i just passed the one year anniversary of the single worst race i've ever run in my entire life. the race that snapped me out of my melancholy and made me want to start working again.
shortly after that race, i saw a running shoe advertisement in a magazine. the tag line was "find your strong." i started repeating that like a mantra, over and over, on every run. find your strong. find your strong. i figured that might push the other thoughts out of my head; the longing for what used to be, the sadness over what won't be. i figured it might crowd out my constant focus on the pain of the run; then maybe i could focus on something else again. because i figured i should start focusing on what could be and what would be, and if i kept reminding myself of what i was looking for, i had a much better chance of finding it.
so i dug in. i ran. and worked. and ran some more. and worked some more. i started to feel like me again. i started to feel whole again.
what a difference a year makes.
this year i toed the line at that same race, but trying out their new 10k offering instead of the 5k i usually run. ub was there with me, for the first time since november. he keeps up with how i'm doing, wants to know how things are going and if i'm following doctor's orders (i am. always.), but he hadn't seen me run in awhile.
and, for the first time in a long time, i felt good. i felt like i had put in the work. i felt ready to run.
when it came time for me to head to the line, he took my sweatshirt and gave me a big hug. he said "i'm really glad to be here with you, you know i love coming out to races with you. i'm really glad to be here."
and someone rang a bell, and i started to run. and it was wonderful. and as i hit the mid-point, ub was there. he yelled "stride on!" i gave him a peace sign. then i ran the second half. and it was wonderful. and then i was done. and ub said "good job, girl." and it was wonderful.
walking back to the car, ub and i were debriefing the race, as is our custom - the course, the organization, how i ran, everything. after we gripped about the things we weren't happy with, ub turned to me. he said "you did real good today. you ran good. you looked strong."
he made me teary.
because i realized that it had been a long time since i had told myself "find your strong." i actually couldn't remember the last time. and i realized that somewhere along the way, i quit needing to be reminded of what i was looking for.
somewhere along the way, i found it.