Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tom's Tale

So in wanting to get some more detail and a different perspective on the marathon I asked Tom to do a short write up of how it went and just some first hand details of the run. I also got a copy of the race course and his stat sheet so those are below the fold too.

Race day morning came very early. I was up at 5:30am in order to get some food in me and have a chance to get warmed up. My knee had been bothering me for a few weeks before the race, so most of my nerves were about how it would hold up during the long run. Kell and I went up to the Fargodome with her parents and cheered on Allen as he took off for the Half Marathon. I stretched, got some fluids in me and prayed everything would be ok as I waited for the Full Marathon to begin.

Once the race was under way, the nerves went away. I was completely focused on how fast I was running and taking water/gatorade at every possible station. About 5 miles into the race, the knee I was nervous about started to throb. I was very frustrated and honestly didn't know how I was going to run 21 more miles when every step hurt. I decided to slow my pace way down to see if shorter strides would help and prayed, prayed, prayed for divine intervention. By the time I hit mile 6, my knee was completely fine and I had no discomfort at any pace I ran. As much as I would like to take the credit for figuring out a way to fix my problem, I will chalk this one up to the Lord!

I was excited to see my family waiting to cheer me on as I continued through the rest of the course. Miles 7, 14, 19 and 22 were absolute highlights when I got to see familiar, smiling faces calling my name and encouraging me to keep running. The atmostphere throughout the race is hard to explain ... there were so many people supporting the runners, handing out water/gatorade/banana's/orange slices/Mr. Freeze pop's and many shouts of support.

My body felt better than I thought it would as I crossed the 20 mile mark and had the home stretch back to the Fargodome. I have been told my many people that I would hit a "wall" at some point and the race would become more mental than physical. That wall was met at mile 22! We had to run under a bridge and as I worked my way up that incline, everything in me started to hurt. My legs started to cramp and my feet were now very tender. I had to start playing little games for the last 4 miles, or I knew if I stopped to rest, I would not start again. I would try to hold a very slow pace for most of each individual mile I had left, until I could see the mile marker and then I would take off and get to that mile marker as fast as possible. I forced myself to "win" little battles at each mile and just keep running.

Between mile 23 and 24 ... probably the most painful part of the race for me ... I passed a man who had exactly what I needed printed on the back of his shirt. Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength". At my weakest point, I knew I could lean on the Lord and He would give me the strength I needed to finish. No matter what kind or how much pain I was in, I knew it was not too much for the Lord ... a surge of emotion ran through me and I pressed on.

The last few miles also forced me to consider why in the world I was doing this. I kept repeating to myself that if my brother can go to a foreign part of the world like Kenya and put himself in a difficult situation for 16 months because he knows the Lord wants him there, than I can power through this pain and do my part to help. I have incredible respect for what my brother Matt is doing and finishing this marathon to help support the cause was extremely important to me.

As I ran that last mile and the Fargodome came into view, I was relieved ... I had done it. I had a goal to complete the marathon in under 4 hours and I was looking at 3 hours 55 minutes with only a few blocks to go. I gave it everything I had left and sprinted into the Fargodome and across the finish line to achieve my goal with a 3 hour 58 minute full marathon time. Few things have felt better than to stop running at that moment! I was able to find Matt right away and see family cheering from the stands. I slowly walked around the dome and picked up some pizza, cookie dough and water. I know those items sound odd, but after running 26.2 miles, they tasted fantastic! We met up outside the main arena and took some pictures and just sat down for a bit.

Once I got home, my body shut down. I took a shower and quickly found myself in bed with an upset stomach and the chills. I took a nice long nap and woke up feeling better, but very stiff and sore. As bad as my body felt, emotionally I felt great. We had successful fund raiser and a successfull race day. The rest of the day was spent resting, eating with family and reflecting on a day I will never forget.

It was an honor to help Matt raise funds for his mission to Kenya. I pray that the Lord will continue to prepare Matt for his time out of the country and that Matt will be able to shine the light of God to many!"

The Blue path is the course of the full marathon