The race has come and gone. I did much better than I anticipated - nabbing a time of 22:53. It must have been ordained because my race number was 222. Overall, I'm very pleased with how I did, particularly considering my training for the previous month had been rather slack. With traveling to northern climes, sickness making its rounds again and again through our small family, Dan's long hours at work and my general laziness, I went in rather nervous on Saturday. It was obvious to me I'd finish, but how well I would do was not entirely clear to me. But my gracious Heavenly Father provided perfect running weather - cool and overcast. This may seem an odd description of perfect running weather, but I tell you it is - no sun to be in your eyes, cool so you don't overheat (as running really does make you warm enough), but not so cold that your lungs freeze (this is important. I promise).
One interesting thing was trying to pace myself amongst this huge crowd of people. According to the website, there were 1556 people that finished the race. You can imagine how it felt just before the air horn sounded the start - all of us crowded onto the street in less than one city block, moving to keep warm and glancing around or talking to friends. I felt kind of awkward being alone, but one the air horn sounded, it was fine. I was in my own world. Eventually, I settled into a groove where I was comfortable - mixing running with fast walking - and I began to notice the people around me. One person I noticed was a girl who I think was about my age, and to be honest, seemed about my skill level. I used her to pace myself, and I could tell she was probably doing the same. We'd pass each other often, usually walking and running in similar intervals. Essentially, I used a total stranger to spur me on when I had no one else (Dan and Ainsley were great cheerleaders at the finish line, but that was 20 minutes away).
If I'm able to feel that encouragement from a stranger in a stressful situation, imagine the encouragement we garner from our friends!
There's a blog post that I have been working on for a month now. While I was home with my parents, I was able to attend their church. It's pastored by my former youth pastor, who I love dearly and have always found to be one of the best speakers I've ever heard. The week I was there, he spoke on the ten lepers healed by Jesus, and how only one returned to offer thanksgiving. You can listen here: http://ctknj.wordpress.com/ctk-blog/sermons-2009/ (it's the sermon from 2/21). It really resonated with other thoughts I'd already been trying to process, and post on here, but life got in the way and this blog became back burner charcoal. So in the meantime, listen to it, and then I'll be back with thoughts!