On March 24, 2018 I participated in the Palmetto 70 Relay for the first time. Our team ran a collective 72.5 miles, beginning in Moncks Corner, SC and ending just outside of Charleston, SC. This is my story of moving from, “That’s impossible.” to “I just did that.”
I first heard about the Palmetto 70 and Palmetto 200 Relays in the spring of 2016. The thought of running that much seemed a bit crazy and, for me, impossible. As I saw pictures and videos participants posted on social media from race day, I noticed how much fun they seemed to be having and thought to myself, “Maybe I can do that… someday.”
Little did I know that someday would come so soon. By September 2017 I had joined a team and paid the registration fee to run in the Palmetto 70 Relay six months later in March of 2018. At that point I had only run a handful of 5K races (3 to be exact) and had never run more than a little over three miles at a time. It still seemed quite impossible, but I felt up for the challenge.
What do you do when you’re an inexperienced runner who just signed up to run a 70+ mile relay? You start running – more frequently and at longer distances. I arranged for my parents to watch the kids a few mornings a week so I could run. I trained fairly consistently throughout the fall and completed more 5K races in October, November and December.
After the 5K at the beginning of December, I decided to take a few days off from training. A few days turned into a week, which turned into two. Then Christmas happened and before I knew it nearly a month had passed since I had run. This seems obvious now, but when you take an entire month off from running, it’s like starting over again when you get back at it.
In January I was determined to get back at it and I tried to hit my training hard. I needed to run longer distances for longer time periods. But January was cold and my lungs didn’t like the cold air when I was running. So I had Keith add me to his Y membership that he has hardly used since he began F3 nearly two years ago. I hated running on the treadmill.
On January 26 the legs of the race were shared in our team’s Facebook group and we were told to be working toward eight miles. I had barely worked up to four miles at this point. I read off the distances of the legs to Keith. As I went back to an earlier post in which we shared our average pace and read those off to him, the feeling of impossibility began to creep up again. Then the thought of quitting entered my mind. I wasn’t fast enough or strong enough to do this. The team had time to find someone better and more experienced. I was in over my head. I went to bed 99% sure I was going to quit and 100% sure completing the Palmetto 70 was impossible.
Luckily, God had other plans.
This is my journal entry from January 27, 2018.
I went to bed last night feeling defeated. It wasn’t over just one thing. It was several things rolled up into one big feeling of defeat. I wanted to quit everything. I could feel myself on the verge of the spiral into depression mixed with anxiety that I know all too well. I was headed for the pit…again.
I never want to be in the pit. I just seem to end up there. I can never find a way to fight while I’m headed down and then I have to fight my way out. It seems like it would be easier to fight before I get all the way down, rather than have to fight my way out. It just never works out that way. Is it possible I give up and give in too easily?
I didn’t sleep well. I awoken some time after 3 am with hip pain and a song that I could not get out of my head. I can’t recall the name of the song or even all of the words now. It was talking about God doing impossible things. One line about God doing the impossible and never giving up was playing over and over in my head. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and got up to do some work.
When Keith got up I was still feeling defeated. I mustered up the motivation to put on my workout clothes and get the kids up and dressed. I took them over to Keith’s parents’ and headed to FiA. I was still on the struggle bus as I walked up to our meeting place. Once I started moving something wonderful happened. The tightening in my soul began to loosen up. The heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach began to lighten and my mind began to clear. I stayed after FiA to run. As I ran, the words of the song about God doing the impossible flooded my thoughts. I still couldn’t remember the name of the song or the exact words.
During my run, God sent me this word:
I am the God who made the blind man see, the deaf hear and the lame walk. I healed and brought people back from the dead. Nothing is impossible for me. Nothing.
So you’re not as fast as everyone else. That shouldn’t stop you. You can still finish.
Others will write better than you. That doesn’t mean I can’t use your words to reach people.
Others will speak more eloquently than you. That doesn’t mean you have nothing to say. People will still listen.
Just because there are others who can do more or better doesn’t mean I can’t use you. I can do a mighty work through you if you let me. Nothing is impossible for me.
I have plucked you from the deep waters and set you in a spacious place (Psalm 18) – a place prepared for you to bloom.
Don’t go back into the pit. Turn around and fight your way out before you spiral too deep.
Nothing is impossible for me.
I fought for it during my hour of running. I fought hard. Satan and his lies did not win today. I will not be defeated. I will fight because nothing is impossible for God.
So from that point forward, I was in it. Quitting was not an option. I was going to participate in and finish the Palmetto 70, no matter how impossible it seemed.
A few days after writing this journal entry this song came on the radio. I immediately knew this was the song I couldn’t get out of my head that night. I quickly added it to my playlist and it became my anthem for the remainder of my training. “Speak to the impossible.” “Pray till your breakthrough breaks through the ceiling.” “Don’t you give up.”