I set a goal for 2014 to qualify for the Boston Marathon. If you’ve followed my journey, you know that this is a goal I never imagined I would set. After all, I ran my first marathon in 5:32 back in 2010. To qualify for the Boston Marathon for my gender and age group (F 18-34), I would need to run a sub 3:35:00 marathon – that is an 8:13 min./mile pace. After 3 years of training and improving, I was getting closer and closer and that goal didn’t seem as unrealistic as it used to.
Chicago Marathon, October 2014: I decided this would be my race. It was known for being flat and fast and a perfect BQ course. I trained for months with a 3:30 time goal in mind (8:00 min./mile pace). I spent evenings at the track and really focused on speed work. This was MY race and nothing would stand in MY way. I crossed the finish line at 3:37 and was absolutely devastated. All I could think of was what an expensive failure. What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t I make this happen? I did it all right and I decided I would qualify. I, I, I, me, me, me…
Dallas Marathon, December 2014: With 8 weeks to continue training and reflect on my race, I came to realize that aside from giving it my all in training and the race, it was up to God if and when I reached my goal. I went into the Dallas Marathon with a much different mindset. If I felt good, I’d go for it. If I didn’t, I would relax and enjoy the ride. No pressure! I was thankful for the ability to run and knew I was not in control. God was. I was calm all week and was not stressed over what was ahead. I said a prayer the night before and asked for strength, endurance, and a reminder that this was not about me. I thanked God for the journey He has me on and rested peacefully. I began the race knowing He was in control and all I could do was run. Throughout the race, I would think and say “this is God’s race. I run for Him.” Even at mile 25 when I should have known I had it, I refused to believe I was about to reach this goal. From what I experienced in Chicago, you never know what may happen that may through you off your race plan. I finished in 3:31 and finally reached my goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
I don’t think I qualified in Dallas because I prayed harder, but I do think my Chicago finish was a reminder that God is in control. Looking back, I think he was saying “not yet, just wait”. Although it would have been great to qualify in Chicago, Dallas is such a special race for me. It was my first marathon in 2010 and this most recent (my BQ) was my 10th. My parents were able to be at the finish line to cheer me on AND Olympic marathoner, Ryan Hall, gave me my finisher medal. It was a perfect weekend and a wonderful experience that will be a lasting memory.
I went into Chicago with the mindset that I was going to BQ no matter what. Although I was thankful for the ability to run, the experience in
Chicago, and for how far I had come – I had more faith in my training and physical ability than I did in God’s plans for me. I was determined that I would qualify and I wouldn’t and didn’t entertain the thought that maybe God had different (or better) plans for me.
I think we experience disappointments so that we are even more thankful for the joyous times. I am so thankful for the experience in Chicago and for all that I learned. It was a humbling experience and the reminder I needed that all I can do is give it my all and know that God is in control of the rest. You cannot MAKE a race into what you want. There are so many factors that are out of your control. It is important to trust your training, but it’s more important to trust God and the path He has laid out of your. Maybe it’s a running race, maybe it’s a BQ, maybe it’s being a mom, maybe it’s leading a bible study with friends, maybe it’s being a positive face in your workplace, or a combination. Whatever it is, trust that God knows what He is doing. If you face a disappointment or something doesn’t go your way, find peace knowing God may be saying “just wait, I have something better…”
*My goal for 2015 is to blog more. Sign up for email subscriptions to never miss a post. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
What is a disappointment that looking back you see God saying “not yet, just wait, I have something better…”?
What is a goal that you have set that you never though you would?
Do you have a bible verse or mantra you use during a race?