I’m having a perfectly normal conversation. We are talking about her daughter’s love for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. And I’m just waiting for something, anything that I could possibly use as a segue to mention it. And there it is!
“Yeah she just runs around singing the ‘Grown-Ups Come Back’ song all day long!”
OH THANK GOODNESS! She said the word run! That’s my cue! The words burst out of my mouth like word vomit before I even have a chance to think about how incredibly uninterested she is.
“Yeah speaking of running I ran 9 miles this morning.”
I can see the look of disinterest covering her entire face, her scowl and side eye looking for an exit. She nods her head pretending to be impressed. But I can’t stop. I’m too far into this. I have to tell her more.
“Yeah I’m training for my first marathon. I have an 18 miler this weekend. My race is in 7 weeks. I’m really nervous, but like, so excited. I think I may be able to do under 4:10, as my finish time, but I don’t want to get my hopes up, ya know? It’s so much pressure and it’s my first one and I really just want to finish. It was on my bucket list for 5 years now. And I’m finally doing it. I get up early so I can run before the kids get up and OH MY GOSH IT’S SO COLD! But I run anyway because I don’t know if I told you, but I’m running a marathon in 7 weeks.”
“Thats….cool,” she replies, with her back half turned and her attention unfocused, digging through her bag trying to get me to shut up.
I can’t though.
There’s a joke I’ve heard about both vegans and runners that goes “How do you know if someones a vegan/runner? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you” and I have made the fantastic choice to be both a vegan and a runner (Hey, look, I made it a full 300 words into this post before telling you I’m vegan.)
But it’s true. I can’t shut up.
But here’s the deal, 7 weeks out and I’m not going to be able to stop talking about it. Not now, and probably not ever. Marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k, I don’t care what distance it is that I run, my instinct is going to tell anyone and everyone who will even consider listening to me what I’ve run. Because let’s be honest, running is one of the only non child related things about me. It’s the only story or tid-bit I can tell you that doesn’t involve Rae pooping in the bath (true story) or Little S talking about “hi-bear-nation”. It’s the thing that consumes my thoughts when I’m not focusing on wrestling Rae to eat one more bite or attempting to get Little S to sit down for just FIVE SECONDS so I can vacuum.
My days are filled with keeping Rae’s appointments straight and listening to Little S’s monolouges about stop lights. My nights are filled with cooking dinner with a screaming almost-2-year-old at my feet and a husband who just wants to talk after a long day (which I’m not complaining about). But my mornings…
My mornings are filled with dim lights and numb cheeks. I have a belly full of energy gel and a pouch of water on my back. My Garmin is on my wrist, reminding me to keep steady. My mind races through a million things over those 2+ hours. Sometimes tears well up half way through (Yes, I’m the world’s most weepy runner), thinking of what I’m doing: I’m training for a marathon. Something only 1% of the population has done I’m not running this to finish. I’m training for this. I’m putting my all in this. I’m running to prove my body is strong and to teach my family that being healthy is important. I run for myself.
I run for me.
I run to eat what I want and to eat lots of bread.
I run to get a glance of myself in a window and think “OH DEAR LORD IS THAT HOW I LOOK?!”
I run to think, it doesn’t even matter how I look, my legs are strong.
I run to feel a knot in my chest.
I run to see that “new record!” flash on my watch.
I run to feel the gaze of the passengers in cars wondering how far I’ve already gone and how much farther I’ll go.
I run to see the calories burned and consider the amount of dark chocolate that means I can consume.
I run to see first hand the beauty that God has created for me, for all of us.
I run to feel like myself again.
I don’t think it’s any secret that for over a year now our family has been through a lot. We’ve been through another year of marriage, learning and growing together in a relationship that maybe some people didn’t think would work for even a week. We watched Little S change from this little boy to someone with his own ideas and personality, and we (mostly) listen to the words he speaks with such conviction that you know he’s paying attention to you and soaking in every little word you say. And we’ve been through things with Rae that I wish I could erase; lab work and elimination diets, and feeding tubes, and specialist after specialist, and three hospitalizations. These are the things that run wildly through my mind while I’m out there on a long stretch of the road. They run through my brain with such speed and fear and thankfulness that the only thing I can do is beg my legs to keep up.
And they do.
So I talk about the thing that gets me through.
It comes spewing out of my mouth like an uncontainable secret.
I’m training for a marathon.
Because life is hard, but after hours of training, my legs have caught up to my mind and I know my God is faithful. He is faithful through 26.2 miles and beyond.