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As you can see from our most recent posts, Heather has been awesome about picking up the slack from me while I did the 1/2 marathon and committed to all the running that goes in to the race...and for non-runners - it's a lot! =) My half-marathon happened in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. I've been training for it since late February and prior to the beginning of the training, thought a 3 mile run was a HUGE run for me. I trained with an amazing group of girls that have become some of my closest friends...and the race day was bittersweet for us as it meant the end of our training together and the end of a long road of dedication. At the same time, it was such a happy time. My dad ran his first 5K at the race, my friends were pumped and it was "do-it-or-die" time....we hadn't trained for these months to quit or fail now. So, we all met at my house, got excited (my poor neighbors can attest to that at 6am!) and drove to the race.
As we pulled closer to the race, we were shocked at just how many people were there. There were people of all shapes and sizes, ages, etc. Some were walking or running for themselves, some for others -- but regardless, there was this excitement in the air. Everyone was pumped. Everyone knew that this was their moment. There were some minor inconveniences like the rain or my not knowing how to line up...but when the race began, you could do give your best or not. Plain and simple.
Because I've trained with these girls, I rarely run with music. I talk to them and it's our social hour or hours...depending on the day. When the running gets tough, we get quiet and I have plenty of time to reflect on anything and everything. My partner that ran the race side by side with me and I started out pretty quick. We were darting in and out of people and there was happiness and excitement all around us. As the miles passed, people were quieter, more focused. The happiness and excitement was a little less because the novelty of the race and the adrenaline had passed, and we were working each mile. I passed a friend struggling due to an injury who wasn't sure how the race was going to end up for her and we passed many people who began to walk parts of the race. As we continued, we saw people who were injured, tired, sick and disheartened. By this time, my friend and I were more quiet and focused as well and the random thought that this marathon was a heck of a lot like life began to take shape. There were people at all stages of this race -- some getting by with seemingly no trouble, some barely making it. Some doing it completely on their own, others relying on people to get them through. Some cheering others along...I think you get it. It seemed so clear to me at that moment. This whole setting a goal and working toward achieving it. Doing what you are unsure can be done. It was all so much like our day to day life.
The race continued and as the miles remaining became less and less, I wanted to pick up the pace and give this race my all. But that was when my friend hit a wall. I tried with all the encouraging talk that I could muster, but she was tired and starting to become mentally beaten. I remember saying, "We only have 3 more miles to go and that's nothing to us anymore." She said, "It's still three more miles and my body just can't go..." And then a stranger came up and said, "Think of it as two. The last mile is cheers and fanfare, so you won't feel that one. I've been there before plenty of times...just think of it as two." I looked around and started paying attention to the atmosphere once again. There were so many cheering along the side, but within the race itself, the runners were cheering each other along. It was like we all wanted to make it, but to help everyone else make it too. Just like life, the other person accomplishing their goal took nothing away from anyone else. We were all in this together, yet with all of our own goals and hopes.
My friend rebounded. She kicked butt. =) We both did. And at the end of this, we realized that these three months had meant a lot more than had ever anticipated. We weren't ready to let them go yet. We didn't feel like the road was quite at its end for us.....
So come October, three of the four of us are running the full marathon. We expect to feel the same excitement, learn some more lessons and enjoy the others running the race....whether its a marathon or simply just life in general.
In love and kindness,
Email Elizabeth & Heather
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We are an online community of kind-hearted individuals who directly donate gently loved children's clothes to mothers who could use a little kindness. The wonderful donating mothers lovingly box up the clothes that they once loved their own kiddos in and send them for another mother to love on her children via the US Mail - Parcel Post. If you are in need, know someone in need or want to help by donating, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can't do any of these but would like to spread our message - thank you kindly! ~ Elizabeth & Heather