God knew...

So I went a little crazy for a beach towel last week.  Yeah, I am serious!  Sunday before last I was cruising a running group page on Facebook and saw a post for this cool finishers beach towel.  I popped the picture up so I could see the towel better and thought that's the run Natalie was talking about.  So I text her and said did you know you not only get a medal, but a really cool beach towel.  She didn't know and was excited.  I jokingly said I should do it with you.  I bet you can figure out how this story goes.

It's a good thing I signed up for the race that evening because I woke up the next morning with a sore leg.  Felt like a strained a muscle during the Hot Chocolate 15K so thought I would just take it easy this week and be ready for the half on Sunday.  All week I stretched it out, put an anti-inflammatory on it and took some ibuprofen.  Saturday as we were leaving for Birmingham to do the Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon I thought I would be good.  We did a lot of walking that day and when we got to the room I was hurting a bit and wondering would I make it through this half.

So much was going through my mind as I tried to sleep that night.  
1.  I bombed my first half and don't want to do it again.
2.  Will my leg make it 13.1 miles?
3.  9.3 miles is the longest run I have done since I did my first half back in November.
4.  Can I really do this? 

Sunday we are up at 5 AM and getting ready to go.  My leg is sore and I am nervous.  As we walk over to the start line I am saying little prayers and reminding myself that I rocked at 9.3 last week and I can do this.  I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

Me, Natalie and Loren

The race starts, but I am back at the 11 minute pace area so it is 7:07 when I cross the start line.  Nat and I take off and I am feeling it, but going to push through and see what happens.  If my legs keeps me from running I will just walk it, but I am crossing that finish line and getting my towel and medal!

Natalie runs on ahead of me.  She can keep just under a 9:00 minute a mile pace so I knew I wouldn't be able to stay with her long.  Around mile 3 the pain goes away and I am feeling good.  Thank you Jesus!
That's me praying for strength

I am cruising along around mile 5 when I hear "hey girl" and look to my side to see Natalie?!?!  Confusion and than "are you okay" comes out of my mouth.  She says she is not sure what is going on, but she feels off.  Thinking maybe her sugar is low.  We all have off days so I tell her we just keep going together and cross that finish line even if we have to walk.  We got another mile or two in and we see a medic so she tells me to keep going that she is going to have them check her.  As she runs over to them I say a little prayer for her and keep going.

She rejoins me and says she is good, just feels off.  I feel bad for her, because I know she can run so much faster and was wanting to PR today.  We keep going, but I can tell she is not herself and it worries me a little.  We stop to walk and I am trying to encourage her and be positive--it's just a bad day we will finish today and you can go for a PR next time.  We start to run, but she still is feeling off.  I don't know what to do so we walk and I pray.  She stops to have someone check her again and tells me to keep going she'll catch up.  Should I stay with her?  Should I keep going?  I am so confused because I want to be there for her, but I am running so much better than I did my last half.  She tells me to go on so I do.

I make it to 10.1 miles before I am passed by the pace car for the full marathoner.  Woohoo! I made it a whole 10 miles before I was lapped.  Hehe!  At mile 11.2 my knees are killing me.  I don't know how to explain it other than to see it felt like my knee caps were going to pop out the sides of my legs.  I thought to myself I have hit my wall and am going to have to stop and walk these last 2 miles and ruin this good pace I have kept the whole race.  I was about in tears when I heard "I'm back" and there she was.  I told Nat I was dying that my knees were killing me.  She told me I had this and we're less than 2 miles from finishing and I could do it.  I knew she was feeling better and could of probably kept a better pace, but she stayed there with me and we just kept going.  She was my rock that got me to the finish line.

Me dying and Nat happy its almost over

Okay I am happy now, too.

Around mile 12 and half I looked up to see my friend, Vanessa on the side lines.  She was there to cheer her daughter on.  I saw her happy face and big smile as she begin to cheer for me and it gave me that last boost of energy to get to the finish line.

Less than a mile to go!

And we cross the finish line!  We survived.  We did it for ourselves, for each other and God!  I had a PR doing the half in 2:34:41.  Keeping a pace of 11:48.  A whole 23 minutes faster than my first half in November.  I needed this confidence booster!  I am so sorry Natalie had a bad day, but so thankful she was there to get me through that last 2 miles.  

 We did it!

God knew exactly what he was doing when that enticing beach towel popped up on my news feed.  He put Natalie and I together on that run so we could be there for each other and make sure we finished.  Because of Him and each other we ran and didn't grow weary.

But those that trust in the Lord will find new strength.  
They will soar on wings like eagles.  
They will run and not grow weary.
Isaiah 40:31

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