26.2 miles. I can't believe I finally did it. There are so many thoughts and impressions running through me after this monumental event in my life.
First of all, I thought I would break down and get really emotional when I crossed the Finish line. That didn't happen. For 2 reasons. First off, I think I was so insanely exhausted that I looked like I was intoxicated, stumbling up through the Finish Gate. I left everything I had on the pavement. But the other reason was that somewhere around 24-25 miles it began to dawn on me, "I'm about to finish this thing. I'm about to conquer this mighty beast." I began to have these thoughts of all those days out running, preparing, praying. All that time and sweat and prayer that was spent. I felt so overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord that I almost started to lose it. I think I even spurted, choked and made some funny noises as I was trying to hold back the tears. It was just indescribable.
The other thing that's still fresh on my mind is that the first 7-8 miles of this race were pure adrenaline. Those first 60 minutes there was never a shortage of people lining the streets, cheering you on, injecting you with enthusiasm and encouragement. There were people yelling my name (b/c they could read it on my number bib) and I was yelling back. I was so pumped I think there had to be people noticing, "Check out that guy who's running with that goofy big smile on his face." As I ran through this, I was instantly struck that this should be a picture of the church. We should be there, spurring and encouraging each other on. Even those we don't know us should be affected by our enthusiasm and our desire to see them "finish the race".
So many times, at just the right time, I would run up on someone wearing a shirt with encouragement from God's Word on the back: "they will run and not grow weary..." or "I can do all things through Christ...". God's timing and His Word are always perfect. And then of course was my sister-in-law hanging out the car window at mile 18 yelling, "Go Brian!" That was awesome!
Everyone should experience this. You may not be a runner - may never be - so it may be in your cards that you need to be the one on the side of the road holding the sign that says, "You Can Do It Dad" or "We Love You Nancy". In some shape, form or fashion everyone needs to experience this rush and impact of 26.2 miles. It will change your life.