I made it. Another 13.1 miles in the books. Only about 4 miles of that was ran and the rest I walked. Mile 8 was the slowest and most painful mile I have ever walked. But I kept telling myself to pull it together or I’m never going to finish. I finally crossed the finish line at 3 hours and 43 minutes (an hour and 15 minutes slower then my PR) with hysterical tears. I have never been more emotionally exhausted then when I landed in my Papa’s arms after crossing the finish line.
13 1/2 weeks ago my Dad had a heart attack, 8 weeks ago I hurt my foot, and 4 weeks ago I broke two of my toes. Physically I’m overweight, out of shape, and dealing with injury. Emotionally…this weekend was going to be so different. To top it off I was having a major problem finding childcare. When I injured my foot I told Tim I wouldn’t be doing the race so he didn’t have to take time off. As time went on, I realized I had to do the race, even if I walked the whole thing. My parents raised us to never quit anything we had started mid way through. If we made a commitment we need to stick to it. I needed to push myself physically because emotionally I was/am drowning.
So after reaching out to ever network I have about getting a triple stroller, a friend of mine graciously offered her triple. My plan was just to push all three kids in the stroller for the half. I check the course rules and was thanking Jesus that strollers were allowed. I refused to give up and was going to make this race happen regardless of the obstacle. I think my kids would even enjoy doing the race with me and the course was flat. My dear friend and old running partner (old because she’s too fast for my old bones now), Kiri, thought this idea sounded crazy…so she negotiated with her parents to take my kids Friday-Saturday until Tim got off work. So, Kiri and I embarked on this 3 night trip to Montana without my kids and husband.
It was such a fun but incredibly hard weekend. The shadows of an alternative universe followed me at every turn and every mile. An alternative universe where I was running my first full and my parents where there running the half marathon. I didn’t even feel the full weight of what this weekend meant until I was picking up our bibs the day before. It was a slap in the face to hold my parents bibs in my hand. During the race every time someone asked about the bibs on my back it felt like a knife plunging into my stomach. It was almost as if I was truly carrying them on my back the whole way.
Now I’m home and trying to process it all. I’ve been walking with a limp from a possible stress fracture and having the oh so fun anxiety. I do feel like this weekend was a healing one. But mostly, this weekend just reopened old unhealed injuries. Distance is making me forget and forgetting doesn’t make it go away. I’m trying to navigate in the new reality and not hold onto the shadows of what could or should have been.