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It's Monday.... and I just had a few feelings and moments that I wanted to jot down and journal before they escape my heart or my memory. I had an amazing weekend with a some of my friends. We are a bunch of mom's that escaped our homes and duties for the weekend to run in the Grand Teton Relay #rungtrelay. It's a 12 person relay covering 180 miles of beautiful yet butt kicking terrain. We ran through Ashton Id, Island park, Grand Targhee, and so many darling towns along the way I couldn't commit their names to my memory. We finished the relay race in beautiful Jackson Hole. The race wasn't all beauty and laughs... though there was plenty of that to fill my cup. The hardship and challenge brought me some clarity that I'd like to share. Races have a way of really taking down your walls quickly. Demolishing them really. There are moments when you dig so deep that you are raw enough to connect with people, the wilderness and heaven a little bit more vividly. I experienced exactly that this weekend. I went into the race with all sorts of "EXPECTATIONS" as we all often do in life. I "EXPECTED" my first run to be my hardest. On paper it was the most miles I'd have to run that race and a lot of it was up hill gaining a considerable amount of elevation. Much more than I had trained for. I was worried about that run the very most. I have done over night relay's before and the night runs are always the most feared and usually end up being the favorites. I "EXPECTED" my second run to be my favorite. My third run I was excited for. I "EXPECTED" it to be easy. down hill but not too down hill. Not too long a run, not too short. It looked like the perfect terrain for me to let go and run at a record pace. As you might be "EXPECTING" not all of my "EXPECTATIONS" of the race were entirely accurate. My first run was my fastest. My legs were fresh and the uphills didn't hurt that bad. The adrenaline from the race was like diesel fuel in my body. My friends were cheering me on, I had good music blaring in my headphones.....I felt amazing. All that worrying about that leg was energy TOTALLY wasted. My night run was lovely as I "EXPECTED" but I was cold and had to stop to pee behind the safety of my support vehicle. I didn't "EXPECT" that! I didn't "EXPECT" a 70 year old to pass me. Maybe I wasn't running as fast as I had "EXPECTED"? Ha! :) My Last Run....The run I was the most excited about was the toughest to get through. It was the run that inspired this post. It was the run that demolished my walls and for a fleeting moment offered me complete clarity. I didn't "EXPECT" that. My third and final run began at twilight after a sleepless night. The 2 hours rest in my sleeping bag on a high school sofa was a mean tease. I was sick to my stomach from being so tired and my brain didn't allow myself to fall into a deep sleep because I new that I would be running soon. I started the run feeling exhausted but I told my van to go to the next exchange because I "EXPECTED" this run to be no big deal. I "EXPECTED" although exhausted I would be fine and support would be unnecessary. I watched my van disappear down the canyon in front of me. They were headed to wait for me at the next exchange as I had told them to do. I started to run and immediately realized that my "EXPECTATIONS" of this run were entirely inaccurate. Both of my knees started firing immediately. They had experienced more pounding in the last 24 hours then they had in A LONG TIME. The cold icy air was thin because of the elevation and it burned my lungs with every breath. I coughed a couple times....more of a choke really. What had I gotten myself into? Why did I tell my friends to go away and to leave me? I thought I would be fine but I wasn't. I stared down the canyon road as I tried to break into a clumsy jog. My shoes felt like they were filled with lead and this gorgeous canyon road turned into a 5 mile nightmare. I was exhausted, and scared that I couldn't catch my breath. Unreasonable thoughts began to flood into my mind. "Am I having a heart attack? Really!? My chest is so tight right now." "My team is going to be waiting forever at the finish line for me, they'll be so disappointed" "I'll be so embarrassed" "my friends will think I'm weak" "should I hitch hike to the finish?" "I can't walk, this is down hill....If you walk you're weak." "Crap, why didn't I train harder?" "I hate this road" "I hate running" you get the point. The negative self talk was eating me up and ruining my run. I said a little prayer. It went like this... HELP ME!!!!!!! All of a sudden a song rang through my earphones that I really felt like came from above. It might as well been God singing it in my ear. I was that tired, delirious, hurt, and worried. The timing really was divine. #All Right #Donavon Frankenreiter Album: Glow Don't worry about a thing. Heaven knows what the day will bring. There's a big old sun lighting up your sky. burning off your blues, let the good light shine. It's gonna be all right. It's gonna be all right. Don't loose a lick of sleep. In the morning rise to see, There's a silver moon lighting up your night knocking off your blues let the good light shine. It's gonna be all right. I said it's gonna be all right. You know the bluebird she won't pass you by. No, No. It's gonna be all right. I said it's gonna be all right. You know it doesn't have to be such a chore to see. Everything the world can be is such a sense of peace. It doesn't have to be such a chore to see. Everything the world can be.... It's gonna be all right. It's gonna be all right. I saw and felt that big old sun lighting up the sky right before my eyes. It was 6:30 a.m. and the night was transitioning into day. I could feel the sun warming the tiny icicle particles in the air that I was breathing. My chest relaxed and I didn't labor for air as I had just seconds before. I realized I was going to be all right. I realized that the girls didn't care how long that run took me.... in fact it would give them more time to sleep. I realized that I could indeed walk.... and really that wasn't a weak thing to do...in fact is was the best and most kind thing to do for my aching knees and tight I.T. band. Then the words, "you know it doesn't have to be such a chore to see" rang in my ears. Why was I turning this beautiful run I signed up to do into a chore? This was supposed to be fun. I had decided to walk for a minute at that point and because I wasn't in so much pain I could take in the scenery around me and get grateful for such amazing experiences! I could see the dew on the trees, the wild life around me and I had failed to notice that I was running next to an amazingly gorgeous yet gentle mountain stream. In that moment I remembered one of my favorite quotes by Brenda Peterson "Like water be gentle and strong. Be gentle enough to follow the natural paths of the earth, and strong enough to rise up and reshape the world" My "HELP ME" prayer was indeed heard! I felt the heavens open for a sliver of time to inspire me to be strong but not to forget about being gentle. The remembrance of the abundance in my life began to fill my mind crowding out all the negativity. Tears literally burst out of my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. I have so much to be grateful for. Life doesn't HAVE to be "such a chore." We can clumsily stumble into a painful jog when life's hurdles appear or we can slow down and enjoy the journey. It's all about perspective and losing our "EXPECTATIONS" My last run was indeed my best run but for much different reasons than I had "EXPECTED."