Knoxville Marathon Recap

What a race! I have been training like crazy the last 3 months. I've hit more mileage than ever and honestly have felt faster than ever. Then 2 weeks before the race I got a severe cold. Congestion was awful, so that meant breathing got hard. Nerves started to kick in a little more and I was afraid my goal performance might be out of site. To top it off, weather got worse and then there was a chance of rain. Ah...it was like Portland all over again! That was honestly my biggest fear, all of a sudden my body would shutdown way too soon.

Well, don't get me wrong, my body hit a wall around mile 14 that was like "why are you doing this?" haha. Definitely was thinking, "I should stop." But my body did not shut down! The drainage was pretty real. I was blowing snot rockets about every 5 minutes. But my body felt strong. Around mile 18 I was like, I only have 8 more miles! That's it! I turned my music back on and rocked out to some Jesus Music. Ah it was awesome. My legs were on fire, but my mind was strong. 

The course was BEAUTIFUL! I was not expecting that. It was definitely pretty hilly. But it was refreshing. We ran through neighborhoods, downtown, and on this beautiful trail through the woods. It felt a lot like Northwest Arkansas. There were tons of trees and green grass! It was so refreshing from the runs here in Miami. I will never negate the beauty of the causeway here in Miami, but I loved the rolling hills and small mountain feel of the city. 

Haha it is funny though, it's been a while since my splits differed so much because of the hills. I could tell which miles I fought a decent hill. But it was so encouraging to look at my watch at the end and see my splits at an average of 7:02/mile. 

This race was definitely challenging, but as I look back, it was definitely a memorable race. It takes the pressure off Boston (even though I would secretly love to PR again haha). And I get to enjoy the experience I have there, no matter what my time. Honestly, I'm just so thrilled to see so much improvement in my running these last 3-4 months. My goal after Boston is to focus on some shorter distances 5k to half marathon. There is real potential in these events for me to start moving very close to the elite levels! It's crazy and intimidating, yet so exciting! I'm so encouraged, yet so impatient...haha classic. I'm also a bit terrified! What if? Right? But yeah! It's gonna happen.

It's funny, I got back from Knoxville and received this book from my in-laws called Running with Joy by Ryan Hall. It was so surreal reading the first bit as he explained this calling towards running. As a believer and a normal human being, it feels a little strange to be called to something like this (especially when you're not quite there yet), but the calling is undeniable. Really. There is something deep within me that knows I'm supposed to be pursuing this path. It's for some greater good. There's something God has instore and he is affirming it through my performances recently. I know many people may judge this decision and many that think it's selfish or impractical. Some think it's not stable. But dang...I just have one thing to say-I'm listening to the Voice of God. There will be challenges with that and people may not agree, but if you were walking in my shoes listening to the same God, you would feel pretty compelled as well. I have tried SO MANY other things-let me tell you, I don't know how many jobs I've applied for or sat down and talk with people, and how many times the door has been SHUT IN MY FACE. But for some reason every opportunity with running and run coaching just keeps opening up. Yes there have been some failures, that's part of the process people. Even if you're passionate and dedicated to something you're gonna mess up or have a hard season, that's life. You learn from those seasons, but giving up and turning away from your calling is not the answer. Even Rusty has seen the affirmation. It's crazy how well he supports me in my dreams. I seriously could NOT do it without him. But we've both seen this undeniable affirmation of God's work in my life, a lot of that through running. 

So to all of you out there pursuing your calling, pursuing your dreams, doing what scares you and not necessarily what's easy: Keep GOING! Don't give up. Trust the process and remember most things don't happen overnight. Remember hard days will come, but so will good days. Trust in the Lord, not your own understanding. Yes, be wise, but do something that scares you. But most importantly through it all, love the people around you in the process. I can tell you, the thing that keeps me going is not just my dream, but the people walking along side of me in our journeys. The people that remind me of how amazing my God is and how much he loves us. So take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. They are all so precious. And remember those around you-your dream is not more important than them.