It wasn't a full marathon, I didn't "win" and I obviously wasn't the fastest person in Cincinnati. However, I did run and train through anger, sadness, frustration, joy, and so many other emotions. I ran and let myself feel things I wouldn't have felt or dealt with if not for those evenings pounding the pavement. I am proud of those 13.1 miles and so glad for the quiet time alone as I trained to pray and remember Charlie.
The hard part for me was the week leading up to the race. Those days made me actually second guess why I was doing it. I had so much anxiety, but as we woke up the morning of the race those butterflies seemed to sit still. I knew it was time to run this race for Charlie. It was time to show Charlie and/or (more importantly) remind myself that I was going to be OK. I had worked through a lot of things training and I know now more than ever regardless of what has happened I am going to keep on being Macy and Johnny's mommy, John's wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.
We arrived at 5:45 a.m. the morning of the race and stopped for a final restroom break. We found our corral and set our watches. When the race began the thousands of people that had trained for so many different reasons started running. Our race began with smiles and encouragement from the many people lining the streets. Everyone was excited and that adrenaline make the first mile easy. As we continued I started remembering how far I'd come since I started running again in December. That morning I was running with Mary, Keith, and Matt. We headed over the Taylor-Southgate Bridge into Newport and as we ran across Mary got my attention and pointed to the sunrise. It was stunning. She said, "There's Charlie. He showed up for us this morning." At the exact same moment Charlie's song started playing through my headphones. God gave me a little bit of extra energy in that moment and I think that was the first time I felt like I would really make it across the finish line. I knew I could do it.
It was an emotional day and a joy filled day. When I think about it I hope I always remember how close I felt to Charlie and how that outlet let me work through a lot of nasty stuff. I plan to keep running. Maybe I'll do another half or even a full marathon some day.