time.  Tori and I began to sprint.  Seeing Wade and the girls standing on the other side of the finish line, I began to cry.  Still running as hard as I could, filled with so much excitement and so much accomplishment, I crossed the finish line!!  I knew at that very moment I was NOT finished...  I had just BEGUN!

With a huge embrace from Tori and my family, the tears remained constant and I was overcome with
JOY and THANKFULNESS.

I can't describe the feeling that I felt at that very moment.  Anyone out there who has ever ran a race for the first time knows this exact feeling.  I wanted to soak in every moment.  I could see the proudness in my husbands eyes.  I was so proud of myself!  I was proud of all the others that I saw cross the finish line.  Some having done it a 100 times, others experiencing their first or maybe their last.  No matter the reason, I have decided that God was in all of this...  He made our bodies to experience such things as this. 
To run the race of life and feel VICTORY! 

I also have to use this time to thank some people that made this possible.  
So here is my VICTORY speech... 

God... for motivating me and giving me the desire, the ability and the passion to do this!

Wade...  Thank you for being my husband, my support, my encourager, my massage therapist and my babysitter.  Without you this would not have been possible.  I was so glad to see you at the finish line.

Tori... You are incredible.  I know you think I could have done this on my own, but I could not have.  Christ used you to encourage me, to get me going and to push me.  You have hooked me for life and I will be forever grateful.  You are the best!!

I did it!

Before the race... an hour early!


Walking our way over to hear the instructions... I was so nervous I heard nothing.


The girls hangin in the back of the Tahoe.



I am somewhere in this crowd, towards the back.


Here WE go!


This is the crazy guy who finished when I was on MILE ONE... 
needless to say, he was the 1st!


When is mommy coming?!?!


There she is!!!  Can you see the tears?!?!


VICTORY!


Victory hug... more like a bear hug!  Love ya Tori!


Finally calmed down a little...


Pointing to our Creator...


It was an exciting ride home!


Me and my favorite girls.


This number... I think I may keep forever!


I wanted so badly to write this post yesterday.  But let's be honest... I was tooooo tired. 
So TODAY...
I am pretty sore, but still amazed that I ran a 5K yesterday.  The feeling of victory definitely outweighs the soreness by far!  Excited about April 2nd... my 2nd 5K. 

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