I’ve fallen a time or two while running, literally. One of the most memorable times was while I was pregnant with Chloe and Eric and I were on an early morning run together, I tripped on something and he quite literally caught me. Before that fall, I was mostly fearless while running pregnant. That fall added caution to my mind and my steps were more deliberate after that moment. It’s like that in life too, even the most fearless of us can leave us hesitating after an altering experience. Those tumbles, or almost tumbles, teach us about ourselves. They in some way change us.

I didn’t run the marathon I wanted Sunday, but I’m proud of myself for how I am reacting. The me of the not so distance past would have written a dramatic recap and been disappointed in not only a PR but a marathon in the 3:30s.

I’m not going to lie and say there isn’t still a twinge of sadness but I know after this week it will likely leave, where it might not have in the past and this and this is why.

For every door that closes in my life another better one has always opened up later.

I like playing the mental game of – if this didn’t happen then that wouldn’t have happened.

The other day while the ESPN Run guys were here filming I recounted the story, for what felt like the 100th time of how I really started running. How my mom promised to pay for anything that had to do with running, whether that was a race entry, running shoes, a new Nike Dri-Fit shirt, books, you name it, in order to help give me the push to start.

I also recounted why and how I trained for my first marathon at her suggestion. As I thought more about how she got in to running it occurred to me, that really there is another person I should be thankful for when it comes to how my life changed. The co-worker of my mom who asked her on a random day at work – hey I’m thinking of running a marathon, would you want to run it too? Neither of them had run a marathon before, but my mom liked this co-worker and really wanted to be friends with her. If you are female you know this feeling all too well. You see the cool girl across the room, the effortlessly beautiful one, who has her life together and she just looks like someone you could be friends with or would want to be friends with OR maybe the girl isn’t effortlessly beautiful but she looks quirky and you see an inner beauty that oozes out of her – you love her Dr. Marteens and think, this chick and I would be best friends, she just doesn’t know it.

My mom said yes to that co-worker, who turned in to her best friend, and they trained for and ran their first marathon together when I was a sophomore in college. I don’t really know why but my mom and dad asked me to go with them on the trip to California for my moms first marathon, the Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon, to spectate.

My dad and I got burnt to a crisp as we waited for my mom, her co-worker turned friend, and the co-workers sister to finish their first marathon. They wore bibs I had made for them that they wore along with their numbers that said My name is X, and this is my first marathon.  It took my mom over 5 hours to finish that day and I still can remember very vividly how insane I thought the three of them were. Why on earth would anyone want to run for 5 hours?!?!

That co-worker of my moms became my friend in the years following that marathon – the closest of friends. She is Chloe’s godmother and we eventually trained for marathons together.

Ashley 5

Chicago Marathon

She ran by my side during the last miles of my first BQ and assured me that even if I walked to the finish line I was going to get that BQ. She has been there for me and with me on many important occasions.

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Ever since Gary died Colton has had a weird thing about death. He is concerned on a near monthly basis about things that a 5-year-old shouldn’t think about. The other day he asked me if I died and Daddy died too, who would take care of him. I assured him I wasn’t going to die and he said – well you told me that Pop didn’t know he was going to die, so you don’t know. He then said well where would we live? I told him that I wasn’t sure but that if we both were gone that everyone would take care of him and he would be ok. Everyone like strangers too, he remarked. I said NO Colton, you are going to know everyone and lets not talk about this cause it’s not going to happen. Well do you think that Chloe’s person would take care of all of us? Person? Yeah her person, her mother person. OH Ashley? Her godmother? Yes! Would she want to take care of all of us?

The reason I add that part of the story is because Colton doesn’t really know Ashley that well, she moved away not long after he was born. Like me though, she has left a lasting mark on him.

 

So while marathon #32 didn’t happen this weekend, it just means something else will happen in its place at some time in the future. If Ashley had never asked my mom to run a marathon, my mom may never have become a marathoner. If my mom didn’t become a marathoner, I’m not sure I ever would have signed up to run one either. Everything, good, bad, sad, terrible, perfect, amazing happens as it should. Another door will open.

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