Tomorrow morning I will be on the sidelines.
When the alarm buzzes at 4:00 a.m., I won’t have to get up (but I will). I won’t have to pull on my running clothes and make sure my bib is pinned on my shirt (is it straight?). I won’t have to elbow my way through thousands of runners to find my designated corral (shouldn’t I be faster by now, starting closer to the front of the pack?). I won’t fidget nervously as I wait for the announcement to take the first step (I hope I don’t trip, I hope my skirt doesn’t slip, I hope I run strong, I hope I hope I hope!).
For just the second time in nine years, I will miss running the Disney Half Marathon with my family. Oh they’ll run, Jake and Zack, but thanks to a persistent pinched nerve…I’m stuck on the sidelines.
“Oh, lucky, now you can sleep in,” you might want to say. Please, don’t, because that’s not how it works. Runners know: injuries don’t provide a time of relief or relaxation. Injuries take us away from what we love. (Ok, even if we love to hate it, running is ours to love or hate and we don’t like to have it taken away without our consent!)
The doctor says I should try swimming–and I am. But I can’t talk with my friend and running partner, Sylvia (or “at” her, as it sometimes seems) when I swim. I can’t vent, or think out loud about the good or the bad the day may hold. I can’t hear her talk about her daughter’s first day of junior year, or her son’s first day of college. Yes, running is much, much more than putting one foot in front of the other.
And tomorrow, my injury means my boys—my young men—will run without me. It’s our family tradition, running this event, and they will carry on the tradition themselves. While their dad and I cheer them on from the sidelines.
They can do it. And I love that they will. Thanks guys.