Ever been to a funeral and listened to the words people spoke about the deceased? Ever notice how beautiful and heartfelt they are? Ever notice how if you didn't know the person, you suddenly wished you had because they sounded like the most incredible person you'd ever want to meet? Then you wonder if that person heard those things when he/she was alive? I think about that often and think "I don't want my parents/husband/friends/siblings to die with never having heard or realized just how I loved them so I'd better let them know." Well then I get busy, sidetracked, annoyed with them, etc.. and it doesn't happen. Maybe I'll go to confess my undying love to John but encounter his tie, wallet and college ring on the end table I just dusted and cleaned and it's all I can do not to throw them at him. I'm sure you can relate.
It seems to me when we are in the throws of a life event, we lose sight of life's incredible beauty, its meaning and its purpose. This could be in a person, in a situation, in a goal or in a trial.
My friend Tammy sent me the sweetest email wishing me good luck this weekend. I started writing her a response and realized how many people I was talking about in my note to her and how much thoughts of her and so many this week have sustained me and kept me from literally crawling out of my skin with anxiety. I think runners (ok, me) have this habit of becoming so self absorbed the week and days before a big event that it's easy to lose sight of why the heck we (ok, I) are even doing it. I get so busy fretting over details and what-ifs that it becomes a really unpleasant week. Then afterward, we sit back and reflect and talk about all the reasons we did what we did, how it changed us, who inspired us and on and on. It really is like being at a funeral and listening to a eulogy and thinking "Man, I didn't know you felt this way about this person... all I ever heard was how crazy he/she drove you!"
Or in my case, "All I heard was how much you couldn't wait for this to be over and how your nerves were making you insane!"
And so Tammy made me sit back and think and I decided to give this a try. I want to share my approach to this race and my mindset BEFORE I run it, not after when it's easy and the endorphins are lingering for a month :)
Thank you so much for your heartfelt and sweet email. Your confidence in my ability to get this done means a great deal to me. I am certainly ready for Saturday to get here and I think my family is too. Yesterday Lucy said "Mom, don't be nervous. Just think aid station to aid station." Then Emma chimes in and says, "...and if that is too much, think one mile to the next." It was so funny, as Lucy is six and Emma twelve, but made me realize, "DAMN, I have been talking about this a LOT!" I had a spell of nerves yesterday and yelled at them for something small. I apologized and said that I was on edge this week a bit. That was their response.
I really believe I will be successful. It is very different than when I prepare to race a marathon and deep down I'm not sure I'm a Boston Qualifier. Stupid, I know. But my reason for running this is so different and yes, you and many others, come to mind.
My challenge lasts 30 hours. It will be hard, painful and exhausting. I know this and am ready for this. I have a good and comfortable life. My trials are small, like dumb daily annoyances that push me over the edge. I often blow small things out of proportion because life is relatively easy. But over the course of many years, I have witnessed examples of true endurance in both my family and in my friends. Life has thrown some pretty hefty stuff at people and they have no choice but to press on. And often, there is no visible end in sight... no finish line like I will have. Each day brings anxiety and difficulty. Sometimes there is small reprieve, but the hardship remains. I have a sister who is a single mother through no choice of her own. I have a sister who has a baby with Down's syndrome. My niece is a blessing, no doubt her life has purpose because she exists. But my sister and husband surely have to deal with anxieties of an uncertain future in regard to what she will and will not be able to do. Then there is Nora. We have been witness to the depth of Aleisa and William's anxieties and fears through her blog writings. Some days, it really is too much for her and fear consumes her. It simply doesn't end. Even though there are so many beautiful and miraculous moments, the fear lingers. And of course, there is you. Everything you have been through from diagnosis to surgery. Good days, horrible days, hope and despair. There is Cheryl's nephew, Kevin. There is Greg who lost a young sister. There are friends from Columbus who lost their 13 year old son to Leukemia. There is my friend Beth who lost both parents within months of each other. There are people with crumbling marriages hanging on for dear life and other countless examples of people who just keep going when daily life is just so hard. The types of prayer requests I have received... well I just can't even fathom the type of suffering some people go through. But by the grace of God alone, THEY ALL ENDURE. And by God, so will I. With this kind of ammunition, how could I not? I have a crew that will be there to remind me of why I chose to do this and what purpose it will serve. Surely there will be moments I will forget or don't care because I am so miserable.
And if I even dare to compare my race on the SMALLEST scale to the Yuskos, it is like this... they had the choice of whether to love this baby or not. They accepted all the uncertainties of what having a baby with trisomy 18 would include. They knew that at some points they would suffer great pain. They didn't know when or how, but they knew. They take it day to day, I will take it mile to mile. They encounter friends and angels who come to their rescue when it's all too much and too overwhelming. I have a crew that will come to mine. They would have NEVER imagined before Nora that they could do this. I couldn't have imagined I could run 100 miles at once. They can't and won't quit... and with all of these people on my mind and by my side, neither will I.
Thank you for your prayers, Tammy. I hope Kim will text you updates along the way. There should be many fun, amazing and humorous moments no doubt.