Last night as I was checking the Weather app on my phone every ten minutes hoping for a magical heat wave, I went to set my alarm and realized I never changed one of my training alarms. It still read “1/2 marathon coming!” This exact weekend last year, I decided I would run the St. Jude half-marathon in 2013. January 1st I started training. When I began, I couldn’t run for two minutes without having to to stop and walk for a few minutes. But over a few months, I worked up to running seven or eight miles. Sometime in the spring I started thinking about going for the full, and on June 1st when I registered for all 26.2 miles of the St. Jude Marathon I thought I had lost it.
I used the Couch to 5K program to get to the Bunny Run 5K the Saturday before Easter. Since that Saturday I have run 658 miles in my training for the marathon I was supposed to run tomorrow. I have woken up in the 4 o’clock hour to go running so many times I’ve lost count. I have run in 96 degree weather and I’ve run in 16 degree weather. I have seen more sunrises this year than I’ve seen in my other twenty-eight years combined. There were so many mornings that I just wanted to stay snuggled up in bed, but I went running anyway. And there were several runs that I wanted to give up and walk home, but I took the advice of my wise running friend Heather and kept putting one foot in front of the other.
When I got the text from race officials a few hours ago saying the race had been canceled because of our ice storm, I was so bummed. I really wanted my marathon to be in Memphis, to run through St. Jude, to leave my footprints all over this city that has become our home. Next year, St. Jude, next year. In the meantime, I am going to log another 168 miles over the next five weeks (and now I really want to cry) and run the MS Blues Marathon in the city I grew up in. When I saw my alarm last night, I realized that while I might not have hit my original goal of running the St. Jude half-marathon I have run 13.1 miles a half dozen times now.
Sometimes the destination doesn’t look like we thought it would, but the journey served its purpose nonetheless. One foot in front of the other, run on.