It’s not often that I get to sit down and really think about all the wonderful people in my life. Today, though, I’ve been struck by just how lucky I really am.
Just this morning I have had eight separate emails wishing me luck at Sunday’s marathon. These people took a few minutes out of what is undoubtedly a busy Friday morning to let me know they are thinking of me, that they support me, and that they care about me.
This morning I’ve also received a text message from my dad, and I got an email yesterday from someone so important to me I tear up just thinking about her.
During my first half marathon (well, technically my second), I dedicated each mile of the race to someone. Today I’d like to take a few minutes to sit down and list the 26 most important people in my life, because this race on Sunday is not just about me. It’s about you. And how each of you got me there to that starting line. And yeah, I’m going to be calling on each one of you as I run this marathon, to get me through the tough points. So if on Sunday morning you find yourself thinking of me for no reason, it’s probably because I just called upon you at a tough moment.
1 and 2. My mom and dad. A no-brainer, right? “Of course she picks her parents.” And yeah, I could wax poetically about how I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them, 34 (eep) years ago, but that would be trite. This may be too: What I am today I would not be without my mom and dad. They taught me how someone should act in this world. They taught me how to be a responsible adult. I credit my mom and dad with instilling in me this driving need to do something important with my life. To make a difference. To always give back, and to never give up. Treating everyone (EVERYONE) with respect, no matter what differences separate us.
3. My husband. What can I say? He’s not just my husband, he’s my best friend. I literally wouldn’t be running this race if it wasn’t for him. He signed me up, made the hotel reservations, and watched the kids every Saturday while I went out and ran for hours. He is the one that said “go for it!” when I told him about this “Live Uncommon Race Team thing.”
4, 5, and 6. My boys. I have been incredibly blessed, with three of the most amazing and unique boys I have ever met. Every day they make me smile, make me laugh, and also often (maybe too often) make me yell. Each one has a unique personality, and I love watching them grow and change, even if it is happening way too fast for my liking. I want to set a good example for them, to show them how to be good citizens of this world.
7. My sister. I only have one sibling, so I am so lucky that this is the one I got. She’s amazing. She and I are so different, yet the same. It’s hard to put into words. We have different interests, different styles, everything. But our outlook on life is almost identical. I know the credit to this goes to numbers (1) and (2) on this list. No matter if it’s been a day since we talked or three weeks, it’s like no time has elapsed. I’m closer to her than just about anyone else in my life. And I don’t tell her that nearly enough.
8. Bean. What can I say about the person who singlehandedly changed my outlook on life? I’ve written about him before. There are lots of things I’ve written about him that I haven’t shared publicly. I have thought about him on every long run. I still miss him so much it makes my stomach hurt. I would never have taken up distance running if it wasn’t for Bean. I signed up for Team in Training in his memory, I would never have run a half marathon otherwise.
9 and 10. Doug and Diane. Doug is one of my best “work friends” and someone who has grown into a pretty awesome “non work friend” also. Even though they’re old enough to be my parents, I find that I don’t think of Doug’s, or his wife Diane’s, age at all. Doug and I first connected through a shared love of music. From heavy metal to Pink Floyd, to, well, everything, we found we had so much in common. Doug is a person that I can always feel comfortable telling him exactly how I feel, what I’m thinking. I know he won’t judge me, and that he will listen to whatever I need to talk about. Often I realize I’ve talked through the whole lunch while he has said practically nothing. Then later he’ll send me a three page email with all the things I probably should have let him say. Some day I will figure it out, Doug, I promise. Doug and Diane are also two of my biggest supporters. No matter what challenge I take on, or what fundraising event I sign up for, I am always blown away by their support.
11. Steve. Steve and I more recently started working together, about three years ago. When I started fundraising for Team in Training, I sent a mass email to everyone at work asking them to consider a donation. I was surprised when I got a generous donation from Steve. At the time I hardly knew him. Through the last few years, though, as we’ve worked on various projects, we have gotten to know each other. He’s no longer just a colleague, I am proud to count him among my friends. Steve lost his brother this week, and I was unable to go to the visitation or the funeral. But I will be thinking of him while I run this marathon, and sending strength to his family in this difficult time.
12 and 13. John and Wanda. Brian’s parents. Wanda is the one who sent me the email I mentioned up in the opening paragraphs. Wanda is another amazing person. How many of your high school friends’ parents still keep in touch with you? For me, she’s the only one I know of. Wanda follows all of us, keeping in touch, sending emails periodically, letters and cards, and the like. She made baby blankets for my boys. I can’t put into words just how important John and Wanda are in my life. Sadly I don’t see them much any more, but I know that they are always just an email away.
13. Jessie. I met Jess because she’s married to a friend of the family. Although I didn’t know her that well, I feel like I’ve gotten to know her over the last year or so through Facebook and her blog. She ran the Minneapolis Marathon last year and has been such an amazing supporter through this journey. Knowing that she did it has given me the confidence to know that I, also, can do it. Thanks, Jessie!
14-20. The RMM. Yeah, I’ve already said how important they are to me. There are over 100 of them, and I couldn’t start listing all the ones that have impacted me so far. There are a few, though, that have spots closest to my heart – Bethany S, Heather, Tara T, Tara G, Michelle, Brea, Holly…I better stop before I fill up my 26. Each of you has made a real impact on my life, and I thank you for that.
21-26. LU Race Team. This is also a big group (not quite 100…yet). Josiah has gotten me through the long runs. John has given me advice and counseling whenever needed. Phil and Jen are great running partners. Emily shows me that continuing training on a treadmill in China is actually feasible (can you believe she ran 9 miles on a hotel treadmill? Torture!). The rest of the group that blazes down the trail ahead of me? Amazing motivation to keep pushing forward. I can honestly say that this training cycle has been so much easier thanks to you all. You’re an inspiration and I am looking forward to the rest of the summer with you all!
That’s just a sampling of the many people who I could thank for helping me on this journey. There are others who I didn’t list, there are probably more I couldn’t/didn’t think of.
It will suffice to say that with this much support behind me, there is no option but to succeed. See you at the finish line!