Until May of this year.
I ran the Ogden Marathon and knocked 23 minutes off of my previous marathon time. I was beyond thrilled! I was surprised even though I did train really hard for that race for almost five months and I followed my training schedule religiously, so I was hoping I would do well, just didn't think I would do that well. My finish time was 4:14 and in order for me to qualify for Boston I needed a 4:00. 14 minutes. Doesn't sound too tough, but trust me, even a single minute is hard to cut off when it comes to a full marathon. BUT . . . it was now in reach! I knew if I worked really hard, I could cut off 14 minutes. So I signed up for the Big Cottonwood Marathon because it is touted as a fast course and many BQ (Boston Qualify) at it. I ran the half last year and while watching the full racers cross the finish line that day and seeing so many reach a BQ, I thought I would possibly attempt it the next year.
Training for it this summer proved to be much harder than I anticipated. Getting up at the crack of insanity to get in a long run before it gets too hot, was tough, as was the discipline required to run my training plan religiously.
|Actually, I was usually out and running on long run days by the time set on this alarm.|
On race day, I did decide to start out with the 4:00 pacers though and keep with them for as long as I could. I actually ran ahead of them most of the downhill because I knew if I got behind them I would get very discouraged. I wanted to be able to stay positive the entire course.
|I tried to stay just a little ahead of the 4:00 pace group.|
|Still feeling strong! (And cold!)|
|With Adrian, the 4:00 pacer. This was when I was starting to pace a bit behind them, but they were still right in front of me. He had to make a pit stop and he is trying to get to the other pacer to grab the pacing stick.|
|Still feeling good? Or just faking it?|
|Some of the uphill during the out and back. Those 8 miles were NOT fun!|
|With Adrian the 4:00 pacer. He is one awesome pacer!|
Now that I have had time to think about it and ponder over it, I am seriously let down that I didn't make it. Mostly for the fact that now it means I have to train again and keep running marathons until I DO qualify. UGH! I am not ready to give up on my goal. The day of the race, I had decided to maybe check into running as a charity runner for Cystic Fibrosis because that would mean a lot to me as well, but deep down I want to run it because I earned it, because I was good enough to run it. But I haven't totally thrown the charity idea out the window. Running for CF would be so inspiring to me!
I am hoping someday I will be able to actually say I qualified. I don't know if it will ever happen, but I am an optimist and so I am going to stay positive. Running is such a fragile thing and you never know what is going to happen with your body and injuries. I just hope this old bod of mine hangs on for a bit longer so I can.
So how does all this relate to Sister Burton's talk and the gospel? Well, since you are still here (amazingly) after this marathon post, I will tell you. Hang in there, you are almost to the finish line!
Sister Burton said because Latter-day Saints come to the temple to receive eternal blessings, it should not surprise them that a higher standard is required to qualify for those blessings. “World-class athletes and university doctoral students spend hours and days and weeks and months and even years of preparation,” she said. “Daily drops of preparation are required of them to come out on top. Likewise, those who wish to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom are expected to live a higher standard of obedience that comes by practicing the virtue of obedience day by day and drop by drop.”
Same thing with qualifying for exaltation. Not everyone who is a member of the church and not even everyone who is a temple recommend holder is going to qualify to get into the Celestial Kingdom (CQ = Celestial Qualify). It requires even a higher standard. Only the best of the best will make it to that level. You could call that making it to the Super Bowl of heaven☺or the Olympics of running. It's going to be tough to get to that level. Really tough. But it is doable.
We are probably going to have days when we will look at others and think that we are not in their league. We are not as spiritual as they are. We aren't as good as they are and we never will be. We weren't born with their gifts. We might even think it will be easy for them to qualify, but so much harder for ourselves. But if we really want to qualify then we are going to have to work extra hard even though things may not have been going so well or going according to our plan, and even then, our course may change along the way and we may think it's unfair that our course is harder than someone else's course. We may even get injured (from sinning) along the way and have to change our plan. And most likely our training will not go perfectly. We may get to the point where we would rather just take the pressure off and give up the hope of a CQ. But, like Sister Burton said, if we practice the virtue of obedience (like daily training) day by day and drop by drop, we will qualify. It won't be easy and we will have times when we just want to let go of the dream, but if we keep following the plan (the commandments) then we can.
The best part of the gospel is that just like my friend Marci who had to run 18 marathons to qualify, we will never be told we can't make it as long as we are willing to keep trying and keep training (practicing obedience). And when we come up short - even when we are so close - there is ALWAYS hope that no matter what we do or don't do, we have a loving and forgiving Heavenly Father who will forgive us and give us as many chances as we need to finally get it right and qualify. He is our personal pacer and He will never give up on us. He will encourage us and be there for us whenever we need his support. He gives us hope when we are discouraged. He knows we can do it. We can always rely on Him for help.
And just imagine what crossing THAT finish line is going to be like? All of our family and friends that have already finished the race will be right there cheering us on! What a feeling that will be knowing that we earned it after a hard fought fight. That alone makes all the training and practicing worth it!
And best of all, a CQ lasts forever... for eternity.
|Something else to keep in mind along the way!|