Friday, January 24, 2014

"Life is not about racing to the finish line, it is about appreciating each mile."

My life has become a bit discombobulated. My "Happy New Year" cards are lonely as they take up permanent space on my dining room table. The Christmas decoration boxes remain empty. I have to make a conscious effort to turn off the Christmas tree lights at night so our neighbors don't spread vicious rumor's about the fact we are still enjoying the decorations a month after the Christmas holiday. I'm playing catch up on laundry after being away for five days and coming home to all laundry baskets welcoming me, completely full with dirty clothes. And then there's this cancelled school or two hour delay that keeps interfering with my kid's learning. I actually had to google "project timeline" to homeschool my son on his assignment that the teacher e-mailed.

I haven't been to any of my strength training classes this year. Instead, I've been perfecting my plank, working on my core with sit up's and upper arm strength with push up's. The real ones so that I can feel like I got a workout in. I ran 48.6 miles in 4 days in Disney but then I came home and have barely squeaked out a few runs with one being in the middle of a snowstorm. And I ran the JFK 20K, less than a week after completing the Dopey Challenge. It was the day that all runner's united to run for Meg. #megsmiles

I proudly wore my "I run for Meg" race bib that one of my friends made for several local members of Mom's Run This Town (MRTT). A couple of members in the club had a personal connection to Meg and her family. I had never met Meg. I knew she was a Mother Runner, married, with three precious young children, and was training for the Boston marathon. Meg's life was taken too soon by a senseless accident.  I learned of her tragic story through MRTT. I thought of Meg's grieving family and wanted to remember and honor her life by running this race.



On January 18, 2014, it was a cold bitter day and my fleece PJ's were trying to lure me to stay in bed. I had forgotten that I'd signed up for this race until two days before when my friend sent me a message, asking if I was going. This is the same friend that made those awesome race bibs. I knew I had to show up on such an important day. This was a day that runner's were uniting globally and sending a message to the world.
 
Driver's everywhere - please be aware of your surroundings, slow down, drive safe, drive sober, and don't text and drive.
 
Meg is no longer here because the driver behind the wheel that morning should have never been driving. I often play out in my mind what those final moments were like for Meg, if she even knew in that instant, that this was the end of her life. It is a horrible thought that I can't let go. She was going on her morning training run. Before she left her home, did she even have a chance to kiss her babies goodbye and to say "I love you" to her family?
 
There is so much tragedy in the world. We are surrounded by loss and grief but this story hit home for so many Mother Runner's out there. We all expect to come home to our crying, whining, tattle telling kids, after we manage to escape for our Mommy moment of solitude. Now when I walk in the door, I don't really care that WWIII has begun. Instead of becoming frustrated with the kids behavior, I focus on becoming the peacemaker.
 
I have a deep appreciation for life, for each day given to me, after going through several devastating life experiences. I Get It. With Meg's untimely death, this was a wake up call to many Mother Runner's because they realized "that could have been me. My kids could not have a Mom right now."
 
Every tragedy unites humankind and the rippling effects of the loss of Meg's life has been profound. My hope is that, as Mother Runner's, we stay united, honoring Meg's life and keep waking up each day, appreciating the gifts bestowed on us, that very moment in time. Because that is all that is guaranteed. The saying is so cliché' "Seize the Moment." But there is so much truth to these words.
 
Having the kids home this week with below freezing temperatures outside has been challenging but I tried my best to embrace each day. I was mindful, stayed positive and let go of expectations. There was no set time to wake up, to get dressed, no finalized play date's. I played it moment by moment. I didn't set an agenda and I let the kids choose their activities. Besides a few sibling arguments, it has been an enjoyable, appreciated week of time spent with my kids. We even played impromptu family game nights which is something that had been put off since the summer since my hubby and I always seem to be focused on getting the kids to bed at a certain time.
 
Many times this week I thought about Meg and how she will never spend precious moments with her kids again. I was able to enjoy the winter wonderland and go sledding with my kids and sip hot chocolate with them afterwards. We made cookies and brownies and one night, the kids assisted me with making taco's for dinner. We lounged in our PJ's and ate too many cinnamon rolls for brunch. We played games and had a one year birthday celebration for our Lab Rescue puppy. It was a good week and my heart is full of goodness and love. 

I also thought about Meg when I ran in the middle of a snowstorm, next to the road and cautiously kept an eye on each approaching car to make sure it didn't run off the road and veer towards me. Again, my thoughts traveled to that devastating morning that Meg's life was taken. As I hug and kiss my babies each morning and each night, I whisper "I love you." I find ways to show my hubby he is appreciated and loved and how thankful I am that he supports me running the distance. I make it a point to reach out to my friends and let them know I am here and that I care and go out of my way to meet up with faraway friends, when we have that rare moment of time together. I make an effort to see my parents and my sisters and to spend quality time with them. In the end, it is not the things that surround us that matter, it is the lives you touched, your compassion, your love, your friendship, that will be remembered. Meg's story is forever etched in my heart and soul and has reminded me once again, how precious life is.
 
"Life is not about racing to the finish line,
it is about appreciating each mile."
~ Amy P. Fitzgerald
 


Running for Meg at the JFK 20K 
01/18/2014
 
*My JFK 20K race results did not register and I have e-mailed the race director. At first, I was upset but then realized the big picture ~ I know that I ran for Meg and I dedicated all 12.4 miles in honor of her. I finished strong despite the wind chill factor and below freezing temperatures. It is a race that I will never forget. A race that was bigger than me and was filled with so much meaning, as many runner's were wearing the "I Run for Meg" race bibs that my friend has passed out prior to the race. We ran in honor and to remember a very special Mother Runner whose life was taken too soon.
 



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