Well, before I even begin with this post I want to say right up front, I am NOT an exercise nut. In fact if you know me in real life you’ve probably heard me say, “I hate exercise.” I know, hate is a really strong word. However, the truth is I really do “hate” it (despise it, loath it, and intensely dislike it!). So what would make someone who “hates” exercise, wake up every morning at 4am so she can include a trip to the gym into her daily routine? What would make someone who despises exercise sign up, and show up, for a half marathon even though she hasn’t run since her school days? What would make someone who loathes the idea of purposely causing personal pain and not even having a child to show for it afterwards?!! The only answer I have to suggest to all these questions is,Love. I fell in love with this little boy that God brought in to my life, Baby Blue Eyes. I started thinking of how, without a cure, my sweet son will not be able to run, play, or even hug me one day. I wanted to stop hating what I knew was good for me, exercise, and start disciplining myself to use those muscles that God had given me. I know it sounds corny or even bizarre yet, that is the only reason why I found myself in a half marathon. With that said, I learned a few lessons along the way and made a surprising discovery at the finish line.
1- I learned that there will be countless opportunities to quit but only one opportunity to succeed.
2- I learned that if I set my attention on the people behind me in the race I slowed down but if I set my sights on those ahead of me I grew faster with each step.
3- I learned that proper hydration and nutrition were not just a choice, they were vital to my success.
4- I learned that it didn’t just take a disciplined body to complete the race, it took a disciplined mind.
Throughout the process of preparing, I had people criticize me, tell me that it was impossible. People trained for years before doing something like this. Others ignored me and waited for me to announce some “excuse” as to why I wouldn’t be competing. I would graciously listen to each of them and thank God for those few He had placed in my life to say, “You can do this!” Prior to us leaving for the race (which was five hours away), we learned that the Duchenne group had a small turn out and wouldn’t be joining us. Some asked us why we were still going if they weren’t. The night of the race baby’s feeding pump stopped working meaning that I had to wake every hour for 20 minutes to feed him. I had all of 160 minutes of rest before our big race! Once we all awoke, we realized that we had a touch of a tummy bug (several of the family members at home were having the same tummy symptoms). While it was still dark we headed out of the hotel and to the race which was a little over a mile away. There we waited for the next hour and a half in the cold with 25,000 other people. As the sun began to rise so did all the excitement to get this done!
I actually did my personal best. I did a mile within 10 min on my fastest mile and 16 on my slowest. I felt good about what I was doing. I had come to finish what I had started. I had worked to earn funds to find a cure for Duchennes. Yet there was a time in the race when I had to set aside my thoughts of what I was trying to do so I could take time to feed the baby. His feeding pump went out on me the night before and I had to stop to feed him with the syringe. I was disappointed we would have to stop, but it was a vivid reminder to me how everything in life must be kept in line with my priorities. While my goal was to finish this race, my priority was my family, specifically baby Daniel, at that moment. It wouldn’t matter what time I crossed that finish line rather, all that mattered is that I finished it with Daniel. I wasn’t going to let one of the children feed him while I kept going. We were in this as a family and we would finish this as a family. So we sat feeding baby as we watched everyone pass us up…. and then we sat feeding him some more…and some more. By the time his feeding was complete our muscles had started to tighten up making those next few miles almost impossible. I had refused refreshments up until mile 8- that probably wasn’t a good idea. As my muscles became tighter and tighter I knew I needed to put some “fuel” into my body. Once I was able to get some “goo” and water at the next stop I noticed a huge difference in the muscle pain. I started thinking of how it is very similar for me spiritually. I pondered how often I will try to “run this race set before me” without the spiritual hydration and food needed. I only end up aching, slow, and needy!
As we continued to the finish line. I realized that this race was as much mental as it was physical. I had to overcome the thoughts of defeat and press forward toward my goal. There were strangers who cheered us on, family who called us to cheer us across the finish line, family who was out walking while we walked (even though they were 1700 miles away). We had friends praying, and friends texting encouragement and Scripture to us. I felt very blessed to be surrounded by people who loved us. I also made a surprising discovering once this was all over…. I wouldn’t mind doing this again! Not because it was “fun”, but because it was good to experience this with my children. I continue, to see the value of self discipline in this area so that I can be an example to my children and grandchildren. My “race” and all these new choices are no where near done. I continue to pray for a cure that will help my sweet son run, play, race, and hug those he loves! We have a long way to go!
Mrs. Joseph Wood
The sun is about to rise. We are all ready to go!
Daniel thought everyone was cheering for him. He would clap, kick, squeal, and smile each time we passed someone cheering us on. Elisha was on the phone with his big sister, Bekah, as she cheered us across the finish line!
Baby began to cry when the woman ran up to us and put the medal on his neck. It took him a few moments to realize that everything was okay and his smiles returned!