Sunday, June 7, 2015

Bummers and blessings

So. That cough of mine got pretty bad. It lasted nearly three weeks, and in the middle of it, I was sent home from work when I couldn't stop coughing and had a hard time catching my breath. I remember being in bed at 4 p.m. on that Thursday thinking, "But what about the streak?" I knew there was no way I could get out of bed and go walking, and when it hit me that I would have to end the streak, I was devastated.

The streak ended at 211 days.

I'm super proud of it. Yes, I wanted to do a whole year, but I had to be smart. And by taking three weeks off of running (and more than a week off of daily walking), I was able to give my feet a chance to heal along with my lungs.

But, as you can image, I've been fretting about falling behind in my training. So today's run was going to be super important. It would be the first day back on the track since my 10K in mid-May and my first attempt at running since the cough, and I really needed to get in at least 12-13 miles to feel good about where I am at.

I was blessed with a beautiful day -- truly perfect weather. And my first few steps at running actually felt great. I coughed a bit during those first few miles but soon hit a stride. And, I'll be darned, I was able to complete 13 miles this morning -- and without pain in my toes.

I thanked God over and over again.

And I thanked Jill. A year ago today, Jill passed way from breast cancer. She's strongly been on my mind over the past few days. When her song came on my iPod at mile 7, I was tired but was able to run the whole song (as I will forever try to do whenever it comes on). And what that taught me/proved was that I can do anything if I just put my mind to it. While I thought I couldn't run a step more during the prior mile, I proved that I indeed could. All because of Jill.

I miss her so much it hurts. Jill was always encouraging me in my running, always asking how it was going. Before my race at UNC, as I was standing at the Bell Tower getting ready to run, I pulled up the last email I had received from Jill. It was written April 22, 2014, a little more than a month before her death.

This is how it ended:
"thank you so much for your love and prayers.  miss you.  hope you are still running.  I think of you often and am so proud of all that you have accomplished in that arena.  it is not easy to keep up the motivation, I remember. love, jill"

I remember when I got that email feeling embarrassed that I hadn't run in quite awhile, that I had nothing positive about that to report back to Jill. So now, every step I take closer to getting back into a real running routine, I think of her and compose little notes in my head to her. The day before that race at UNC, Edgar posted video to my Facebook page of their four kids cheering "Run, Diana, Run."

And so I do.