Our latest adventure in running was a mountain marathon and semi-marathon (half marathon) in Baile Herculane, which is a small town about an hour away from Severin, where we live now. And it is beautiful. As we drove up on Friday night to pick up our race numbers and join many other runners for a pre-race pasta dinner I was amazed at the beauty of God’s creation all around me.
“Can you believe we live here?” I asked Sam. “We live right next to these mountains. It is so beautiful!” All this was before I even stepped foot on the racecourse.
We spent Friday afternoon walking around and exploring the town before joining some friends for the pasta dinner near the race start location. That night we actually drove back to Severin instead of staying in Herculane overnight, but it ended up being best for us because we were much more comfortable in our own apartment the night before running.
Before the Start
Saturday morning came early and cold. I do not like the cold and I dread having to go outside if it is even slightly chilly, so I was not too excited to go run that morning. However, it was completely worth the cold, and it did warm up nicely that afternoon.
For the first two kilometers of the race marathon and semi-marathon runners ran together. At a little over a mile Sam and I said goodbye and split off into our respective courses. Then the adventure began.
Before this race I had been injured for over a month. A week before the race I began running with no pain, but I only ran 4 miles at a time. I was not planning on running the race because I had not put in the proper training, though I was happy I was over my injury! Thursday night before the race Sam and I were about to go to sleep and I said, “I think I want to run Saturday. Do you think that would be crazy?” My runner husband answered, “No, I think that would be great!”
As soon as I split off from Sam and began running on a narrow trail in the woods I thought I had made a mistake. I was running on a narrow dirt trail covered in leaves on the side of a mountain. Every so often the trail was slanted or covered with rocks and a slight misstep could send you sliding down the mountain. Normally I wear contacts, but recently I have been wearing my glasses much more often because I’ve been having issues with my contacts. This was also a mistake, I thought. Wearing glasses that aren’t even exactly my right prescription made it difficult to be able to look down so I wouldn’t fall and then look ahead to see where I was going. I prayed the whole time I was on the trail that I would make it in one piece! Although I came out with bruised knees, I did make it. Also, that portion of the race was only about a mile and I actually enjoyed most of the rest of the course.
The course was breathtaking. I constantly thought how I wished I could just take pictures of everything, but I also know pictures could not have done it justice. The course was difficult, with steep hills up the mountain that forced all the runners to walk, or perilous downhill trails fraught with rocks and leaves, making slipping or falling a very real possibility.
During the first part of the race I prayed that I would somehow make it through the race, but during the middle I prayed praising God for His magnificent creation. Although the fallen leaves made the trail dangerous, the fall colors on the trees and blanketing the ground added a special beauty to the experience.
The last mile of the race was rough. I was feeling the effects of not having run half as far in over a month and the last portion of the course was almost completely down hill on a rocky trail. I had to stop and walk to keep from falling several times and I was overjoyed to finally see the finish line! I finished in 2 hours and 28 minutes and I was happy to stop running!
My legs were hurting, I was cold, and I just really wanted Sam, but I was finished. After I got some water and something to drink I felt much better and I was able to sit in the sun and wait for Sam to finish. I made a friend who could speak English and we visited for a while, talking about why I was here in Romania, our families, running, and much more.
Sam’s course was much harder than mine, with twice the distance and twice the altitude. It was a tough run for him, but he finished! I was so happy to see him come around the corner for the finish. We were both just so happy to be finished and to be together again.
We were so happy to see each other!
We stayed around until 8:00 that night for the awards ceremony before heading home again.
It was a long day. It was hard and exhausting. But it was beautiful. Our God is an Awesome Creator.