Monday, December 30, 2013

Slowest marathon woman

I have not trained. I have barely run in the last few months. I have a marathon coming up in 13 days. I should probably forget it, sell my spot and call it a day. I have considered that on more than one occasion. Here is why I can't and won't.
When I registered for this race, almost a year ago, I was in a very different place emotionally, physically and professionally. I was on a self perscribed mental health break from work. I am an RN and a mom. Both of these things are emotion sucking, though rewarding, vocations of the heart and I was having a difficult time juggling it all after 18 years, 7 of which were as the mom of a chronically ill, now well, child. I was pushing myself to be the best I could be at everything else because mom of a cancer kid, mom of a challenged kid (Aspergers in this case) and a neonatal ICU nurse had been done and left me drained.
I kept setting personal goals for myself with the luxury of time to reach them.
I was and am the age my Dad was when he was diagnosed with glioma and fought but lost a nasty battle with the brain tumor. That number laid heavy on my heart and still does. That same year my husband was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and given 6 months to live. He flourished for 4 1/2 years after that. I have been loved by heroes.
So off I went to register for this marathon. I was so proud to complete two 1/2 half marathons and numerous 5ks. I looked at the date of the marathon and my heart, clinched. Truly. I felt it squeeze. The race is on the 20th anniversary of my love's death. I decided to accept that as a sign and still kept excited about it.
This summer things changed. I was blessed with a full time job that allows me time to deal with the kids' issues and keep my professional status. I no longer could run those hours needed to train for long distance races. 10, 11 and 12 hour work days, 5 days a week left me with little time or desire. The feelings of guilt, failure and dread snowballed to a point where I would read updates in my email about race preparations and just cry. I was sure I should quit. I received some information about where and when to report to our "corrals" and realized that the 20th anniversary of his last breath will be at the same exact moment I will be joining those very prepared runners. My heart didn't clench. It stopped. And my stomach came up to meet it. I knew I couldn't do this marathon. I also knew I had to.
So here I am with race day looming in my very near future, January 12, for those who care to send some positive energy my way, and I am now deciding to embrace it.
I have NEVER been prepared for the biggest and toughest challenges of my life. I have and will always persevere. I am fortunate that this time it is a physical challenge. After watching my loved ones on their own marathon journeys and partaking in so many of my own, this 6+ hours stroll through Disney World will be absolutely nothing!
The date is a celebration of both Rob and his life and my Dad and his. I am 49 years old, widowed 20 years ago, yet have been blessed with a second chance at love, a family and friends that love me, need me and respect me.
So if you see some struggling slow poke out there in the race, be kind and patient. I know I won't be flashing through but I will finish! And there will be angels running with me.