The last six months have been full of teary moments for me. I started with my knee injury at the San Diego Half Marathon, which had me sitting at the 8-mile aide station shedding tears of frustration as I watched runners file past me as I sat on a chair in defeat--my first DNF at a race that meant so much to me (my special race with my friend Kay). Despite this frustration I was later grateful for this experience because it taught me to put things into perspective as part of my running journey.
Just a month later I was shedding tears of joy, or maybe fear, as I realized I would be trained by Coach Ed Ettinghausen to complete my first 100-mile race. I was so incredibly lucky to have Coach Ed and Coach Andy helping me prepare both physically and mentally for the EC 100. Coach Andy made sure I appreciated the role of the power walk in a long distance race of this type. I was listening Coach! I used the power walk on race day to conserve energy for later in the race until my blisters got so painful that it hurt more to walk than to run. And Ed prepared me mentally for all the low points (and tears) I was going to experience during the 30 hours I was out there on the course. His training helped me to see that no matter how rough it got out there, I was capable of pushing through just about anything! There are no words that fully convey how very grateful I am to these two for helping me reach this seemingly unattainable goal!
In August, at the height of my training, I cried tears of anger, guilt, and sadness as I lived through the suicide of one of my most precious students. And amazingly I also cried tears of happiness at the number of people that surrounded us all to ensure that we made it through this most difficult time in our lives.
This weekend we went to visit my daughter at college in Montana. I was sharing my experience at the EC 100 and the number of people that helped Gabby and me reach that finish line in Santa Monica: our van crew, the pacers that stayed with us through some very tough miles, my running buddies that helped me train at all hours of the day for six months straight. Siobhan's comment really sums it all up for me. She told me that my friends were the bomb! Who volunteers to drive in a van for hours on end and chase the runners just to make sure they are fully hydrated and fed? Who volunteers to run some of the worst nighttime and heat of the day miles with you to ensure that you finish? Who decides to take an entire weekend off of work and book themselves into a hotel just in case you might need them during the race? Who dresses your disgusting blisters and rubs your aching legs to make sure that you can keep going? My friends did all this and more! My eyes filled with tears of pride as I relived the experience recounting the entire race for my daughter who wasn't able to be there on race day. I am blessed to have surrounded myself with such wonderful friends.
During this season of thanksgiving, I am also so very grateful to my husband and amazing children for loving me throughout all these crazy racing challenges and the gamut of emotions they inevitably bring with them. Now please excuse me as I grab a handful of kleenex and drain my eyes of every ounce of moisture as I cry tears of love and appreciation for all that I have been given!
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.