People told me all my life, "it's not how you start it's how you finish." Weeeellll, this statement means everything and nothing when you sign up to run twenty-six point freakin' two miles.
We, my team and I, trained five months. Five long months of early Saturday, sometimes Sunday, mornings, blisters on the feet, chafing in places we didn't know could chafe, chased by dogs, chased by shady humans, injury, upset, black toenails, good run, bad run, more injury and everything in between. Our social life existed only inside of running. My running schedule determined my eating schedule and so on.
Stretched emotionally, physically and mentally, we sometimes considered "opting out." Out of crazy, out of pain, out of training, out of somewhere we'd been too long... we didn't know, we just wanted out.
We never did that though. Instead we encouraged one another and cheered one another on. "We can do this. We can!"We held each other accountable.
I had my days. Days of blissful optimism, pressing through the days of pessimism and always settling for somewhere in between. Humor and humility kept us feeling light, swift and full of hope right through the finish line. The more we laughed, the further we could go. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. 13.1 miles you're half crazy, 26.2 you're just crazy and I'd venture to say towards the end we'd all gone mad.
Race day couldn't come soon enough. The finish line couldn't come soon enough.
My bible study teacher prayed the week before, "Lord, carry them over the finish line," and divinely, He did. One by one, we crossed the line and received the medal that said nothing about training, nothing about injury, nothing about the battles we'd overcome to finish the war... but our minds, bodies and souls said it all. We finished. I finished.
Now, I've skipped the part everyone wants to hear about. The part where 26.2 miles of road were touched by my feet in one day, within a few hours. I'm going to be honest, that time wasn't glamorous for me. And much of my story took a few turns from no good, to worse, to just terrible. In my head I remembered, "it's not how you start, it's how you finish..." but that's not how my run looked.
I wish I could say I sprinted through the end or that I ran the whole way. I wish I could say, "it's not how I started, it's how I finished..." but I can't. I just finished and sometimes that's life: a long run of ups and downs, good and bad and just finishing. So, I'm here to tell you, contrary to popular belief, its not how you start or how you finish... it's that you never give up.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7