Compelled by Love

This weekend will be the start of a new running adventure for me.  I am committing to running 4 half marathons in 4 weeks as part of the Run 4 Heaven’s gate team.  I first heard about this 2 years ago, when I could not run due to an injury.  At this time, I felt that when I returned to running, I needed to be a part of this team.  Most of my running for many years has been about accomplishing my own goals and I do think accomplishing ones goals is a great thing, running had became so important to me that it became my identity.  Becoming injured brought a new perspective and I realized that I wanted to use my gift of running to help others.

The purpose of Run for Heaven’s Gate is to raise awareness and funds for children and families in India who are suffering from HIV/AIDS.  100 percent of the money donated goes directly to help more than 200 children living in 10 Heaven’s Gate orphanages by providing food, medicine, housing and education.  In addition more than 1,000 infected families in surrounding villages will be given support, health education and an annual clinic.

I know that completing these races will be challenging, but I am running for a purpose so much greater than myself.  When a lot of people come together and do a little bit, big things can happen.

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Gratitude

It’s been a year since I have written a blog and I have lots of people asking me about my new life in Boise, but I also have lots asking about my running, so here it is.

What a difference a year can make.  This last year for us has been selling our house, saying goodbye to best friends, moving to Boise, a new house,  school and new friendships.  With all these changes and new adventures in my life, I have so much to be grateful for, yet something very important to me has been temporarily taken away.    For anyone who knows me even a little knows that I like to run, but for anyone who knows me well, they know that running to me is more than “a good calorie burner”, or “a time of training for the next big race.”  Running to me is like a best friend.  It’s where I’ve gone when the saddest things in my life have happened.  When I didn’t know how to make a big decision or when I needed to process life, I would go for a run.   I go running when I travel and want to see the sights.  Running is my prayer time, my way of coping, my time of exploring and also has been a way of building new friendships or having a good conversation with old friends.  All that to say, for the last 5 months I have not been able to run, due to an injury and pain.  To make a long story short, I’ve been to the doctors, I’ve gotten all the tests, I’ve done the PT, but nobody really has been able to help with overcoming this injury.  This loss of running for the last few months has been very difficult and at times very depressing, but in a way, it’s brought so many other good things in my life.

Right before Christmas when I was really struggling with the inability to run, I was water jogging in the pool.  This kind, cheerful lady came swimming up to me and starting talking.  She was a lovely, talkative person who I instantly liked, her name was Melissa.  I see Melissa every week in the pool and as I’ve gotten to know her, she has told me her story.  Melissa was a runner and one day she was out hiking and a tree fell on her and broke her back.  Melissa is now paralyzed from the waist down.  Melissa is one of the kindest people, but I see the hurt and loss in her eyes when she talks about her accident.  I know for her this must be a daily struggle, yet she finds a way to have joy and gratitude in her life.  Now, I am not comparing my situation to Melissa, I can walk, where she will never have that ability again.  But, as I’ve thought about Melissa, I’ve realized that at some point after her accident, she had to make a choice to what kind of person she would be in response to this new way of life.  She could have chosen to become bitter and angry at life, but instead she chooses to be happy and positive.

Now, I have not lost my ability to walk and I will one day run again, where Melissa never will.  But, she has taught me that I have a choice of how I will respond to this and to all life situations.  I can be sad and full of self pity that I can no longer do what I love, or I can choose to be positive and live life enjoying the things that I CAN do.   There are so many things that have come about due to not running.  I have found that I love to mountain bike, I’ve joined a water running class where I have met some amazing new people, I have found enjoyment in hiking with my kids and cross country skiing.  I want to be a person that when faced with difficult life circumstances I choose to be positive and turn it into something good.  In 3 weeks, I will go to the Boston Marathon.  Of course, I will not be able to run the whole thing, but I will be there at the starting line, I will run as far as my body allows, I will join in the festivities and I will be there as some of my new friends cross the finish line.  It will be a new experience for me, since I was suppose to run the whole marathon, but I’m embracing what this experience will bring.