Run and Pray

This won’t be a post about Boston.  I’ve read, listened to, and breathed in so many words of wisdom and seen so much imagery that I’m filled to overflowing with them.  I’ve shed gallons of tears, prayed fervently, thought about the victims and their families, and imagined “what if” until I’m exhausted from it.  That precious eight year old’s face haunts my dreams, and thoughts of how his father and family are dealing with all this is almost more than I can bear.  The faces of the injured and their stories are inspiring, and they are each in my prayers when I run.  I wasn’t there, nor will I probably ever qualify to run Boston.  But, still, I feel like someone came into my home and attacked my family.

Again, this isn’t a post about Boston.  The aftermath left me mute and unable to write for many days.  I was still in New York City when it happened, had gone for a run in Central Park that morning and day dreamed of a future in which I might be fast enough to even dream about qualifying.  The days following the bombing were filled with travel and work for me, and I remained mute.  What I was able to do was run and pray.  So, run and pray I did.

I’m still running, and I’m still praying.  I’m carrying some residual sadness in my soul, not just from that incident, but from other, more personal things, as well.  I’m saddened by a world that tries to strip away the joy of life’s most joyous events, I’m saddened for those victims and their families, I’m even saddened for the suspects and their angry, thrown away lives.  I’m saddened by a world that disregards human life. I’m saddened by  a world that doesn’t realize that our problems stem from turning our backs on God, and turning our faces toward evil.   So, I pray.  And, I run.

I run toward joy and healing, not just for myself, but for a hurting world.  A fellow blogger posted in her commentary that rather than just running a “tribute” run, do something.  Give blood at your local blood bank, volunteer your time at a soup kitchen, be a visible presence in the life of someone who desperately needs a hero to look up to, walk into your neighborhood nursing home and ask which patients don’t get many visitors, then visit them.    You don’t have to be a hero to help. You just have to do it.   Let this incident be the impetus that gets you moving, and gets you helping.  There’s always a need for smiling faces and helping hands somewhere.  Find your place.

I run toward hope and our future.  I know that the running world will go on.  That’s what we do, we move forward, we endure.  I also know that America will endure, and I pray that we will turn our faces back to God and reach out to each other with love and acceptance.

This is a post about hope.  About faith and love, and how those are the greatest of things.  The only things that can heal this hurting world.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  1 Corinthians 13:7-7

 

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Run-about

Some days it’s just good to be alive.  I’m in New York City for a few days, on a business/fun/girl trip with my sister, her business partner, and some friends.  They all had a make-up convention today (my sister owns a fabulous skin care franchise called Fluer de Vis), so I had the day for myself.

I’m not sure what it is about this city that makes a crowd hating, redneck country girl who loves wide open spaces and the ocean love it so, but I do.  I love to visit here, run in Central Park, wander about the city, take photos, people watch, visit museums, see great shows, and eat at all the best restaurants.  I usually visit at least once a year, but this is the first time I’ve been back since running the NYC marathon in 2011.  I’ve eagerly anticipated this trip for months.

I decided to try a new running route this time.  I love running in Central Park, but I always do that.  I’m the lone runner in the group, so I did some research and discovered the West Side Bicycle/Running path that traverses the west side of the island along the Hudson River.   I talked to several people, including the hotel concierge, and decided it was safe to  try it solo.

I got up this morning, got all my gear on, made sure I had my road ID, as well as cash, credit card, and phone, and I headed out. I don’t think there are words or pictures that do justice to the beauty of today’s run, so I’ll just offer you these images and hope you’ll come do this run one beautiful spring day yourself.

I started at 46th St, at the USS Intrepid.

I started at 46th St, at the USS Intrepid.

Hudson River

Hudson River

image

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

Lady Liberty from across the bay in Battery Park

Lady Liberty from across the bay in Battery Park

Happy runner at 9/11 Memorial

Happy runner at 9/11 Memorial

Beautiful green space at Battery Park

Beautiful green space at Battery Park

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Twelve miles, one venti coffee, one hot dog, one pretzel, and about ten gallons of water later, I’m tired, but happy. Now, to find tickets for a show tonight! Central Park run tomorrow!

Divine Intervention

Our traditional pre-race photo.

Our traditional pre-race photo.

Kait, Me, my beautiful friend Amanda, and her running buddy, Brad.  So proud of my girls!! Amanda killed her first half mary!

Kait, Me, my beautiful friend Amanda, and her running buddy, Brad. So proud of my girls!! Amanda killed her first half mary!

There are so many things I love about running.  One of my favorite things is that your only real competitor is yourself.  Even in a race scenario, you’re a winner for training and finishing.  Your main goal is to beat your best time at that distance (a PR).  I knew going into this half mary that I wasn’t ready for it.  I’ve really laid low the last month, trying to get my mojo back, working on reconnecting with my love to run, just taking it easy.  So, instead of a taper week, I’ve had a taper month, with only 5 or 6 runs since my last race.  And, no real long runs for all that time.  But, that was okay.  I made the decision (at the strong suggestion of my coach – my man, that is) to just run this race like it was a training run.  He even encouraged me to run naked (NO GARMIN).  And, I agreed.

Race morning dawned way too early and was a little cooler at the start than I like, but promised to warm up quickly.  Kaitlyn ran the 5k, and smoked it.  I’m so proud of her, and especially proud that she realizes what a huge deal it is to shave four seconds off your time.   If she puts her mind to it, she can really excel at this.  She’s been looking for her mojo lately, too, though.  Hope she found it again today.

If you're still smiling, you're not running hard enough.

If you’re still smiling, you’re not running hard enough.

I started out on track. Left the Garmin at home, just wore my pacing timer. I really did feel naked, but as it turned out, I’m glad I didn’t have the Garmin. It was an awesome race – well planned (thank you, Heather Hood, and the rest of the H’burg Clinic team), plenty of volunteers for all those tricky turns, weather was amazing after the coolish start, excellent race course through and around my alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi-recently hit hard and devastated by a tornado, lots of familiar faces, and I felt pretty good. I didn’t worry about pace, but there’s something about a race that makes you a little panicky when you start passing all those runners ahead of you going in the opposite direction. I let my nerves get the better of me about mile 6, pushing it harder than I should, not wanting to drop the ball too far from my wheel house.

Then, at about mile 7 1/2 something happened to me that never has before. I fell. Hard. On my right knee, the one that always gives me trouble anyway. Fortunately, I was rounding Reed Green Coliseum and there was no one around to witness the event (which would have made if infinitely worse), but there it was. A potential race ender. I picked myself up and saw blood gushing from said knee, then limped on around the coliseum. Race volunteers ran quickly to my aid, helping me wipe the blood up, offering to call someone, and expressing heartfelt and genuine concern. I’ll admit, the thought of a DNF did cross my mind appealingly. But, then, I thought about my man with his broken leg, consistently working out and pushing through pain. I thought of how I would feel at the end of the day to have a DNF over a fall. I thought of how I would feel riding back to the finish line, instead of running across it. And, I looked at the sweet race volunteer and said, “I’m good. I’ll walk it out.” And, walk it out I did. After about a half mile or so, I tested an easy jog. Then, I picked up the pace, and finished the race. Because, isn’t that what runners do? And, I realized, this was Divine Intervention to keep me from stressing about my pace (or lack thereof). I couldn’t push hard on a blood dripping knee.

Still bleeding at the finish line.  But, I finished.

Still bleeding at the finish line. But, I finished.

The last five miles had lots of hills, and I took an easy pace that favored my dripping and wobbly knee. When I was about two miles from the finish, a car went by with passengers who yelled, “Go Mrs. Jayne!” I couldn’t see who they were, but I think it may have been my “Run for God” buddies. I turned around and waved, what a boost that was!! Thanks, guys!

As I neared the end, I realized I had no idea how much time had passed. Considering the two potty stops and the time I spent cleaning my bobo, then limping along, I figured I was pushing the three hour mark. A long way from a PR, but like I said, I was trying not to worry about that. I was very pleasantly surprised when I got to the finish line and the clock read 2:40. Maybe I need to run naked more often. 😉

Finish line photo.  Love my man, he's always right there.

Finish line photo. Love my man, he’s always right there.

I read this earlier this week.  Little did I know how much I would need that.

I read this earlier this week. Little did I know how much I would need that.

I think if there’s one lesson I want to take from this race, it’s this. Don’t wait until you can do something perfectly to do it. If I waited until I could be the first across the finish line, I would never cross one. Reach out, grab the world, and run with it. Even if you fall, you’re still ahead of the people who never even give it a shot.