Tuesday, November 24, 2009
"The miracle is not that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start"
-John "the penguin" Bingham, Runner's World columnist
It has been over a week since I finished my 10th Half Marathon in Richmond. It was a great weekend, and the race was a success. My sister and I finished hand in hand. While it was not our fastest race, it was my most emotional. I broke down at the finish line and I am thankful for the amazing people that I met along the 13.1 miles. One man was running his first half marathon after losing 50 pounds, another woman was a kidney donor and was running for Donate Life, and yet another woman was running her first half marathon and she too had lost a baby and we watched her cross the finish line! It truly is amazing what inspires someone to do an endurance event. But no matter what the motivation, crossing the finish line makes you feel like an Olympic athlete. You feel like you can do anything and you have the courage to make miracles happen.
The Richmond Half Marathon was exactly 16 weeks from the day that we lost Alex. I was sixteen weeks pregnant and Elena was 16 months old. "It Was a Sweet Sixteen", that is the title of my blog and that is the number that keeps popping up whenever I think about Alex. So..as fate would have it..my sister and I checked into our hotel, got settled into our room and met our friend that was running in her first half marathon. She happened to be a minister and asked if we wanted to say a good luck prayer with her. We agreed and she asked me about the picture that I would be wearing on race day. I explained that I was running this half marathon in memory of my dear baby Alex. Just like that I turned to our room and that is when I got chills, our room number, 1116. It was as if Alex was telling me that he was there with me to give me the courage to finish this race.
The Half Marathon may be over, but my race has just begun! I plan to do another half marathon in the spring and I have made it my new goal to do at least 1 half marathon (or marathon) a year for the next 16 years. It is my hope that I can honor his memory and at the same time, his sister Elena (and hopefully other siblings) will see how much he meant to me and perhaps will learn the importance of finding courage in the face of adversity.
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."