I left with one specific goal in mind: I needed to tackle a hill. You see, I'm running the Freedoms Run Half Marathon this Saturday here in Shepherdstown, and it's second only to the Cincinnati Flying Pig half marathon when it comes to hills. I'm not sure how, but the Pig is 11 miles up hill, and 2 miles down. Don't ask me, I don't know how they work that, I just know I've done it twice and that was enough for me. No, the Freedoms Run is not as bad as Cincy, but it's a rough one. And the last hill I actually tackled was during the Tough Mudder last month in Frederick, MD. And by hill, I mean a wall of hay bales that I had to climb over. So I had some work to do. Luckily, it was just me, some cows and my thoughts.
I ran along the C & O Canal for a little over a mile and a half and as I approached the main hill that I wanted to tackle, Miller's Sawmill Road, I began to think about how lucky I am. I have some amazing friends. As I started up the beast that is Sawmill, I thought back to Friday night, traveling up to Philly and visiting with my best friend Mandie. We talk every day, but see each other far less than that. We were pregnant with out first babies together, and they were born 5 weeks apart. We lived together for awhile before there were husbands or kids in the picture, just cats. And we've remained close for years. I don't see her nearly enough but in our hearts, we know how much we love each other. And the thought of that love for my best friend got me to the top of Sawmill. And I felt so good, I decided to keep running, rather than turn back around and descend that hill.
|Photo courtesy: Wunderground.com|
It was so hard to leave my mom on Sunday because it's so hard to get back to see her with 15 & 12's sports and activity schedule, but looking back now, I know we need to get back more often, because I don't know how many more visits there will be. And as we left her apartment building, I cried. I cried because I miss my mom and it gets harder and harder to leave her with each visit. And as I ran down Sawmill, trying to feel my thumbs, and trying to keep from rolling down like a giant bowling ball, I laughed at myself for being such an emotional goof. And I promised myself that I will call my mom everyday, just like I used to when I lived back in Jersey.
And once I arrived at the bottom of the beast, I had about a mile and a half to finish on the Canal before I could be warm and dry in the comfort of my car. While I ran that last bit, I thought of how we spent Sunday night, in the company of our old neighbors. Our warm, caring old neighbors, with whom we'd spent countless days and nights, sitting on their back deck, drinking wine or beer, while the kids drank juices and bounced on the trampoline. Their boys and my girls were like siblings and spent so much time together. It was so hard to say goodbye to them when we left, and as I walked in their front door and hugged Fran, I forgot how much I loved her and how much I had missed her, and again, I cried. And as I finished up mile 11 yesterday, I smiled at how hard we laughed and how it felt as though I had never left. We picked right back up, chatting and laughing while the kids talked and played chess and walked to the store for us. We ate pizza and drank coffee and caught up. And I loved it.
We had a fantastic trip back 'home' to visit family and friends, and then came back to West Virginia to our new family and friends, and I got to enjoy the best of them both as I ran my 11 miles yesterday. I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life, and I am so thankful for what I have. The run really helped clear out the cobwebs, and I'm grateful that I have the ability to run, because not everyone does.