Although Eden and I were not able to make it to Montana as vegan runners, we were able to run the Missoula half marathon this month. Our vegan experiment proved to be difficult in the midst of training. My bet is that when you choose to change your dietary habits in a dramatic way, it is probably best to do that when you aren’t asking so much of your body. Sound reasonable? That’s what I thought, too.
So, here’s my medal-less story.
About three months back I took a stand, as Brian (our marathon man) and Eden (his obvious offspring) sat at the kitchen island planning their next run. I boldly declared, “I am a 5K girl who loves yoga. No more half marathons!” Then I proudly marched myself back to the bedroom in my beloved yoga pants feeling liberated. It was a victorious moment, one that felt empowering; especially since at that moment I had run three long, major races for other people.
Somewhere deep in my spirit I felt a sense that the liberation would be short-lived, so I went ahead and trained with Eden for the dreaded, “just in case.” Like, “just in case” it isn’t a closed course or Brian’s starting line is somewhere other than the half starting line. You know, mom thinking, making sure your kid has every advantage you can possibly offer them to stay alive and succeed in this world.
Well, both were true. The course wasn’t closed and the starting line for each run was miles from the other.
So, as we approached the expo the day before the run, I waltzed up and thought I could just sign up for the half marathon to run alongside Eden as her now notorious sidekick. Well…I was wrong. I really hadn’t planned on a sold out run.
Hmmm…I started thinking about how I could layer my gear and wear her x-small, promotional t-shirt for the run. My thought was that we all typically layer up at the start, and by the finish most tags are showing because the layers have been shed. Yep. That was my plan and that’s what I did.
5:30 a.m. race day, I am standing next to my twelve-year-old, driven daughter throwing up on the side of the road because of pre-race nerves. Her grandparents wait in an SUV a few feet from us to see if she is going to recover and run or hightail it and plead “uncle.” In complete alignment with the child I have known since day one, she negotiates and analyzes, and comes to the conclusion that she is not leaving Montana without her medal.
The two of us walk up to the start (her sweet Nana breaks all the rules and joins us), the fireworks begin, and the gun sounds. We’re off. Right away, I realize that there is no other place that I’d rather be. When she realizes that I am running without music she decides to turn her music off and talk the whole way. She shares her bucket list with me. She shares the things in life that make it hard for her. She shares her desires for her own future and the obstacles she thinks might be there for her and that she is preparing to overcome. She shares the parts of her heart that most moms never have the chance or time to hear. Thirteen point one miles of getting to know the vaulted areas of my daughter’s heart. Beautiful.
Then, at the famous finish, I am asked to exit the course and head to the sidewalk where I cheer my daughter through her finish and watch her receive her medal. It was a triumphant moment. Remembering the humble beginning and the village it took to see that moment felt like a tangible illustration of life’s journey.
I don’t have a medal from that day. I have a memory of the best half marathon I have ever run, a treasure that rust or misplacement will never take away from me.
Share this post: