Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

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Monday, May 2, 2011

The woods

are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. Robert Frost

Eugene, OR May 1, 2011
Race One
(There were over eight thousand participants!  Serious shoulder-to-shoulder runners. Such a sweet rush to run alongside all of those lovely people!)

I'm so happy to report that (it appears) I am still alive after running the Eugene Half Marathon yesterday morning!


  Wow.  I have to say, this was not such an easy accomplishment.    :)  I had to do some seriously deep digging to get through those 13.1 miles.  But I did it.  Not in under two hours (as I was gently hoping for) but I totally did it.  And I'm very happy.
Below are the beautiful, gorgeous, soul-stirring butterflies that flew with me along the way...

1)  after my alarm went off at 4:30am, and before I ate breakfast and had my much needed coffee, I took a moment to check my email.  I'm so happy I followed that nudge to post Saturday's post and then the nudge to check my email Sunday morning...I carried those filled-with-love words of encouragement with me the entire 13.1 miles.  Seriously, thank you so much for taking the time to send your love my way, beautiful women.  It made such a difference

2)  my husband got up with me and made coffee for me and drove me an hour away to the starting line...I didn't have to think of a single logistic (directions) to get myself there.  Thank you, Matt.

3)  the woman I met at the starting line with the gorgeous aqua blue eyes.  We giggled and shivered (it was 35 degrees at 6:30am) and shared stories and encouraged each other before we even started running.  So lovely to meet someone amongst that huge sea of people that I could have a heart-connection with.  Thank you, blue-eyed girl.

4)  the Star-Spangled Banner being sung right before our legs started moving...that song always brings the tears

5)  the funny guy who held up the sign that said, I'm so proud of you, complete stranger! I saw him several times throughout the miles and each time I read those words, they cracked me up and warmed my heart

6)  the Johnny Cash song that was blaring out all over the place. the music along the way totally carried me

7)  the several high-fives I got from tiny kiddos along the fuel for my weary body

8)  the geese that flew right overhead and honked their heads off.  I'm sure they were cheering me on.  Thank you, sweet geese

9)  the look on my husband's face when I passed him (around mile 7 or so) was just pure love and pure sweetness...totally brought tears to my eyes

10) around mile 6 or 7, I came to the realization that breaking two hours was just not going to happen.  It was at this point that the deep digging and deep letting go began...I started saying a little mantra that went something like this....please God, carry me.  Please God, carry me.  Please God, carry me.  And sometime, right after this mantra began, I passed a little, tiny, adorable girl that held up a sign with her little hands.  The sign said, "JUST DO YOUR BEST."  Oh, my I needed to see that sign.  It was so touching and sweet and came at just the right time

11)  the man running beside me who was talking to a woman running beside him...I overheard him say, if I think it's about the pace, then I've completely missed the mark.  I totally needed to hear that.

12)  Around mile 11 when, for some reason, the spectators kind of disappeared and things were really quiet and the pain in my feet was really LOUD, I kept hearing Rachel's lullaby whispering g e n t l e n e ssssss.  Rachel, you have no idea how much I needed to hear that.

13)  The woman who was holding up the sign that said, in bright glittering letters, S H I N E--this definitely made me feel shinier

14)  seeing the big sign that said F I N I S H and then noticing the HUGE crowd that filled the bleachers and than hearing their roar of applause and the tuba players ....even though I was absolutely spent, I lit up and "sprinted" for the finish...seriously, I passed like 7 people in that last 15 seconds.  Turns out I was finishing my half at almost exactly the same time the full marathon WINNER was coming through. (Seriously, he ran twice the distance in the same time...deep, deep bows to you, Mr. Winner)  So, even though that applause was fully for him, it felt like it was fully for me. And I fully needed it and I fully accepted it.  :)

15)  the moment (after the sprint) when I stopped running.  And then I almost threw up but I didn't and then some beautiful girl put a big, shiny medal around my tired neck and I wanted to cry but didn't and I was done (thank God).  

16)  fast forward through the hobbling around to get some food in me, the hug from my husband, the long drive home...and there I was soaking in the hot tub, with the sun (the SUN was out, which is a really big deal because it's been raining for months and months and months) on my face, and the Ibuprofen doing its thing...and me feeling so so so thankful to be comfortable and done and home and so beautifully alive.  And done--did I already say that?  

I was so happy to be done.

What a day.  


  1. You did it!!!!! I wish I could be there to celebrate with you. I just love how you found encouragement and strength right when you needed it most - it just came to you to lift you and support you. Thank you for sharing your experience here - it is so inspiring, as always. How beautiful the connections can truly be, even with people we have never met. You are my shero!
    Love to you.

  2. Congratulations and much love, sunshine!

  3. so proud happy and excited for you!! what an accomplishment--yay!!!

  4. Congratulations Incredible Lady...what courage it takes to "soldier on" when the going gets rough..
    Thank you for sharing your achievement...reading your personal race along with others that you met, signs that you saw, music that you heard, prayers that you uttered, made me feel as if I was there...
    I don't know if I will ever be able to attempt something so physically demanding, but if I ever do I will think of the day you did and be better for it...

  5. Yay, my friend! You did it!!! The Carneys were cheering you on yesterday! I've been anxiously awaiting this post. Sounds like it was one blessing after another. Your inspiration will keep me going as I prepare for mine in 6 weeks!

    You look sun shiny and beautiful standing with your medal and, clearly, YOU ROCKED IT!!!! So happy for you and your strong body and spirit!!


  6. Julia, I wish I was there to cheer you on ... to see you smile when you finished the race ... to hug you and tell you how so very proud I am of you.
    You shine and are such an incredible inspiration to all.

  7. You are inspiring. I trained for a marathon years ago. But the pain was so intense I stopped. You make me wonder if it is possible again. Maybe it wasn't the right time then. Maybe the right time is coming. I am a different person now, and I question if its about personality or physicality. Hmm. Maybe there is only one way to know :). Thanks so much :).

  8. sweets! number 11!!!
    i am so touched!
    & you did it, dear, you did it!
    & oh, that woods poem
    SPEAKS to me.
    how YOU always speak to me!
    looove you! xox

  9. An angel just whispered in my ear and told me to tell you that all of that applause, all of the banners, the geese, the sunshine and the look on your husband's face were.... ALL... FOR... YOU.

    You make a half marathon sound like such an adventure that I want to do one too!

    Well done Julia! Bravo!


  10. This post was so beautiful! Thank you for sharing all the butterflies and how you were carried, and for giving an authentic account of it all that was so full of something between the lines. Sending love and pride for my gentle friend who ran her ass off!

  11. You are awesome! I admire your determination and I loved that you were able to recognize and take in all the sweet messages and support along the way. Thanks for sharing those moments. Reading it made me a but teary-eyed at times :)


  12. Congratulations!! Well done!
    I think your mindfulness in noticing these moments, carrying them, and recalling them here is an achievement, too. Way to go!


What are you thinking/feeling? I'd really love to know...

♥ Julia