Its taken me a bit of time to process Sunday.
Woke up, did all the usual pre-race stuff, and rolled into Manitou.
Greeted by incredibly positive and supportive team members (thanks!).
Tried to quiet my growing anxiety. Everyone looked so young, fit, and ready to kill the course. I felt a bit old, a bit slow, and a bit of doubt.Cancer takes away different parts of your self. My confidence in my body really took a hit. Dismissing the little negative thoughts , I let myself go into routine, a little stretch, some quiet breathing, and then turn on the Garmin.
It flashed a low battery message and turned itself off. After three more attempts at starting it, I let the info sink in,damn cat did it again. knocked it off the charger and I didn't notice .
A brief panic moment, then I had to let go of having any idea of pace/time. I am a bit ritualized with running. The Garmin is my companion and its presence is a comforting touchstone. Letting go of its security, I lined up and focused on breathing, deciding to really let my body dictate pace. Whatever the pace wound up, I was going with it. So I dug into giving myself permission to let go of the race I planned on running and embrace the race I was going to run.
I let go and ran, reminding myself to not push too hard, not focus on anything but breathe and body, turnover, and the beautiful day.
Somewhere on the course there was a runner breathing hard. It sounded like WHO! WHO! and followed me through different parts of the race. In Zen Budhism there is a meditation practice focusing on 'who'. As I was running up a particularly steep place the runners 'WHO' struck me in a way that I remebered the Zen koan (story), and began to laugh. I'm sure a few people thought I was losing it. In a way, a good way, I was.
Approching the finish, I had no idea of time, then spotted the clock,and saw I was doing better than I thought I could.
There were a few tears.
Cancer shook my life to its core, stole the plans I had, and moved me to engage life on different terms. No GPS for this path either, I am creating it as I go along. Listening to my heart and my soul as I pick a path that resonates, finding a pace that allows me to engage my life in a meaningful way.
For now, I get to run. Pure and simple beauty.
Thanks to my teammates for your support and kind words, and the Reeses.