Of all things, I have been delightfully surprised and inspired by the posts my husband has shared. I had no idea he could write so well and so eloquently describe the inner chambers of my heart kept secret for so long. I guess that's the attraction of blogs; the social permission to write more intimately, more vulnerably. A blog often contains an inner conversation that could never be shared in any other social situation. And with that certain anonymity, that delicate balance point where a fragile heart can open just wide enough for others to catch a glimpse, those who have responded have touched our hearts so deeply.
Today marks our 15th wedding anniversary. I think of all the figurative miles we have put in together and I can't help but be amazed that after all that, I am even more in love than the day we said "I do!". Despite, or perhaps because of all the mountains we have had to climb and the valleys we've had to hike together, our hearts no longer have anything left to hide. When one gets to this point, it truly becomes a divine masterpiece!
In a previous post, I had mentioned that I quite often need to measure my worth by my actions. When my calves became injured and I could no longer run, I dropped out of this whole adventure, feeling that I no longer had a right to post or participate since I felt that donations coming in were based on the exchange of dollars for miles. Having run for over 10 years now, I definitely felt that I was mourning the loss of a very dear friend. Running had become my identity, my bosom buddy, my mantra, my connection with the divine. But my body (injured calves) had betrayed me, yet again and was further proof that I cannot trust ANYONE! Not even myself! The past few weeks have been a time of intense darkness and emotional pain for so many more reasons than just running. And in the past, running was what had kept me sane. I was now a shipwreck about to happen, swallowed by the tidal waves of a raging sea...
A few days ago, my family and I spent a lazy morning watching family running videos and reminiscing about the glory days. We came across the Canadian Death Race video from last year and my heart ached so much, I thought it would burst! So many emotions tumbling together in my mind that only a runner can truly relate to. I have always felt a sense of belonging in the trail running community. Whether one has taken 100 steps from the couch or a 100 miles from the starting line, every runner has a story to share. The courage it takes to lace up one's shoes and step across that line is the foundation of the running community, no matter what age or shape or size. That is what I missed! My heart ached to belong to something bigger than myself, to belong to a camaraderie of people who welcomed you in, no question asked, to stand under a flag of unity where one's position along the journey was discounted because we were all in this together.
My thoughts turned to our solo finish last year where I had unexpectedly come third in my age category. "Solo" is a wholly inadequate word. I could never have successfully finished if that word is to be properly respected. The support of Stephen, his parents, our children, dear friends and countless others who may not even know it... and my brother Mathoni, who's picture I had pinned to my hat; all contributed to my accomplishments and yet most will never be awarded their proper credit. A runner's support crew often remains in the background, in the chaos of transition areas and in the countless hours and toil of training during the many months leading up to race day. The similarities to families affected by Muscular Dystrophy are so similar, it would be ludicrous not to make the connection! I propose that they be counted as full members of the running community because without them, a runner will truly be running solo and setting themselves up for failure!
With only 2 days away from the finale of our fundraiser, I thought I would share some words of advice by Jack Cook, owner of Fast Trax Run & Ski Shop. His words ring true, not only on the trail but wherever life may take us!
If you can focus on the positive and turn any set backs into positives you will be so far ahead come race day you cannot imagine. Focus on the positive completion of your leg or race and use every set back along the way as a reminder of how hard you have worked and nothing stands in your way.
Once your run begins take each moment as it comes and stay in the moment not focusing on the outcome and your event will be enjoyable the entire way. Once you focus on the outcome that is when things become overwhelming.
There will be moments of weakness and fatigue but if you slow the pace and focus on working through, the period will pass and you will rebound in time. The disappointment of stepping off the trail is far harder at the end of the day than working through a rough patch and waiting for your energy to return.