|Zach and Sean at the conclusion of their race|
This was a SUPER fun and rewarding race! Here’s how the morning played out…
I got up at 5:00 and enjoyed some time in my Bible and prayer. I posted my ‘race verse’ for the day on my dailymile.com account. It is from Isaiah 40:31 and it says: “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” That wasn’t a verse in my daily Bible reading today. It simply popped into my head during my Bible reading time. I enjoyed reflecting on the thought that those who wait/depend upon the Lord will ‘run and not grow weary.’
At 6am (2 hours before the race started), I enjoyed a banana and some black coffee. I woke Zach and Sean and we headed out the door around 6:45. We picked up Alex Fredericks and headed to Floral Park.
On arriving, we got our race packs, running tags and ankle monitors. As 7:30 approached, I went out for a relaxing run with Alex to elevate my heart rate and begin warming up my legs. I also did some leg stretches. The group began moving to the ‘Start Line’ about 7:50. Alex and I prayed before the race started (this was his first 5K) and then I prayed with Zach and Sean. We prayed for safety and for each of us to honor the Lord by giving Him our best in this race.
The race started a couple of minutes after 8:00. It had an unusual start because there was no horn or gun. The lady with the stopwatch just said, “10 seconds … 5 seconds … GO!” We took off and, as usual, began to look for our own personal running space (after having been a little cramped at the start line). I had my GPS watch set on ‘Average Pace’ so I quickly realized that I had gone out fast. But, I was feeling fine and knew that I had developed endurance and mental toughness so I kept the pace.
|photo compliments of Lauren Lemieux|
Almost a quarter mile into the race, we were to make our first turn onto a side street. Unfortunately for the front runners, there was no one at that intersection. They only went a few steps past the street before they realized their mistake. I yelled out “TURN! TURN!” They retreated and the race went smooth from then on.
The first mile is a steady incline. I finished mile 1 in 6:52. That was the fastest I’ve ever logged a
mile. But, I didn’t panic like I did on a previous race because I still felt OK. Mile 2 is where the rolling hills began and I had not trained on hills for a few months. Yet, I focused on proper breathing and tried to keep my mind from playing games with me as it periodically called upon me to “STOP THIS MADNESS!”
|photo compliments of Lauren Lemieux|
I finished the second mile in 7:39 and then primarily had a downhill trek (with a few uphills) to the
finish line. I finished the third mile in 7:54. As the grade evened out at the finish line, I picked up the pace a bit and finished in 22:50 (for an average of 7:21/mile). This was 1 minute and 31 seconds faster than the time I had on this same course last year (a time I have never been able to beat at other 5Ks).
I crossed the finish line with my finger aimed to Heaven because I knew that I had set a new PR (personal record) and it was because of God’s goodness. He had given me the ability to run and the opportunities to improve. I only took advantage of those abilities and opportunities. The glory was due to Him!
I was grateful that I finished in 12th place overall (click here for race results) and took 1st place for my gender/age group. However, that was because the overall fastest runner and the fastest master runner were in my age group. Since they received rewards for those achievements, the rest of us were invited to move up two places in our standings. I would have been 3rd but am grateful to take home the blue ribbon.
After finishing, I walked around a bit to lower my heart rate (it averaged 189bpm in this race peaking at 193bpm as I crossed the finish line) and then waited for Zach and Sean. My heart welled with pride as Sean and then Zach came into view. They both set PRs as well! Sean finished in 30:43 and Zach finished in 30:57.
Thanks for sharing, Matt. I'm so happy for you and especially thankful you give God all the glory. We can do nothing without Him! We're also very proud of your boys and, perhaps most importantly, the REASON for running – for LIFE. I'm sure your whole family is about to pop with joy in the Lord's goodness! Press on …