More Than Conquerors

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAs of yesterday morning around 9 am, I crossed the finish line of my second half marathon race! Specifically, the Bearathon here at Baylor that claims to be “The Toughest Half in TX.” This go around looked slightly different than my first time last year, though, for several reasons.

Much of the notorious hills portion of the course was rerouted due to construction in Cameron Park. Perfect, right? It’ll be easier! LIES. I promise it was not any less intense. Instead of maybe three or four big hills that leveled out at the top to catch your breath, this was more like constant rolling six or seven hills. There were quite a bit of unnecessary out and back loops also that weren’t my favorite, just because I would see people running the opposite direction that I knew and figured my pace wasn’t much behind them. Obviously the turnaround should be soon. Well, it was never soon enough.

Last year, I wanted to run by myself since I really poured myself into my training and had a specific time goal in mind of 2:10, and if I was really honest – 2:00. I never did training runs with friends, just me, the road, and my music. I didn’t want to have to worry about keeping up with someone too fast for me or if someone was running with me, I didn’t want to feel bad about wanting to go ahead. It worked well for me because my adrenaline allowed me to finish in 1:58 – beyond what I thought possible! Well this year, after my roommate and I had shared our training struggles the past few months (simply not enough hours in the day, medial shin splints, random allergic reactions, knee issues, and just our hearts not being in it) and figured our paces were similar enough, we decided to run it together so we could just have fun, push each other, and not be as caught up in our time.

I did still have a goal this year, though. A more realistic 2:15 all things considered, and I would be happy. The first few miles were pre-sunrise, and I was already soaked with a mixture of misty fog and sweat from 90+% humidity. Despite that, I was feeling pretty good. My playlist was definitely top notch – Switchfoot, Katy Perry, Lorde, JT, OneRepublic, Rend Collective – and so far my body and lungs seemed to be on board with this whole insane idea of running 13.1 miles.

One of my favorite parts about a race that makes it immensely better than a solitary struggle of a long training run is simply the overwhelming encouragement by all the spectators and fellow runners cheering you on at every mile. It makes it near impossible to want to even think about slowing down or walking. We continued pushing along and even came out of the butt-kicking hills section with an average pace still under our ~10 min/mile goal. Chelsea and I talked afterwards how for the first half, I let my adrenaline take free reign and pushed her hard for us to stay together and set our pace up for success. Then came the second half, when the roles shifted. I was really feeling the pain set in, and each hill I was huffing, coughing, and frequently spitting out nasty stuff (I’ve been suffering from some kind of allergies/congestion this past week). She was great at keeping our pace consistent and really made me push past my lack of enthusiasm about the last few miles.

Finally back on campus, we knew the finish line was just around the corner. Still, the last mile or two was definitely the toughest for me. I rounded the last corner and did my best to sprint the last straightaway. I did end up getting under my goal time, and I couldn’t have been prouder of Chelsea and myself. Every ounce of pain and exhaustion left my body, and I was overcome by emotion. I promise running a long race like this is immensely a mental game, and you go through such an inner battle with yourself. I was overwhelmed by all the encouragement from loved ones in the finishers’ area and so thankful that God blessed me with this incredible opportunity of honoring him with the health, strength, and endurance that He’s given me.

One of my favorite songs on my race playlist was from Rend Collective’s new album (HIGHLY recommended by the way), and it captures so well the power we have in Christ to overcome absolutely anything. These lyrics based on Romans 8:35-39 did wonders when I wanted so badly to give up and reminded me of the immeasurable power of our God to do so much beyond helping me run a simple race. He gives us strength to be victorious every day.

More Than Conquerors

When my hope and strength is gone
You’re the one who calls me on
You are the life
You are the fight
That’s in my soul

Oh, Your resurrection power
Burns like fire in my heart
When waters rise
I lift my eyes
Up to Your throne

We are more than conquerors, through Christ
You have overcome this world, this life
We will not bow to sin or to shame
We are defiant in Your name
You are the fire that cannot be tamed
You are the power in our veins
Our Lord, our God, our Conqueror

I will sing into the night
Christ is risen and on high
Greater is He
Living in me
Than in the world

No surrender, no retreat
We are free and we’re redeemed
We will declare
Over despair
You are the hope

Nothing is impossible
Every chain is breakable
With You, we are victorious
You are stronger than our hearts
You are greater than the dark
With You, we are victorious

We are more than conquerors, through Christ
You have overcome this world, this life
We will not bow to sin or to shame
We are defiant in Your name
You are the fire that cannot be tamed
You are the power in our veins
Our Lord, our God, our Conqueror

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