"It is our trials that cut our facets and our triumphs that polish them. Without both we could not shine as bright.”
Let this blog post provide hope that in every broken facet of your story, the Lord has the power to turn even the most shattered shards into shimmering beauty.
The story of Jessica Crate is a story of big dreams and God's mercy on display. The odds have been stacked against her along the way, but by not limiting herself to what has been told to be true, she has been able to make the impossible possible. This high functioning, energetic, resilient, yet graceful woman was not always this way. She has encountered many broken dreams throughout her journey that have propelled her to where she is today.
However, it was the story that turned heads at the prestigious @bostonmarathon that stands out as the driving force the fuels her passion to coach, train, instruct and educate others today.
It was a runner's perfect day on Monday, April 18th, 2011 in Hoboken as the runners toed the start line to the 115th annual running of the Boston Marathon, the last qualifying race to make the USA Olympic Trials qualifier. Coming off of a course record at the Gasparilla Half Marathon and several back to back half marathon wins, her Coach was confident she had this race in the bag. No one seemed to pay any attention to the nagging pain in her left foot and the damage that over-training by racing 3 marathons within a 5 month period had caused her joints. Nevertheless, this was supposed to be "the last race" until the Trials and once today was in the history books, then she would be able to rest and focus on fine-tuning for the Olympics.
Well, the finish line was crossed, but not the way she dreamed. At mile 13.9, the splits had been perfectly in check, clocking 6:10 pace for those first rolling miles, projecting an Olympic qualifying time of under 2:42:00.
As the group rounded the turn toward the next water station, Jessica jumped to avoid another runner, landing hard on the side of her left foot. Immediately, a SNAP, followed by a sharp pain ran up her leg and pierced the back of her neck. Regaining her composure, she continued on, Coach by her side. All of a sudden a burning sensation started to heat up her left foot. Unsure of what that meant, seeing as it was a cool, brisk day on the course, Jessica continued on. After another mile, her pace slowed to 6:13 as the temperature in her body continued to rise. She signaled to her coach and pulled off to the side of the course. Thinking her laces were too tight and her socks too insulated, she loosened her shoe, whipped off her socks, re-laced and was back on the course. Only this time, the pain was significantly greater and worsening by the minute.
There are only two decisions in this situation... QUIT or FIGHT.
Sirens sounded in the distance and for a fleeting minute, Jessica was tempted by the thought of cool water, a smooth ride down to the medical tent and being rescued by a sexy, muscular man in uniform, but that idea quickly vanished as a runner, clad in military garb with a prosthetic leg, hobbled by. "If he is able to finish, then so should I."
Mile 18 loomed ahead and every fiber in her being wanted to quit. The pain was excruciating and with every stride came a sharp, shooting pain, followed by a wave of heat and discomfort. It was pure misery. "I started to think about the people I love and cared about. I began to shift my focus, realizing that my pace had now slowed to 6:30 and there was little hope of qualifying at this point. I was now just trying to survive." How do you get out of survival, quit mode and into THRIVE mode? GRATITUDE. "I started praising God for my legs, for all of the friends, family, clients, kids and athletes I coached that were in my life, cheering me on! I fixed an image of my grandparents on my head, my grandfather Art, who gave me his 400 yard sprinting genes, in my head and decided I was not going to give up because not only would I let myself and God down, I was letting down so many others in support of my dream. Today, I was going to make them all proud."
That was the day I eliminated ANY and ALL excuses and decided the only way to win is to never betray yourself. Give your absolute BEST at all times, no matter what. Even if you fall short of your goal, you've still upheld your truth and proven you have a superhero inside of you, willing itself to be unleashed.
Mile 20 came and went with a blur. "It's a 20 mile warm up and a 6.2 mile race," she reminded herself. Willing her body on, Jessica rounded the last turn. Looking down at her watch, she realized with both delight and despair that despite shattering her Olympic dreams, she may still