This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I am not sporty and I’m definitely not a runner! Unless of course they start selling cake from a van (ice cream stylee) and then I might be tempted to get up a gentle jog to go after it!!
But, I have heard of the expression, to ‘hit the wall’, related to people who run long distances and those in preparation for running a marathon.
‘Hitting the wall’ means:
In endurance sports such as cycling and running, hitting the wall is a condition of sudden fatigue and loss of energy which is caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles.
So, how does this relate to me, the non-runner I hear you ask.
Well if you have been reading my blog over the last six months (thank you if you have by the way), The Lovely Mr B and I have been doing battle with his throat cancer. This has played out very differently in the way it has affected us individually, obviously, because he has been the one with the cancer, whilst I have been the partner supporting him through it.
Let me go back to the beginning of this journey…
During the summer my son’s girlfriend decided to run the London Marathon and spent nine months in training for it (how amazing is that). On the day we went to support her at one of the points on the route we got there nice and early and watched the disabled runners coming through first. I hadn’t appreciated how much of an emotional experience it would be and found myself in tears several times during the time we were there. What I found the most inspiring was the blind runners who came past with their running buddy attached to them by a strap. One particular runner stopped right in front of us to throw up several times. His buddy stood next to him talking to him and waiting until he was okay to start running again and then off they went.
The other thing that really struck me was the way the crowd were all united in cheering on people they didn’t even know. The runners had their names on their tops and people would shout encouragements to them by name, so they would know it was for them. If people slowed down or stopped the spectators would start chanting their name to help them keep pressing on, it was awe inspiring to see human beings at their best like this, supporting one another for a united cause and being so encouraging.
At the time these things moved me to tears, but I didn’t realise then the way these things I’d witnessed would leave an imprint on my heart. But, that is exactly what happened, and it wasn’t long into Mr B’s cancer battle that they came back to mind for such a time as this.
In this picture I had though Mr B was the blind marathon runner, God was his running buddy and I was in the lead car with the loud haler shouting encouragements and truths about who he was and filming the whole thing.
As the blind runner Mr B was running a race that he wasn’t sure of the outcome of, whether he would finish it, what would happen on the way or how he would even get through it without the specific training required.
As the running buddy God was tethered to Mr B and close enough to whisper in his ear when needed, wait while he rested, give him the security of being there, lead him on because He could see the road ahead and generally make it all right for Mr B.
I was in that funny golf buggy type car, hanging out the back and shouting encouragements the whole way, even when Mr B clearly didn’t want to hear it, recording it all as he ran for prosperity, as a way for people to see how amazing the whole thing was. The whole time I was shouting through the loudhailer and telling him who he was, a finisher, someone who never quits, a role model, a hero.
The spectators, those amazing people I talked about, who are key to marathon runners finishing the race, that’s you and our family and friends who have been cheering us on and shouting encouragements. It’s those who don’t know us well but have read our story via social media and have contacted us, people we don’t really know who have been involved in some way who have all helped to keep Mr B’s head up, at times when I couldn’t do it alone. Literally, it’s like people have been lining the streets of our life and shouting ‘come on Tim’.
Now what is amazing about this story is that Mr B hadn’t trained a day in his life for this sort of race, he didn’t even know it was coming, but the trainer did. This would be a race that Mr B would win, even though it would be incredibly tough and there would be pot holes along the route and even points when it looked like he might be stretchered off! But, the training buddy had it covered and knew that He was all Mr B would ever need to complete the race because in fact Mr B had been in training all his life to this point, without even realising it!
Yes that’s right the training buddy was so good at what He does that He had prepared Tim in advance!
Mr B has been, from birth, given a fighting, competitive spirit that would keep him going even when others were overtaking, he would have a high pain threshold after a lifetime of picking up sport related injuries, he was even prepared through the death of his own father to manage emotions and feelings he never thought he would experience by leaning in to the Father, the great comforter and redeemer and all of this without even realising it.
Me on the other hand, as the one in the lead encouraging, had also been prepared over the last 4 years and undergone a radical transformation preparing me to have firsthand experience of a God who heals today, and to have such a foundation of faith that I could bear the load for the two of us. I had been well prepped in dealing with disappointment, in case any came along (it did). I had become well versed in declaring truth at all times and not accepting at face value ANYTHING the specialists said! I had been prepared in prayer and how to contend for the breakthroughs needed and to celebrate every tiny one along the way.
Every treatment and hospital appointment along the way was another mile of this marathon we had unwittingly embarked on. Christmas came, and treatment finished and this we thought was the last mile, surely it must be, right??
But, unbeknownst to us the last treatment wasn’t the finish we thought or hoped for. We were at twenty something miles with more miles ahead of us, although we had no way of knowing how many as we didn’t have the route.
What we didn’t realise is, that when cancer treatment finishes, because it’s cumulative, the side effects get worse before they get better. We had been so focused on the finish line we hadn’t anticipated this. We literally had no more countdowns and were now in limbo land with no end date, no finish line in sight.
This is where, when you are running bling, trust in the training buddy has reached is crucial to you making it to the end. He has the route, He knows how far is left, and He knows we can make it because He is with us.
So, back to the beginning and hitting the wall,
This last few weeks has been like hitting the wall and cramping up, nothing left, can’t go on, fatigue has set in big time and it all seems too much and it’s been tough for sure.
But, I’m glad to say there is suddenly a flicker of the tape across the finishing line and a shift in the atmosphere. Everything is culminating in this amazing story of faith and endurance. I can hear the first few bars of the soundtrack from The Chariots of Fire movie in my head as Mr B and most importantly his running buddy, leads him across the finishing line, arm in arm, side by side.
The medal is hung around Mr B’s neck and he says to the interviewer who is waiting there to hear this incredible testimony…
“It was the race of my life and I owe it all to my running buddy. I couldn’t have done it without Him, I had no clue where I was heading, how I’d get through it even. He wouldn’t let me quit, even when I couldn’t take another step, hadn’t got the strength to put one foot in front of the other, He kept whispering in my ear and making me feel invincible and strong beyond anything humanly possible. I owe it ALL to Him and I want Him to have the glory”.
Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
I hope in some small way, that if you’re reading this, if you are in the race of your life, remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint. I pray that you will be encouraged by our story and know that if God can do this in our lives, He can, and wants to do it in yours.
Much love and thank you to all our supporters, you will never know how life giving your shouts of encouragement have been.
The Continuing Journey
It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint