Friday, January 21, 2011

Naples Daily News Half Marathon 2011

It occured to me sometime over the weekend that I have now been running this same race for 15 years.  I may have skipped a few years in there while I was away at college gaining the freshman 15 but I always come back. Here I am, 31 years old and still pounding the same path I did so many years ago.  When my biggest worries were how I was going to get to see my boyfriend that night.  Oh' to be that free again.

I ran this race last year 3 months post partum. Three months after the hardest two months of my life.  I was hellbent on running it for my boy. The boy I had just watched suffer through more than any person should ever have to in a lifetime and he did upon entering the world for two solid months. My heart was beaten and weary and I needed an outlet. I needed to feel like I was doing something for my boy other than sitting bedside to him unable to help.  So I put on my running shoes and my shirt and ran my heart out.

 ( Man what a difference a year makes.  My little chipmunk cheeks and no calves ; )

I ran in Paxtons honor last year and I did again this year.  I think because I was still running on no sleep and auto pilot last year at this time that it didn't sink in just how powerful this was for me. How healing, how therapeutic.
For whatever reason, this year the race meant so much to me and it's hard to explain.  I think because I am very consious of just how far I have come since the last time my feet pounded that course.  I have become confident in myself and my ability to take care of our sick son.  I have learned to handle anything that is thrown at me no matter what that might be.  I have learned just how far I can be pushed and still hang on.  I have learned the true meaning of life, the power of it, the fragility of it and just how little patience I have for those that don't understand that.  I now know that I am strong.  That if I can make it through last year I can make it through anything.
I stood on that starting line this year, 365 days later than the last time I stood there and I was full of pride.  I was full up of so much emotion and I do believe it radiated from me. I didn't realize just how much until I looked back at the pictures...

I was doing this for my son and I was so proud. Come hell or high water I was going to rock it.

Along side me were two of my dear friends.

One I met the very first day I was wheeled to the hospital next door to see my son for the first time since he was born seven hours later. I will never forget it. I was in a wheelchair at the elevator and this beautiful woman walked up and asked about my son and told me her son had the same heart condition.  The rest my friends, is history because the two of us pulled each other through those long days at the hospital. We watched out for one anothers babies while we each took breaks, we texted with updates and vitals. We got diet cokes and smoothies for each other. We cried in the hallways and bitched to each other.  We got each other in a way that only two heart moms can.  Here we are a year later together running in honor of our miracle babies.  I love you both Charity~ever!

The other met Paxton when he came home from the hospital and has never left us since.  Kimmie fell in love with Pax the day she met him, not that I can blame her.  She has been at the hospital with me to take shifts so I can rest. To remind me to eat. To help me pull it together when I had/have very little left.  To remind me that every single emotion I have is completely normal and sometimes that's the most important thing to us heart mamas.

This race meant a lot to all three of us (actually 4~ that would be Morgans, another dear friend that is always there at the drop of a hat for us~ instead of running she watched the guests of honor while we ran)  For we have all been in the thick of hospital life and it ain't pretty, but this day made it glorious!

Oh. yes. it did.

I started running and I literally had to hold myself back. I felt like I had so much inside of me that I could have sprinted the entire way.  There are days where I swear I could Forest Gump myself through various states, where the only thing that makes me feel better about it all is to run.  To allow my mind to run away with itself.

That's what it did while I ran.  The miles passed by so quickly and I was blown away by how good I felt. I kept waiting to hit a wall and then my mind would wander to the two gorgeous boys on my shirt and the adrenaline would pump.  Knowing all of my boys were waiting at the finish made me push harder.  If I thought I was hurting I would take myself back to the day that I walked in and saw my son on a ventilator, medically paralyzed with his chest cut open.  Nope, I wasn't hurting. The only pain that could even begin to compare to that was the pain in my heart over not being able to take it all away from him.  So I just kept running and I felt like I was soaring.  It is truly amazing how Paxton has changed my life.  How he has changed me.  How I feel like  I need to get his story out there. I am his vessel and I won't rest until I have accomplished that mission. His pain will never be in vain. His struggle will always be glorified because the mountains he has climbed in one year are miraculous.

It matters SOO much to me that he know how proud I am of him.  It matters to me that people understand just how amazing he is. How strong and happy.

I finished the race just under two hours (1:59:45) which was my goal.  I beat my time by over half an hour.  I am in the best shape of my life and I know just why that is.


A friend texted me this just yesterday:

You said something to me last night that made me understand your drive.  You said if Paxton can survive two open heart surgeries you can do a half marathon.  Since then you have been unstoppable. I think your drive, in your mind, is connected to his progress. You are his strength and willing him through all of this. You are giving each other strength and it is totally unintended.  Now that is LOVE.

That friend will never know how much those words meant to me.
She is right, there is a drive in me now that was never present prior to Paxton. It, in a lot of ways, is indescribable for me.  I just know there is a force behind me now.   He will always know me as his Mom, the person who is there through it all, the person who will do whatever she has to for him.  I know he feeds off of me, I have been told that since I was pregnant with him and I like to think that big smile and his drive are what he has chosen to take from me.

I sit here typing wondering what next years annual half marathon will bring us.  I have 15 years worth of memories on those streets. Some of the most life changing and memorable, only these past two years and that is such a gift.  It really, really is.  We have been given such a gift in Paxton, in all of our children.  All three of them teach me every single day the beauty of life and the power of love.  The love I have for my babies is so deep I cannot begin to explain it. I only know that my purpose here is them, special needs or not.

So while today, I was yearning for the high that those 13 miles brought me, I sought out Paxton who had a special Mommy's day alone today, and made him big belly laugh and there too was a high.  He's good like that.  Just as running and cross fit are good like that too.  Within them, I find a solace and peace I can't seem to find elsewhere.  All of those things that I cannot control in life feel some sort of release out there on the pavement or in that box as I sweat and push myself more than I ever have in my life.  This year, the results speak for themselves.  The drive and the determination speak for themselves and I am proud that is shining through in my son.  He has given me that gift and I only hope I can be half the person he has been to me, that all of my children are to me.

Warriors Heart Brothers


(Dearest Asher~ I wish I could put into words how much you mean to me.  To see you as a wee one, to sit at home hearing of your struggle, with the knowledge that we were so close to losing you, oh' you will never know the prayers being sent out to you that day. Instead, in total Asher fashion, you proved everyone wrong.  Oh' how I adore you. How proud I am of you when I see you scooting all bad ass across the floor because nothing is going to hold you back, stroke or otherwise. You are a rockstar and I will always be here for you and your Mama. This journey has made us family and your smile, your wild faces on command and your zest for life are infectious!  Just know you have another woman in your life who completely and utterly loves you, always)

1 comment:

Neha said...

For some reason, the pictures are not displayed here (this year marathon's). Could you check? I so want to see them.

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