Preface: The marathon. It was two days ago. I've thought and thought how to write about my experience and know of only one way to tell. As I know, feel, and experienced it. I will be talking about things that are close to my heart, my God, my religion. I will try to post links if I mention something about/in my religion so that if you want, you can go and read what it is I am talking about.
The photos I will be posting are not pretty. I wish they were. I'm not going to 'photo shop' them or choose only the ones where I look good. I wanted to, I wanted to hide the ones where you can see my chubby thighs or show only the ones where I am smiling but this story is real and so the photos must be real too.
That said........ let the story...... begin...... where it begins........ at the beginning. Before race day.
Once upon a time there was a girl who after running a 1/2 marathon last year, decided to try running a full marathon this year. She had a year to train. She'd already run a half, having a year to prepare for running 26.2 miles seemed adequate time. When she told her family what her goal was, her son, Mr. C told her he wanted to run a marathon too. Thrilled to have a partner in crime, she signed him up. The training began.
The girl asked a neighbor of hers to help her train. She knew there was more than running to getting ready for a marathon and needed guidance and help. Her neighbor agreed and would email her everyday what her workout was to be. The girl worked and trained hard to the best of her ability. Many long hours she spent training to get ready.
Two months before the marathon the girl was devastated and frustrated when she became injured. She'd hurt her right leg. She could no longer do the running part of her training. The furthest she'd run in her training was 17 miles. Her right leg had a hairline fracture. The girl asked her husband who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood to please give her a blessing. Her husband placed his hands on her head and gave her a blessing. In that blessing, he told her that if she put her church calling, her scripture study, her family, etc. first, she would be able to run the marathon.
The girl continued to train as best she could without being able to do the running part of her training. A week before the marathon, the girl went up into the mountains camping with her daughter and other teenage girls in her church youth group. The girls position in her church is working with the youth teenage girls. This week long camp is a highlight for her.
The girl enjoyed her week up camping with the youth girls and other leaders creating lasting bonds and friendships. On Friday evening before she left to come down the mountain, she talked to the youth girls and told them about her training experience and how our Heavenly Father knows and loves each one of us. She told the girls about her blessing and because she had done as her Heavenly Father had asked, she was expecting miracles the next day during her marathon. Even though her right leg hurt while up camping with the girls, she was expecting miracles. She'd done her part, the Lord would do His.
That evening she left the girls and told them that she would finish her race. She had helped the girls make a purple bracelet and had taught them about integrity. She'd told the girls she would finish. Finish, she would. She then left and didn't get home until after 1 o'clock in the morning. She showered and prepared her items she would need for the race and headed to bed only to have to get up an hour later to catch the bus that would take her and her son to the start of the race. In other words, she'd been up camping (not sleeping good) for a week and the night before her marathon, she didn't get any sleep.
The girl and her son were driven by The SM to the bus pick up location and boarded the bus. Both the girl and the son felt like they were standing in a room full of people naked. It was obvious they were newbies and everyone was looking at them. They stood out like a sore thumb. The girl and her son got on the bus and prepared for the long drive to the start of the marathon. It felt like the bus drove for hours.
When it was time for the race to begin, the girl and her son started at the very end of the mass of runners. The girl didn't want to feel pressured to keep a pace. Her goal was to finish and didn't want to start out too fast.
As the girl and her son started to run, she marveled at the beauty all around her. What a beautiful day to run. What majestic beautiful mountains. What beautiful wild flowers. Her right leg didn't hurt. How beautiful! How miraculous!
Two miles into the run, the girl realized there was a problem. She had to go. She had to go potty. Not good. (You knew I couldn't write a running story without me having to add something about poop did ya?!!!!)
Side note: I got this email from the race committee this morning. It will explain a bit as to what happened next.
We’ve got some important post race information, but first, we owe you an apology and an explanation. We sincerely apologize. The porta potty situation was completely unacceptable on any level. We reserved enough porta potties, we paid for those porta potties in advance, and we spent half a day driving the course with a representative of the porta potty company showing him exactly where they should be placed and confirming how many should be at each location. That obviously didn’t happen and we are very sorry. We’ve already begun putting processes into place to ensure this never happens again. We are very truly sorry.
The girl ran for several miles searching and searching for a porta potty in vain. There was none to be found/seen. To her horror and humiliation, she pooped her pants. Yup! Go me!!! She continued running hoping beyond hope that 'things' would stay out of sight. Then, things started to slip. A sob escaped. She looked behind her and of course, there were some men running behind her. They would see. They would know. She wanted so badly to stop, walk backwards into a field, call her husband to come and get her, and to quit. She knew that there were photos of other runners going around cyber world with poo running down their legs and she didn't want to be one of those photos. She didn't want others to see her humiliation.
Finally, up ahead, she saw a porta potty in a campground. After waiting in line for what seemed like hours she closed the door behind herself and started to break down in gulping sobs. She spent 15 minutes in the porta potty cleaning herself up as best she could with toilet paper and hand sanitizer as that was all there was. Meanwhile, never leaving her side and flying to the finish line, her son stayed waiting never knowing what was transpiring with his mother other than she was taking an awfully long time in the porta potty and what in the world was she doing in there?? Didn't she know this was a race??
Taking a deep breath and looking at the purple bracelet that was on her wrist, the one the girl had helped the young women make up at camp that represented integrity, she knew she had to go on. She couldn't quit. She'd told the girls that she would finish. She opened the door to the porta potty, smiled at her son, and they took off running again.
They ran a couple of miles. The girl again noticed that her right leg wasn't hurting and marveled at the miracle she'd been given. During these few miles, one of the stretches was downhill. A rather steep incline. As the girl was running, she felt some pain behind her left knee. She acknowledged it but didn't think much of it. After the decline she had to run up a long steep incline. She was pleased with how she and her son were doing. Mile 9. Extreme pain. Her left leg/knee buckled and gave way. She couldn't bear her full weight on her left leg. Gasping and limping along the girl was in tears. Why? She prayed. Father! I did all that you asked. You said I could run this race. I did all I could. I expected miracles. So far, the race had been pure hell. Where were the miracles? In agony the girl continued to try to run/limp along. As she ran and felt such burning in her right thigh because she was putting all of her weight on her right leg and coming down hard on her right leg, she wondered how long that one leg could support her. This was the leg that had the fracture! Her thigh continued to burn but she didn't feel any pain where the fracture was.
Many times the girl had to stop as her right leg became so weary and her left leg would collapse under her and hands out almost falling to the ground she would stop. Several times the girl who was trying so hard to keep her emotions in check and be brave for her son, would crumble and with tears streaming down her face, gasping in pain, she would apologize to her son. Her son who could have finished the marathon in a few hours but chose instead to never leave his mother's side from the very beginning.
Finally at mile 13.1 (where the 1/2 marathon began) there were porta potties. The girl went and sat in one and pulled out her cell phone. She text her husband, (The Scout Master), and her running partner friend Natalie and told them she was in trouble. Please pray for her. Things were not going well. She then saw that her husband had forwarded an email to her from her dad. Sitting in the porta potty she read his words of love and encouragement. She broke down sobbing. This wasn't how the marathon was supposed to go!
Gathering her strength and courage she left the porta potty and again started out with her son. As she tried to jog/limp along hour after hour, mile after mile, she continued to pray to her Father asking Him to help her. Please take away the pain. Please heal her leg. Why wasn't he helping her?? Where was He?
At one point, the girl was approached by two men. One on motorcycle and another on an ATV telling her that they were the 'end' of the race. If she didn't stay in front of them, she was on her own. She tried, oh how she tried to stay in front but again collapsing, it was not to be so. In desperation she saw them driving further and further ahead of her and then they were gone. Off in the distance. She and her son were on their own.
The girl picked herself up and continued on. Mile after mile. Hour after hour. The sun scorching. As she ran, the words to a song kept going through her mind. Words so clear to her. Not muddied through a radio or thought process. Clear as if someone was standing next to her, looking her in the eye, and saying:
As the words went through her mind over and over the girl kept pleading and praying telling her Father, I would love to reach up and take your hand but I can't see your hand. Where are you?? Where is your hand??
Side note: I am not familiar with this song. I know of it and sang it up at the youth girls camp one evening with the words on a piece of paper along with many other women but didn't know the song before and couldn't tell you the words to the song even now. I had to look them up to get them right. During the race, the words came to me hour after hour so clearly.
At mile 20 the girl couldn't run/limp along on her own any longer. She asked her son if she could use him as a crutch. Could she lean on him and hold onto his shoulder. He told her that she could and they continued on.
Several times she asked her son if she was pulling too hard on him. Was he okay? Was she too heavy? He would smile at her and reassure her that he was just fine and it wasn't a big deal. They continued along in this fashion. Up in the distance at about mile 22 the girl and her son saw their family holding white encouraging signs. They were waiting for them standing next to the road. The girl tried to be brave but the sight of her family had her in tears again. She looked at her husband and saw that he was crying watching her. He asked her if she was okay. She gave him a smile as best she could and told him she'd see him at the finish line and continued on.
It had been so many hours since the beginning of the race. Traffic was no longer being kept at bay. The girl and her son were truly on their own. The race as far as the 'marathon' was considered was over. On the girl and her son went as cars went flying past. No more aid stations. No one to cheer and encourage them on. They'd all left. The race was over.
So hot. In so much pain and agony. When would it end? How was the girl going to finish. Still miles to go. Still the words to the song going through the girls mind. Walk tall you're a daughter. A child of God......... He's closer than you know........ reach up and take His hand.......
Finally the finish line was in sight. In sight but still so far away. It never seemed to move closer! The girl was still in motion but the finish line appeared like it was never getting closer! As she got closer, she saw a figure walking towards her. She recognized Kristen. Her friend. Her friend tried talking to her but she couldn't acknowledge her. Too much pain. Needed to finish. As she continued on, she saw another group of people. Too much pain. She knew she should know who they were but she couldn't understand or recognize who they were. One stepped in front of her face and started talking to her. Her sister!! Her sister Elizabeth. Her sister told her she was strong. She could do it! The group encircled the girl and her son and ran with her as she lurched towards the finish. The finish that no longer had gates to run through. No finish line. No crowd. The race was over. The race personnel were cleaning everything up. The girl and her son were dead last.
Almost 7 hours. Almost 7 hours of pure hell and as she crossed the finish line no longer able to run a step further, she collapsed. Her son, still by her side.
The girl's husband held onto her and supported her. Her mother who had flown in from Washington and her family was at the finish line along with some dear friends. The ladies she had spent the week camping with and some of the girls and Guy, Kristen's husband. Dear dear people to the girl made all the more dear by this experience.
Even the puppy Zoe was there to give the girl a kiss!
The girl and her son had done it. A miracle had taken place. They had finished.
|FINISHER ribbon!!! And the purple bracelet I helped the girls to make reminding them to have integrity.|
The first miracle she recognized was that her right leg never gave out on her. The leg that had the fracture. The second miracle was that even though humiliating, she had found a bathroom in a campground and had been able to clean herself up pretty darn good all things considering. Another miracle was that her son stayed and never left her side. Another miracle was that when her system needed to clean itself out again, it was when she was in the porta potty at mile 13.1. The only other porta potties on the race route. There were porta potties at the beginning of the marathon and then some at the half way mark. No others along the way. Another miracle was that she was able to finish! Another miracle was that when the girl finished, she thought her left leg was probably fractured and she would need to go to the hospital to have it looked at,, the next day Sunday she walked into church with hardly a limp. There were several more miracles that came to the girls mind but the biggest miracle of all and one that still brings tears to her eyes is her son. Later after the race, several hours after, he admitted that at mile 17 he had wanted to quit. He was hurting and near tears himself. He had never let on. The girl never knew!! He had let her lean on him for hours and miles reassuring the girl that she wasn't a problem, he was just fine, to go ahead and lean on him. Never letting her know he was struggling and in pain himself.
The girl, me, the mother............... I can't look at my 16 year old son without tears streaming down my face. A miracle. A hero. My son. Over and over I was told in that song, "I am closer than you know...... reach up........ He'll take your hand............" My son. He was next to me the whole time and finally, I reached up, and he took my hand.
Often our Father answers our prayers through others.
This isn't the typical marathon race story but then, I'm not typical am I?? It was hard, but it is mine and my son's race story and it is beautiful. I will never forget this experience we shared together.
I told the girls up at the youth camp. "You are FINISHERS. You can do hard things."
Mr. C and I are finishers. We can do hard things.