Well, I’m not quite sure what happened but my last post posted today rather than a couple weeks ago when I wrote it from my mobile phone. Don’t mean to confuse readers when you all see 2 posts on the same day. One talking about an upcoming race and the second talking about a race that happened yesterday. Another one of life’s little mysteries, I suppose.
Hope everyone is doing well! I took the day off from work because I can’t put weight on my left leg. Despite that, I’m in great spirits! Yesterday, was a great day! I woke up at 5:30 in the morning pumped and ready to run my first half-marathon. I was especially happy because the night before I felt some pain behind and alongside my left leg, near the knee, but when I woke up it was almost entirely gone. My boyfriend and I had prayed for healing the night before and he also gave me a leg massage to loosen things up a bit. That combination of things worked well because I was feeling great and so, so relieved that all my training and efforts weren’t sabotaged by stubborn hamstrings.
As I got ready for the race, I listened to praise & worship music by Charity Gayle, Hillsong and a few others. All I wanted to do was praise my God for healing me and hearing my prayer. My worries about not being able to get through the race were dissipated. There’s nothing better than having your hope renewed, right?
Once we arrived to the race site, it was so good to see everyone in my group, all stoked and ready to get their run on! We planned on doing the 2018 New Paltz Challenge in part to support a woman from church who was recently diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease. It would be her first 5k. Our pastor had t-shirts made that read, “Team Sabrina Parkinson’s Awareness” with 2 people running in the background and a large tulip overtop, which is the symbol for PD. Our running together was a message to Sabrina and all of us, that we’re in this together. We do life together, fighting the good fight and running the race faithfully, until completion. (literally & figuratively)
Hebrews 12:1 New International Version (NIV)
12 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.
We looked pretty excited, did we not? In our group, though not everyone arrived in time for this particular picture, we had 9 people running the 5k and 3 of us ran the half-marathon. Pastor Scott, his wife and I started our race at 7:30 AM. Now, can I just mention how happy I am that races this long, start so early before it gets extremely hot outside?! We couldn’t ask for a better morning to run. It was nice and cool out. No humidity. Breathing was not a challenge. We were almost taken out by a senile, old man trying to exit his apartment complex, however. He slowly drove the front end of his car right towards 600 runners heading for the starting line, but luckily a few volunteers stepped out, insisting that he turn around and exit another way. It was sort of an interesting way to start out. I was silently worried about him, wondering if he should really be driving anymore.
Anyhow, the half-marathon went well! The course was definitely more challenging than expected but I kept my pace (something I worked hard on during the last couple months of training) and didn’t let the hills scare me. I developed a new strategy I call “looking down at the ground while running uphill” so I wouldn’t focus on how far I still had to run uphill and just focused on keeping pace. It worked! That and thinking about the movie Finding Nemo, reminding myself to “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” My strategies were very technical.
When I finally completed 13.1 miles, I was just so relieved to cross that finish line and hear the DJ (is that what I should call him?) announce, “Angela Phillips finishes the race at 2:21:5! Great job!” I saw my boyfriend, my daughter and my friend Heather standing on a hill smiling and waving at me. I mustered up an exhausted smile and walked over to a volunteer who handed me a bottle of water (oh, thank, God!) and my first medal for running. I tried to keep walking so that I could cool down properly like I normally do, but I felt a little strange. I tried to fight it and push through but my legs were weak. I was also light-headed. Cooling down was not going to happen. Standing was good enough as Makayla walked over and gave me a loving hug. Then, Drew was there and we were laughing, “I made it…” And he said, “I know, I can’t believe you did it!” He looked so proud and happy for me. Then, my father was standing next to me, “Ange! I can’t believe you did it either!” More laughter from all of us, mostly because we were relieved and the look on their faces really meant so much to me.
So, I should probably end this post with the paragraph above but that’s not quite how the race ended. (I’m laughing, just so you know.) After the race, I was so tired, all I wanted to do was sit down to stretch, drink some water and use my first GU energy gel. I was in serious need of electrolytes and amino acids. My leg muscles were tight and I was afraid I might faint. Thanking God again, for something else–GU energy gel. It came to the rescue like nobody’s business.
While the GU helped with the lightheadedness, it didn’t help with my legs. When I tried to stand up, my left leg was suddenly in so much pain, I almost collapsed! My father and Drew caught me. My hamstrings were so tight I couldn’t straighten out my leg while putting weight on it. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what do you do for it? I’ve been icing that leg for 20 minutes on and off, resting, doing light leg exercises in my sister’s pool and laughing at myself as I crawl from room to room. Despite the pain, we all had a great Father’s Day with family. It actually made the rest of our day pretty hilarious!
This is a picture of my daughter & I before my near collapse.
And, this is the sweet, nurturing guy who went to get his car and move it as close to me as possible while my awesome father and daughter helped me slowly hop over on the good leg.
It was all good! God answered my prayers for healing so I could run the whole race I had set out to do months ago AND he provided many opportunities for laughter and bonding afterwards. God Bless!