But right before this day, two days ago to be exact, I ran my first marathon and it was, well, outside of my wedding and the births of my three children, probably one of the single best experiences of my life.
This is me as I was getting in line to run the big race...
So, I decided to run with a pace group at a pace that I thought I could manage. My goal was simply to finish and to cross the finish line with joy in my heart and peace in my soul. I didn't want to hate the experience. Secretly, I wanted to want to do it again.
And just like that after four and a half months of preparation, I lucked out in every way imaginable. God truly blessed me beyond measure. It was a Chamber of Commerce weather day...beautifully sunshiny with a high of 70-degrees. My pacers were my age, with children of their own, who told funny jokes like...."Would you rather cross the finish line naked or start the race having pooped your pants?" And then, as luck would have it, my group was just me and another super nice man, so we were taken care of the whole time. Below is a picture of me and my pacer, Liz (an incredible machine of positivity and encouragement) rocking it at mile 18...
And then, just like that I found myself at mile 22. I had yet to hit a wall. My nutrition was doing it's job. My body was achy, but definitely not fatigued. Crazily, I always run with music...like cranked up, ridiculously loud music, and I never once listened to my headphones the entire time. I've never had a running partner or attempted to talk to anyone while I am huffing and puffing...this time, I talked the whole time and for a good chunk of it, it was just me and Liz.
And then it happened, I hit mile 25 and Liz said, "If you feel good, take off." And so I did. I ran the last 1.2 miles by myself into the University of Nebraska at Lincoln's stadium, waved and smiled to my family and friends and crossed the finish line.
I thought I would cry, but I couldn't stop beaming. I never thought I would be so happy.