I remember lacing up those shoes for the first time. They were nothing special, just an old pair of Asics I’d had for several years. They were beat up, stained, and the soles were pretty busted up.
I felt very similar to those Asics that day.
That was my sole purpose for running.
My marriage of 10 years had just collapsed. Many times in life circumstances happen that you can see coming. You anticipate. You prepare. And when the collision comes, you’ve braced yourself. You’re prepared.
There was no preparing for that. Out of the blue. It was over.
Running was my outlet. With two little ladies at home, ages 3 & 2 (yes–18 months apart!), I had to hold it together for them. But I needed a way to deal with the heartache, the shock, the grief. I briefly considered hanging a punching bag (kidding!), but I soon discovered having my feet pound the pavement rhythmically in time to my new playlist I downloaded to make myself feel a little better was just as good as a punching bag.
As I prepared to pack up my kiddos, my belongings at a home I had lived in and started a family in for the past eight or so years, running kept my sanity intact. Literally. I registered for a race with my brother, just for fun, nowhere near ready to set any sort of record (I’m still not ;)).
Once I crossed the finish line, I was hooked…
Over the course of the year, I moved. I took a new job in Lexington. The divorce papers were filed. I started construction on a new home. I put the old one on the market. I naturally sank into a depression that seemed to rear it’s ugly head at night, when I was suddenly, after 10 years, alone in bed with my thoughts instead of my husband beside me. Nights were reserved for crying, because I didn’t want my girls to see mommy falling apart.
All the while, running. I lived for the days when I had enough time after work to go for a short run before picking up the kiddos from daycare. I assumed running was just my outlet.
I never dreamed that running would be how I would become connected to my now husband. I never dreamed my life would be made almost entirely new.
The night before a race, I was preparing for bed when my computer buzzed with a new facebook message. A familiar name popped up to say hello, but I could not recall any conversation we’d ever had together. We chatted, and I learned that he, too, had gone through a situation very similar to mine. We understood each other’s hurts. The fear. The lack of control you feel when your life turns in a direction you never anticipated. Or wanted.
We both understood running.
Our messages continued, and soon, we ran together.
He even ran with my oldest daughter, Faith….
Graham became not only a running mate, but he was my soul mate. We knew early on that ours was a relationship that was meant to be. It became very obvious to us (and lots of others!)…our relationship was one God was using to do a great work in both our lives & hearts. Neither of us were looking for love, in fact, I was terrified of it and pretty sure I would be content just being the old lady on the end of the street with 100 cats.
One day I
might will learn that MY plans aren’t always HIS plans.
His are better.
Eventually the day came when my sweetest love asked me the question I was waiting on. Would I be his wife? I had known I’d say yes a long time prior to that. No doubt.
In our favorite running store.
Side note on the ring–I LOVE all things antique. My favorite past-times including spending loads of time in antique stores, junk stores, heck, even Good-wills looking for things I can re-do and make new. This ring is from the 1920’s…one of a kind and with lots of good stories behind it I’m sure…
Sort of like our marriage 🙂
On July 18th we were married. Honestly, on that day, it felt like we should’ve been married ages ago. I have never known such a sweet, selfless man who serves the Lord like my husband does. He has loved my girls as his own…
He has stepped in beside me on this journey with a love like I have never understood before.
We still run.
In fact, this year I am on my second half-marathon, a 14K and a few other smaller races coming up this fall. We are learning how to work running into our busy lives of work, church & child-rearing.
Although now, when I run, I no longer feel the need to pound the pavement with my old ratty Asics to help destroy my grief, my anger, and my sadness. In fact, I have plenty of nicer, newer running shoes in colors that probably glow in the dark 😉
When I run, my mind still clears. I still belt out songs off my playlist. Sometimes I get emotional. I remember where I was when I started this journey, just a broken, lonely, scared single mom with no clue what the future held. And now, I have so undeservingly been given a gift I pray I never take for granted.
A second chance. An incredible husband. My two sweet babies. A beautiful home.
And the ability to run.
I think about my youngest, Zoe. Born with spina bifida, and the countless hours we pour into her physical therapy among others. How thankful we are for her progress. How far we’ve come. And how much farther our journey will continue. When I run now, I think about how hard she works for so many things I have always taken for granted. I run for her.
For how we have loved to share our story…
How our family has its’ own incredible story to share.
And how, on the hard days, the good days, the bad days and the days I just want to crawl back in bed & start over, I remind myself it’s a marathon, NOT a sprint.
From our family to yours, whatever motivates you, whatever pushes you to go when you want to quit…be it heartbreak, or loss, or fond memories, or the extra calories you get to consume at the end, KEEP RUNNING!!