I realized after my last post that I forgot to tell you about the coolest moment of the race for me.
When I started my 5am run, I was exhausted. I'd run over 10 miles already within the 20 hours preceding it, and only had two hours of sleep on a cold gym floor. It was pitch black, and as I started the leg with a woman whose pace was (amazingly) slower than mine. I wanted to stick with her as long as possible, because within the first half-mile we descended from partially lit streets into the C&O Canal -- running under train tracks in the darkness with only a head lamp to light the way. About a mile in the woman stopped to walk, and I kept going.
I ran a while longer and was just so tired. My legs didn't feel like moving anymore and I didn't have a very good idea of how far I'd gone or would still need to go. Walking sounded like a brilliant idea. Then, a few things happened:
I realized that I (a) could finish the run and (b) started praying that God would give me the energy and discipline to do it. One step at a time, I plodded along.
I got frustrated looking at my feet, and wanted to get a better idea of what was around me. Twice I moved my headlamp from facing mostly down in front of me to being angled up, thinking I'd be able to see straight in front of me. It didn't work. All that happened was that I no longer had such a good view of the step right ahead. There was nothing close enough to me in front to catch the light of the lamp. So I shifted it back down and kept running.
In that moment of exhaustion and frustration, God showed me a few things. Most of you know me, so you know that I tend to be very much a "big picture" person. I'm not a huge fan of trifling with the small details... show me what's really going on and I'll do much better than if you just tell me what to do. I like to know the end goal before I start something, keep my eyes on the prize while doing it, and be aware of the underlying motives and pressures affecting actions and interactions in the meantime.
So as I was running in the dark, God showed me that, in the race and often in life, He would have me trust Him one step at a time, following the path He has set before me, willing to change directions by His bidding, and trusting that He has the big picture. This was especially poignant given my current life status and situation. Sometimes it is the right thing to focus on my feet and just keep going, one step at a time. I can use the info I have but need to be OK that I don't know everything. At this point I need to move ahead with the information I've been given!