+ The glory of God is the Living Person
It is a beautiful day. Every Living Person seems excited as well as nervous when they gather before the cathedral. We pray and take a group picture. It is a time to put ourselves into action after a four-month training. To me, it is my 7th marathon and 5th Cleveland Marathon.
For this race, the half and full marathons were sold out which means it is really crowded. When the race starts at 7am, I realize that I am not able to move forward. The mob carries me over two miles, which takes away at least three minutes from me. Let’s do math. My goal to break three hours for a full marathon needs under the pace of 7 minutes per mile. Since I lose three to four minutes at the beginning that is about 240 seconds, I have to recover more than 10 seconds per mile throughout the rest of the race, which means I have to run under 6:50 minutes per mile. As I pass the half marathon point (13.1 mile), my clock time says 1:34:35.
To be worse, the wind blows against the runners although the lakeshore course is strategically placed the miles between 13 and 19, in which the runners still have energy to run against the wind. But I wish the wind help me. When I get to the 21-mile point, St. Clare Avenue stretches long before me. I really enjoy running those two and half miles, pushing me to speed up. However, the East 40th street and Euclid seem too long after St. Clare. From the experiences of running the Boston and New York Marathons last year, I expect more cheers from spectators, which substantially helps runners who usually rely on mental strength after 21 miles. However, the Clevelanders look not much motivated.
Anyway, running a marathon is like praying because although a person prays alone, and yet he/she is connected to the spirit of others. So I recall my prayer partners, Sr. Paul and Jesus. The last two miles are hard enough to deepen my prayer. When I get into the Lakeside, I see the finish line. The long journey is about to end. I push myself harder. Crossing the finish line, I make a sign of cross. It is 3:07:58.
Since the Boston, it is my third three-hour-and-seven-minute record. This time seems an unbreakable barrier that I keep trying to jump over. But I feel good regardless of my time. I know that I have to keep going because I have a commitment to say the Sunday school mass at 11:30am at St. Andrew Kim.
What a great day for a runner to be a man for others!