I loaded up my iPod the night before with all the inspiring music I would need for 13.1 miles. I got downtown and found the starting line, with the intention of staying in the moment and enjoying getting to participate in such a great event. Without any time goal, I just wanted to be completely present.
Lie: I have to beat my last time, someone else’s time, some arbitrary round number time, etc. to succeed.
Truth: The gift is in showing up.
By the way, if you have never been on the course or at the finish line of one of these events, it is one of the most inspiring things you will ever see.
As we started off, I settled into an easy pace and set my music to shuffle. Thy will be done, I thought. Give me whatever I need at the appropriate time. It was great to start moving, because I was freezing standing at the starting line. That’s no surprise to those of you who know me. Cold, all the time.
Anyway, the first few miles were so easy. I was getting warmed up, so that felt much better. There were lots of people along the course near the starting line, which is always motivating. It was just great to be moving. I was breathing easy.
Then we turned a corner and were blasted by headwind. Suddenly I felt like Dorothy trying to get to the storm cellar. Head down, leaning into the wind, I pressed forward. Goosebumps popped up on my arms as I got cold again. My music played in my ears, encouraging me forward.
Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone
After what felt like forever into that wind, the sun came out. What a relief. The wind felt suddenly like it was at my back, practically carrying me along. As I breezed down the streets of Columbus, I smiled and felt grateful for the change. That headwind was no fun. I was breathing easy again.
During this smooth stretch, a military man in uniform carrying his full pack passed me. Everyone cheered as he powered on. Suddenly my heart was filed with inspiration. That same spirit that is in him is in me. It is in all of us.
Surrounded by the sound
Of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand
As we crossed over the Lane Avenue Bridge, past OSU, then down High Street it began to rain. Not hard, it kind of felt good. Nevertheless, I started to worry about it raining harder and getting soaked. I hadn’t worn a hat. I didn’t have layers on. How had I gotten the weather so wrong? I started to feel the doubt creep in about being able to finish. About being safe, about being capable, about everything.
But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
But again, a slight turn onto a different street and the rain stopped and the wind was at my back. I took a deep breath. I was fine. This too shall pass.
However, I was getting fatigued. I remembered seeing mile marker 8 but it seemed to be quite awhile ago and no sign of mile marker 9. I started focusing a little more on my breathing. Big deep breath. Release slowly. Another one. Breathe. Relax. Stay away, fear. I don’t need you right now.
HA! I had missed mile marker 9. Here was 10! Happy dance, happy dance! Thank you thank you thank you!!!
Oops, don’t dance too much. Keep breathing. Keep moving. The wind is behind you. The rain is behind you. That mile that felt like two actually was two. This is the final home stretch. Three miles to go. Then I reached mile 11.
Big hill. Lean in. Don’t quit. Keep breathing. Holy crap! Why would they make the course so there are two giant hills between mile markers 11 and 12? What the BLEEP. Why am I even out here? What am I doing? I feel defeated, weak, can’t catch my breath, hurting, struggling. Why do I even try?
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again
"You'll never win!
You'll never win!"
I remember the soldier. I repeat to myself. The spirit that is in him is in me. I dig in and lean forward. I climb, but not from my body. Now I climb from the heart.
I know for many of you, your fitness journey feels like this. Life feels like this. First it’s the headwind, then the rain, then the hills. It feels like a very long time since the road has been smooth or the wind has been at your back. You have dealt with loss or betrayal. Injury or illness. Doubt, weakness, pain, struggle. And you haven’t been able to catch your breath.
The spirit that is in him is in you. And the top of the hill is coming. When I was climbing, it felt like it would never arrive. Then suddenly, I was there. The finish line was in sight. The final stretch was flat, but even better, it was lined with hundreds of people cheering. “You made it!”
I may struggle, but I am an overcomer. I may encounter a hill, but I have a heart to climb it with. To conquer a giant such as self doubt, I must know who I am. Empowered, whole, healed, good enough, beautiful, forgiven, loved. Loved. Loved.
The voice of truth tells me a different story
The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I would choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.