(Backing up a bit) Friday morning, I was on my run and I ran past a bunch of white tents and wondered what was going one. (Since I don't know German, I had no idea the race was this weekend.) I sighed and thought, "Wouldn't it have been nice if I could have ran in it." LITTLE did I know what God had in store for me!
From left to right: Djudji, Nadine, me, Julie. Julie had bought all of us these nice running shirts and put tape on the back that said "Run Through Christ".
We met outside a little church by the starting line and we prayed for the race and that we would get to talk to people about the message on our shirts. Then they quickly showed me where I would be running and filled me in on all the details. I would be running from Schonbrunn to the Rathaus (5.7 K). Thank goodness it wasn't anymore as I hadn't been training for a race at all!
I hopped on the U-Bahn and headed out to where I would start and watched for Julie to come in. As I stood there, I was amazed at how God had worked this all out. Just Friday, I was thinking how cool it would be. I hadn't ran Saturday even though I was planning on it. All my shirts were wet in the washing machine but not my running pants. Two weeks ago I injured my ankle (remind me I need new running shoes when I get to the states) but now it was all healed up. I was just amazed and this gift He had given me. Praise the Lord.
I saw Julie and gave her the wave that I was starting. I tried to run harder than I had in my morning runs. A couple kilometers into the run I was getting tired and I just started to pray that God would give me the endurance to keep it up. Just then an older man ran along side me, put his arm around me and said, "God bless you, I run with the same message (refering to the back of my shirt)." That was what I need to make it a little farther. Not long after that, I realized in the rush of things I hadn't drank enough water. I was starting to get really parched. I prayed that there would be a drink station soon but I ran for quite a while without the water I needed. I prayed again for the strength. Soon enough, there was a drink station and I actually stopped to make sure I got all the water I needed to continue. I started up again refreshed and ready to move on. Not too much longer there were bananas! I grabbed one and ate two bites of it. It made my dry throat feel SO much better and again I was refreshed. I kept on and realized, "Man I'm outta shape!" But I refused to feel discouraged, I mean, I did just wake up and I haven't been training. Just then, I saw my friend Nate who was running the half (Way to go, Nate!). And that helped keep me distracted for a bit. The last stretch of my leg of the race was so hard...I just kept looking for the numbers where I would meet Nadine. I started to wonder if I had somehow missed them. Had I passed her? Your mind plays tricks on you when you come to what you think should be the end of your run and it isn't. Finally, I saw the start of the numbers and I could run the last part knowing I was almost done. I found her she was off. She passed me our bag of things and I went to the finish line to cheer on Djudji.
There were SO many people there that the gate to get into the park was jammed! You had to get into the middle of it and just allow to the flow of people to push you side. It maybe took me 5 minutes in this mob to make it inside! It was crazy!
Watching the finish line is always so interesting. It's fun to see the types of people that cross it. Some wave their hands in the air in victory, others look like they are about to die. I know I would have been the latter. There were old men. There were dads running with their kids. There were friends who would join hands and cross the finish line together. It's always so sweet to see and it makes me want to run one myself one day. What an accomplishment!
After I watched for a while, I it was time to find our meeting place to meet up with the other girls (I had all their stuff). I could not find the meeting place. I tried for 45 minutes to try to get to the other side of the finish line. There was no way to get there! I thought, "Oh no! What do I do? I probably have everyones keys and wallets!" I prayed I would run into someone. I turned around and vwah la! There where the two girls that were finished. The said, "Oh my goodnes, we just prayed we would run into you and had just said, 'amen' and there you were!" God's hand had been in this entire day!
After we all met up, Nate had tickets to an after party. We got our picture taken, some of the girls got massages, and there was an all you can eat buffet, plus, all the drinks you wanted. What an amazing day! I still can't believe it happened!