My Year of Hope

2 May 2015  Falcon 50 Marathon at USAFA

16 Aug 2015 Pikes Peak Marathon in CO

19 Sept 2015 Air Force Marathon in OH

23 Oct 2015 Marine Corp Marathon in DC

1 Nov 2015 New York Marathon

These are some of the marathon I did this year.  They are not all of the marathons I painstakingly plodded through in 2015, but these marathons represent more than a physical feat.  Each of these races is deeply personal and each of these races represent who I was before Phil, with Phil, and who I have become since the death of my Phil.  Most of you know that I do not do New Year’s resolutions.  I do words instead.  2015 was my year of Hope.  Hope can be defined in two ways, both of which played into my choices these past months:

  1.  Hope (noun) :  feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
  2. Hope (verb):  to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

In the spirit of choosing hope as my focus, I have worked hard at my attitude. Attitude, however, has not been as big of a problem as looking forward to with desire.  Looking forward to what?

Running is that bridge between my past and my present.  Running has been a part of my life since long before Phil.  While  I won many races in my youth, running was never about being the best, but running was my place I was free to think, to believe, to cry, to celebrate, to be me.  Running has carried me through most of the hardest days of my life.  It has been the way forward.  It still is.

After Phil died, I ran away from Colorado Springs.  It literally crushed me to be surrounded by all of the memories, the stares, the gossip, and the splintering of friendships.  I would slink back to Colorado Springs doing my best to avoid the one place that is a large part of who I am.  In the spirit of believing that somehow I will know where I fit, where I will settle down, and with the belief  that the past and the present can work together to make for a good future, I ran the Falcon 50 and the Pikes Peak Marathons.  Both of those marathons are brutal due to the altitude, hills/mountain, weather, and technical expertise needed to traverse the trails.  Running those races required true grit.  I ran injured and I fell more than once in each race.  Sometimes the decision to believe that things will work out for best takes that grit and the willingness to push past the pain, the falls, and the fear.

True grit is not a Pollyanna way of looking at things; it is just the decision to know that Phil’s death cannot be undone. I cannot bring him back and the clutched memories are still there.  I can spend the rest of my life wallowing in my grief, or I can choose to figure out a way forward.  Happiness is a choice.  These races were about confronting the pain and pushing past the pain into the realm of new beginnings (next year’s phrase).  I am not running from my past or the ache because they will always be a part of the fabric of my heart; I am choosing to look ahead which is the very essence of hope.  I may not know what my future holds, but it is enough to be standing on the threshold of what might be and who I might be.

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