The Mt. Desert Island marathon
I ran a marathon a week ago. As always, it was an incredible experience (wonderful, terrible and everything inbetween - isn't that what makes something incredible?). My much faster running buddy and amazing photographer friend, Kristin, and her family came up to Maine with us, we shared a house and Kristin and I ran the marathon at the end of the weekend.
Marathons are a lot of work but they are also a time of physical, emotional and spiritual growth and renewal. Though the high I get doesn't last quite as long as the one after a recital, it is marvelous indeed (minus the G.I. issues from this marathon, but I won't take you there - suffice it to say it was pretty crappy - HAH! Too late! I just did!)
Moving on, the course was BEAUTIFUL and hilly. Somehow, though, I missed seeing half those hills when we drove the course. They magically appeared, however, on race day.
*This lovely picture was taken by Kristin (head out the window, sometimes entire upper half of her body out the window) while I drove the course.
It wasn't quite as hilly as the Mad Marathon, but the uphill/downhill pattern was relentless. There were very few flats. Running by the ocean for a good part of the race was so very lovely, refreshing even and I would even say a consolation prize for the hills. I have to admitt however, that I was frustrated by the pace I kept as I felt like I was giving the right amount of exertion to get a faster pace but it just wasn't happening. I found out later I had a bit of a stomach bug. Boo. But it was still a wonderful race.
I met these three 50-year-old guys they were all best friends and had flown in from Indiana to run the race together. They were so supportive of eachother and of everyone around them. I stayed with them for most of the race and their orange t-shirts were an encouraging sight. Thanks Denton, Cass and Nubbins! I passed a guy playing the accordian at mile 23 with a lady playing the tamborine. Best idea ever.
Jeff was awesome as the support vehicle (with the Bean of course) and provided much needed enthusiasm, inhalers, snacks and pats on the bum as I passed. Jeff is the best. The Bean just seemed a bit confused by it all, but seeing his sweet face was so motivating (not to mention the compliments on my gorgeous son from my fellow runners). The spectators were awesome! I loved the spectators that read your name off of your bib number and shout "Go Amy!! You can do it!!!"
Finally, as most of my long runs are, this was definitely an experience that made me feel the hand of God in my life. As I ran those last 5 miles, sick, tired, and a little disapointed in what was evidently going to be my finishing time, I prayed. For 5 miles, I had a constant running prayer in my mind that varied from a whisper to a scream. As I prayed, I told Heavenly Father that I would give it my all if He would just sustain me. I gave everything I had in me and He did sustain me, and I swear I ran faster. Now that's love. I finished 243rd or something like that, and He still buoyed me up and made me feel like crossing that line was a victory. It made me feel so very, very loved and at peace with the effort that I gave. Ultimately, that is why I run, and that is why I run marathons.