Monday, April 24, 2017

Support and thanks

Support: a thing that bears the weight of something or keeps it upright

my village

Today is the day after race day...I will write a separate post for my race recap...this post is more about the people that went into my race day...and every little part leading up to it.

Many of you know I am originally from NJ and have been living in VA for some time now.  I do not have immediate family around me to help at a drop of a hat.  Don't get me wrong, grandparents definitely are a huge part of our lives and they help with our monkeys when they can but there is so much of our lives that is apart of the village we have created.  Ben and I knew that we wanted to plant our roots here and for the past 16 years or so Virginia has been home and for the past 14 years of that our little quiet town of Leesburg has been where we rest our head at night.

When being among the villagers it is hard at first to find your people.  You want to find people that you can trust, that make you laugh, that share common goals, that are just all around good people and make you smile.  If spouses and kids get along as well it is an added bonus.  As the years pass you get to know a little bit more about your fellow villagers and start to let down your walls and your hair and let them see who you really are.  You start to share your personal hopes and dreams and sometimes these villagers start to join you in whatever journey you are on.  If you are like me, you at times may start oversharing.  You may start rambling about your hopes and dreams thinking maybe they might inspire someone to try something different and push themselves out of their comfort zones.  Before you know it you have found villagers in other areas and your village goes beyond the invisible lines of your neighborhood.  Your safe zone is expanding and your village is larger than you ever thought it would be.  This is a wonderful thing.

My race yesterday was hard, scary, and exhilarating all at the same time.  It made me push myself hard knowing that I might not make the goal I had set for myself.  That race was all consuming for 18 long weeks.  I shared so much of my race preparations with friends that agreed to running at 5:30 in the morning, on days with extremely high wind gusts, and temperatures that required two pairs of socks, hats, gloves and maybe some hand warmers.  Friends genuinely asked how I was feeling, if they could be of help in anyway with logistical needs of my kiddos as we tried our best to be in multiple places at the same time.  

my daughter and her friend running mile 11 & 19
the bridge next to my house that my friend ran across race morning
In all of my oversharing for my race preparations, I asked 26 friends to each run 1 mile on the day of my marathon.  I asked them to pick a mile and share a picture of themselves after their run.  I promised to think of them during that mile on marathon day.  Well each one of them brought me to tears.  Another friend ran her first half marathon on Sunday as well.  My village goes so beyond my little town and it makes my heart so very full.

my friend ran with her Orange Visor for Mile 21...Blackjack

So the race start time came...and went.  Ben went live on fb as best as he could to catch me throughout the course and share with family, friends and fellow villagers.  People were cheering and texting and calling, asking my dear sherpa how the day was going and if I looked like I was going to pull this off.  I had many moments on the course where I felt like I was done...and in those moments I pulled from all the advice I was given in the days leading up to it.  I repeated many mantras that friends shared, I tried my best to be bored in those first ten miles and just enjoy the course and the people I was with, I tried to control my face and stay loose.  I thanked the race officials and volunteers that were out there, I did everything that was suggested to just enjoy the run and not focus so much on the goal.  My goal was sub 3:45:00 and I managed 3:43:05.  Goal was attained.

I had a great race and had my husband by my side for as many miles as he could be.  I had the vision of my six year old daughter in my head when I said goodbye to her on Saturday, telling her I would see her Sunday night, she gave me a hug and did not say bye mommy I will miss you...but she said Run Hard Mommy!  I had so many positive voices in my head wishing me well and congrats before and after the race.  I ran as hard as I could on that given day, I ran my race, I never stopped, and I ran really really hard.

my ugly cry
We then drove our three hour return trip back to our village and I was thinking some of my friends and family to be outside with chalk drawn in the driveway to then find practically my ENTIRE village, an amazing cake, and a certificate for a massage post race...I was beyond OVERWHELMED.  Kids were running in every direction and people were gathered, people that I care about, trust and are just really good good people...and I am lucky enough to call them my friends.  This whole thing was done for me...I don't think I have ever had a surprise party of sorts and this was just the best day ever.  

orange cake with my mantras around the sides
The thing about support is this.  It is there no matter what, for the good or the bad.  Support is there if you need it and when you don't.  I asked Ben if he was going to go ahead with this party even if I did not BQ that day...and he said yes.  He said that I had worked so hard this year it was to be celebrated and it was a win no matter what.  I felt like I was on a episode of "this is your life."  Not everyone was right there when we got home so more cars kept pulling up and more people joining in the celebration.  These people choose to support me.  They choose to lift me up and encourage me with their honks, waves while I run through town and our neighborhood and on going encouraging words.  They were going to be there if my goal wasn't met just like they were last year.  They don't think twice when I show up in my trucker hat and sweats and sneakers and understand that some days that is me...who am I kidding, most days.  Running is my passion what makes me feel stronger than I ever knew I would.  Running may not even a part of their world but because I am in their world, so is running.  This village had a million other places to be and things to do but they took time to be there with me, to give me that hug, to ask how I am feeling, to give me a full and honest congratulations.  Life is too short to not set goals and give it our all to try to reach them.  Life is to short to not encourage a friend along the way of their journey.  

26 beautiful gerber daises
The words thank you are not enough.  Just because I do not see you every day does not mean you are not a part of my village.  Your positive thoughts and vibes were felt on Sunday, you were just as much of this celebration as me getting to the finish line.  Thank you so much for listening to me go on and on about my goals and still choosing to be my friend.  Thank you for carting my kids around while I may be away at a race, thank you for caring more than you have to.  Thank you for taking time to be a part of my world and village.  This whole running thing is so much more than just running.  Yes I encourage you to try has changed my life in a way I never dreamed of.  Running isn't your calling...find your passion and don't let anyone stop you.  This journey is about what ever you want it to be.  I will keep going down my path that is paved in all things orange and surrounded with so many amazing people.

Embrace the suck...choose your village...lift up those around you.

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