The thinkers of the ancient world pondered the question of who governed the universe— the gods or destiny? Was the world ruled by reason or by blind necessity? According to Heraclitus, everything depended on destiny, and destiny meant necessity. The essence of destiny was reason, which guided everything. What the, what?
Clearly my personal destiny of running a marathon, selling and buying a new house, parenting three kids and holding down a full time job was not guided by reason. In fact, many told me I was insane. It was a dog fight every day and at last I have crossed the finish line. For now.
Spending 4:08 hours running the the Boston marathon on April 17, I had a lot of time to think about my life. I did not feel the well-earned pride, glory and sense of accomplishment that I dreamed would happen when qualifying for Boston. Was it my dental debacles since December or my socks that were too thick for the temps and had my feet barking like a mad pack of coyotes?
This was the climax to the Marine Corps in 2011, a trail marathon and Philly in 2012, and the coveted qualifying time for Boston in 2015. I should feel like a bad ass mother…f#%^&. Something just wasn’t clicking.
Fast forward and the epic eight days of 2017 began on April 10. Company user conference, Boston marathon and then to top it off, dental surgery! The destiny and necessity stars aligning and I was feeling a little overwhelmed and discombobulated. That bad feeling lingered like the toot someone continued to let loose at the user conference keynote.
My flight home and drive to Boston, surprisingly uneventful. Easter morning I see the kids and I’m not going to lie, it was tough. It all hit me- the guilt. No one needs to cast judgement that I am an absent, bad Mom because I do an excellent job criticizing myself on a daily basis. Maybe this personal destiny thing shouldn’t be allowed once you are married, employed and / or definitely not when you become a parent?
The next morning, the usual Pig Pen debacles ensue and I barely make it to the starting line. Thought we had a local ‘hot tip’ and would drive up to starting line. No go for Pig Pen. We scrambled, drove up 495 and just make it to the next bus going to the race start. A lady even tried to sick security on me because I was getting on the wrong bus. Deep breath. I headed out at 10:50, it was late, way hotter than the temps I trained in for the last five months and I had a finger on the pulse of this pit in my gut.
The plan was for my family to be somewhere around mile 13 or 14. I gave the kids essentials to hold so I could have a pit stop along the way. I was nervous after 2013, but having my family there was the best moment of the race! I came up the hill and I spotted my oldest son’s hair. Happiness that I can’t even begin to explain, but so grateful I have it caught on video. https://youtu.be/gdJo69zLlXE
I had set out to break 3:30:00 and knew as I stopped to drink water every mile I was not even close. Heat stroke was affecting so many runners and I needed to be smart. I needed to be a Mom. I needed to finish strong.
I crossed the finish line, we went right to the car and drove the six hours home. Stinky with blisters covering my feet, I was snuggled between the kids, talking about the race, listening to them laugh, fight, fart and pretend snore and it was total bliss. The next morning I drove them to school and Evy got out of the car wearing my medal. She said she wanted to show and tell everyone how proud she was of her Mom. Charlie said he will be running the 150th Boston marathon.
We all have our own view of necessities and personal destinies, make it your best and finish strong. I know for me, the next year I aim to be calm and simply better at all aspects of my life. Who knows what new athletic, work or crazy goal I will conjure up after that!
The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solved; it is a reality to be experienced
(Jacobus Johannes Leeuw)