Sunday, May 26, 2013

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'Life is to be enjoyed, not endured' ~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Marathon Moments - This past weekend I reached a goal I set for myself and ran my first full marathon.  26.2 miles is a daunting thought but I made it in the time I set for myself. 
It was the Ogden Zions Bank Marathon with over 2,000 runners and ended up raining the entire race.

I wanted to share a few thoughts regarding my experience.  As we traversed the mountain in the dark at 5am on a school bus, the rain was pouring down.  The bus was full of excited, anxious runners for the race to begin.  I had been invited and trained for the race with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law who had both previously ran a marathon.  My brother-in-law ran the race with us also.  It was my first full marathon and I too was anxious for the race and finish line... :)

Each of us had set different finish goal times and as expected we got lost in a myriad of racers at the starting line once the shot to begin went off. 
I stretched and took off my garbage bag (temporary rain coat) and began the race.  I was drenched and soaking wet within the first minute.  I found a pace and space that felt comfortable and was on my way towards completing my first big race.  My mind was fixed on upbeat tunes on my ipod, of people passing me and myself passing a few.  I knew ahead of time I was only racing myself against the clock and my own mind, not the other runners along the trail.

Throughout the duration of the race several impressions came to my mind, both positive and negative...some saying just stop and walk for awhile, you're not gonna make it in this rain- your hands are cold and numb (and yes they sure were), its way too far; around mile 11, I began cramping up in my right calf muscle and had to stop and stretch it a few times.
But on the positive side, my mind was telling me you'll make this in your time no matter what,  its not a sprint, its a marathon - just enjoy the entire journey, look up at the beauty all around, the lush green forested mountainsides, the lakes and rivers amongst you.  I practiced focusing on positive things when negative would creep in or muscles would hurt or tense up and it really helped me endure.

Before the race I heard other runners saying how around mile 17 is when it gets super tough because their is first a climb and then a downhill grade through the canyon.  I had this moment hit me around mile 22 when I approached several runners who were stopping to walk.  I too wanted to follow suit but came across a runner whose shirt read SURVIVOR "I beat cancer!" Running for a cure for cancer.  I took note and this inspired me to keep going and to push along the final stretch.  I had slowed down in pace, yes, but continued a steady jog thanks to my brother's shirt.  I was reminded of the power of the mind over matter in this instance...

When I came into the final mile, I realized how many had come to cheer on their loved ones...and it hit me emotionally...then all of a sudden I saw my wife running straight towards me on the course.  This made me get really emotional as she came up and said, "Come on, keep going, you're doing great, you're almost done!" "Do you want me to hold your hand into the finish?"...
  After a long 26 miles, I was so happy and relieved to see her!  I felt loved and supported by those I love most, my wife and kids!  They are my world!  As she jogged with me she told me the kids were straight ahead...and sure enough there they were sitting alongside in their stroller with aunt Candace waving and cheering me on.  I waved and sprinted with what was left across the finish line at 4:30:26.  My original goal was 4:30 from the start!  I had MADE it!  First full marathon completed!  Bucket list goal crossed off...

This video is a great reminder to each of us that we're NEVER alone through the journey of life, to keep our heads up high and to keep moving forward...NO MATTER WHAT!  To ENDURE through the finish line! To have FAITH before the miracles we experience...


With this weekend upon us, we reflect on those who've served our great country here in America, I wanted to share this great video clip titled: Mountains to Climb

Each of us have will face trials and challenges throughout life but we can endure by relying on our FAITH in Jesus Christ to see us through.

As we start into a new week and a new month let us remember WHAT MATTERS MOST:

As always, Sunday is still my favorite day of the week and I have a stronger witness and testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ and His redeeming power to carry us through life.  I know He Lives and loves each of us.  I know that as we turn to Him, He will turn to us and guide us by the hand.  It is my prayer and testimony that one or each of these videos will touch you in a way its touched me...for the better!

Have a great week!

~ C. J. Poulsen
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