Occupy Awesome

This was my favorite spectator sign from the 2011 NYC Marathon. There were so many great ones it was hard to pick, but this was the one. So much encouragement from so many strangers. It was incredible. It made me love NYC and it made me love the journey I’ve been on all the more.

All that said, there were some bumps along the way Sunday. It started out so well. I held back and kept my goal pace of around 10:00/mile. My knee held up great and did not hurt. I did have some pain in my other knee around mile 12. I walked a little at a couple of water stations and I was confident I could make it through to the end.

Then, after the Queensboro Bridge, heading onto First Avenue in Manhattan, all my muscles got tight and started cramping. So weird as this never happened on my long training runs. All I can figure is that I was dehydrated and did not have enough salt. I also don’t think I ate enough throughout the week leading up.

It’s been such a struggle with the eating throughout training. On one hand, who wouldn’t want to eat more! On the other hand, after losing over 100 lbs, there is part of me that doesn’t want to lose control and gain it back. This is something I’m working through and I know it contributed.

Miles 16-19 I ran two blocks then walked one. I was starting to really hurt. Around 19 someone came up beside me and began to talk (he was having stomach issues). This was a blessing as it gave me an excuse to walk further. As I got into the Bronx I kept walking as everytime I tried to run my muscles would not cooperate. I really didn’t know how I would finish. Lots goes through you mind in these kinds of moments!

Leaving the Bronx God really sent me some help. A fellow Team World Vision Runner from Australia, Kevin,  came up beside me and we started talking. His knee had given out earlier and he was trying to make it through like me. He and I walked and talked through Harlem for another few miles. It seemed more like a parade for a little while :). So many encouraging people in the crowd.

As we got into the Park around mile 24 we decided to try and run and then walk when we had to. We were quite a sight I’m sure as our form was full of pain. As we neared mile 25 we just decided to go for it all the way. Kevin and I kept going through all those pains and I was sure they were moving the finish further away as we ran (another favorite sign: “There is a Finish Line”). The last .2 was TOUGH. I kept repeating the Scripture verse on my GoSport ID: “For the joy set before HIM endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). God so clearly reminded me how powerful and important finishing is. No matter the trial, no matter how many setbacks, no matter the circumstances, FINISH.

My final time was 6:05. If you’ve read here I was originally hoping for a much better time. But I’m not ashamed. I finished. As a matter of fact, as I was praying later in the night I felt God say that if it would have been easier, if everything would have gone according to plan, I wouldn’t have learned that lesson. I wouldn’t have understood the depth and power of FINISH.

I’m so honored to have been a part of this race and this process. I can’t wait to do another marathon so I can do better — I learned so much about me. I’m so blessed to have been a part of Team World Vision and the joy of seeing 26 children’s lives forever tangibly changed.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement every step along the way. I hope I have the chance to cheer you on…SOON!



12 Replies to “Occupy Awesome”

  1. So proud of you! It has been a joy to be able to follow your journey through various posts, tweets, etc. You are such an inspiration and make me want to push myself further. Thank you for that! Another AMAZING marathon to do is the Breast Cancer Marathon. 100% of all money raised (and there is no minimum required) goes firectly to helping families who are going through breast cancer treatment as well as research to find the cure.

    Again, CONGRATS and great job!!!

  2. Such an inspiring message! All your friends and family in Nashville were praying for you and cheering you on! I’m sure we all wished we could have been there to be “personally” inspired! You, Olivia & Hannah have shown us all how to “run the race” with God leading you, and although I never before considered walking – let alone running – I now know that with God leading me I can do anything! I hope to have the chance to join you in a race someday and celebrate what God has done for us!! Congrats Ben!!!!!

  3. Way to go! So proud. Have loved watching you on this journey. You have been such a motivation to many people, including myself. Blessed to know you. Blessed to call you friend.

  4. Ben. So proud of you. I loved your blog, felt like I was with you. God pulled you through. Just when you thought you couldn’t go anymore,the Lord sent another World vision runner.Amen.


  5. Such an amazing recap!! Now I just can’t stop thinking about how I wish I would have given you some of my salt packets at the beginning 🙁 But like you said, you learned a lot about FINISH – so powerful.

  6. Such an awesome reminder that God is with us through EVERYTHING and that when we rely on Him we can finish. I can’t help but think weight loss is not only a physical and mental battle but a spiritual battle as well. I know that I’m being held back by not being healthy. You have no idea how much this blog has encouraged me. Today is day one of a very long journey for me but I know that with God’s help I CAN and I WILL finish! Keep up the great work!

  7. Congratulations! I just stumbled upon your blog but you and Olivia have been an inspiration for months. As a mom to four children from China born with special needs, I feel so grateful when I read about others who are doing something for children born in poverty. My children received medical treatment and were able to be in foster care because of people like you and Olivia who were their sponsors. It has made a world of difference for all of us!

    Merry Christmas and many blessings!

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