This is an open letter response to the post my friend Jill Gabica shared yesterday. Besides reading this post, Jill and I have had a few conversations about her frustrations and fears. I could have easily responded to this post privately or on her blog, but I feel like MANY can relate to Jill’s story and frustrations. Thus why I am sharing my response here.
I think we are now running … on what? Seven years of friendship? I will always remember us bonding over our awesomely horrendous paper about Chuck Norris in Comm Research. Oh, and then there was the whole campaign to save the WHOAVES.
I’m not sure exactly how we became so close over the years. I feel like it just kind of happened, it was as though we connected with some sort of invisible thread. In my experience of life I’ve found oft times these kind of friendships have a divine hand guiding two people together. I have no doubt our friendship is likewise.
I will always remember standing with you, Mark and Addison at the finish line of the Salt Lake City Marathon two years ago. You came to support your friends, but I could see you get the crazy little spark in your eye that comes to many want to be runners. I know were wondering why that couldn’t be you out there. You said that a couple times aloud as well.
You got that itch.
And, instead of letting that moment pass you by, you did something about it. You took those first few steps into a journey you had no idea where it would take you. Could you honestly say that two years ago you would be running a marathon? I know that answer is no, because I asked less than a year ago if you would and you laughed at me.
But, here you are.
You’ve run 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons. You’ve ran countless miles out on the road; some with Mark, some with me, some others and most by yourself. Now you are a month away from running your first (you say only, but why limit yourself?) marathon. And, you know what? You haven’t made a mistake.
You have MANY reasons why you are running this marathon. The first and forthmost is the title of your blog. I wasn’t around you during her pregnancy or subsequent passing. And, I don’t think anyone can understand the pain, grief and sorrow you went through unless they went through it likewise.
The way you remember her by wearing a rubber ducky on your running clothes each run is beyond touching. Even when you are running alone, you are not. Isabel will always be with you and she will always be yours. I have no doubt she is EXTREMELY proud of you and Mark.
Besides Isabel you are running for her little sister Addison. Your desire to an example to her is not going in vain. She is watching you and taking mental notes. She looks up to you both. And, for being a toddler that spends her Saturday mornings in a running stroller watching cartoons she sure has a lot of patience. You are setting an example for Addison that will list a lifetime by showing her that you can do anything you put your mind to and work towards.
And, lastly, you are doing this for yourself. YES YOU! Don’t go about talking the attention away from the reality. This is YOUR marathon! However this isn’t your first marathon in life and it probably won’t be your last one either. Life is full of marathons, both physical, emotional, spiritual and so forth.
It amazes me the more and more I get into running, the more I realize that running really is just one great metaphor for life. The same things you learn from your marathon training you can apply to many of life’s situations and vice versa.
So, when you talk about having doubts about running and want to quit I don’t understand where that comes from? The Jill Gabica I know is a strong, confidant, purposeful and intelligent woman who is very deliberant in her actions. And, that’s exactly the kind of runner I see you as well. You are a strong runner who’s confidence has grown leaps and bounds since I’ve known you.
And, I know that you made an deliberate and intelligent decision when you signed up for your marathon. I have no doubt you sat down with Mark and mapped it out to see if it was possible. It was possible and now you’re doing it. So here you are.
I really can’t see a mistake here?
As you look forward to your marathon from now until race day reflect on this little journey you’ve had. Remember those happy moments you’ve had in life, cherish every learning experience and look forward to the future. I’ve found much peace in my own journey by doing this often.
But, Jill keep fighting. I look forward to running with you down Big Cottonwood and am beyond honored to share that moment with you. Keep your eye on the vision of you finishing and being surrounding by those that love you. This was not a mistake.
Thank friend for everything you’ve done for personally as well. I will always cherish our runs together, especially when they involve Slurpees. 😉