Most of my life, I have dreamed a little bigger than my reality, usually resulting in disappointment and heartbreak. About 16 months ago, after not having run even a mile in 20 years, I discovered that I loved trail running. It didn’t come easily to me. I was slow. But, I loved it. It brought me peace, it connected me in a deeper way to God, and it challenged me. I love a challenge!
After adding a few miles here and there to my runs, I decided that I really wanted to run an Ultra (50k or more). I really don’t know why. I always told myself that I couldn’t run and that I didn’t like running. For whatever reason, the challenge of being on a mountain trail for so many miles and the opportunity to push myself physically while out in nature greatly appealed to me. So, I found a race that I wanted to do and that became my goal. Training for it was not easy. Six kids, homeschooling, a husband and a part-time job made it pretty difficult to squeeze in long runs. Hubby and the kids were amazingly supportive, though!
This past Saturday was my goal race. Stump Jump, in Chattanooga. It was a beautiful day! I had been pretty under the weather the whole week leading up to Stump Jump, which was stressing me out a little. But, come Saturday I felt mostly better. The race was amazing. Amazing people, amazing trail. Challenging trail! Running has become a very spiritual thing for me. God meets me every time. It is a precious gift He has given me. He was there on that trail. I felt Him in the cool breeze that blew across the top of the mountain and in the warm sun that shone through the trees. I heard Him in the trickling water and the singing birds. And all of the smells of the forest–the flowers, the wet rocks, the earthy ground–He was there. The feel and textures of the different barks on the trees.
“I just ran in awe of all that He has done for me.”
The things I saw with my eyes–so many kinds of flowers, fungus, rivers running between the mountains, moss-covered rocks, knobby tree trunks, little green lizards, huge rock walls, little creeks running down the mountain–all amazing wonders of His creation. I just ran in awe of all that He has done for me. The beauty that He surrounds me with. Not just in the mountains, but in my everyday life. I felt so loved and I felt so known by Him. He created all of this for me. He created all of this and more for everyone! He’s such a good God. I’m so grateful I get to experience Him this way.
I didn’t finish my 50k. I made it to mile 28.6 and didn’t make the time cut. I was disappointed. I was so close! I was emotional. But I was so thankful! It was an incredible day! I learned so much about myself, about my strengths and weaknesses (both physically and mentally). And I just really enjoyed being out there and experiencing everything I got to experience. I am a little sad that I didn’t achieve my goal, but I will try again. I don’t quit very easily and I’ve got a lot of people on my side.