Oh, friends. . . What a day yesterday!! This is the official post-race report from the Prairie Fire Wichita Half Marathon.
First, I have to say a BIG thank-You to the Lord for the environment I'm in right now. Because of the busy weekend and the even busier one ahead, I took today off from work in order to just SABBATH with Him. Right now it's raining outside and I have every candle lit in my house. There's a strong cup of Starbucks Verona blend coffee in my hand, and I'm just in Heaven. :) Oh...And there's also a heating pad on my back. haha! War wounds. :) I'm in the infirmary today physically. But in SUCH a good way.
The official results of the race can be found here: http://www.prairiefiremarathon.com/sites/default/files/PFMHALFALL.txt
Let me just say that I never ever would have dreamed that I'd be finishing a relatively large-field race in the top 10 females. But that's what happened yesterday. I just cracked the top finishers by crossing the line as the 10th woman overall. Out of 1,647 half marathoners, that's an unbelievable blessing. I also finished 4th in my age group, which is awesome! Way to go 30-34-year-olds! We can move!! :) haha!
So, about the race. . . The lesson that the Lord gave me last week about running MY race was definitely key. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from the day. I got a lot of questions about my goal for the day, and I would just say, "Oh, I haven't really thought about it. I'd just like to finish with an average pace of less than 7:45/mile." I didn't know what that was, and I didn't check. My whole purpose in going down there was to run the last three miles of the full marathon with my running SISTER, Amy (see the photo). She's my hero. She decided to take on the full marathon with only about 5-6 weeks of training, and she knocked out a PR and a sub-4!! Unreal. :) We'll get to that in a little bit.
But, like I said. No idea what to expect for myself. On Saturday as I drove down to Wichita, it honestly hit me a little bit, "Um...I'm actually running tomorrow. I should think about the details a little bit." haha! I guess there's good and bad things to being so focused on work and friends. But there is also a time when it becomes important to focus on the game at hand!
Anyway, I got the details worked out just fine. Was blessed BEYOND measure by a fun evening with Amy and her family on Saturday night, just hanging out with the girls and Matt and talking strategy with Amy. Then off to bed for an early morning!
Race day? AMAZING weather. No wind, perfect 60-degree temps throughout. Totally not typical of Wichita. But it was perfect-o! :)
The course itself was nothing like what I'd trained on. They don't have hills in Wichita unless they build an overpass. haha! :) This was so key.
I started out pretty average, keeping an 8:00 pace for the first mile. It being a half, I knew I didn't need to conserve energy like I did in a full marathon. So, after the first mile, I started to push the pace.
I wasn't quite sure how fast to take it, but in my head, I just fixated on going fast until mile 6 and then gunning it.
TOTALLY believe that was the Holy Spirit's wisdom there. I'd asked Him for wisdom to know how to race that day, and I believe He gave it to me. It's funny. At work we've been talking a lot about how Christian athletes should bring the Lord INTO their games, not just pray before and after. And we had another columnist write about this very thing last month. About how God wants us to discover Him through the actual inner-workings and wisdom of our sports. I fully believe this is what He's doing with me the longer I run. He's giving me divine wisdom to learn how to do this well and to, thus, help others do it well, too. It's fun to be at the point where I can start answering questions and offering advice.
So...Back to the race. Sorry.
Around mile 4, I started thinking. "Hmm. . . I don't do half marathons that often. I don't have a whole lot of time to race, here. This is a lot shorter than a marathon. If I'm going to race, I need to actually start racing soon."
I'd been keeping a low 7 average, but I think it was about mile 4 or 5 where I realized that I actually had a chance to do well in this field. And that's when it turned ON! :) haha!
This is the difference between running a race and RACING a race. When I race a race, I have a specific strategy that is very much like a game of seek-and-destroy. I'll find the next woman ahead of me, zero in on her, and focus on passing her. It's so funny. My little inner-competitor sees a girl, and it's like in Top Gun where the missile lock goes from red to green. "I'm got good tone. Firing!" :) She's going down.
When you're constantly focused on passing people, an amazing thing happens. . . You go really fast through a lot of miles without thinking about it. :) Before I knew it, the race was almost over, and I had been GUNNING it at a sub-7 pace for the last few miles.
The most fun part of the race, though, had to be the end. :) This was awesome. There was a guy I passed with about .2 left in the race, and apparently, he didn't like being passed by a girl. :) So, about 5 seconds later, he passed me back. haha! Well, this GIRL doesn't like to be passed at all, so I sped up to keep up with him. He was intent on leaving me in the dust, but I stayed right on his heels and tried to pass HIM back. We were SPRINTING down the home stretch. haha! And the coolest part was because I was a girl, the entire crowd was cheering for me! haha! "Get him, girl!!" (There's a photo of the finish here: http://gpphoto.zenfolio.com/p435025707/e2d208187)
Well, I didn't get him. I bit his heels all the way in. But I had a BLAST doing that, and we high-fived at the end. :) It was awesome. :) Thanks, dude. Whomever you are. I tried to find out online who he was, but I don't think the results are posted correctly, or something. The guy it says who finished right before me says he finished like 30 seconds ahead, which isn't true. Oh, well. Whomever you are, thanks for the great race!!
But when I think about running MY race, I know that hit me several times on the course. My race that day was to find the hidden strength God had given me for the day. I wasn't supposed to run my race from yesterday, I was to run my race from today. Does that make sense? That's how the message fell on me. I'd only trained at a 7:30ish pace, but the Lord told me to run a different race yesterday.
I think that's part of running our race with Him in general. He trains us, and we may only think we know what we're trained for, but He knows the race He has for us. We may be FAR more equipped than we think we are. We have no idea what He wants to do with our experiences and how He wants to use them. We have no idea how He wants to show us His divine power through us by using us for things far greater than we ever thought possible.
So, that was my race yesterday. My God-given race was to run well and finish strong. Thank You, Lord. :)
Next up? Boston 2011!! :) :) Oh, man. I am psyched. :) :) :) Registration opens on October 18, so I'm just praying I get in at all. This is the first time they've done this, so we'll see what happens! :) Either way, I'm hoping to return to Boston for another fantastic experience at running my race with the Lord. :)
Love you all! Have a great Monday! :)
P.S. Amy is my absolute hero!! She gutted out the most amazing race yesterday, and I was so stinkin' blessed to be by her side for the last three miles. Even though she felt beat up, battered, bruised and beyond fatigued, she smiled her way to the finish and got to hug her babies with a well-earned medal around her neck. Amy, I'm SO proud of you, sister. :) :) :) You are inspiring and amazing and I love you!! :) Sisters at heart...just missed it by blood. :)