This will most likely be the first of two posts about the weekend. It’s difficult to sum up what this race/experience was about for me. In fact it wasn’t really about me at all. It never really was. From day one this race was about my dad who had just been diagnosed with cancer. It was about Melinda’s mom who lost her battle with cancer a few years ago. It was about all of the people who gave me money to go out there and kick cancer’s ass.
I never thought that I would be six months pregnant. I never thought that I would cry before stepping into the corral. I never thought I would have so many doubts that I could finish.
But then you’re running and the miles are ticking by, and you feel OK. Better in fact than you’ve felt in months while running. Before you know it you’re at the half marathon point and there are your friends and family, and you realize that this really is achievable. That you really will finish. I mean really, why did I ever doubt that? I know myself to well, there was no way I wasn’t going to cross that finish line.
I didn’t care how fast I was running. I didn’t care how many potty breaks I had to take, I just kept moving. I kept thinking about all the people supporting me at home. My parents tracking my progress from their computer. Egocentric thoughts about time goals didn’t matter. This one wasn’t for me, it was for every person who will never run a marathon, because they are to sick to do so.
The internet being there was a bonus, but it was never the reason for the race. I spotted a few of you out there on the course. It was hard to miss Claire’s Do Epic Shit sign in mile 7. I was so happy to see KC’s smile in real life somewhere around mile 18. You may not have recognized me in the moment, but I recognized you and it gave me energy.
I didn’t get to meet as many people as I would have liked, but we had limited time in the city, and I had a job to do. Someone told me that we were there for tumblr runs Chicago, which included me, but was not just about me. Which in fact was very true. I am a part of tumblr, which does include me, but no part of this was ever about me. It was always about my dad. It was always about cancer. It was always about accomplishing something impossible in honor of someone else.
So congratulations to every single one of you who showed up, crossed that starting line and did something amazing on a chilly Sunday morning. I am proud of each and everyone of you. I am so honored to be a small part of such an amazing and inspiring group of people.
To every person who stood on a corner, held a sign, rang a cowbell, navigated through a strange city and screamed for friends and strangers: thank you. Your energy and enthusiasm made my feet feel lighter and lifted my spirits in those dark moments.
You don’t have to a run a marathon to prove anything to anyone. You don’t have to run a marathon to be considered a “real” runner. But, if you get the opportunity to run one, you should. It will humble you, break you, elate you and change you like nothing else. And that is the kind of experience that life is all about.