Saturday we had a FULL day of events for the LIFE Runners, starting off with mass, and then a rosary procession to the Planned Parenthood a few blocks away. As I was praying in front of the planned parenthood, I was saddened to see how busy it was, but it strengthened my resolve to not ever give up standing up for and fighting for the lives of the innocent babies, and their mothers and families.
After our gathering in the morning, I broke off from the group to make a trip to target. My hubby went with the other four leaders to a radio show that they were on, so one of our LIFE Runner teammates agreed to take me to target. I got what I needed, and then plugged our hotel into the GPS. We're driving along, following the instructions of our friendly GPS, and realize we have gone way out of our way. We get turned around, consult a paper map, and get back to the hotel....without the help of my bro-in-laws GPS, that I fondly (or not so fondly) named STUPID. We arrive at the hotel, and are sitting down to grab bite to eat, and we get a call from Pat and Steve, telling us not to eat, and head to Our Lady of the Snows shrine, and they will meet us there. We had already ordered our drinks, and oh there was a group of 14 of us together at this point. Our waitress did not look to happy when we asked to get our drinks to go. The shrine we were going to was over the river in IL, so we get on the interstate, and get caught smack dab in the middle of a traffic jam. We moved 1.5 miles in 45 minutes. I was so hungry at this point, I was about to start eating my arm. We get to the shrine, and decide to forgo the tour and get some food. We sit down order our food, and are waiting on it's arrival, and are told we have to leave....the waitress boxes up our food, and we head out. At least we finally got to eat once we were back in the car. Then we go to church, and head for the LIFE Runners pre-race banquet, at this point I begin to get a little nervous. I have a sinus/respiratory infection going on, and I am sing the National Anthem, Acepella, at the start of the banquet.
I break away for about ten minutes, find the back alley behind the building where the banquet was, and start practicing. The local Knight of Columbus were who were putting on the banquet for us became my biggest fans as I was right off the kitchen practicing. They were so sweet and encouraging. I felt like one of them adopted me after my 15 minutes of interaction with them. Needless to say the evening went well, and I did okay singing the National Anthem.
|Sara Vetch and me at the start line!|
We hung out together anxiously awaiting the start of the race, and the whole start of the race was delayed because they said that some Green Bay packer fans were tailgating on the course, and they couldn't start until it was clear. Finally the race starts, and Sara and I hang together the first two miles, at this point, I knew I had to hang back a little, so I told her to break off and run her race. We separated and from then on out, I was on my own. During the course of this race, I realized it seemed to be going much slower than last year, last year it seemed like I was at mile 6 before I knew it, this year it seemed like the miles just dragged on. I was going at a good pace though, and at every mile, I checked my watch to see if I was on track to come in around the 2 hour 10 minute mark. I was really happy because the first five miles, I was ahead of where I should be. Around mile six, I started feeling some cramping, and I thought wow....this is early. I just kept going. Around mile 7 I noticed that my eyes felt like they were swelling up.....I could feel that they were puffy, but didn't think much of it. Around Mile 8 my fingers started hurting, and felt like they were cramping. I looked down at my hands and noticed my fingers were all swollen as well. I thought, " well this is strange", but at this point I knew that whatever it was would have to wait until I finished the race to be addressed. Around mile nine I was cramping and hurting and really struggling. As I was praying I asked God to give me some inspiration because I was really struggling.As I rounded the corner by a church there was a band, and they were singing. "How great thou Art" Which has been one of my favorite songs since I was a little girl. I of course, start crying and Thank God, and at this point I offered up all of my pain and fear as a prayer. I was beginning to get worried about the puffiness, I could not longer bend my fingers, and when I looked down at my hands, my wedding ring looked like it was going to cut off my finger. My fingers were two to three times their normal size. I shook the fear off the best I could and prayed the rosary even harder offering up all the pain and fear. When I reach mile ten, I give myself a bit of a pep talk. I tell myself that from now to the finish, it is all about heart. I know I have nothing physical left, but I have the heart to keep pushing forward, and by some miracle I pickup the pace a little, and begin to pass people. I get to mile 12.5 and Steve is there waiting for me, he had finished his race and came back for me. When I first see him a sob wells up in my throat, and I croak out "I am all puffy" He says in his best calm voice "well, lets finish this strong and you'll be okay. I pull it together and say okay. The last half mile of the race seemed to take FOR EVER! I was able to kick it in in the end and cross the finish line with nothing left. I think I made it two steps across the finish line and someone was at my side asking me if I was okay..... I said "I'm fine, I'm just puffy" I remember him saying "uh-huh (not convinced at all), and putting his arm around me and moving me towards the medical tent. I again tell him I am fine, that I am just puffy, and he again says uh-huh as he is steering me into the medical tent. I was asked if I was lightheaded, I said no, just nauseous and puffy. I reiterated that I was fine, and the doctor laughed at me and said..... "uh-huh" why don't we go over here and lay down. Soon I have Gatorade and pretzels and a ice pack I am supposed to hold in my hands to help bring the swelling down. I'm laying on this cot where my feet are elevated above my head. I keep telling everyone I am fine, just puffy, and they all keep dismissing my claims to being fine. After about ten minutes the swelling went down in my eyes and face enough that they all seemed to relax a little. I was told that I did not have enough salt in my body to handle the fluid I was drinking during my run, but the week before in my training run, I under hydrated and bonked and had to stop running, so every drink station, I drank during the race. After about 15minutes they let me leave the medical tent. It took about 5 hours for my fingers to return to normal size, but I could bend them again shortly after the pretzels and Gatorade. Steve later shared with me that he was much more concerned than he let on, and my face and eyes were really quite swollen.
My final time was 2 hours 13 min and 43 seconds. I was happy because I Pr'd by almost 20 minutes, but I was shy of breaking the 2 hour 10 minute mark, that I so badly wanted to break. However, I know I gave everything I had out there, and didn't have anything left in me. So I am content for now, and have set the goal that next year, I WILL break two hours in my half- marathon.
As I am completely submerged back into the daily hecticness of my life, I am thankful for the past weekend and my time with my LIFE Runner teammates, and the power of prayer and the peace of knowing we witnessed for the Lord this weekend. Had several comments on the jersey when I was running such as " LOVE your jersey....what a great cause, and even an "oh my you guys are everywhere" There is nothing better than being united in Christ, and standing for the truth. Thank you to all my wonderful teammates. You all inspire and move me, and I feel blessed to call you all my brothers and sisters ....all in Christ.....FOR PRO-LIFE!