Saturday, October 13, 2012

On When To Say When

For the past several months I have been consumed with training for the Ko'Ko's Half Marathon.  There has been no sleeping in on the weekend, there has only been long, and most often hard miles logged and pavement pounded.  More in the last three months than any other time in my life, I have gotten up before anyone else in this house to run and I have loved every minute of it.  Eat for running, sleep for running, dream of running.  

I've paid for my registration, I've selected my outfit, I've made my play list, and I'm not going. Because...so many reasons.  The short list:
My husband has a raging case of pneumonia...the contagious kind.
There is no one to take care of us if I push myself to the point of exhaustion and get sick...(hello, that happened like two days ago)


Making this decision was so, so hard.  I have wracked my brain for possible scenarios on how I could make it work, and every potential solution I came up with still left me with the nagging feeling that it just wasn't right (and required a Grandma present).  My inner dialogue went something like this: 
But, it's just a race!  

But it's YOUR race, it's the only thing you've ever trained for in your life! 

But, YOU are the one responsible for taking care of everyone now, there is no one else, you're on an island thousands of miles away from your family.  

But, but, you paid FIFTY dollars to run this race! 

 But, but but!  All this arguing is making me hungry!  Let's have a gluten free brownie while we think about this. 

 GOOD IDEA!  Finally something we can agree upon!  

But half a container of gluten free brownies later, there still was no solution that left me with peace.  

And so I called it.  I made the decision to stay here and take care of my family.  I wish I could say I did this with dignity and without throwing a mental temper tantrum.  But that just wouldn't be true.  My first reaction is usually the most honest, the most human, but it's also usually the most ugly. 

I ate too much.  I spent too much.  I thought too much.   I sound like Dave Matthews much?

And then I slapped myself in the brain with my figurative back hand( which is really strong by the way!)  and said to myself, "Scarlett O'Hara, -" oh wait, wrong story.  I said to myself, "Stop your moping and put your big-girl undies on...you know the ones from when you were pregnant (your literal BIG GIRL undies), the really comfy ones.  Pull up your britches and suck it up!  This isn't the end of the road for running!  The road only ends when YOU say it does (Or when you get to the ocean, but then you can just turn around)!  There will be more races, there will be more medals (because honestly that is what I was most excited about...getting a medal.  Yeah, I AM mentally seven..so what?)"

And there ARE more races, and I WILL still run.  And at the end of my life, when I look back on my time on this planet (versus what...my time on other planets?) I know I will be glad I made this choice.  The choice to love someone more than myself.  We live in such an era of putting self first.  Of making ME happy, that I think (and believe me I am SO guilty of this) we have lost the sense of eventual satisfaction that there is found is giving up what you want for the sake of someone else.  "greater love has no man than if he lays down his life for a friend".  Easy to say, not always so easy to do.  But then again I'm as stubborn as, well, an ass.  

To all of my friends running today (stateside) and tomorrow here in Guam, you have been and will continue to be an inspiration to me.  We say this after every long run, but really let these words sink in.  I could not have come this far without you.  YOU.  And YOU.  And yes, you there, in the back picking your nose, you too.  You have made a profound impact on me and I in turn am impacting and inspiring others, and this my friends, is how we change the world.  Just like throwing one starfish back into the sea and watching the ripples reach out and pass beyond our sight line.