Two years after the second half marathon, this year has seen me do two more within two months.
I’m planning to possibly fit one more in this year. I don’t even know me anymore.
If you haven’t heard of Emma’s story, let me get you to speed. A mum of FIVE girls, 12 months ago Emma was plagued with a life threatening virus.
Miraculously, she pulled through and also decided it was time to make some drastic health changes.
Emma started doing daily walks around local tennis courts. Slowly, she incorporated some running until she could consistently run five kilometres.
Not even a year into her new running regime, she decided to take on the Gold Coast Airport Marathon. Yes, folks – that’s 42.2 kilometres.
The physical toll that long distance running takes is one thing. What is even more of a challenge (well, for me, anyway) is the mental strength.
Having to set mind over matter; to get over the hamstring niggles, big toes rubbing up a blister storm, stomach stitches after drinking too much water.
Basically trying not to let your brain stray and to keep it rock solid focused.
It’s bloody hard. No matter how good your playlist is.
Emma decided that for each kilometre she was to run, she would dedicate one to someone in her life. Each person’s name was written on her arm. The 42nd and last kilometre? That one was saved for her.
It was a poignant reminder how running has literally saved her life.
Walking up to the starting line, I didn’t have a plan like Emma’s.
Instead, for the first two kilometres, I just paid close attention to my pace, making sure I wasn’t going too hard too soon.
But as the Gold Coast sunrise start to emerge across the bay, I started thinking about dedicating this run to my late cousin. Without a running partner, instead I “invited” her to join me until I got to the half way mark at least.
The moment her memory entered my mind, my legs felt lighter, my breathing eased up and my shoulders relaxed.
Usually I get anxious when people pass me. Not this race.
Instead, I rolled back through time, remembering our last conversation, giggling again at her self-deprecating jokes.
I pictured the time we swam together at a Sydney hotel pool, how privileged I felt to find some rare one on one time with her.
Next thing I knew, I was at the 11 kilometre mark.
Grieving is a bitch. It’s painful and rips your heart at the most unexpected, vulnerable moments. Almost three years since she’s left this earth, I still often cry.
On that road though, as my heart and head filled with thoughts of Kak Rytha, I actually found comfort.
She would’ve found it highly entertaining that I used her as a means to get over the finish line.
“Are you serious? What could possibly keep your mind occupied for over two hours?”
She would roar with laughter, flashing her electric red lipstick smile.
Well, dear Kak Rytha, it’s you. All I wanted to think about was you.
How much I love you. How much I miss you. How I ache to see you and your smiling face again.
How nice and pleasant it was to pound that pavement and have one on one time again. Just like we did at that pool, laughing, telling jokes, catching up on each other’s busy lives.
Thank you for keeping me company.
If you wrote a book or created a painting, who would you dedicate it to you? How do you keep loved ones’ memories alive? Are you familiar with Emma’s story?
1. Follow With Some Grace.
2. Sign up to the awesome Digital Parents community ( if you haven’t already done so). DP was created by Brenda Gaddi who happens to be the creator of FYBF. She’s also created 4 gorgeous kidlets. In case you’d like to know. Or maybe not. But we’ll share that info just the same.
3. Add your post URL to the FYBF linky. Please only link up one post.
4. Grab the funky FYBF button and post it on your sidebar. Help spread the blogfloggin love.
5. Visit the blogs of your fellow FYBF’ers and share the comment love