Watching the sun wake the world and listening to nothing but the sounds of the birds singing can bring a calm to one's soul. As any runner will tell you being out on the roads or trails can be magical if you just open your eyes. Being able to witness the beauty of this world is something we all take for granted and if we're smart we can take a step back and appreciate the forest instead of being lost among the trees. After being lost for so many months a calm breeze kissed my skin this morning and whispered "wake up" and instantly I felt as if I could breathe again.
This past Sunday I ran my seventh marathon in Cleveland, Ohio. Getting lost in the numbers I was instantly let down by my performance. With the overwhelming feeling of panic consuming my being I immediately began to look for my next marathon to redeem myself. Being able to stop and be in the moment today made me realize that I am truly lost but having the sun warm my heart and the breeze kiss my soul I was able to pick my head up and know that I can find the way home.
Lost in my selfish disappointment I failed to see the beauty surrounding me and this past Sunday it was all around. Lost in my own self pity I failed to embrace a friends encouragement around mile 21 and for that moment I let it break me. As she grew smaller and smaller on the horizon I felt completely shattered until I realized I wasn't. Anger set in and I decided to finish as strong as I could. With my friend completely out of sight I somehow found the strength to pick up my pace and find her. Catching her with only a tenth or two left in the race we crossed the finish line together. This moment made for the best finish to any race I had ever run. The emotion of that moment witnessing my friend reach her goal and qualify for the Boston Marathon was overwhelming.
Lost in my own heartbreak I failed to see that I had friends all around me, caring about me and celebrating being able to conquer another marathon. Lost among the weeds of self loathing I failed to embrace the company of friends that in all honesty I didn't have a year ago. Friends who are made from the same fabric. Friends who share the same passion. Lost in disdain I failed to embrace the fact I managed a personal best even though my friends celebrated it for me.
With all of that confusion and noise cluttering my mind blocking my view of the forest I've come to the realization that there is more to running than just achieving your goals. It's the community, companionship, passion and most of all it's the friendship that grows over the miles. So with a humble heart I sincerely want to thank Julie Rudolph, Amanda Fire, Amy Pagac, Ashley and Sal Wood, Becky and Mark Rudzik, Brooke and Erin Schumacher, Cory McCusker, Jay Layshock, Jo Butchko, Scooby, Kara Sheesley, Kevin Guthrie, Liz Yazbek, Mary Beth Acker, Mike Mallis, Vince Marino, Tammy McFarland, Jason Hanysh, Todd Perren, Tom Grantonic, Danielle Cerroni, Justin and Joshua Boggs and Wendy Kish along with everyone in the Youngstown Road Runners Club for giving me a piece of your time even if it was just a wave out on the road. With all of that said I want to give a special thanks to Jaclyn DiSibio for reminding me that my heart was stronger than my mind this past Sunday and a VERY special thanks to Amanda McNich who has come into my life and completely changed the road I've been traveling. Without her heart and her ability to see the good in people I wouldn't be here today. She save me and that appreciation can't be put into words.
Everyone gets lost from time to time but being able to pause and embrace all that is around you can make the difference in finding your way home and continuing to wander without a direction.