Take Every Thought Captive

It was the perfect storm of positive mental encouragement for this marathon. First, let me just say that according to the various experts from Runners' World, I did most everything completely wrong to train for this marathon. I ran 22 miles just 3 weeks before the big day. I followed that 22 miler with almost a week completely off running due to the Bahamas trip. My max mileage topped out at only 29 miles. Then, during my taper week I did a two-a-day, followed by another one to film my Unbreakable audition. But maybe that's what I needed. No pressure. All signs pointed me to having a crummy marathon. I had put myself in my favorite position-- the under dog.

So what went right? Nearly everything, mentally. To start with, I've been reading through the book of Hebrews in my quiet time. And I just so happened to be in chapter 12 yesterday.  One of my favorite passages: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2). Then last night, the movie Miracle happened to be on t.v. It's the incredibly uplifting story of the USA hockey team who defeated the Russians to win Olympic Gold. Finally, this morning I picked up one of my devotional books, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Here is part of what it said for today: "Keep your focus on me. I have gifted you with amazing freedom including the ability to choose the focal point of your mind... Let the goal of this day be to bring every thought captive to Me.... I will guard you and keep you in constant Peace, as you focus your mind on me." I can't even describe how much those words moved me this morning. They speak perfectly to my struggle in the marathon-- the downward spiral my mind takes. So, I wrote "take every thought captive" on my arm so that I would  have a reminder to fix my eyes on Jesus. My mantra? "I am clothed with strength and dignity." Taken from Proverbs 31, and cemented in my brain by Beth Moore in her book, So Long Insecurity.

So, here is what I learned in today's marathon:
1. Don't go out fast! My first mile was 10:30; 30 seconds slower than my goal pace for the race. I didn't let it bother me. In the last marathon, I went out @ 9:15 and crashed and burned.
2. Know your body and listen to it. I ate when I felt I needed to  eat, and did the same with water. When I started cramping, I switched over to mostly Gatorade, even though it usually makes me nauseous. I had no choice if I wanted to finish. I also had to quit eating my Cliff bars because they started making me nauseous. I actually spit the last bite out and didn't finish the last bar. 
3. It is possible to run through leg cramps. It's not pleasant, but it's possible. I figured either run with the cramps or walk with them and take twice as long.
4. I can actually make it 26.2 miles without stopping for a potty break.
5. I can drive myself home after running 26.2 miles.
6. Remember, you are running with the other runners, not against them.
7. Smile. It makes the run a little easier.

Almost forgot to add... I set a new PR by 29 minutes! 4:34. And I'm retiring from the marathon. (Although there's still Boston...) 

Probably my favorite song of the day:


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