I’m standing in my kitchen in the early-morning, daylight-savings darkness, nursing a cup of coffee. I’ve just come back from a 2.5 mile run, and am enjoying quiet time before everyone else wakes up. I’ve said prayers and done stretches and eaten a granola bar, and the caffeine is starting to kick in, so to avoid going in and poking the baby till she’s awake, I scroll through my social media feeds.
It seems like everyone, EVERYONE is in New York for the marathon this weekend. Everyone! The mere act of reading posts brings a contact high.
A wave of envy washes over me. A plaintive wail rises in my brain: “I wanna goooooo!” I mean, the crowds! The famous runners! Being in New York! Being a part of the biggest (I think?) marathon in the world! God, the excitement!
I bat the feelings aside. My life, after all, is good. I have a beautiful family, and a lovely kitchen to relax in. I’m able to run, and any running is good running.
Besides, NYC is a stinkin’ expensive marathon. And travel costs. And my preference for open spaces. And I ran it once, in 2007, and said once was enough. And…
I bat those feelings aside, too. There’s nothing wrong with being excited about this race. Even feeling envy. Empirically speaking, it will be great — the American women alone!! Hello?!
And speaking otherwise? This race — and all of the big, media-buzzy races — represents possibility. It’s a light for the future, for me and no doubt many other runner moms. It’s an unwavering beacon. Hang in there, it says. Stay strong. Have goals, even if they’re long-term, even if right now they seem crazy. That fire in your belly is worth fighting for. Keep your feet on the ground but keep your eyes on the horizon, because YOU CAN.
So I will. I’ll do these things, and I’ll tune in tomorrow morning, and I’ll let the inspiration and passion pour over me. I’ll watch those women — Shalane, Desi, Allie, Molly, all of them — and take mental notes about the values I want to embrace for myself and pass on to my daughter.
Hard work. Commitment. Believing in yourself. Patience. Finding contentment in the moment, yes…but also feeling unbridled, shameless excitement.
Good luck to everyone running tomorrow!