This was my first double (back to back) marathon experience. And it wasn’t even on my race schedule. In fact, I specifically thought to myself, that I am NOT going to run any races on New Years Day OR New Years Eve. After talking to my Maniac friend Erin about it, she was like, yeah it looked like “you failed miserably at your plan :)”
What prompted me to sign up for Allen, and then Kingwood (which is like 4 hours away), I don’t freakin know. But regardless, my faith, confidence, endurance, patience, self disciple, and my trust in God were all tested.
#15 – New Years Double, Eve Full, Allen, TX
While there’s nothing fancy about the course (a 6.55 mile loop around neighborhoods of Allen, where my folks live), the race is unique in that people have a chance to run a half or a full marathon on back to back days, the end of the year, and the beginning of the year. And as much as I complain about how boring the course is, this is actually the ONLY race which I had been consistently doing year after year for the past 4 years when I started running. Last year, I ran the double half, and ended up with a nasty right calf injury because I grossly underdressed for freezing and wet conditions that put me out for a month, costing me the 100 miler. And I said to myself, I am NEVER doing this race ever again!
Proverbs 26:11 – “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” 😳🏃
And guess what… I signed up, AGAIN, this time, not for a half, but the FULL. I posted that… Intended to be a joke.. on the Marathon Maniacs Facebook page, but then guess what… The race director saw it and called me out!! LOL😂😳
At packet pickup, I found Libby and was like “Hey I’m the one that called out your race being dogs and vomit!” And Libby was like “You must be Jesse! I will always remember you with dogs and vomit now!” LOL
#16 – Texas Metalsaw Marathon, Kingwood, TX
And jumping to other side of the story, the Texas Metalsaw Marathon. So I was texting Erin back and forth about the upcoming Houston Marathon, who also did the TX Metalsaw last year. She had been coming off of an injury, and while I don’t remember the exact details, we agreed to use this as a training run / recovery run. And that we were going to go very slow. Lol. And before you know it, I signed up. But by the time she got to it, it was already full. Well, we both emailed the race director and he opened it back up again! At this point, about 4-5 days prior to both races, I was “committed”, but I was very doubtful and afraid. Besides, it’s another 4 hour drive for me AFTER finishing the first marathon in Allen… Just in time to run another marathon the next day… Yikes!! 😖🏃🏻
And the next few days, I was on a mental roller coaster. It was high on one day and rock bottom the next, until the morning of the race, which got better.
It was New Years Eve. As I was driving to the race site, I realized that deep down I had unresolved baggage from the previous year… Or rather I should say, the beginning of the year. Now I’m at the end of the year, and I’m reminded about what happened out there, how traumatized I felt, and the unpleasantness of the injury which ruined my plans. And I was afraid. I was afraid to end up with another serious injury. I was afraid of boredom of repeating that loop four times. And the next day, am I going to recover for Kingwood, am I gonna get injured, etc.
And at the same time of mental calamity, I sensed God’s peace. I hear a small voice saying “Do not be afraid. Lay your burdens down and just go do it”. While I was feeling overwhelmed about the idea of a double, I remembered what Jesus had said about worry:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34 NIV
My bible talk leader & friend Derek is good at posting inspirational posts on FB. And it happened that the day before, he shared this (I called it Psalm 151-A😂😂 For those who don’t know there are only 150 psalms in the Bible LOL).
I was brittle and weak, and His Grace sustained me.
I was damaged and broken, and His Grace healed me.
Thank you Derek for your addition to the Word of God! 😂😂
So I broke down. I said, God, I trust in you, for I know that You heal, satisfy, and restore me even when I am at my worst. I had a really bad experience, but today I am laying all that behind at the cross, and I am back. I’m not afraid to try again. I’m not afraid to fail. Help me to be patient with myself and exercise self control and resist the temptation of going too fast.
Selfie at the start… It is a bit chilly with temperatures in the high 30s with moderate wind.
The race started in Celebration Park on 100% concrete paved trails… Ouch! As you can see there’s a lot of open spaces and grass. We went by a little lake but otherwise mostly behind neighborhoods of Allen.
I had a plan – run 3:30, walk 1:30. I was pretty good about that initially.
I met another Maniac, Gary, who said that he’s done 7 marathons before in a row!!! I was like, wow that is nuts! And I think this is Angela next to him. She will be going down to Kingwood tomorrow, like me, so I felt a little comforted already.
The first loop wasn’t bad, but I could definitely feel it by the second loop. The half marathoners were already done after 2 loops. I had ran this race for the past 3 years but only halfs, so as I started the 3rd loop, I knew I was going into uncharted territory. And I can say that by the third loop, the crowds REALLY died down. It became lonely, was getting warm, and I could feel the fatigue coming.
Halfway through the race, I could feel my back in pain, but then realized what Vo pointed out the day before- how when I walk or run my legs collapse outward and I’m too hunched over. So I started rotating my legs externally and focusing on keeping the knees together, and the back pain decreased. But I felt like that didn’t last very long.
And on my walk breaks, I could feel my feet shuffling along the concrete. And what was even more discouraging – there was another walker who I was passing and she said “pick up those feet!” I am trying, but it didn’t work. And I got depressed. Now I understood how the people felt when the 5:00 pacer in Dallas said “pick up those feet!!” Lol.
And then, I ran into Frank again. I met Frank along the way earlier and caught up to him again. He’s not a maniac, but he definitely should consider becoming one lol. And besides, his story is amazing. He was diagnosed with low grade Follicular Lymphoma 4 years ago and the docs said it might be incurable. But he underwent treatment, and apparently he’s now in remission. His wife, coincidentally, also was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and is also a survivor! And this guy’s done like 8 marathons in the last 6 months after deciding on changing his life… Wow. That is inspiring. And I thought, I have nothing to complain compared to what he went through.
well, eventually, me and Frank split again. As I was starting the last loop, the field became really empty. I remember seeing these signs words “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “Fully rely on God” just after the underpass of Angel Pkwy. Trying to stay positive…
The last 2 miles were extremely tough. When I came back through the underpass back into Celebration Park, it became really windy and cold. I felt so discouraged. And I called on His name.
And He sustained me.
It turned out that I may have been breathing incorrectly for the most of the race!! So I stood tall, and pushed on forward. I knew that my dad was going to come out and see me finish. He was there at the start filming.
It was a tough 15th, and I was freezing my butt off after!!! But I am glad to be done and thank God for the experience nonetheless.
And now… I have a 4 hour drive to the Woodlands, gotta recover for marathon #16 tomorrow.. The second half of the battle!