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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Give me "something to believe in"

"Something to believe in" has always been one of my favorite songs. It is a staple on my iPod running playlist. The chorus has always spoken to me when I feel that I am fighting an uphill battle. For the past three years, these lyrics have taken on new meaning and bring tears to my eyes.
And give me something to believe in If there's a Lord above And give me something to believe in Oh, Lord arise ...I tried all night not to break down and cry As the tears rolled down my face I felt so cold and empty Like a lost soul out of place 
As many of you know I lost my father suddenly three years ago this coming Monday; a week ago today he was hospitalized. Each year since, as January draws to a close I feel a dark cloud closing in around me. I miss my father and think of him every day, but as February comes, marking another year I will not see him, laugh with him, I am overwhelmed with sadness and grief.

This year, as I trained for my 4th Quintiles Marathon at Wrightsville Beach, the sadness impaired my drive to push myself in workouts. I suppose my mind and body just didn't want to hurt any more than they already were; perhaps there is a physical and mental limit to pain the body can or will handle. I can't make the sadness of losing my father go away, but my body could shut down so that I could not impose pain through intense marathon workouts. Who knows, I'm certainly not the kind of doctor that understands these things.

It is times like these in which I am so very grateful for my husband, family, friends, coach, and teammates. I lean on them so much, often not disclosing why things seem so hard. I am so truly blessed to have these people in my life.

To get my head back in the game, my coach (Tom Clifford) gave me a series of challenges the past few weeks. The first was 30 x 400 meters at 5K effort which was moved to the hilly roads of Fincastle due to snow. He told me to think of having $100 bills in my pocket instead of $1 bills. It might sound silly, but I literally reached into my imaginary pocket and tossed out any $1 bills when negative thoughts creeped into my head...and it worked. The horses along the road looked at me with great interest when I released an enormous celebratory scream upon completing the workout.

This brings challenge #2. I typically race the half marathon at Myrtle Beach before Quintiles as a tune-up. Tom told me to race the 5K the night before racing the half marathon...WHAT? Tom was by my side for each event, even when another unexpected challenge came along: a massive pile-up and tumbling runners claiming both of us. Tom and I both ate pavement at the start of the 5K, a first for me. He pulled me up and we took off. Continuous comments like "Allie, I believe in you. You need to too" and "Now is the time to push; you got this" during the 5K drove me to a win, top 10 overall, and fastest 5K of the season. Dinner and laughs with Tom, Christa, and Josh topped off the night.

Saturday morning brought the half marathon. I was able to push through on tired legs and run a decent time. It was a huge confidence booster. After the race there was plenty of camaraderie with Without Limits friends.

I will leave Myrtle Beach with something to believe in and fewer tears rolling down my face. Having such an amazing support group of friends and family is invaluable. I am blessed. They have helped make running a therapy and release again and a refuge from grief and sadness.

Bring it on Quintiles!