Hey, it’s Lauren!
So, you guys! I ran 6.2 miles this weekend! It’s still amazing to me that I ran any amount of miles in the first place, so that many is pretty darn cool. Megan wanted me to recap a little bit about the race and my training since it’s a bit of an unlikely victory story, laced throughout with God being pretty awesome.
I have always believed that some people are not meant to be athletic. And I believed I was one of those people. I mean, you should see how embarrassing I am at almost any sport. It’s amazing Josh still wanted to date me after seeing me make a fool out of myself in sand volleyball. (Painful to watch, I assure you) Now, dance and music and art and writing? Those come pretty easily, and I’ve always been perfectly content with them. But in the last few years, some of my best friends started running and racing and I was feeling pretty bummed about not being in on the action. So I put it on my life list to run a 5K. 3.1 miles which, at the time, seemed much like running from here to California. Here’s a quick recap of the events that lead to last weekend’s race:
+ (Spring 2010) Bought good shoes. Really still hated running, but spent a lot of money on those shoes, so by God, I was going to run in them!
+ (Spring 2010) Followed the Couch to 5K plan until I could run a whole mile (which felt awesome. It was my first ever, at the age of 24)
+ (Summer 2010) Random toe injuries forced me to hang up the shoes for a bit, then a wedding took over my life so I just threw in trips to the gym as I could. No running.
+ (December 2010) Good friends (and freaking insane Ironman contenders) convinced us to register for the Cooper River Bridge Run in April with 4 other friends, before they moved to Florida. It would be a great time! We would have so much fun! I was terrified!
+ (January 6th, 2011) Officially registered for the Bridge Run, which was TWICE the distance I ever wanted to run. No turning back now!
+ (January 7th, 2011) Appendix was apparently discontent in my body and insisted it be taken out at once. Cue unexpected surgery.
+ (Rest of January) Essentially had to take 3.5 weeks off of training for a race I was already convinced I couldn’t train for in 3 months, much less TWO. Thanks, appendix.
+ (February & March) Fueled mostly by crippling fear, I trained like a champ. Three runs a week (two short, one long – both of which got increasingly longer each week until my “short runs” were 3.1 miles. Whaaaa?) and tried for one day of cross-training as my schedule would allow. Josh would reward me with 10 new songs for each addition mile I ran at one time, so good music got me through it. Holler if you need a good playlist!
I remember there was a turning point in my training, where I started to really believe I could make this happen. Josh was an incredible encouragement, always celebrating my smallest accomplishments and hugging me tight when I would come back from a terrible run in tears. Also, I noticed that I became less scared every week. I started to know what to expect – when I would break through that proverbial “wall”, how it felt to run up a hill, how awesome it felt to come down the other side of that hill. I was getting acquainted with running, and with my body. My legs and my lungs were stronger than I thought. And the fear of the unknown slowly melted away. Lastly and very importantly in arriving at the turning point, I was reading through Proverbs with Megs and Kate at the time, and Megs pointed out a verse for me that I have kept on my mind the whole time I’ve trained.
“The sluggard craves and gets nothing. But the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” Prov. 13: 4
From that day, I prayed before running. I prayed HARD that God would teach me discipline and perseverance through this task. That he would astound me with what I could do through diligence and faith. I prayed it WHILE running, when I was bored and out of breath and sore. I prayed it on days when it was cold or hot or I was tired after work and didn’t give a crap about discipline. And out I went. It was the first time in my life I’ve worked that hard at anything. I don’t like being bad at things, so I usually abandon them and am thankful to do other things that come naturally. This was the first time I stuck through it. Through tears and total voids of confidence and aching muscles. It was the first time I started to just rejoice in my own progress, rather than constantly compare myself to others until I felt completely worthless (a BIG weakness of mine).
And on Saturday morning, something amazing happened. After all the prayer and the discipline, I showed up for that race with a peace that transcended all understanding. I should have been freaking out! I should have been peeing my pants, seriously. I still hadn’t run more than 5 miles at a time up until the race, so I didn’t know I could really do it. But I was….at peace. I was super excited and invigorated and still calm. It was a gift. And I ran than whole darn thing. Across a bridge and through downtown Charleston with 40,000 other people. I ran it slowly, but I don’t care one bit. I ran it. And I ran it with a huge smile on my face almost the whole time. The best advice I got for race day was from a coworker who told me, above all, to enjoy it. Enjoy the view, enjoy the journey, enjoy the feeling of community with 40,000 strangers. Don’t wish for the end because it will actually be over before I know it. I did. And I was beaming.
So, if any of you need the push to do something you are horribly intimidated by or that you’ve failed at in the past but still want to do, let me be your push. Practice a healthy combination of discipline and faith, and let God blow you away with what you can do. Check it off the Life List!! BAM!