On December 5th, my life will change. I will either be an elite marathoner, or I will not (yet.) It’s a definite break from who I am, sitting here. I will know, one way or another, if I have spent this year training correctly or if I have made mistakes along the way. Surely I have done both: my best, I mean; and I know I have also made mistakes. But it has been a work of the heart, a constant pulse in my life I cannot live without. I will never stop running.
I have had some amazing workouts that suggest I am fit. Fitter than ever. 16 miles in 1:45 as a progressive-style run with the final mile in 6:13. Two mile repeats in which the third and final effort was a 11:30. That’s 5:45 per mile. Fast for me. The fastest miles I’ve ever run in this life of mine. It’s nothing to turn heads at, but I’m so grateful and happy for what I have accomplished. Me-- just me.
But in this quiet before the storm, I have to pause because I am not here just because of me. I carry so many people-- their memory and their love-- within me. I carry my mom who might not always understand me, but who loves me unconditionally. And I carry my grandmother, the one I wrote about this past summer. I spent summers with her growing up in Southern California. She taught me to swim. She taught me to love poetry. She was a remarkable woman; she could recite Frost, Keats, Browning and others (but those are the ones I remember her reciting the most) from memory. She told me to love the body I had, and to strive for greatness within the gifts that were given to me.
I list these things because she passed away. I haven’t come to terms with her passing yet. I can’t make myself cry... yet. It is as though she’s still with me, still reciting those lovely lines, still sitting beside me at the ocean, recounting a life I never knew, telling me family secrets.
She was with me when I ran those two mile repeats. She told me to be strong. I promised her, as I circled round the track that I would be: that my running is, in part, a gift she gave me.
And so, trials or not, I wanted simply to express the quiet, kind and determined gratitude I’m filled with for having had such extraordinary women in my life. I hope to be just as extraordinary-- one day. But for now, my expression resides in the stride that will carry me 26.2 miles.
(Love you, Grand.)