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Tests.  Life is full of them!  I don’t have time to write them all down in one sitting, but here is part I.
Sunday morning my stomach was doing flip-flops in anticipation of the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia.  It was a hot day, the complete opposite of the previous year’s record low temperatures.  We spent the night at Matt’s parents’ house so we could leave the kids there and head out to the race.  It was a jam-packed day with almost 30,000 runners signed up and ready to go!  The porta-potty lines were 45-minutes long if you picked a slow one.  Broad Street was packed with runners and on-lookers jammed the sides of the street.  When the starting horn went off for the first wave, my heart beat faster!  The sun peeked out just as we edged near the starting line.  Matthew stayed with me to cross the start, gave me a high-five and off he went.  We agreed beforehand that we would run separately this year so he could run as fast as he could.  

It was strange, being alone in a crowd of thousands.  It was much harder in some ways.  The heat was strong and the water-stations were welcome!  Fire-hydrants were opened up all down the Street every half mile or so, water spraying hot runners and cooling us down for a temporary thirty seconds or so. 
The test to endure was really difficult!  I had to keep thinking of things to keep my mind off the pounding in my chest that never seemed to calm down.  One of my last long runs I did during training was so unbelievably fun for me that I fell in love with running for the first time.  I run because it’s healthy and I have goals to accomplish, but not necessarily because I love it.  Well, that time I loved it.  Yesterday was not a run where I felt like I loved it.  I enjoyed it, but I also really had to endure it.  Songs from my training runs went through my ears and head that seemed to match my thoughts exactly.  “Lord, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I’m not scared cuz You’re holding my breath…” and “It’s a beautiful day!”  and  “I get carried away like I’m the only one who’s ever felt the way that I do, but I can hear you say, you’re not the only one, cuz everybody hopes to get through…” “And the pride of my heart makes me forget it’s not me but You who makes the heart beat, I‘m lost without You and dying from meSo tell me what is our ending?  Will it be beautiful?” “We never give up even though times get hard to understand, it’s never enough for us to sit back and hope He has a plan, we gotta stand up and face the cold with boldness that is focused on the fact we got the keys, so just believe there’s nothing closed.”
So I never gave up.   At mile 9 I passed people who had collapsed on the pavement, throwing up and unable to finish.  I slowed my pace a tad when I started feeling a bit sick myself.  Then as we crossed through the Navy Yard gate I knew we were ¼ of a mile from the finish and I gave it everything I had left (which wasn’t much).  The test was complete and I passed.

It was so awesome finding Matthew in the crowd and exchanging stories.  We also met up with Matt’s brother and his wife, Rebecca.  She told us that it was the longest run she had done pregnant.  We all screamed and hopped up and down in excitement.  I thought, “Wow, if she can do it, anyone can!” Ten weeks pregnant, running 10 miles.  I’m so proud of that girl! 
No excuses.  Was it a hard test?  You bet.  But that is the only way to improve, to grow, and to inspire others.  Tests show us what is true, what is real.  I’m excited for the results of our tests to show in our lives.

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