Since my mom died in a car crash nine years ago Mother's day has been painful. This weekend wasn't any different but it came at a perfect time for me to reflect. The day my mom died was the worst day of my life. No matter what people tell you time doesn't ease the pain and it doesn't get easier. Having a lot of extra time on Friday to think I reflected on how it changed my life. Yes I lost my best friend, the one person I had known for 22 years that was there for me no matter what. It seemed like nothing would ever be ok again. Truth is as hard as it is to deal with. There was at least some good that came from it. First and most important my 12 year old brother moved in with me and Kevin. At the time we were in way over our heads. We were newleyweds with a pre teen, but neither one of us had a second thought. Travis was meant to be with us. He was the first of three amazing boys I was given my three gifts from God. I was forced to grow up faster than I had planned but it made me who I am. It made me a fighter. All of you that were lucky enough to know my mom know she was a serious hard headed tough woman. She handed some of that down to me..........ok maybe a lot of the stubborn hard headed stuff comes from her :)
I could go on and on about my mom but I'll get to the point. Friday as I was thinking back to my DNF just two weeks before and forward to the race about to take place I decided to make a promise to myself. I was worried the 25k was too long for me right now. I had been focusing on speed in the 10k and the trials this was kind of in the opposite direction. I decided to do what my mom would want, go for it. No I wasn't going to run with Janet, but I was going to push 5:30's or whatever the chase pack was at and see what I could do. Was there a chance I could fall apart? Sure. Was there a chance I could pull something out and have a great one? Sure. The thing was my mom would have gone for it. That's just how she lived her life. My mom was amazing! She went for everything and didn't stop until she had it. I needed something to wash the nasty taste out of my mouth from the DNF. So when the gun went off Saturday morning I went for it. I hit mile one in 5:24 I believe. It felt super easy but mile one usually does. There was a bit of a headwind the first half of the race so my only thought was find a pack of guys and just sit on them. This made me surge a bit before mile 1 to catch the guys which in turn made me go ahead of some girls I know better than to run in front of. They always run smart and catch you. I thought they would go with me and when they didn't I was committed no looking back now. The pack of guys said they were going to run 5:30 sounded perfect to me. During mile 2 it felt very easy like I was going to trip over their feet. When we got to mile two at 5:43 I knew why......it was an easy pace. Here is where I thought again. What would mom do? Hmmm.....she wouldn't settle. So I got out of the pack and focused on the two guys ahead of me. I pushed the pace. Before I broke off Allie and Emily had joined our pack. Luckily when I decided to go they came with me. We pushed the next couple miles in 5:30. Felt good but it was still early. Shortly after four Both girls started to pull away. At first I freaked but when I realized I was still hitting 5:30's I relaxed. There was a lot of race left. I'll spare you all the details but during the rest of the race I got myself into 5th, was a couple seconds from 4th and making ground, got passed by a pack of 3 (yes these we're the girls I knew better than to not run with early), and got picked off around 13 by another girl. As the girls passed me I just remembered my promise to myself. Just give it your all who cares if some girls beat you and you fall apart. I kept focused on the positive. I was still running a pretty good pace, I came through the half marathon at my exact half PR, and while I was slowing down I wasn't completely falling apart. When doubts settled in I just had to remember this was not a planned race, all you can do is give all of you. I ended the race in 1:27:47 and 8th place. I crossed the finish line disappointed but washed it awayMADD made myself be happy with it. Eighth place doesn't sound great and sure I could have run a faster time if I had run smart and conservative. I executed the race as I had planned and just pushed myself. On Saturday it didn't work in my favor, but sometimes you have to take a risk. Greatness never comes from playing it safe.
Today I am just happy I ran the race the best that Wendy could on that day. After dropping out at Stanford I had a lot of doubts about myself and my running. Maybe I wasn't tough enough mentally to do this whole competitive running thing. What I realized today is I could never give it up. Not for a reason anyone would guess. Yes I love being competitive, finding out how hard I can push myself. Truth is also that I run to show my kids that giving up is NEVER an option. I also run because of my friends I get to,spend time with while we pound out hundreds of miles together. But the one reason I do it that will never let me stop and the reason I started even though I didn't know it at the time? It's the one time I feel close to my mom. No she wasn't a runner. In fact she would probably tell me I am out of my mind for doing it. For whatever reason when I lace up my shoes and hit the roads i am 100% with my mom. I feel at ease running in this beautiful state thinking and talking with her. Bad days I'll run and cry to her, good days I'll run and thank her. Even when I am out running with my friends I am always thinking of her. Ever since I have started running I've just felt her with me always pushing me to give just a little more of myself. When I was very little my older sister was sick. I can remember sitting next to her window while she laid in her crib. Birds would always come up to the window and make her smile. When my sister passed my mom would always tell me the birds out flying and chirping at me were my sisters way of telling me she loved me. I'll never forget that. Anytime I am out running and negative thoughts come in my head it never fails there will be a bird chirping at me. It puts me at ease because I know it's my moms way of telling me she loves me. Knowing my mom it's also her way sometimes of telling me to pull my head out of my butt and get those negative thoughts out.
So while mothers day seems almost impossible to deal with I know I have my mom here to help me every step of the way. I guess my long winded point of the story is that there is always something good that comes from the bad stuff. I lost my mom but in return gained more of my brother. Got even closer to my aunt, uncle and cousins who are now more like my parents and sisters. Plus I became the tougher version of myself. Oh and I got to skip that whole doing a lot of dumb stuff in your 20's that most people now regret :). Stanford was bad but it made me stop and evaluate why I do this. Why it's important to me. Plus I'm sure somewhere down the road I will realize I've learned a lot more from that one awful race. Until next time everyone tell your mom how much you love them and remember running is FUN!