I guess I was ready. All went surprisingly well today. Of course it sucked, temperature when I started was six, but that’s a given. Thirteen miles, a half marathon, and I did it in two hours one minute, which averages about nine-fifteen to nine-twenty per mile. I feel good about that as the path was pretty dang slippery.
I was practicing my hot potato-bunny hop running style. I guess it was good practice in working to shorten my stride a bit more, ideally those who know stuff say I should have 180 steps per minute. I have always been consistently at 170 steps, a pretty natural mid-foot striker, which isn’t too bad, but I can start to feel an improvement in my knees and hips when I focus on that quicker turnover.
Speaking of knees, my right one was saying hello at about mile nine. When I get consistent tightening in my knee I practice what I call the “kick butt method” or try to kick my heel into my bum a couple of times while I’m running. It helps, but today I actually stopped for a moment and tried to stretch out my knee. I was thinking it was not going to be too good if I had to start walking for a while. I was on the other side of the pond, and if I had to walk my sweaty body was going to turn into an icicle pronto, much like my water bottles in my belt. I have never had them freeze up before!
Fortunately, it worked itself out pretty good so that I could finish comfortably. Well, that’s not quite the right word, because I sure wasn’t comfortable! But I sure was grateful!
There was another race going on as I was finishing my last mile, they were coming from the other direction. Unlike the group from the fanny freeze, these were like Hanson runners, the kind that strip the paint off the barn in their wake. It is amazing to watch really fast and fit runners. Makes me even more tired than I was in the first place.
Jim called as I was driving home to see if I was almost there. Our son Simon was getting ready to leave (he texted in the morning to see if anyone was going to be there so he could come do his laundry) and Jim knew I would want to at least see our son for two seconds. Of course it always works like that. The one time he is coming, and I am not there.
Jim and I are in a tough time in our lives because our two older kids are gone, and when I say gone, I mean it. They have shaken the dust from this place and moved on. Not that they are angry with us or anything, they are just in their early twenties, and anything to do with home and parents is completely unappealing. I am not a clingy kind of person, but at the same time it surely would be nice to hear from them even once a week.
But that doesn’t happen. There are very little returns to our texts, there is never a call. Part of me wants to be tough and say, “Fine then. Go! Good luck to ya!” But I love them. And I miss them. So I reach out with a light text message: “Thinking about you. I love you sweetie.” Or an invitation to lunch or dinner or something and it is rarely acknowledged.
Now this is a cross. This is a painful, heavy, irritating, digging into your flesh kind of cross that I have not orchestrated or planned of my own making. It is a good one. A heifer. Little rejections from those I love the most. Rejection sometimes (when I am super hormonal woman) bringing me down into insecurities like in my high school days! And don’t even get me started on the worries I have about them missing mass on Sundays because I am no longer in control!
I could choose a number of ways to handle this cross, and I have. But sometimes I stop and think of what Jesus would do. What did He do? The thought comes to me that this was the hardest part of carrying His cross. It wasn’t the pain of that rough piece of wood digging into His shoulder, but His broken heart. I don’t think there was a greater grief than being rejected. Here He was, doing all of this to save us! And we spit on Him! We turn our backs on Him! We say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Oh, how His heart was broken and sad.
His heart was filled with eternal, perfect love. Mine is only a half-filled shot glass, but still it breaks with the rejection. In my smallest of ways, I can feel a tiny shard of what He felt, what He still feels in the abandonment of the Blessed Sacrament. His children do not come, they don’t write, they don’t call. But still He waits and loves them with an eternal love.