Running the race of life: October 2005

Running the race of life

Monday, October 31, 2005

Exhilaration and sore muscles

We did it! Not only do I know that Brother Gregory and I finished the 30th Marine Corps Marathon, I can feel it! My muscles are feeling it, my body is feeling it, but my spirits are high because we accomplished what we set out to do.

The whole experience was pretty incredible. Gregory and I started the day in our little chapel praying morning prayer (and begging for God's mercy) at 6:00 a.m. Soon we were on our way to the Metro toting along gatorade, our clear bags with changes of clothes and powerbars in hand. What a culture! By the time we got to the Metro Center stop there were lots of runners looking ready to go.

We arrived at the starting line with a few minutes to go (Actually, it took us five minutes once the race started just to get to the starting line). The first thing that impressed me was the presence of the Marines all over the place. Throughout the day I was reminded of the sacrifices they have made and are making for our country. In our prayer before the race I offered my race up for them in part- especially the families of those who have died.

What a mass of humanity! They call it the People's Marathon and for right reason. 30,000 runners of ALL shapes and sizes gathered. I wondered why they had come. The reason for some was obvious just by looking at their shirts- they were running for a charity or for a member of their family. I smiled, when I read one women's shirt: "Tell Andrea she's doing a good job, she's the mother of three children." Another man had on a shirt that said team 413- "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". When I passed him, I said, "Brother, I'm with you".

The first few miles were a bit chaotic. You could hardly run because it was so congested. Gregory and I walked a bit and ran a bit since it was hilly at the beginning. About mile five, it started to hit me what we were doing. And so I drank in the scenery as it went by. Little kids slapping us five as we went by, Marines cheering us on, the people in costume (I saw Superman, Captain America and others). It was a cultural experience for sure.

We made our way through downtown Georgetown. The sun was getting stronger and I was conscious to drink the powerade that was offered along the way. By this time, Gregory and I were separated and so I said a prayer that he was doing well.

Mile after mile went by and soon half the race was over. I was aware that my legs were starting to hurt so I began a series of walking and running that would carry me through to the end. By the time I had reached mile 16, I just felt a deep conviction that this was a finishable race. Plus, my knee was holding up!

Mile 26.0 was the most powerful part of the race for me! I was hurting in body but overwhelmed at making it to this point. It all hit me at this point. The months of training and then getting injured. The doubts about running the marathon, wondering if we could make it. The many, many people who were praying for us. I also thought about the children and their families whom we had dedicated our race to. By the grace of God and the generosity of many, we were able to raise money to help an organization that takes pictures of sick children (many of whom might pass away and the pictures become a precious gift to their families). All these thoughts hit me as we hit the crowds going up the final stretch. And unexpectedly, I started to cry. I was overwhelmed by the grace of God at that moment. I knew that when I saw my Brother Gregory I'd probably lose it again. He had motivated me in many ways to do this. I crossed the finish line somewhere around 5 hours even and bowed my head while a young Marine put a medal over my head.

What an experience! I will be sore for a week or two but very grateful in so many ways. God's grace at work in us can accomplish far more than we ask or imagine.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Running the race of life

I've been thinking about joining the ranks of bloggers for a while now... so I did it! Despite my initial wondering, "Who would want to read this?", I'll take the chance that it might just be worth the risk.

I chose the name, "Running the race of life", because its a metaphor that is personally powerful for me. I happen to be a runner in body, but I'd like to think we're all runners in the sense of this adventure we've been gifted called life. Its a long-distance race that has many twists and bends and while we run it on our own we couldn't do it without one another. From time to time, I hope to share some of my journey. In the end, our journies share incredible connections.

Speaking of running, I'm joining 29,999 other people to run the Marine Corps Marathon this Sunday. 26.2 miles... talk about a race! My Franciscan brother Gregory and I will attempt to navigate the twists and bends and make some friends along the way.