It all started about 3 years ago, well, it will be 3 years in January.
Then, it continued with one step forward.
Then, last year, it went 13.1 miles.
And Sunday, it continues for 26.2.
At 7:55 am on Sunday, a cannon blast (how cool is that?!) will start the Marine Corps Marathon and I, along with 30,000 of my new best friends, will start running.
26.2 miles later I'll cross the finish line, at the base of Iwo Jima
I'm nervous. I'm excited.
And I'm a little bit sad.
You see, this is the race I never wanted to run.
It wasn't until just a few days ago that a connection hit me, 3 years ago this month was when The Man and I got our first BFN. And 3 years ago in January I was so shocked to need a size of jeans that I swore I'd never need that I knew something had to change - eat less or move more. I like to eat.
And that's when Sara and I started our Couch to 5K program. I thought 60 seconds of running was going to kill me.
In 3 years a lot has happened, some good, some not so good, but include:
Sara had a second baby.
I had surgery.
Sara was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery, and is now cancer free.
Sara ran her first marathon last week in Columbus!
My dad was diagnosed with cancer. Twice.
I got a new job.
I ran a half-marathon. Three of them actually. And too many 5Ks to count.
I've done every "I'll never do that" thing I've said related to running: wear a fuel belt, run in the rain, run in the snow, run farther than 6 miles, run farther than a half-marathon, carry a water bottle, pee my pants during a race (really!), and more. (For the record, I've quit saying "I'll never do that.")
But that one person is missing.
And on Sunday, I will run 26.2 miles because I can. I know it is a victory. Running has been so healing for me both mentally and physically. In the times I've cried and sobbed because my body is broken and doesn't work, The Man has gently reminded me of what my body has been capable of; of how it has held up and gotten stronger even when I fully expected it to not be able to do any of this.
So, on Sunday, I'm sure there will be a few tears along the miles. Just thinking about lining up at that start line gives me chills. The point of the Marine Corps Marathon is mutual respect. From the runners to those who have and continue to serve for their daily sacrifice; from the marines to the runners for their dedication and commitment to train and live a healthy life. There will be marines lining the route; one will place the medal around my neck at the finish line. Yes, there will be some tears.
When I registered for this race, and spent the $99, I really and truly believed that God was laughing at me. Saying, "you silly girl, you're wasting that money." I really felt like we were coming to the end of our IF journey. We had to be, we were so close to 18 months post-surgery. We just had to be. Yes, there will be some tears.
But it was not to be. God's answer continues to be "no." I am finding this truth to be very hard to accept. And I'm truly starting to wonder if it is "never." No matter how great this whole process has felt, I'd trade every minute I've spent training and racing for one, brief "I love you mommy."
I'm counting on that last part. That somehow, this person, who is feeling defeated and broken and wanting more than anything to have the only reason I'd accept to not run on Sunday. But I don't. So, run I will. That somehow, this person is changed for the better.
And, because I need to focus on something other than all of this for 26.2 miles, I'm offering it up for different intentions.
Miles 1 - 5: For Sara. Without her, I probably wouldn't have lasted a day past that first run. She's been through so much and has another surgery (elective, but still) coming up next month.
Miles 6 - 10: For all of my infertile buddies. If you have a special intention you'd like me to pray for, please leave it in the comments.
Miles 11 - 15: For everyone else who reads this blog, but doesn't fall under the "infertile" category. If you have a special intention you'd like me to pray for, please leave it in the comments.
Miles 16 - 20: For the Man. He's been my constant support. Always picking me up when I want to quit and reminding me of the good things in our lives. I'll be specifically praying that the Lord continue to give The Man the strength and patience necessary to be married to me.
Miles 21 - 25: For my Dad. He will be one week and one day into his chemotherapy treatments on Sunday. He's taking it in pill form, and so far so good, so he will be there cheering me on.
Miles 26 - 26.2: This one is for me. That somehow the strength that gets me through this race will get me through the rest of this infertility journey, however long it lasts.
On Sunday, I will run 26.2. I've lived my life and, while sometimes the living hurts, I will look back and smile, even if there are tears too.