This year, before I headed out to Indianapolis (only about a 40 minute drive from my house), I told my husband how great it was not to be worrying about all the things I normally would if I were heading out to run a half marathon.
The first part of this is a repost from a race recap a year ago.
Indianapolis Half Marathon October 17, 2015
I say “Don’t be defined by the numbers.” I tell you I’ve thrown away the scales. I don’t count calories. Your spouse doesn’t care what you weigh. Your kids don’t care how fast you can run. But then life….times 2!
So I go run a half marathon. I’ve run over 50 of them! Old hat, right??? I don’t win awards, but most of them have been under 2 hours. Most not by a lot, but under 2 hours nevertheless. And if you’re a seasoned runner at this distance, you know the importance of “under a 2 hour half”. It just feels good to say it. I’ve even run my fair share of them not even wearing a watch and still under 2 hours. But on the hilly (you be the judge!) Indianapolis Half Marathon, I went over 2 hours. Not be a few seconds, but by 7 MINUTES and a few seconds! Now, the girl who says you’re not defined by numbers, shouldn’t be defined by these numbers, right??? Well, sorta wrong! lol!
I began to question my training. Question my body. Are you working hard enough? Too hard? You threw away those scales a few months ago, I bet you’ve gained weight and now you’re too fat to run fast. And so the mind goes.
And during all this, I’m struggling with something else coming up…..the “life times 2 part”…..I go to the doctor for my annual exam on Tuesday. Haven’t had a scales so haven’t weighed since June. It’s just a number. I’m not defined by the numbers. No big deal, right?? WRONG. It’s been on my mind. I’ve been worrying. What if it’s more than last year? Am I a fluke? Do I go back and say, pull out those scales! Start counting your calories! You DO need to know your numbers???
No, no, no Marsha. Slow down. Let go. It’s okay. And so my sweet Jesus (when I finally let Him), assures me that I’m okay. Numbers DON’T define me. It’s a new day. Your husband still doesn’t care how much you weigh. Your son didn’t even ask how fast you ran. He just likes to see the medal….and I get one no matter what my finish time is.
I do believe from the bottom of my heart that we are not defined by numbers. And I will tell you that any and every day you let me. And above all I’ll tell you…..Jesus loves me this I know.
That is what I wrote a little more than a year ago about that half marathon. Oh how things can change in a short amount of time. What I would give just to be able to toe the line at that event this year! I was celebrating running 2 miles without stopping and without my knee swelling up this week! Had I known that might have been my last time running the Indianapolis Half Marathon I may have taken it even slower and enjoyed the beautiful colors of fall.
I mentioned a doctor’s appointment in the text above as well. I did step on the scales that day. Can I tell you what it said? I’m not exactly sure. I have an idea, but does it have any impact on me today? Nope. It was just a number on that given day. Next month I’ll be going back to that doctor’s office for my annual exam. Will I weigh? I’m not sure yet. I’ve been faced with a doctor’s scale a couple of times since that day. Once I politely refused; the next time I got on without even thinking. Bottom line: those numbers make no difference. They have zero impact on me at this moment.
Friends, we never know what the next day or even the next step will bring. We can’t let superficial things like numbers on a scale or a finish time on a watch define who we are. We are more than our weight, our size, our finish times.
My numbers, your numbers, have nothing to do with serving God and others. My numbers bring the focus back to me, and that’s not where my focus needs to be. Sure, healthy living is important so that we can fulfill our calling, but finish times and pounds lost do not define healthy living. Healthy living is about being free to move. It’s about caring for our body as a temple so we can love and serve others. It’s so we can be present and active with our family. Healthy living is being able to shift the focus from ourselves and onto others.
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It’s time for my race recap! If you’ve been reading my blog or following social media, you know that this race was a bit different than the dozens of half marathons I’ve previously run. This time I was running for those who can’t. I was running with Team Momentum which raises funds and awareness for muscle disease. (You can read my story of why I signed up here.)
My friend Elaine and I did this race together. I was glad to have a local friend who was very familiar with the Chicago area to go to the big city with! We left Shelbyville on a rainy Saturday to head to sunny Chicago. Not far from home, Elaine mentions that she may have forgotten her running shoes?!?! For most people this would have been a big deal, but for Elaine who was long overdue for new running shoes, this may have been a blessing! (She got new shoes at packet pick up, and they served her well on race day!)
We stopped about halfway there at Fair Oaks Farm for restroom break and ice cream! Yum!!
We made it to Chicago and went straight to Fleet Feet for packet pick up. It was busy time in the city. Elaine knew exactly where we were going and how to parallel park (that in and of itself was why I had to bring her along! lol!).
We stayed in the host hotel and loved it. Very nice location, not only the view from the window, but all the race activities were right outside the door.
Saturday evening we finally got to meet up with Team Momentum for dinner. It was a wonderful evening where we got to meet other team members and hear their stories of why they were doing this event. We had a delicious Maggiano’s dinner.
The dinner location was about a mile from the hotel, so Elaine and I opted to walk each way. It was a nice way to see a bit more of the city. But we were ready to crash when we returned to the hotel.
We had beautiful weather for race day. Team Momentum had a tent in the start/finish area. It was great to have our own bag check and port-a-pot! We hung out with everyone prior to the race and took pictures. What an amazing group!
The race was an out and back course along the water. What a beautiful course. Couldn’t complain about the weather. A bit sunny and warm at times, but the breeze off the water came at just the right times. Plenty of water and aid stations along the way as well as people cheering us on.
I took a gel at 4 miles, and it was all downhill from there. My stomach got a bit upset. My legs were heavy. I just wasn’t feeling it. I tried to convince myself that I could push through and run this thing. My last few half marathons have been sub-par according to my standards. Times have plummeted over the last few months, and I’m not quite sure why. I soon realized I wasn’t going to redeem those times at this race. So I ran. I walked. Basically I did whatever I needed to do to finish the race.
There were smiling faces along the way. My Team Momentum coach was there. I saw others in Team Momentum shirts, and we encouraged one another as we passed. This race wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about my finish time. These kids, these families didn’t care what the clock said when I finished. They loved me for who I was and for what I was doing for this cause….for my efforts to raise money and awareness so that one day we could kick this disease in the butt!
I hate to compare, because my recent race struggles are nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to what those with muscle disease face on a daily basis. However, I’m learning to be grateful. I’m learning that the things I complain about would be things that others would do anything to have. I saw young children using walkers or already confined to wheelchairs because this disease has stolen their ability to walk…..I was maybe walking in a race that I would’ve preferred to run, but I was walking. They can’t.