It’s been a few weeks. My mind has gone astray. Yet so much to write, so much to say. What’s become apparent to me is how much perspective I gain when looking back. In the moment I’m stifled, but later I am free. And in this time of feeling free, I am able to relish in the memory. To learn what I need to learn. To strengthen my soul, my being. To realize my mistakes and clear my judgment.
I crossed the finish line of the Marine Core Marathon. 26.2 miles. (Actually, according to my brother’s Garmin, it was more like 26.7 miles!). Confident going into the race, albeit nervous, I started out well. Temperatures reaching 80 degrees, humidity making all runners that much more sticky and wet, I ran well. Until mile 18 or 19. Starting to fade, my strength, my knees and back aching, I started to walk. With small jogging intervals in-between and self-talk that included more of “I can’t believe this. I don’t think I can do it” than it should have, I none-the-less placed one foot in front of the other. Scenarios of having to tell family and friends I did not finish, replayed in my mind. My stomach felt sick. Knowing I needed nutrition, I tried to replenish but my body refused. The noise of people cheering along the populated streets, the music, all of it felt like sensory overload. I worried about the fine line I was walking between determination and requiring a medic. Fully aware anxiety can blur that line. My face spoke of defeat. Reaching the top of the last hill, short but steep, I started to jog. Crossing the finish line greeted by many Marines all smiles shaking the hands of those that managed to get to the “other” side, I continued with a feeling of sadness. I slowly and not proudly walked towards a Marine who placed the medal over my head. Smiling so slightly, he offered more of a laugh back at me. He, I am sure, has ran a true race of endurance. Protecting our country. And he most probably has witnessed more than I could ever imagine. Yet, he and all of his fellow Marines cheered us on this day, supporting us, encouraging us, pushing us. And looking back, I still understand how I felt. I know I didn’t reach my goal. I know why I felt defeated. But I now know, it was an amazing day full of lessons and gifts and love.
Over the past four years, I can look back and see more clearly what was happening. In the moment, it was blurry. Looking back, it is clear. There are always moments of hope, goodness, happiness. Sometimes it takes looking back in order to be able to appreciate and relish in them.