I had done it!! I remember crossing the finish line, but do not remember hearing or seeing anything in that moment.
The last 3 weeks of training were the toughest. It was not because the training was longer and harder but because Satan was a mission and doing all he could to wear me down. Just 3 weeks before the run, we found out that our second fertility treatment was unsuccessful. If you’ve been through it, you understand what a toll it takes on your mind, body, and spirit, but that topic is for another day. After that my husband and I decided it was time to add that adorable new puppy to our family that we had been waiting on getting. God love Boomer (our pup), but he was and still is like having a newborn. Thankfully he was potty trained (for the most part), but he only wants to sleep for 2 hours at a time during the night. Not to mention, He and our other fur baby Nahla B do not exactly get along. 2 days later Craig got sick and was out of commission for a week. While I was trying to let him rest, it put extra on my plate. The failed treatment, Boomer the newborn, work, training and all the house responsibilities really wore me out. I was trying incredibly hard to keep it together, but I was at my breaking point. Then, the following week I got sick. At this point it was just a week before the race. Me being sick turned into a lot more than just stress and a virus. After seeing my Dr, they decided that what I was facing and had been facing for the last 1.5 years was Autoimmune related and I was referred to a Rheumatologist (more to come on that later). If that was not enough, I was told that following week, just 4 days before the run that I needed to have a biopsy. I was assured by my Dr. that what she saw did not have the same appearance of cancer, but they had to rule it out before moving forward. In that moment, I was not worried about the procedure or the results. The first thing I thought about was how embedded my heart was to this run and helping this organization, and continuing what was started. I had trained and raised money for the last 18 weeks and 4 days before the run, I was told I had to have this biopsy. I was in disbelief. I was angry and upset. I could not believe that this was all happening and happening right now. Why could it not have happened after the run? I knew it was going to have a major effect on my body and the ability to run.
I went in that Thursday before the race for the procedure and it honestly was the most painful thing I have ever felt in my life. Not the procedure itself so much, but the aftermath. My Dr. reassured me that I was going to be just fine and what they did would not really effect the run much. I woke up on Friday (the day before the race) and my biggest fear came to fruition. I was in pain. A lot of pain. It was painful to walk. I was in pain to sit. The topical medication was not helping. The pain medication was not helping. The ice was not helping. Nothing was helping. I sat in my bathroom crying. Not crying because of the pain, but crying because I knew I was not going to be able to run that next day. I felt so much guilt and heartbreak in that moment. Guilt because I had raised $1550.00 for clean water for children in Africa and now I was not going to be able to run. I started praying to God. I asked him to help see me through these next 24 hours. I prayed for healing, strength, comfort and peace that things would work out. I started to think about all the times in my life that God should’ve left my side, but didn’t. He had done so much for me and I knew he would not leave my side now. Those couple weeks before I had let Satan fill my head with so much doubt and so many lies. I needed to redirect my thinking. I started thinking about God’s word and his promises that were put before me and God met me in that moment. No, it wasn’t a light shining down from heaven moment, but in his words I could feel comfort in knowing he is a good God and a merciful God. His words were the reassurance I needed.
Matthew 11:25– Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.
Philippians 4:13– I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Isaiah 41:10– Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Once I got myself back together. I decided to call the Dr. and see if there was anything else she recommended that I could try to help with the discomfort. When I say discomfort, I really mean excruciating pain. She gave me a different combination of medication to try. Well, kid you not, within 2 hours, I was no longer having the intense pain I was having before. I was still having pain, but not at the level I had been. I was able to get up, get myself ready and even left my house to get some last minute things I needed just in case I felt like I could walk the half marathon in the morning. That night I was able to sit down and enjoy an amazing Gino’s (Italian Restaurant, Kearney MO) carb-loaded dinner with family who had come in town for the run. At bedtime that night, I laid my head on my pillow and thanked God for the relief I had felt mentally, emotionally and physically. I still did not know what tomorrow would hold, but I had this overwhelming peace that things would be just fine.
I did not sleep much that night because I was so incredibly excited. I had the medication timed out so that I would take another dose an hour before the run. Well, I got up and got moving and before I knew it, we were in the Team World Vision Tent and the team was getting pumped up to run. There were so many people there. We were spilling out of the tent. People were taking pictures, laughing and singing praise to God. It was so exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I stood there with such a happy heart! I was so thankful to be there and see it all and be apart of it. God was so incredibly good.
The race began. I started out running. I felt good. My mind was so overcome by everything around me, that I forgot the pain I had been experiencing. There were so many runners. I think they anticipated 12k runners. People from all over our country and other countries as well. I was running through beautiful parts of KC that I had never even seen before. There were so many spectators. I could not believe the amount of support there was. People cheering you on, even if they did not know you. People giving you high-fives, volunteers handing out water and gatorade and the crazy amount of people holding “encouraging” signs, some of which I laughed out loud at. Some read,
“Don’t complain, you paid for this”, “If Trump can run, so can you”, “You’re running all this way for a free banana?”, “Run, there is a Clown behind you”, “My grandma can run faster than you are”, “I’m sure this seemed like a good idea 4 months ago”, “Worst parade ever”, “On a scale of 1-10, you’re a 13.1”.
But the most encouraging part of the whole thing was the break off point where the marathon runners split from the half runners. There in the middle of the road was a whole group of Team World Vision supporters and right is the middle were Maurine and Justine smiling, giving us high-fives and cheering us on. I cried. They were the very reason I was running. They were the reason that I signed up for this whole thing. They were the reason I got up at 5:30 on my Saturday mornings to run. They were the reason I ran when it rained and ran when it was 100+ with the heat index and ran when my feet hurt, and ran when I was tired, and ran when I had cramps, and ran when it was dark and ran when I was sick and ran when I did not want too. They were the reason. They were that push I needed to make it that last half of the run. At that point I could start to feel the blisters on my feet that were forming. I had not had one blisters that whole training until that day. Really???? In that moment they were not bothering me that bad yet, so I kept pressing on. I ran almost the entire race, something I thought I would not be able to do 24 hours prior to that. I got to the 24 mile marker sign, which goes back to 11 miles for me. I was almost there. I could feel my body ready to quit. I started to get emotional that I was almost done. I could see the finish line in sight!!! I was almost here!
I had done it!! I remember crossing the finish line, but do not remember hearing or seeing anything in that moment. All I heard was silence. It did not last long. My vision came back first and I recall seeing our team captain Corey at the finish line with his camera. I also remember what a struggle it was to fight back tears of joy and exhaustion. The feelings I had were mixed. I was immediately extending thanks to God that he carried me through the last 18 weeks of training and last 24 hours of the unknown and I finished. I then thought of Maurine and Justine (2 sponsor children from Africa, who come to KC with TWV) that I had the privilege to listen too and meet just 2 days before, along with all the other faces we were running for from their country. My next thought was of all of those who took the time to send encouraging words or donated to this amazing organization I was running with. I thought about all of those who volunteered to set up water stations during our group runs, those who volunteered to gave us messages after our runs, those who took the leadership role for our team. I thought about all the runners who commited with me to love out loud. My last thought was sadness that it was all over. That day was a whirlwind. It was one of the best experiences of my life and has forever impacted it. So much so, that I signed up again next year! Even better, I plan to run another 13.1 miles on top of the 13.1 I ran this year and run the full marathon. But even better than that, I plan to double my goal bringing 62 children in Africa clean water. I can’t wait! I’m starting training NOW, lol!
I laid there in bed the night of the run thinking about the days events. Not just that day, but the weeks leading up to it. I also thought about both my past and the more recent times in my life. All the things that were and weren’t going as I had planned. And that was it. The things “I” had planned. I realized that while I believe and trust in God, I do not always trust him with every part of my life. That is a real struggle of mine. I trust him with the things I want to trust him with. The things I want to allow him to have control of in my life. But that is not how it is suppose to be. Training for this event, changed more in me then I ever thought it would. It did not just change my heart about helping others in need in a country other than my own, it did not just teach me that it is ok to do things in fear, but it also brought a lot to surface in my own life and my own needs. The need to allow God to have more control of my life. To give up my will for his. I would say in that moment I decided to let God happen and not Crystal happen. I still struggle everyday, but the difference now is that I see it and I don’t ignore it. I am doing the best I can to Cast ALL my cares on God, not just some of them. To God be the Glory!