3.2 miles is not a long distance. It’s nothing to brag about, and there are no stickers for your bumper to let everyone know you conquered one.
I’m not a runner and I definitely haven’t ever felt the “runner’s high” while I play my music loud enough so I can tune out my woolly mammoth breathing. I only started doing it a little in my neighborhood so that I could help shed the last of my baby weight and it gives me a little bit of ‘me’ time in the afternoons.
So a year ago when I signed up for Sprint For Life, it wasn’t to compete with a previous time. It wasn’t because I love to run or wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday, it was to support a friend that lost her mother to ovarian cancer. A friend that I had only really met once before, I think? Before that day I didn’t know too much about her. I thought she was ridiculously pretty and our mutual friend always said how nice she was, but I mean… how nice can somebody really be? The most I knew of her was on Facebook and Instagram. We both had 2 kids, stay-at-home moms and seemed to have a good bit in common.
So when our mutual friend asked to ride up to Houston together to do it, I figured, Why the hell not?! I knew it was for a good cause and I did want to meet up with her because I felt like a social media friendship can only take a girl so far!
Little did I know, that this annoyingly pretty, nice girl would become one of the most treasured friendships I’ve ever had. We walked the whole race just talking. I learned about why I was really there, about her mother that she lost. I listened to her cherished memories, the ones she probably thinks about every single day not to forget one single moment. Not to forget the smells of her mother’s baking, or the way her hair fell when she laughed, or the last conversation they had before she passed. I swallowed back my tears and just felt honored that I was there. Inspired. This new friend was somehow being gifted to me and I left there feeling lucky. I was lucky to have woken up at 5:30 with my children sound asleep in their rooms of my parents house. My parents that I often joke about but know how fortunate I am that they’re still here. I don’t have to constantly think of ways to remember them because we are able to make memories all the time.
This is the same friend who later, encouraged me to finish my book. The first friend to do it and the one who read every single word while I was desperately trying to get it all out and ready to send to agents. The one who never let me get down on myself or second guess all the time and energy I was putting into it. She is nice. Too nice. Like genuinely, painfully, incredibly, wholeheartedly nice. She does anything for anyone regardless of how busy, or sick or tired she is. And after hearing these beautiful stories about her family and mother, who battled cancer for the majority of her children’s life (and her own), I can tell where she gets this from. I’m honored to say I get to have a friend like that. She makes me want to be that type of friend. That type of person.
So when the time came around this year for Sprint For Life, of course I signed up. I packed up my kids and drove to Houston! I achieved my goal of being able to run the entire time, without stopping, in under 30 mins. But most of all, I was inspired once more. As I ran that gorgeous morning, listening to my music, I watched all of the families. I watched the kids skipping happily next to their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. I watched survivors. I watched families who were left behind. And once again, I held back tears. I couldn’t help but feel so emotional at how happy everyone seemed, cheering on strangers and friends who passed them, laughing with one another about who knows what and just enjoying life.
That’s why I did this. Not to impress anyone. Not to be the fastest. I did it for my sweet friend who shouldn’t have a reason to do it, but unfortunately does. And I’ll keep doing it because hopefully one day, women won’t be lost to this. Hopefully one day nobody will lose their life to any cancer.
So this one is for you, my beautiful friend, and your momma who didn’t waste a moment of her life. And your dad who lost the love of his life and has somehow found a way to keep going without her with a smile on his face and his heart on his sleeve.
This one is for life and I’m glad you’re in mine.