Finishing With A Smile

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The weekend has come and gone.  Hours of preparation, driven into the pavement, mile by mile.  The weather this year was amazing.  I even had to wear a jacket through the night to ward off feeling chilly.

On Friday evening, we delivered the three youngest to my in-laws and picked up Matthew’s race packet.  He got checked out by the race doctors, and then we went home to rest.  I barely slept, full of excitement and wonder for the following two days.  On Saturday morning I drove to Philly to drop him off at the start line, with his cooler of food and drinks, and said good-bye.  Then I drove with a friend to drop Nadine off at girl’s camp for the week!    Elijah went with my mom where he then was driven to soccer camp on Sunday.  What a crazy, emotional day of saying goodbye!

By the time I finished dropping her off and made my way back to Philly, it was about 7:30 pm.  I drove the race loop where Matthew was running, in hopes of seeing him.  I found him around mile 3 of 8.  He was with his buddy from high-school.  What a blessing, since the previous few hours he had been struggling with some major stomach discomfort.  When he made it back to the start/finish line, he lay down on the ground and said he felt like throwing up.  His stomach was not happy.  At this point in time, a slew of friends and family had arrived, and we chatting around him, some praying, some just talking.  We waited it out for an hour or so before he finally sat up and ate something that agreed with him.

The next two loops were run with different friends.  I was able to pray and see the lights of Philadelphia in the middle of the night.   Then two girl friends of mine came to sit with me through the night.  I never felt alone, which had been one of my anxieties.  I didn’t realize how much this had been weighing on me until I sat there with them.  It was pretty special.  How important it is to be there for one another!

Once 4 am rolled around, my half-marathon buddy, Gail, and I fast-walked with Matthew through the dawn.  It was incredible starting off at night and ending in day.  We met a fellow lone ranger on the path who was pretty discouraged, and he started to keep pace with Matthew.  Once we finished that loop, it was already 6 am, and so Matthew started out for his 10th loop and then some, alone.  The total mileage he logged was 88.5.  His goals were to finish at 10am, have fun, finish with a smile, and be able to walk to the car unassisted.  He did all these things, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Phone Photos12
1- Our last time all together for a week!
2- One last nap, storing up reserves
3,4- Getting all checked in for race day!
5- Lots of melon for the runner
6- When I first spotted Matthew, 9 hours into the race.  I beeped my horn like a crazy woman and cried a bit too.
7- A four-year tradition of sidewalk chalk
8- Servant-friends, helping Matthew through the hardest part of the night
9- An art museum steps walk/talk/prayer time
10- Hot tea, words of encouragement and lots of love
11- Almost there
12- Sleep for a long time
DSC_3382-2 2014-07-20 10.42.28
He ended with a smile.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7


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