October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, along with National Pork Month. Everything is better with bacon and nitrates, after all.
This month could easily be Life Sucks Month for me if I chose to let a single, yet significant, life-altering moment be the standard by which all other things are measured for eternity. (And beyond, just in case the joke is on me and there is an after-life, after all.)
Very shortly, it will be five years since Mark died.
I don’t want it to be that long – I want it to be perpetually one year from his passing so the finite time with him doesn’t become a fuzzy memory from my distant past. The searing pain of late 2007 has long since passed, but there will always remain a particulate of dull ache at this pinkly festive time of year that time marched on without Mark.
Not-not-not fucking fair.
Words don’t usually fail me, but in this case they do. I guess you have to have walked in widowed shoes for a moment to get it.
I am extremely happy with life’s current trajectory. My circle has widened in many directions and I am not unhappy. Given my all-or-nothing approach to most things, I couldn’t live a meaningful life that didn’t include challenging myself with experiences and people that make me happy.
Choosing happiness can be a high-maintenance task. Then again so am I…to which Mark always replied that I was worth it.
My 2012 Footsteps Chronicle has led me thru some ups and downs. Hot conditions. More hills than I could have imagined. A surprise 3-mile climb with the sun in my face after already putting in 10 miles. A soggy 36-hour team relay where I had an amazingly great run at 9 p.m. after being in a van with 5 other runners since 8:30 a.m. – only to stub my big toe within tenths of the finish.
Each of my 8 half-marathons in 8 months across 4 states this year (so far?) has tested me. Some early disasters disappointed me until I decided that finish without injury was better than finish at any price. And we had some damn good food adventures along the way, including Turkish food under a grape arbor behind a gas station. I guess you had to be there, but it was awesome.
I ran number 8 on 10/7. I finished strong, although the PR monkey remains on my back…by a 13 measly seconds. I waited for other running peeps to finish 26.2 miles and shared in their tears and triumphs. My decision to ‘only’ run 13.1 as many times as I could this year has worked pretty well. Except for all those hills. And that oppressive heat. And not sweating off a few pounds, the ultimate irony of all this exertion while other people are still sleeping.
I am content that I have seen two 26.2 finishes. There’s even a glimmer of a third if I can get into the legendary NYC Marathon next year in support of a charity. It will be worth longer training runs and giving up a few more toenails to say I ran NYC, knowing that I retraced Mark’s footsteps over 20 years later but did it my way.
It’s often said that we’re crazy for what we do, but it comes down to having true passion for something. For some of us, running is That Thing. It’s only a hill and we get over it.
“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” ~George Bernard Shaw