So, did I mention I'm a terrible blogger? Here I had high hopes of posting after each race, sharing insightful lessons learned in relation to my personal growth along this journey, partly to help me track my experience, but more importantly, to help others who might also need the support through a similar battle. Yet, here I am, over TEN RACES since my last post, with nothing to show over the last few months - my apologies for being a terrible blogger - just not one of my strengths...That said, this whole thing is about taking care of me, so I guess I should stop beating myself up, right?
Let's catch up...
I believe the last time I posted was around Race #5. Since then, I've kept busy over the summer, getting all the way to Race #18 just this past weekend. I'd like to catch you up on all the fun the last 13 races have been, and I hope to do so in an upcoming post (don't hold your breath, based on my historical record). But what I'd like to focus on tonight is my most recent race experience, #18.
Race #18 was the Charlottesville Women's Four-Miler on Saturday, Sept. 5. If you don't know, this race is an all-female race in support of breast cancer research. I used to work with the people who coordinate the race when I was with the UVA Health System Development Office, so I thought it would be a good race to add to the list. Little did I know the tremendous impact this race would have on me and my journey.
Given the "all female" bit, I decided to throw out an invitation to some of the female runners in my life to see if anyone would be interested in joining me. SEVEN ladies signed up!! I thought I might get one or two, but SEVEN - how awesome is that! And, it was a steep registration fee, not to mention traveling to Charlottesville (some people have that whole "I don't go over the mountain" thing), so to get seven amazing women to join me, I was deeply touched. Plus, the women who signed up with me came from all different parts of my little Harrisonburg world, so it was a perfectly diverse group of women supporting me, and doing something good for themselves as well.
I was so excited and grateful to have this group, so I made shirts. Why not, right? My dear sister helped me come up with the best and most appropriate slogan ever - "Girls Run the World"! (You see what she did there? A little Beyonce reference/pun? Get it??) And while I tend to stay quiet when it comes to feminism or female power, I will say, this experience might be cause for me to get a little louder on the subject. Why? Turns out, when a group of women come together to do something for good, it's quite powerful, super human, in fact. I kind of already knew this from other experiences I've had, but this race was the perfect reminder to help me focus on all my sisters out there, and that, when women come together, there's NOTHING we can't handle!
This world is a pretty crappy place, and it's hard, especially when battling depression, to not let the darkness consume you. The race was all about breast cancer, for crying out loud - talk about one of the crappiest diseases EVER, that has taken too many good people from this world. That said, the light that I felt shining on race day, surrounded by seven truly inspiring women, was just what I needed to remember that the world isn't all that crappy all the time, and when it is, I'm never alone.
I think God provides us with opportunities to find strength in each other. It's up to us, though, to allow others in, to let that support shine through. So often in my darkest days, I would push people away. I even stopped going to church after my husband shared our struggles with a few people there. Whether it was embarrassment, cynicism, social anxiety, or just plain exhaustion, I was constantly pushing people away - still do sometimes.
But I'm learning, little by little - the more good people I surround myself with, the better life gets. And the seven women that joined me on Race #18, well, they're some of the best of the best. If I'm half the woman that these seven are, I'm doing alright. Girls rule, that's just all there is to it.
So here I am, over the halfway point. I might actually finish this thing - WHAT?!?! Whether or not I blog about it, well, we'll see...I'll try again before my next 13, deal?