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Running – faith, trust and pixie dust

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I really did have the earnest intention to blog while on vacation, but well… I was on vacation. Played hard in Disney World with Rich, Riley and some awesome friends for 4 1/2 lovely days and barely touched my iPad. And I’m not sad about that. But I’m having surgery in a few days, and I haven’t really said much about that (probably because I haven’t thought much about it), so I need to bring you all up to speed before I head into a drug-induced la-la land for a bit.

But first, Disney…

We went for the marathon weekend – planned before my hip figuratively went south, of course. Tessa was originally going to be with us too, but she ended up having a dance competition and stayed back with our good friend Christine. Saturday, four members of our group and I ran the half marathon. And yes, as you can see from the picture, I ran in a Minnie Mouse costume. I’ve actually run the half marathon and full marathon (called the Goofy Challenge when you do both) several times, and I’ve been Minnie every time. It might not be very aerodynamic (seriously, those ears are not good in a headwind), but it’s cute, and when in Disney you should always err on the side of cute. It’s Disney World, for crying out loud. Going into the whole deal, I had no idea what to expect from my body, since generally it is considered good preparation to actually run a bit before you race, and I had done next to nothing. One five mile run in the fall after my running embargo was lifted, and it hurt a lot so I didn’t do it again. I had full permission from my orthopedist to run this, so I wasn’t doing anything naughty, but this was a total unknown. I did know one thing, however: it could be my last race. I don’t know if I’ll be allowed to run after the hip replacement. So I decided that I would complete it, even if I had to walk the whole thing, even if I had to drag myself across the finish line with my lips.

It did sound a little crazy, especially when I heard other people say it. As we waited in the staging area before the race, someone asked me my goal time and I think I answered vaguely that I wasn’t sure. “She’s having her hip replaced on Thursday,” Rich explained. All around us eyes widened and eyebrows shot up, with varying expressions of awe, horror and oh-my-gosh-you-are-the-dumbest-person-ever. Yes, it sounded totally nuts.

But oh man, it was so fun. Turned out I ran just fine. Maybe my body just remembered how to run, maybe the euphoria of running a race again and doing it in freakin’ Disney World masked the discomfort. Maybe I’d found some pixie dust, who knows. But for 13.1 wonderful miles, I felt my feet against the pavement, the rhythmic swinging of my arms, the wind in my hair (and pushing against my very cute mouse ears, ugh). I heard the happy chatter of runners around me, the thump of music playing along the course and the at times deafening cheers of spectators. All around me was pure joy. Ok, a little suffering too, but mostly joy. And I loved every second. As the finish line loomed ahead I tried to look around and see everything, to take it in and memorize it all. Just in case.

As wonderful as it felt to run, walking afterwards was a different story, as it was then that my lack of training made itself known. My hip felt fine, but every muscle in my body angrily screamed curse words at me with each step. So, even though I was signed up for the full marathon the next day, I caved to my potty-mouthed muscles and skipped it. Not an easy choice, because it would have been marathon number 30 for me (I do love nice, tidy numbers), and the medal for doing both races was especially cool this year, but my John Wayne-esque walk was pretty solid evidence that it was a bad idea. And I’m so glad I passed on it, because it meant I had a prime spot at the finish line to witness my son finishing his very first marathon. It is so cool to see your kids come to love things you love. And pretty special that as I was potentially wrapping up my distance running years, he was starting his.

Ok so talking about the trip took longer than I planned. Tell you what – I’ll hit you with the nitty gritty on the upcoming surgery in my next post, is that cool? I know you’re all just dying to know all about it. I mean, what is more fascinating than a hip revision? Sexy stuff, I tell you. I won’t leave you hanging.

Until then, one final thought: birthdays. It’s my birthday today, and in Disney World they give you birthday buttons to wear around, so every cast member wishes you a happy birthday. It’s fun. I was, however, starting to bristle just a bit after the third or fourth cast member chirped cheerfully, “Happy birthday, ma’am!” Wait – “Ma’am??” Am I really that old? When did I become a ma’am?! But just as I started to look around for a cane to smack the next whippersnapper that tried that business with me, I was reminded of the revelation I had on my birthday last year: getting older is something not everyone gets to do. As someone with cancer I know full well how precious birthdays are. And more birthdays mean more wrinkles, more gray hair and yes, more “ma’am”. And that’s not only ok, it’s a good thing. A great thing.

I get to have another birthday today. So if you’ll excuse me, I have some celebrating to do…

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4 thoughts on “Running – faith, trust and pixie dust

  1. No one says it better than you, Jen! How wonderful to be celebrating birthdays and marathons, especially as Minnie:) Congrats to Riley, too – had to be a special moment for you and Rich!

    Like

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