Today I wrestled a huge fear of mine, and I won. The Minneapolis Half Marathon is rapidly approaching (this Sunday). As I've been doing easy runs this week, I've been trying to mentally prepare for the race as much as I can. I have studied the course map. I know the turns and at what miles they take place. I know the elevation increases. I know where it peaks, and where it dips. I know when I can push, and when I need to ease up and conserve energy. However, the one part of the race that has been plaguing my mind is the end of the half marathon course. There is a hill that begins at mile 12.30, and ends at mile 13.1. That is almost a mile of a straight incline. It is a beast of a hill. I remember it well from last year. I remember Jeremy and Stephanie on their bikes, riding alongside me, cheering me on. I remember them telling me I could do it. I remember crying and yelling back at them, "No I can't, I'm weak, and not cardiovascularly prepared for this!" (Having had a torn meniscus earlier in the year, I was not cardiovascularly prepared, it had been a true statement). I remember walking up the hill and crying. Knowing full well, that the finish line was right around the corner, yet not being about to muster the physical strength or mental toughness to continue running.
This year, I know the hill. I know it because I have walked it. And I know it because tonight I ran it. My friend Lacey Peterson and I went on an adventure tonight. I needed to conquer the W. River Parkway. I needed to run up and down the hill, and let myself be reminded that it is doable. And it was. Tonight I owned the W. River Parkway. Tonight I ran up and down the hills, and laughed when I finished; tickled by the fact that earlier in the day, I had knots in my stomach, thinking about the poison for the evening.
Not only did I own the road, but I conquered the fear. God felt so near to me throughout this run. It was almost as if He was whispering to me as he did to Peter, "You of little faith; why did you doubt?" I will tackle these very hills on Sunday, only this time it will be after running 12 miles (not 3 miles, like today), but I know my God is mighty to save, and when I'm weak, it is He that makes me strong.
May this be an encouragement to anyone reading today: Own the road (wherever that road leads you), conquer fear.