Saturday, May 17, 2014

50th Race - My Tribute to an Angel

This morning, I ran my 50th race - at least one every month since December 2010.  It is quite the milestone, and something that I view as a testament to the consistency I have had these last few years.  There have been good days, bad days, peaks, valleys, and everything in between.  Since my marathon last June, there have been more negatives than positives in my running journey - slower paces, weight gain, running races I'm no longer at the level of - it's been a wake up call.  When preparing for my 50th race, I wanted to do something big - a half marathon, an obstacle race, my first triathlon, etc. as a way to celebrate the milestone with a bang.  But I had to be realistic.  I'm not there.  So I decided that my 50th race would go back to my bread and butter and where it all began - a small 5K.  I found my race and I was ready to go.  But I had to change my schedule and find something that worked due to life having other plans.  And I quickly had a little extra motivation...

Yesterday, heaven gained another angel.  My Grandma passed away peacefully and beautifully after living an amazing life of 92 years.  When I think of her, I think of all the support and pride she had for me.  A lifetime of moments and memories.  The childhood trips to New York and Disney.  When she made me, my brother, and my cousins matching candy cane pajamas.  When she and my grandpa used to give me rides to my first ever band practices.  When we used to call each other to get advice on the difficult levels of FreeCell.  Our countless "dates" at Buffalo Wild Wings and Leeann Chin.  And maybe most vividly, receiving this picture of her cheering me on during my first marathon from long distance while proudly wearing the bracelet I made for her.

Grandma cheering me on with my aunt last June

I got to say goodbye to her last weekend in a way that I will remember forever.  We shared a short but amazingly meaningful conversation before she lost her ability to talk.  She got to spend her last days recollecting her fondest memories, bragging about her grandkids, and surrounded by the love and support of her family and friends.  This world is a better place because she was here, and so many people have been changed forever because she was in their lives.

With a heavy heart, I ran today as a tribute to my Grandma - to honor the love and support I have received all my life, and to continue to propel myself forward into the best version of myself I can be.  I knew this race was going to be terrible, because I am only recently getting back into consistent training.  But I didn't care - I just wanted to have a few moments alone with me and my Grandma.  But as I was running, I felt the ease and painlessness of each step.  I felt her warm smile shining down on me.  And I finished about 2 minutes faster than I than I imagined - and faster than any race I have done in almost a year (my first sub-30 since July).  I am in much worse shape than I was then, and training has been way more inconsistent, and my running has been heading in the wrong direction- so there's only one explantation.  As she has done my entire life, today I had an angel cheering me on pushing me forward...

...thanks Grandma!