Sometimes Marathon Are About More Than Running

Marathons are 26.2 miles. The journey from start to end doesn’t change, but at times, the journey looms large and feels almost impossible. On the days when everything goes well, there are sparks of joy and wonder. Other days, the plodding feet seem to grow more painful by the minute. Today, I took back the Boston Marathon finish line, but not one step was easy. I struggled mentally, spiritually, and physically. I felt the weight of this week–the week that marks Phil’s third year of being gone and the events that unfolded last year as I ran to use Heartbreak Hill as a metaphor for my life. From the onset of my journey from Hopkinton to Boston, I struggled. My body hurt and I felt fatigue seeping into my being. I struggled with wanting to run at all, yet I pressed on even when the heat began to cost me. My time was slow, but when I crossed that finish line, I knew that it was the right thing to do. I faced my fears and I faced my ennui of wanting to run, and I just did it. Running that marathon is like my walk of loss. Sometimes, it is about making a choice and pushing through the hard times even when the spirit longs for rest. Sometimes it is about digging deep and taking a deep breath and trusting one’s self to make it to the end. In a marathon, the finish line comes just as the body is ready to give up. When that 26 mile marker is passed, something happens. The legs want to go and cross that finish line. The body hurts and a bone chilling fatigue takes over, but that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that the body was pushed to its limits is indescribable. My grief journey has been like this. I totally broke and I still break. This month will never be my favorite and this week is the hardest week I face all year, yet through the darkness, I have learned that if I hold on, if I trust myself, fall into my faith, and lean on my friends, surely I can make it to the end of the pain that hurts every where. Like a marathon, the heart and body hurt for a while, and then spring comes and morning comes. Hope is renewed and the body can look ahead to the next race, the next day, the next mile.

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