January 12, 2014

First Light Marathon

I wish I could post only about the marathon today, because it was a very Run Happy experience, but unfortunately, my heart has been very heavy the past few days. Wednesday afternoon, we received news that my former partner teacher from the past two years (that just retired in May) was killed by a drunk driver. She was an integral part of the community and my life the past two years. She had just texted me a few days before the accident, telling me about some teacher craft things on sale at Hobby Lobby. She had been at my wedding shower and wedding, too. I know in life there are no guarantees, and when you lose someone you love, it never feels fair.  And while I could shout an entire rant about our legal system and the circumstances surrounding her accident, I will post this poem instead.

Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
Mrs. Hinton LOVED this poem, and she lived her life by it. Instead of feeling angry and depressed, I've been trying to channel this and really use my time with her as a learning experience.

Insert RUNNING. I only hit 90 miles this week, instead of 100. I just didn't have it in me to do doubles. I was a complete WRECK on Wednesday, but thankfully, Sam drug me out Thursday morning for some tempo work. It was a nice distraction. The day ahead would be ROUGH- our students finding out, having to talk to them about it, not knowing what to say, hiding my own grief in order to be strong for the kids. The list of heartache goes on and on. Friday morning came, and I had one of those runs that I really haven't had in years- run, cry, hyperventilate, cry, scream at God, a total soul cleanser. Saturday morning was a longish run done in the POURING rain, well before dawn, but thank goodness I had Robyn and Sam with me. I didn't need another run like Friday. I needed to pull it together and get back on track. Mrs. Hinton's funeral was Saturday morning.  

Something neat happens in a close community. Friends know you're hurting and they do things that are just right. Sometimes it's not WHAT they say, but what they do- a gentle hug, a bigger smile, a little encouragement. The marathon today was 26.2 miles of Rebecca Love. I didn't even time the run. I started with a few friends, let them control the pace, and just did my thing on auto-pilot. We talked about this and that, but nothing in particular. The crowd support was AMAZING. I have never had so many people cheer for me in a race before, and I wasn't even "racing" it! I was just on another long run, getting in the miles, preparing for the 50. It was what my heart needed. And last night, Keith had not said a WORD about coming to the race, and he didn't set his alarm (to my knowledge), or ask me to wake him. Mile 11 came, and my friend that I was running with said, "There's Keith." Sure enough, he pulled up beside us on his bike. (Apparently, he had offered to help with bike support.) Yes, my husband is awesome like that. The miles ticked on and on, lots and lot of cheers. I drank a little water, took a gel at Mile 20, etc. The hills were BRUTAL, but that was to be expected.

I focused on being Run Happy, enjoying the beautiful day, and being grateful for the ability to run. Weird is that I didn't even look at my watch or the clocks at ALL! Mile 20, my friend said he was taking off, wanted to pick it up. I wasn't really into that idea; so I let him go. I was feeling fine, but I wanted to finish this long run in one piece, and have some left in the tank for my last big week of training before the gawdforsaken taper period. Plus, I was TIRED. Not as much physically, but just emotionally. My soul needed to run easy. I needed to feel good and hear my friends' cheers.

Then my angel came back for me. Keith had ridden ahead to check on the leaders, but he came back for me just at the right time. We didn't talk much. He gave me updates about my speedy friends racing, and then he just rode next to me. Sometimes, it's not WHAT is said, but just a presence. And I reflected.

Life. It is so much more than running, but running brings out the best in me.
Love. It is so much more than words. God has blessed me with an amazing life partner.
Running. It is so much more than one foot in front of the other. These friends, these people I love are what make the sport for me. I ran a 3:24:XX today, 8th female, 24 minutes from my PR. You know what, though? This was the best marathon I've ever experienced because of the people I love. The course? Yeah, it's tough. It's hilly and the road is botched. But the PEOPLE... they will treat you like you are Queen of the Road.

Never assume you have another day. Run Happy, friends.


  1. I am so sorry about your loss.

    This entire post is beautiful.

  2. Oh, I am so sorry. How lovely to have known this woman, how difficult to lose her, and how much harder that it was unexpected and tragically unfair. Thinking of you!

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. (((hugs))) Thinking of you and so happy that you had a good marathon to celebrate your friend and the lessons she taught you.

  4. We are lucky we can run...

  5. Amazing post. I actually needed to read Mother Teresa's poem and will read it again.

    In such a horrible time, you found the simple joy of running. Like I said earlier: you were born to do this. (Adrienne's counseling suggestion: write that down and use it for the 50:) )

    Much Love!

  6. I am so sorry for you (and your community's loss).

    And, I am so happy for you that you were able to have such a wondefully blessed marathon experience in the midst of your grief. What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing (especially given how emotionally exhausted you must be).

    {{BIG HUGS}}

  7. Oh my goodness, I am SO SORRY. That is incredible heartbreaking. It IS unfair and you have every right to feel that way. How horrible :( Thinking of you!!

  8. So sorry to hear about your loss. You know my feeling about marathons and running in general is that is not startline or finishline that matter most - it is the people you meet along the way and places you get to see. I am happy you have so many people to share this day with.

  9. It sounds like you have a wonderful community and had a really inspirational friend to teach with. I am so sorry she was killed so tragically.
    Well done just to run and reflect- the times don't matter so much as the time to think.
    Beautiful post today♥

  10. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I've never read that poem but it is BEAUTIFUL!!

    I am glad you had a great race experience.

    Hugs to you!!