Saturday, October 13, 2012

We did it!

Back in August when I told my husband I was planning to do this race, he quickly offered to join me. He hasn't run AT ALL since a serious foot injury 13 years ago and as time ticked on it became clear that he was not going to be able to train. He managed to squeeze only one training run in two weeks ago and it was less than two miles.

Ever a man of his word, he laced up his old running shoes this morning to join me. His 'old' Asics are 14 years old to be exact...they actually fell apart from dry rot at the end of the race. Seriously.

Because I am nothing if not ferociously independent, I rebuffed his offer to run 'with' me. I had been training alone. I knew he'd be faster than me. I also didn't want to get into a squabble while running if I wanted to quit and he pushed me... So we started together and planned to reunite at the finish line. In the course of our 'real' daily lives this 'divide and conquer' strategy frequently works for us.

During the course of the first mile, he pulled about 75 yards ahead of me and then his pace slowed a bit. There was a rough patch through the woods (after a monster hill I wasn't expecting) where I had to power walk for a minute. As I emerged from those woods I could see his white shirt. We weren't close enough to speak and I didn't know if he realized I was trailing him--but for the last mile and a half, he was my pace car. He never looked back, but I had a sense he knew I was there. I followed him all the way across the finish line.
Do you see me following in the distance?
And as he crossed the finish line he stopped, turned and waited to greet me. I wept. 
My tears were a release of all the anxiety I had tied up in this goal. 
I was humbled with gratitude at how my health has been restored since that hospital bed 8.5 years ago. 
I was overwhelmed by the tenderness of my husband, who after 11 years of marriage knows how to lead stubborn old me. (Even when it means running 3.2 miles in dry rotting shoes.)
Before I was married, I treasured the analogy of Christian singlehood being a race where you should run as hard and fast as you could while focused on the Lord. As the adage went, one day you'd hear someone else running beside you as hard and fast as you were. At that point you would reach out, grab their hand and run the rest of the race together. I loved the imagery.

I had my real life version of that today--only I got to experience the freedom and joy of following. There was a time when that would have made no sense to me at all. I would have demanded equality at all costs and tried to make a case for why I should even be leading much of the time. But today, knowing the heart of my teammate, nothing brought me more comfort and strength than following my strong and consistent leader. 

I didn't do it today. We did.

I am exceedingly grateful for my man.


Lil Light O Mine said...


Lindsay said...

Congratulations on your race, Jennifer! What a wonderful model of marriage you are for so many.

Sara said...

Congrats! What a great day!!

dee said...


Love Being A Nonny said...

precious words. i agree!!

The Niemeyer Nest said...

Y'all are so cute!

Kate said...

This is wondeful. Congratulations to you on meeting that goal and stepping out of your comfort zone, and what a wonderful partner you have to support you in just the way you needed.

Laura said...

I LOVE this.

elizabeth said...

I am amazed on a regular basis at how even though we are strangers God uses you as an example and encouragement for me. Its funny because this time I too am training to run in a 5k in November(my first one ever!!) and I have not said a word about it on social media because then it makes it official- even though I am registered for the race, have a hotel room and am off work to go do it! haha- you being so real and authentic gives me encouragement and confidence that I can do it too!!! Why not me is what I say to myself when I think I can't do it!

So thank you Jennifer- and I am so proud of you!!

Jillian, Inc said...

As someone who feels like (and in reality am most of the time) running a race alone with no one to greet me at the finish, this made ME teary! Good for you for doing something hard and finishing the race!

Chris said...

What a beautifully written post!! Congratulations on your 5k!!