"Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words." Saint Francis of Assisi

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What am I doing?

Night before carbo meal with running partner Alexandre and his family.

On Sunday, May 27 I completed my third marathon. I use the term 'completed' because it was actually the 4th marathon that I've entered. The first one chewed me up, mentally and physically, spit me out and left me on the curb crying like a baby. Afterwards I realized how much more training I needed to be able to complete such a task. My teammate, Matt Rehbein, has run in and completed 2 marathons before this year. We decided to run together and spur each other on to try to break the 4 hour mark. We had been training separately but both had the goal in mind of doing the marathon together and in a time neither had ever accomplished. We could not have asked for a better day. Overcast and a little cold. Matt's mom and sister were visiting from the states and it was exciting to have them, as well as Matt's wife Waleska, meet us at the 10km mark yelling and screaming encouragement to both of us. It was a nice boost. We stayed together and kept the pace we wanted for the first 30km. At the 32 km we were met by Alexandre. He is our friend and he wanted to push us through the last, and hardest, 10km of the race. By the time we met him I could feel some problems with my hamstrings. Matt, Alexandre and I stayed together for 2-3 more km and then, seeing that Matt was doing better than me, I released him of the burden of having to stay with his older, slower and hurting partner. Matt almost beat our goal as he finished at 4:02 and he finished strong. I finished in 4:19 and basically limped in with the help of Alexandre. I failed to mention that Alexandre is an orthopedic surgeon. Hey, if I'm going down with an injury why not have a guy who could operate on the spot? Anyway, my legs cramped up so badly at the 37th km that you could literally hold the cramp in your hand. Thankfully an angel, named Marcio, arrived from nowhere (he was a personal trainer and was helping his clients finish when he saw me laying down in the fetal position on the road) stretched my legs with Alexandre, gave me a banana, a little sweet banana candy and some water and he was off as soon as the cramps went away. I never saw him again. What he and Alexandre did allowed me to, rather gingerly, finish the last 5km. Each time I do a marathon I wonder, especially during the last 10km, why in the world I would ever want to train again to do this. As soon as you cross the finish line, however, you have an incredible feeling of accomplishment that really can't be matched and you are ready to do it again (of course not at that moment).
Right before the race started Matt prayed over our race, our health and asked God to allow us to run the race in a way to honor him. Matt had every reason to be disappointed as he finished so close to the goal but he never lost sight of what his prayer was for us and he praised God at the end for allowing him to do better than ever before. I can honestly say, even through the most difficult parts, that we honored God while we ran.

We're still going strong after 26km.
Matt finishing strong.
Me limping home with Alexandre's help.

1 comment:

Sascha Terry said...

I don't know why I never said it before, but great job! I am proud of you guys for all that you put into those marathons. I promise that I will be on the sideline cheering you on for the next one.