More amazing God moments from someone who is laboring and carrying me through this trial. There are so many so forgive me if I haven’t posted yours. It’s only because there’s a part of me that wants to keep them all to myself. That being said, there are some that God calls me to share by way of this venue.
~Gina for Arise Medical Missions
P.S. Please know that I will never post without getting your expressed permission first so keep writing and sending in your thoughts and prayers. They totally help us keep God first and I would be lost without them.
Saturday, April 16th: Mental Hardening
Thursday I began carb-loading for a long run on Friday (busyness over school break is forcing me for a Friday run rather than my usual Saturday). I had pasta with a little meat Thursday night, complemented by a cereal and more carbs Friday morning. Lunch Friday was also packed with calories and some salty corn chips to increase my salt levels.
My route was planned out on Thursday since I didn’t want the confusion of trying to pick my route while getting ready for the run. All day Friday I considered my route, a grueling 17 miles, which would be filled with hills and, no-doubt, would be a mental challenge.
The last time I ran this route was about two years ago which wrought a difficult recovery as I hadn’t had the necessary physical prep. “This run will be different. I’m much better prepared now. I will just take it easy and make it through.” I kept telling myself.
I tried to take it physically easy throughout the day and then I knew it would be fine. But, it wasn’t. An email arrived in my inbox Friday morning. It was from a good friend who is going through some really rough times. Basically, her life has been devastated. I had to put the email on the back burner for a while until I could devote my thoughts to totally consider the content.
About 1:00 in the afternoon, I took the time to fully read the email, which revealed a completely broken heart. My good friend’s life was in a sort-of Japanese nuclear reactor meltdown. Her tone exposed her desperateness to get out of this bad situation. She continues to call on God for mercy.
Reading the email brought tears to my eyes. I then remembered a message I recently heard by Rev. S.M. Lockridge, entitled “Do you know him?” The message continues to call God by the various names He is attributed in scripture. I did a quick search and found it on YouTube. Further tears flowed as I listened.
How could I run after hearing such bad news from a good friend? Yet, I decided I would continue with the run. When I got home from work, I asked my wife to be praying for our dear friend.
I then continued to get ready for the run. It was cold, windy, and yet, the roads beaconed me to conquer them. I had to dress warm and carry water for this run. Clothes would slow me down and the weight of nearly two liters of water would also bring me down.
Heading out the door, I told my wife my route and that if I wasn’t back in two and a half hours to come looking for me. I then hit the start button on my chronograph and immediately flew out the door and down the long road.
Reaching just two miles and taking my first drink came quickly. Of course, it was pretty much downhill so far. Yet, the burden of water quickly reminded me of an increasing burden on my good friend. This was just a 17 mile run that would be over soon, yet my friend would continue with pain more than I can imagine for perhaps a lifetime. I prayed for her, begging God to give her mercy.
Four miles came equally easy, but I knew the water was acting like a governor on an automobile, keeping me at a slow pace. Six, then eight, then ten miles, and my prayers continued. So far the wind was totally in my face and I was cold and exhausted.
At 12.5 miles, I was at the point where I would have two long hills before finally arriving home. And finally, the wind was at my back, things would be easier now. The first hill wasn’t too bad. I made good pace as my water was mostly consumed. Then down a hill at good pace until I was faced with final hill. Just 1.5 miles to go. Then it struck me. I was out of gas and running on fumes.
I stopped for a minute and walked and took a sip of my nearly depleted water supply. I just wanted to be home. I was so cold. I was tired. My legs were feeling the stress from the hills. I longed to see my house, jog across the yard and into the front door… Yet, it seemed like a dream and so far away.
I could stay right here indefinitely, or at least until my wife became concerned. But, not moving would not get me any closer to finishing this run. I could call home, quit and ask my wife to pick me up. After all, I made it more than 15 miles… I couldn’t do it.
My internal debate of reason, logic, and physical discouragement were trumped by mental hardness. I remember the runs where I’d been feeling like this before. Deep down, there was a morsel of hope that said, “you can make it!” I told myself I must move my legs. So, I pressed forward.
The last part of the training is sometimes the hardest. Yet, I think that the last part of the marathon is the easiest. With running three marathons, I can clearly remember the last two miles of each.
In 2007, my first marathon was completed in a horrible time of 7 hours. Yet, I finished. The last two miles were physically and mentally damaging, but I knew with just two miles left, I could make it. In fact, despite the agony, I mustered up the power to run across the finish line.
In 2008, I ran in 4 hours 40 minutes. Taking well over two hours off of my previous personal record. The last two miles were a cake walk as I continued to envision the finish line.
In 2009, I ran the same marathon in 4 hours flat. Again, I knew the finish line was going to be there and I picked up the pace of the last half mile. Then, with just a tenth to go I could here someone yelling, “go get four hours!” I broke into a sprint and finished strong!
Yet, training doesn’t seem to be the same. Training is preparation for race day, though it doesn’t contain the adrenaline, exhilaration, or enthusiasm of the race. It rarely seems tough for me to start a long training day, but it does seem to be tough to finish it.
To my good friend, please consider that you are in training. It is a training not for the temporariness of this world, but for an eternity with an all-caring and loving God. Please also consider what it will be like to cross the finish line of life and not to consider an early exit. God is here right now, He is running with you. Though you can’t see him, sometimes not feel him, He is right next to you and is in you. He’s the one yelling in your ear… “go get four hours!”
Though many have finished before you, He’s holding up a brand new finish line for you to break. He is ready and waiting to minister to your physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. You are in pain. You are in the middle of a long, tiring, road, but don’t fret, the finish line will be so glorious and rewarding.