Last Saturday I finished the half marathon that I've blogged about in recent months. It was an amazing time for so many reasons. The last 6 months have been quite a journey, and even my running journey took a new turn in it. Each race I've ever run is a bit different in one way or another, with a different story to go with it for me. This time, this race meant so much to me.
First off, it was so wonderful to have 2 full days with my husband. Dad was gracious enough to keep the kids, and Michael and I really had a nice time. Seriously, I was like a kid in a candy store, and so many things made me giddy. It felt good to laugh. I mean, I really do laugh a lot at my job and have a good time there, but I don't laugh a lot outside of there. And it was so nice to have that feeling again. Race expos always bring that out in me.... I love watching all the different runners pass through. I love all the fun race gear you can buy. I love the goodies you get for free. I love the atmosphere. It was fun. It was also really nice to be away. Just in a different environment. That helps a lot, without even realizing it. Michael and I got to actually enjoy some quality time together, which was really precious.
Secondly, I love races. Period. I just love the excitement that comes with it. I love getting up early and being out first thing in the morning with 15,000 other people, all there doing the same thing. I love the weather. I love the music. I love talking with all the different people. If you don't know, runners are a breed of their own in some ways. When you are a runner, when you are out on the course, you can pick up a conversation with any given other runner and talk about anything. Literally. And if you were to meet that same person in a restaurant or in the elevator, a conversation would likely not happen. If you have ever experienced a race, you know what I am talking about. I mean, the die hard runners, they probably don't talk so much. They are focused. But those of us out there just to run, just for ourselves, It's an open book out on the course.
During the last 6 months, I kind of lost a bit of the passion in running. It became a way for me to try to bury myself away from grief instead of letting the running help me through my grief. Once I decided to let go of that and let it renew me when I was out on my runs, i really rediscovered my passion for it.I could talk about it forever. (clearly, if you are reading this blog, you can see that.) I am beginning to connive my coworkers into it now. I LOVE talking about running. I am by no means the best runner. But I am passionate about it, and I love it. And to me, that's all that matters.
I did not do the full marathon this time around. But I am ok with that. And I feel like my time this half marathon (2:44) was good, considering all that had gone on in life in the last 6 months. I have set some new goals for my running , but I'm not ready to post those just yet. I met a friend at the start line, and we ran the entire race together. I have never had that in all 3 years of running. It was really neat. And now we are great friends. It's rather fun what running has done for me.
The finish line was in a stadium. That was really motivating and really neat. As I ran that last quarter mile, I gave the race all I had. The guy I passed through the tunnel must've thought I was crazy as I sprinted by him, tears on my face, trying to breathe right while crying. It was an emotional finish for me. Because it was my first finish without my mom. Because it was a big step for me in continuing to move on in life. Because the last 6 months have not been easy, and this was another way to prove to myself that I will be ok. It was another step forward. I finished that race well, I feel.
It made me think about mom, of course. Mom finished her race well, too, here on earth. She gave it everything she had for as long as she could. She fought the good fight. She helped motivate me through this race,even though she wasn't here. Because if she could go through all she did with a positive attitude, so could I finish this race and feel good about it. I missed her with every step I took. But every step I took was another step forward.
In grief, it's funny, because sometimes I take 30 steps forward and before I know it, I'm going 40 backwards. But then I go 50 forwards....it's a messy journey. One I've never been on before. I'm learning as I go that no 2 people experience grief the same way. No 2 people have the same emotions. Not even 2 people grieving the same loss. I am an extremely emotional person anyway. This grief journey has catapulted it even more so. But you know what? Janet Paschal said "If you hang on with whatever it is you know in your heart to be true about Him, then He will come through. That's a promise." And I see that so often. Sometimes it's harder for me to recognize, other times it stands out. But He said, in Isaiah 41:10 "Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength, I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you."
Some days, even when I don't feel it through the clouds of grief, I hold onto those words....and He always comes through.
Today was a good day for me. Tomorrow...who knows? Like I said...it's a messy journey sometimes. But God will hold me steady, one way or another. One day at a time.