Dallas Virtual Marathon 2020 Recap

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Morning of my 7th marathon started like any long run morning. I got dressed and while I waited for my coffee to brew, I prayed that God would give me the strength to finish the race. I also prayed for strength and safety for all who were running. 

I kept my tradition to give as many hugs as I could before we started. It had been a long, unpredictable season. We who made it this far were blessed and we knew it. 

Our running club leaders had some announcements and encouraging words for us. I was blessed to say the prayer before we left. I thanked God for the blessing of running distance. I asked for his strength, protection and blessing.  After we took this photo, we were off to start our race. 

We followed a route that led us 26.2 miles around our town. My training had been solid and I was feeling good. I decided to run intervals from the start. This season, 4:1s were my friend. I ran for 4 minutes, walked for one. 

I have to tell you about the weather. It was cold. 46 degrees I believe. I decided to wear compression socks and shorts. I had on two long sleeve tops and two gloves. It was the correct combination for the weather. I wasn't too cold or too hot. Knowing how to dress can make or break a race. 

My husband was going to meet me at mile 13 and tag along until the end of the race. The support I received during this race was life-giving. As I went through different aid stations, I was able to thank the volunteers for their incredible kindness. 

When I hit mile 11, something felt wrong with my right calf. Mile 11 - as well as the entire city where I live - is very hilly. As I was going up and down, I began to feel pain. It wasn't going away. A few friends passed me while encouraging me with a smile. They told me to keep going but I couldn't. 

I decided to walk it out and see if, after a while, the pain would subside. No. Time wasn't stopping and neither was the race. I had some tough decisions to make. 

I remembered that a few friends offered to meet us at mile 13. They could tape us and work out whatever issues we had. I was running with a friend so I told him, let's make it to mile 13 and hopefully our friends can help us. 

The first faces I saw on mile 13 were the faces of my sweet family. I tried to run to them. I couldn't. So I walked. 

My friends gave me all the help they had: massage, tape, meds. I took a bathroom break then I decided to continue. My calf was not in a lot of pain but I just couldn't run on it. Walking was the only way to finish the race. 

I had two different friends driving the course and offering help. I thought their kindness was great and their encouragement needed. 

Still, in my humanity, I wondered if I should give up. Why run a race I can't PR? Why look at a less than ideal finish time? I thought about my family. The kids were literally watching me. I decided to show them that we start what we finish, no matter how hard. 

I also decided I didn't want to drag this marathon for one more week so, I was going to finish. I thought about it this way: this is 2020. If this inconvenience had to happen, thank God it happened at mile 11. Thank God it happened that day. 

If I had that injury on week 15 of training I'd be mega mad. If I had that injury on mile 1, I know I would have gone home and tried it another day. Even in my inconvenience, God is sovereign, God knows what He is doing. 

I accepted my situation with joy. From that point on, the race turned into a complete tour of our hometown. 

I thanked God for the sun. It was still cold but the weather was perfect. I thank God for being in shape. I am 13 pounds lighter than I was a year ago. 

I thank God that this was a virtual run. If I was in Dallas, I either would have gotten a DNF or I would have been forced to stop. God is sovereign. I accepted with joy. 

Each water stopped we passed was filled with encouragement. My husband and kids brought me some yummy food too before I finished. 

I'm grateful for the friends who finished and went back to check on me at mile 23. I listened to how well their races went and I rejoiced. Seeing my family at 23 was the fuel I needed to finish. 

My family was waiting for me at the finish line. Their hugs were my finish line. One of the things I crave when I finish is to hug someone who understands. Zeke and the kids have given me that, over and over again. I can't thank God enough for them. 

I grabbed a cold chocolate milk from my friend who was running with me. I don't think I can thank God enough for his support. 

Other friends were around to encourage and congratulate. We got food, gifts and I immediately ate the breakfast tacos they gave me. 

I think I ate that taco one bite! I drove to the gym to take an ice bath. Oh the benefits of running a marathon at home!

I drove home, with thanksgiving in my heart and I took the longest hot shower known to humanity. Ha! I put on compression socks and proceeded to recover from my race. 

The day after, I was at church. I was grateful for the opportunity to stand, lead worship with Zeke and just sing of the goodness of God. 

48 hours into my finish, I decided to get my calf checked out by a professional. Thank God, my range of motion was great. It wasn't a tear or a bad injury. The best news I received, other than, finishing my 7th marathon, was that I was going to be okay. 

I got an adjustment, I got tapped and I went home to recover and rehab. That same day, I received my medal in the mail. Oh, what a visual joy!

I looked at all my marathon medals while I held the latest. Tears filled my eyes. I thought about how hard I worked to earn each one of those medals. I thought about the years of sacrifice and persistence. I thought about how grateful to God I was for my family. I appreciate their support. I couldn't possibly give myself to distance running if it wasn't for them.

Where do we go from here? Well, I'm on the road to recovery. Marathon training asks a lot of my body and mind. I'm no robot: I need to recover, reset and rebuild. 

I want to run smarter so I can keep running distance. I believe this might be the longest time I haven't ran. I am going back to the gym next week so I can slowly get back to my off-season routine. 

I appreciate your encouragement during this journey. 

Two marathons in one year. Whew! I'm tired but I'm so happy.