#ownchicago

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The marathon was perfect. It was perfect weather, blue skies and fall trees, as I found myself running in my favorite city, motivated by the crowds and the posters and the route. I waited in Corral B, taking it all in– sweatshirts being thrown to the side, last minute goo, everyone jogging in place, getting headphones ready, lining up in goal pace-groups. And then we started, running through downtown, up and around, through Lincoln Park to Lakeview back through Old Town to River North, then west, then south through Chinatown before finally turning back to finish up Michigan Avenue. I had such a runner’s high from the start, and I felt like I was flying through the streets, gaining energy from the route and the sun and the people. And there were people cheering, lining the course, for all 26.2 miles; people you don’t even know constantly cheering you on. It wasn’t all pure bliss, I got to the point where I was too tired to even pull my iPod out, and felt that the west loop got a little long, but I just kept pushing, mile marker to mile marker, water station to water station, eating gummies and goo every so often.

Kali and Jess and my mom made it so that they got text updates of my times every mile. And at one point in the race I thought to myself “I can’t slow down, they are getting my splits!”. And after the race I had texts from friends who I didn’t even know were tracking me. My old coach told me that he was checking it all morning, that he was a little worried by my fast pace at first, but then was reassured as I kept it. I’m so humbled that I would have people wanting to know my mile-by-mile splits. I felt so supported by my friends and family, from texts and prayers and emails.

My mom was there all 26.2 miles, and before, and after, even though she never saw me. She was there when I texted her to tell her I got into the marathon, and when I told her my mileage after each and every long run, and sent her pictures of my favorite running scenery, always including Lake Michigan. My mom came down to Chicago bearing gifts of arm sleeves and gummies and goo and my purple and grey marathon outfit which she picked out. We stayed downtown close to the start and I couldn’t sleep the night before. I saw my mom at mile three but I was across the street from her and she didn’t see me. We got pictures in Grant Park after the race, and had blueberry pancakes and eggs Benedict for a wonderful brunch. We both said it was our favorite running memory so far. It was so special, so so special, to run my first marathon and have her here.

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And this was some “goal times” I wrote out on tyke course map, for a range of running 7:30-8:00 minute miles. I averaged 7:20s. It’s just funny to me that I would have never thought I could have gone that fast. Sometimes we all doubt our own ability. Same with God. He knows us and what we can do (with Him), and we doubt and worry. Another reminder to not try to plan and control away every little detail, to just be, and push, and strive.

As I ran, I knew I needed to keep refueling and rehydrating so that I could maintain the energy to keep going. I knew I needed to give my body constant nourishment. I feel like our everyday life kind of is the same way, we need constant re-nourishment, renewal, positivity, to stay strong, stay focused, and stay centered, with time in the word and prayer, resting in His presence, reminding myself of His truth, but I don’t always refuel in Him. I allow myself distraction and worry and may find myself running on empty– tired and worn out from trying to do things in my own.

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Kali made me this sign. My sweet roommate stood on Broadway and yelled my name. So thankful for her. And I swear its true. The marathon was easier than PT school!

My older cousin was back in town for his third Chicago marathon and graciously gave me advice and had me meet up with him that morning to go to the start corrals together.

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He assured me and gave me tips and told me to “Error on the side of too fast”, because he felt I could go way faster than eight-minute pace. Which, I did. How cool is that, that someone can give me truthful encouragement saying–

You can go faster than you think.
You are more capable than you think.
You are stronger thank you think.

I needed to be told I could go fast. And I think I need a form of this type of encouragment everyday, this truth, this joy. And I can get this encouragement everyday, from Jesus. This truth and encouragement is possible in me because of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He is my joy, strength, comfort, and hope. It’s one thing to know this, and another thing to rely on this, rely on Him, staying centered and focused on Him, as my sanity and clarity. (Yes, I got all this from running the marathon.) I also believe that we need to be this for others, pointing out the work of God in their lives, cheering others on, celebrating others, telling them yes they can do it, and that I believe in them, and that God is with them, the Holy Spirit in them, through words and love and prayer.

God is good, so so good. Praises !

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