"I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith."
- II Timothy 4:7
- II Timothy 4:7
Although the trip was only for a good 26 hours, I feel like so much was accomplished. Friday night's Mass for Vocations at St. John the Evangelist Church in downtown Indy was awesome. We had many priests and seminarians, religious sisters and one Franciscan Friar, lots of married folks and folks living out the vocation of sacred single life. The big pasta dinner afterwards was delicious and there was a lot of beautiful sharing between the various vocations we were honoring!
And, this morning was the big race. I was really worried that I might not be able to finish it because of soreness that I had been having in my left hip. To add to that, it was very humid this morning and I really hadn't done any training in humid conditions. So I didn't know what to expect from my body going into the race today.
Given last year's experience, I was able to get downtown and parked plenty early enough so that I could get to my starting corral (what are we, cattle?) and focus before the race began. The start felt really good. It took no time for the soreness in my hip to go away and I was running a great pace at the start (probably a little fast, but I didn't feel like I was pushing myself). Even though I knew that it would slow me down, I didn't pass up any of the water/Gatorade stations. I wanted to be sure that I didn't dehydrate before the end. I was still going pretty strong when I entered the track, but that's when I started to fade. It can get very crowded when going in and out of there and so it makes it difficult to keep a good pace, which can also be frustrating/discouraging.
Coming out of the track we wind through a couple of side streets which have the same effect and so by the time that I got out of all of that, I was a little frustrated and had completely lost my early stride. By that point, I was also facing the sun, making it more difficult to focus. In mile 10, I ran by a couple of people who went down and were receiving medical attention. By mile 11, I had convinced myself that I just needed to let my legs rest a bit to be sure I could finish the race. My pace at that point wasn't good enough to beat my two-hour goal, so I decided to be conservative and walk a little. I did the same after crossing mile 12, but only so I could push for that last mile (I had passed four or five more runners receiving medical attention at that point).
I picked it up for that last mile, however, and finished strong with a time of 2:08:03, which was three and a half minutes faster than last year (in which the temperature was much cooler). Even though I didn't meet my goal time, I did meet my goal again this year of completing my training and offering up tons of prayers for vocations. Win one for God and for vocations!
Thanks to all who supported me in prayer throughout my training and especially today!
P.S. Just think, next year I'll be a priest and I can guilt all of my parishioners into running, too :D