Thursday, December 11, 2014

Running Through Barriers, Kiawah Island 1/2 Marathon

Steady like the winding flow of a river, Rhythmic as the ticking of a clock, I put one foot in front of the other, gaining ground and moving forward, just one stride at a time.  One mile, Two miles, then Three, with pains sneaking in between here & there trying to get me to give up or stop. Occasional thoughts enter my mind trying so hard to persuade me into giving up or slowing down but I push them out with positive thoughts and loving memories. My mind wonders here and there, trying to find reason in situations whether past or present. As my strides continue, as does the therapy session, leaving all the negativity and weight caused by those thoughts on the trail behind me.

There is no book or guide on how to grieve and heal from trials we face in our lives. One action may work well to help one person cope as where another would gain nothing from it, and one that worked for us at one point may not work for us tomorrow leaving us searching for that comfort in knowing that we are in fact healing and "making progress." Truth is, there are so many ups and downs in the journey that beating ourselves up when we feel as if we regressed a hair is not worth it, but embracing each moment no matter how painful they are tends to help me. Let the tears fall, get rid of the anger, and for me the hardest is overcoming the guilt in should haves, could haves or what ifs... For me one concrete and MAJOR support in healing has been running.

I started running when a large group of friends and family signed up for the fundraiser Miles4Melanoma in April of 2013, doing this in honor of a friend, sister, daughter, Aunt and WIFE. Tears flowed violently from my eyes at the finish line of that 5k, not because I ran it but because of what I ran for and the meaning behind it all.  I had forgotten how uplifting running can be and just how much it relates to our everyday lives. There are walls that you have to push through, your mind will tell you that YOU CAN'T and when we realize that WE CAN and do, barriers are trampled down leaving us so uplifted with clear thoughts ready to take on the journey before us.

I never thought that a half marathon would be something I wanted to do, or could do, but lately the longing for a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment has guided me in that direction. I ran my first Half in Savannah, GA in November. As I stated before this was the first time that I returned to Savannah since Adrienne and I were married there in March of 2012. This was another very emotional Day for me but altogether I cannot think of a better way to have planned out the first return visit to where we exchanged our vows not long ago. This Saturday is the Kiawah Island Half Marathon that I signed up for just minutes after hearing the date. December 13th... That marks 1 year since Adrienne passed away... I have been so anxious about this date approaching and had no idea what I was going to do but knew one thing for certain, that I was not going to spend it in the solitude of my home where it would be much more difficult.

As we do in running, the same holds true in life, we can choose to take that next stride forward not knowing where it will take us, just steadily putting one foot in front of the other. Pains will come and go trying to throw us off course along the way. Our thoughts are powerful and influence every decision we make so what we fill them with will directly impact the choices we make. Our ability to flush out the bad and negativity leaves us with very POWERFUL ability to make CHOICES with a clear mind. This is why I fell in love with running, and every single run I take, every step, thoughts of my wife fill my mind giving me strength to push through and continue on. I have been dreading this 1 year mark for quite some time but hope and pray that I will look back on it and see growth as well as have the ability to savor the beautiful memories with more joy rather than pain.

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