The Last Long Run

I am up early, not as early as The Mister who is going hunting, but early enough to warrant some strong black coffee that I sip in the darkness at the kitchen table, willing the caffeine to somehow infuse my groggy mind and limbs.  Today is the last long run. Next Saturday we will run for Amal all over the streets of Savannah with about 16,000 other people. There will be no quiet drive to meet Jamie. No, we will be jostled like livestock into corrals while we nervously wait for our signal to start on the 26.2 mile treck.

The last long run is mostly for peace of mind. There is no real improvements you can make a week out from a marathon.  The conditioning started back in March and continued through the hot muggy Georgia summer.  The long runs from Saturdays gone by have prepared us for next weekend, at least we hope and pray they have. Today is just dress rehearsal where we wear our race clothes and figure out what feels best.   We are not even really running that far, not at this point in training, not when our midweek runs have stretched further than the miles we will run this morning.

I meet Jamie and we start out  our morning like we have nearly every Saturday morning since March. We chat for the first half mile while we warm up. It is as important to catch up as it is to warm up.  We are both tired of training. Both of us want to just go run this thing. And so we run on this cool October morning.  It’s dark and a little lonely as each of us run with our own thoughts.  This morning however, just about 7 AM, once we get past the tall trees that separate us from the lake, the view splits open wide and the most stunning sunrise spreads across the sky.  It is a brilliant orange with beams that break through a dark cloud. The cloud splits into a million silver strands.  I don’t have my phone and I smile. No filter is necessary for this spectacular display, and what’s more, an iphone picture could never capture the absolute glory of God on display. No, sunrises like this are not meant to be shared. They are a secret between me and The Father.

It’s a good last long run…mostly because I am done and on my way home before I know it.  I check my phone before I head out and I see a text from my friend.   She tells me her mother-in- law is with Jesus. She took her last long run over the last few days and finished the race at 3:30 this morning.  She ran on through the dark tree lined path of pain until she caught a glimpse of the beautiful sunrise of heaven.  The Father painted her welcome home portrait that made this earthly sunrise fade into comparison, for nothing can compare with the brilliance of heaven’s everlasting Son and the colors he paints for His saints who are coming in the finish line. I imagine that a glimpse of what was waiting for her was what she wanted when she told her family “I really just want to home” . I imagine that as she let go of their hands she was grabbing The Fathers as they both crossed that finish line and raised their hands in a sign of triumph.

Today I finished my last long run and so did Ms. Annette.  My race is next week, but hers? It’s over and she ran well.  Good job sweet lady. You are finished now and enjoying in complete fullness what I only saw a glimpse of in a sunrise.  I’d say she was the winner of the last long run.

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