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Marathon Life Lessons

Last year my husband came with me to the Newport, Oregon marathon to support me as I ran the race.  As an avid cyclist he brought his bike so that he could ride around the course and meet me frequently during the run.  Although this was not my first marathon, it was the first one he was able to come to.

The majority of the course consists of a long out and back section, meaning you run out to a turnaround point and then run the same course back to the start.  As I was running the out portion I was feeling good.  My husband would show up every few miles and cheer for me, make sure I had enough water and food, and then ride one to find another good spot to cheer for me.  I made friends with a few of the runners around me and was having a lot of fun.

As I reached the turnaround and started my return journey the distance left to cover seemed to stretch out before me.  My running buddies and I slowly started spreading out, some ahead and some behind and I found myself alone.  Things started to get a lot harder.  My husband started showing up more often.  

Occasionally groups of people that I didn't even know would see me, get very excited, and start cheering for me by name.  I was baffled by their personal cheering, but very grateful because it seemed to always come when I was feeling especially alone.  I didn't know how they knew me until after the race my husband admitted that he had been letting them know I was coming, describing me, and giving them my name so they could personally cheer for me and riding off again before I saw him.

In the final miles of the race my discouragement hit an all time low.  Nothing seemed as appealing as not running anymore and the only thing that kept me from stopping was the knowledge that the fastest way back to the finish line was to keep running.  Although my feet kept moving, my discouragement deepened. 

Suddenly my husband was next to me.  Not just for a moment or two as he had been previously, he rode by me consistently for miles.  He could see I was struggling and that he needed to give me more support than he previously had.  I was grateful and comforted by his presence.

A huge gust of wind came and I felt like I had stopped in my tracks.  The previously difficult task had been made nearly impossible by the seemingly strong headwind.  Before I could even fully comprehend the strength of the wind my husband maneuvered his bike so that he was riding directly in front of me, sheltering me from the wind and creating a safe space for me to continue my journey.

In that moment I distinctly remember the spirit whispering to me “This is what The Savior does for you.”  Tears came to my eyes as I comprehended the magnitude of my lesson.  When things are going well he is there to make sure I have what I need.  He is gathering people to cheer for me and to help me.  As the journey gets harder he is right beside me comforting me with his presence.  And when the gusts of wind come he is directly in front of me, sheltering me. 

As the end of the marathon finally came into sight my husband left me because only runners were allowed to cross the finish line.  I had to complete the race alone.  But I wasn't worried or discouraged anymore because the end was in sight.   As I crossed the line that seemed at times would never come I was so happy that I hadn't quit, and had truly given it my best.  After I crossed the finish line, my husband was there again, ready with open arms to congratulate me. 

No matter how much support I had from my husband and others, the work of running was mine alone.  As tempting as it often was I couldn't grab onto my husband’s bike and let him pull me along.  My feet had to accomplish the task.  Although he couldn't lessen the length of my journey, or the terrain I would encounter, he put himself in a position to lighten my load. 

I learned so much about the role of the Savoir in my life that day.  My love for Him and my husband grew leaps and bounds as I better understood the role that both play in my life.  I am so excited for that day when I cross the finish line of this life and see my Savior waiting with open arms to congratulate me for finishing.  

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Amy is the wife of one and mother of two who hangs out in Washington State. She loves to run, talk about running, think about running, and eat - a lot (still related to running). She loves to play the piano until the kids go crazy. And eat, oh boy she loves to eat! You can follow all her crazy adventures on her blog Run Mom Run or you can like her page on facebook. And dropping by with a treat (you can mail it if you live far away) is always appreciated!

Okay, slight confession. The story is about the 2012 Newport Marathon, but the pictures are all from 2013.

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