We ran a race yesterday, and I cried pitifully in my husbands arms at the finish line.
This race was in Louisville, a 3 1/2 hour drive from home. I was looking forward to this drive to have some unfettered access to Husband. I had listened to the book “the 5 love languages” last week, and couldn’t wait to discuss it with him.
It became quickly apparent that “a long drawn out chat about how he needs to work on filling my emotional love tank” was not on his agenda, so we drove and listened to the quiet, occasionally chatting about this or that.
I began to melt. But I held it at bay, because I’m trying to work through/not overreact to/observe rather than feed my angst and hard moments. And that sort of worked.
We went to the expo to pick up our packets, went to an ultra-lovely place for dinner and had amazing food and chamomile-lemon-mint tea with cream and honey. Dinner was quiet.
We found our way to our hotel, got in bed, he fell asleep, and I cried. A lot. I put in my headphones to listen to my affirmations (“you are a child of God with infinite worth. You are already enough. Your body is in perfect balance. Everything you touch prospers. . .”) and they weren’t there on my ipod. It was like my last thread attached to sanity had been snipped.
So I did the next best thing. I put on Hilary Weeks. And I cried some more.
Race morning is always interesting, but this time as I lay in bed, having not slept more than 45 minutes at a stretch, I seriously considered not running. It was just not going to happen.
But Husband doesn’t take my self pity anymore. We were there to run. So I showered, and cried. I dried my hair, and cried. I put on my shoes, and sniffled a little bit. And I put on my toughness and we went to work.
Ate my powdered eggs. Found a parking spot and realized that I had left all of my cash at the hotel, and cried. Pouted while Husband found a parking garage a block away that took debit cards, and pouted a little bit less. Ran to the start line to use the pottys and felt tough again. Made our way to our corral and was pouty/tough. Starting gun. Slow herd making its way to the start line, first song on my ipod was “earth song” that Peach is singing in her school chorus, and cried. Husband trying to hold me back from pushing off too hard at the start. Dodging people through the crowd.
Realizing that each person in the race, every single one of those 18,000 people had something that brought them to that space that day. Every single person had a story of pain and glory that they were adding to in that moment. Feeling tough and very humbled. The blind and handicapped man holding tightly to a rope that was held at the other end by a woman, guiding him through the race. The 12 year old girl who was pure light. The old hunched over man shuffling, barely picking up his feet. The young in their perfectly matching gear. The middle aged looking very unsure of themselves.
Husband and I.
What brought us to this space?
And then I cried some more.
First race un-medicated, I realized.
17 years of anti-depressants, the last three years going in and out of doctors offices, in and out of medications, in and out of sanity, happiness, confusion, despair, balance, all playing a part in this moment.
Mile 8 brought us to Churchill Downs. Seven years ago, Henry was a two week old baby. We watched the derby one Saturday morning, just he and I. And so now it’s special to me. A “Henry” song popped on to my ipod, so I cried some more. The energy at the track was palpable. Horses were trotting around the track, a few spectators watching them. A beautiful moment.
The last few miles were sheer power. My legs just went. My timing app would chime my pace in my ear- which normally would cause me to slow down a bit, because wow- way too fast. But I just ran. My body and the pavement, leaving behind everything that holds me back. I said goodbye to whoever it was that was so pitiful the night before, honoring her pain, yet seeing that it wasn’t serving anyone. I saw my kids in my mind and the reason that I run- to FEEL GOOD so I can ACT GOOD and give them more than I am inclined to on some days. I saw everyone that mattered to me and the beauty and legacy they have left in my heart. I rounded the corner and saw that I would finish in the time that I had secretly hoped to finish but not dared to speak, and it all came out of my eyes. (those finish line pics are going to be hideous.)
And as I crossed the finish line, Husband.
The one who reminds me every day, tirelessly, of who I am.
And he was right. We didn’t need to talk about filling my emotional love tank.
It was overflowing.