As you know, I trained some long, hard months for the St. Jude Marathon. However, I never posted an update on how the race went. That was partly because I was lazy and partly because I wanted to wait until my MRTC article on the race was printed so I could share that one…
Okay, whatever… you got me. That second reason also means I was lazy, since I didn’t want to ultimately write the same thing twice. Ha!
Anyway, as I’ve done before, I wrote an article for the Memphis Runner’s Track Club Roadrunner Journal as a follow up to the St. Jude Marathon. I even got a shout-out by the editor of the magazine, which I was jazzed about…
I wouldn’t say this article (or anything I’ve ever written) was “eloquent,” but hey – I’ll take it!! 🙂
Here’s the article, typed out below. Hope you enjoy!
Over the past few years, more than just my love (or lack there-of) of running has changed. My body has changed. My time management has changed. My own abilities have changed. And the Friday before the St. Jude marathon was supposed to run, my belief in running and runners changed.
They say having a child changes everything. At least it did for me. Prior to having children, I was not a runner. I could not stand the thought of moving my body faster than a leisurely walk, for any reason, let alone enjoyment. I laugh now thinking back. After my first child came along four and a half years ago, I caught the running bug. And then I quickly caught the racing bug. Since 2009, my calendar has been filled with numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, and Half Marathons.
Early this year, I was sidelined from the sport for a while after I gave birth to my second child. When I was 38 weeks pregnant, I was ready to hit the pavement and get back in shape. So what did I do? What any self-respecting, crazy runner would do, of course…
I registered as a Hero for my very first full 26.2 miles – the St. Jude Marathon.
I am not sure if it was the itch to get back into my Mizunos or if it was just the hormones pounding their way through me, but I figured I was finally mentally ready to make the change from short distances to long ones and was psyched to run my first full.
When given the go-ahead by my doctor, I slowly got back to training. The first mile hurt, as did each there-after hurt. The six months of postpartum training was a struggle. But I did it. By the first week of December, my body was finally ready to run 26.2 miles. I was also mentally ready, more so than I have ever been for a long run.
In fact, I was so ready, I almost started writing this article on the Thursday BEFORE the St. Jude Marathon. Why? Because I knew what to expect. I knew I was ready. For once in my life, I just knew… I knew it was going to be cold. I knew it was going to hurt. And I knew I would be both exhausted and elated at the end.
I was sitting at the dinner table on the eve of the race when my husband’s phone buzzed. It was a text coming through with what I thought would merely be another weather update.
He looked at me and said simply, “It’s cancelled.”
I stared at him in shock. I clearly remember thinking he was trying to be funny. Because, of course, that joke would not be funny to me at that moment. The look on his face told me he definitely was not kidding.
For whatever reason – despite knowing it was a possibility and knowing the weather was extremely bad – I did not expect the entire event to be cancelled. Ignorant? Probably. But my one-track, I-Have-To-Race-St.-Jude-No-Matter-What mind thought otherwise. After all, how do you cancel an event of that size and magnitude? I figured those willing to risk the ailments (like myself) would run and those who were not willing, would not. I just could not believe I was not going to get the opportunity to race St. Jude Marathon – the race I was so ready for and “just knew” was going to be a check mark off the bucket list by the following afternoon.
As waves of disappointment washed over me (admittedly, this included some tears), I looked over the table at my happy and healthy new baby, now seven months old, perched in her high chair. Then I looked at my other healthy and rambunctious four year old little girl, who was chomping down on her dinner.
The disappointment slowed faded. I am not quite sure what feelings replaced the disappointment, but whatever it was calmed me and allowed for me to see clearly.
My family and I were sitting around our dining room table and NOT in a room at St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
This was my opportunity – and that of every other 2013 St Jude participant – to decide if this race was going to be about me or about something more than me.
As a parent, the word “grateful” does not come close to how blessed I feel for my children’s good health. If I was, God forbid, ever in an opposite situation, where my family was sitting in a cafeteria at St. Jude, instead of at our own table at home, I would hope those helping to fundraise for this race would remember MY children when disappointment washed over them. I would hope they would remember the reason the race is even in existence and remember those kids who make their home away from home down on Danny Thomas Boulevard.
As I scrolled different social media sites later that evening, I saw all the reactions to the race cancellation from my fellow runners. While I still had extreme feelings of disappointment it was cancelled, my heart swelled at the positive status updates and encouragement our running community had for one another, and mostly for the children of St. Jude.
And for my own selfish sake, I hope a child or two at St. Jude is proud of us also.”