Race for Grief 10K, I mean 15K

Date: June 30, 2012

Distance: 6.25 miles

Time: 59:13:19

AND

Distance: 3.37 miles

Time: 37:32:12

Sometimes the journey is longer and harder than expected–especially if the last portion of the race course is not marked and no one is there to tell runners where to turn.

Today I intended to run a 10K race to commemorate infant and pregnancy loss, only I ended up running a 15K due to the fact that I got lost.

The race started at West Bountiful Park and the majority of the course followed the Legacy Trail–a biking/running path. It was a simple out and back course that shouldn’t have been difficult to follow, and we were promised at the start that there would be people at each turn to direct us. I was a bit confused, then when, after passing what I knew was the last water station and running about a mile further, I no longer saw runners from the race and I could tell from my Garmin that I was nearing the 10K point with no finish line in sight.

I figured out pretty quickly that I had missed a turn and decided to keep going anyway until I got to 10K (6.2 miles).  I signed up for a 10K, so I was going to run a 10K.

When I looked down at my watch and saw “6.25,” I hit the re-set button, turned around, and proceeded to figure out where I missed the turn. At that point, I saw another runner who did the same thing I had done. I suddenly felt a lot better knowing that I wasn’t the only person to mess up. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the turn had been clearly marked and I still managed to miss it. But Amber, my newfound running partner, assured me that she, too, saw no turn marked or saw anyone directing runners.

We kept a positive attitude and Amber noted that, according to her training plan, she was supposed to run nine miles today anyway. And, as we calculated, that would probably be what we would end up running by the time we made it to the finish line.

This was a low-stakes race for me. Heck, I didn’t even bother to put a timing chip on my shoe. I was just out to enjoy a six-mile run in memory of our daughter. And, as I reflected on how the race was unfolding as I ran the 3.37 additional, unintended miles, I thought to myself, “what a perfect metaphor.”

Today’s experience was yet one more reminder that sometimes our life journeys do not take us where we intend or expect. We are sometimes put on a confusing, unmarked path with no guidance or reassurance that we are going in the right direction. The journey can be lonely, confusing, and difficult. The journey might be far more challenging than expected, and the journey might bring some tears along the way.

back of shirt–I added Mia’s name & the wings

As I neared the finish line at the park, I finally saw people guiding runners. I commented to one man that I had just run 15K rather than the intended 10K due to missing the last turn. He said, “Good job! Finish strong!” And, as I passed him he read the back of my shirt and shouted out, “Mia would be proud!”

I crossed the finish line in tears–and not because I had just run almost ten miles when I only planned on running six. I cried, once again, for our loss and for what should have been. I cried because I was reminded so clearly why I was running this race.

Melanie was with me during this race and during all of my races. She is there to give me strength and to reassure me that even when life’s journeys don’t go as planned, there is a bigger reason why, and I’m not the one in charge nor am I expected to understand the reasons why.

Still, I miss her every single day. She would be two years old right now, had things gone as planned, and I would be complaining about having a defiant, stubborn toddler. Instead, I am left to grieve our loss.

___________________________________________

Met one of my online friends in person today–she is the administrator of a Facebook group comprised of other moms who have also had angel babies. She traveled several hours to be at this race and her loss was only two months ago. This was her first race ever. So glad I got to meet her, but so sad for the reasons why we have connected. It is because of her that I now wear yellow on Mondays. Check out her blog at: http://yellowmondaysproject.blogspot.com/

__________________

Also, had I been wearing my racing chip AND not missed the turn, I would have placed first in my division. The woman listed #1 finished in 1:03 and my 10K time would have beat that by almost five minutes.

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