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Major Marathon Pause

on May 24, 2011

For months I’ve been training and worrying about this marathon.  I have gotten through runs that I never dreamed I would get through both feeling great and feeling awful, but I completed them.  I’ve been excited and nervous at the same time.  Lately, I’ve been more nervous than excited because I’ve been so scared that I’ll get to a point and my legs will just give out and I won’t be able to finish, OR, I will not finish in time to have the race even count…that I’ll be past the time limit.  I don’t want my legs to give out, but I’ve read about it happening even to the most seasoned runners who are way more trained than I, so why couldn’t it happen to me?   Yesterday about 3:30pm, I received a heavy, heavy dose of perspective and forced to pause and think.

Hubby and I were on our way home from getting groceries when we heard that there was a tornado near Harmony.  We called home and some dear friends picked up our son (and our dog), so we knew they were safe.  It was raining heavily, it was hailing heavily.  It was so windy that Hubby was having difficulty controling the car.  He decided we needed to turn around and go back to Preston and seek shelter because suddenly, everything was a horrible green color and everything was spinning.  Turning around was difficult and once we got on the other side of the road, he stopped the car and said, “We have to get out and get to the ditch.”  I kept saying over and over, “No, no, no!” in a half whimper, half tearless cry, even though I knew that’s what we needed to do.  It was the urgency in his voice when he yelled, “GO!  GET TO THE DITCH!” that actually woke me up and made me open my door and run. 

We got down on our stomachs and then he said that we needed to move away from the car in case it rolled or was picked up.  Again, all I could say was “No, no, no!” but I knew we had to move.  The wind was such a force that we actually had to crawl our way to a different part of the ditch so we weren’t near the car.  I layed half on my side and half on my stomach and hubby got on top of me and held me to try and shield me.   It was then that things changed.

It was then that we heard the freight train sound, the pressure in the air changed, and it was difficult to breathe.  I will never forget that sound.  I was gasping for air, staring at the grass, staring at my cell phone in my outstretched hand thinking that I should try to call 911, but realizing that nobody would be able to get out there.  It seemed to last forever.  Suddenly, the freight train sound stopped, the pressure changed, and it was almost like an instinct we both knew we needed to get back to the car and get out of there.  It was extremely difficult to even get out of the ditch as the wind was still horribly strong and it was hailing.  I was trying to run bent over to shield myself.  I reached for the car door handle and when I tried to open it, the wind took it and it flew open, hitting me in the forehead. I knew I was hit in the head, but did not feel anything.  I got in the car as Lane was telling me to call a friend of our’s and tell him we were on our way.  I held my arm up to my forehead to try to stop the bleeding.  We made it safely to our friend’s house, but my entire body did not stop shaking for a good hour.  As it turned out, I ended up getting 4 stitches in my forehead and a tetnus shot.

There is a rumor that there were 3 tornadoes yesterday and that the 3rd tornado was the one that was over us.  It is rumored that this 3rd tornado did not touch down.  I don’t have any idea if that is accurate or not.  I don’t have any idea if what hit us was that 3rd “in the air” tornado or if what hit us were straight line winds from the other 2 tornadoes.  I don’t care.  What happened to us was the single most terrifying thing I have ever experienced.  When I heard the freight train sound, I thought that we were done.  I simply muttered between gasps, “Oh God, oh God, oh God, please help us.”

I didn’t actually really cry until today, the day after.  I was anxiety-ridden all day.  I’m in a daze. 

I thank God for protecting us in that ditch and I thank God that we were able to come home in one piece to see our son.  The thought of not getting through that nearly drops me to my knees everytime I think of it.  I feel so horrible for the people in Missouri.  I am so thankful for the dear friends who came to get our son and our dog.  I am so thankful to our friends who took us in at their house and gave us towels and bandages for my forehead. And I am so thankful for my hubby’s bravery and how he protected me. 

I know it’s easy to sit here the day after something traumatic and spout off how much perspective was gained.  My feelings are very real and I do pray that I remember this perspective after life and these feelings settle down.   For now, I am going to allow myself to feel sad, scared, teary-eyed, anxious.  I hope that come marathon day, I can remember these feelings when I’m hitting a wall, or simply having a difficult time and put that pain in perspective and keep plugging along and remember that it’s only a race.  The greatest importance is how absolutely blessed I am.


3 responses to “Major Marathon Pause

  1. Sarah Holten says:

    You know, when I talked to your hubby today I had goosebumps hearing your story. Reading it from your words tonight made me teary-eyed. I am so very thankful that you both are ok. Sending you love and hugs!!

  2. Sara Ryerson says:

    Oh, Jess…what a nightmare. I’m so grateful to God for watching over you and Lane, and the rest of your family and town. Marathon, schmarathon…you are already strong beyond measure!

  3. Renee McElhenie says:

    OMG Jess I just read this. Thank God you and your husband are ok. You have a angel up there. 🙂

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