The phone rang.
I was busy drying the dinner dishes and lamenting about how my knees ached from my hard five mile run this morning.
According to my training plan, I should have run nine miles today. I've been derailed for nearly three weeks with shin splints and am gradually getting back into it...struggling to build back up the mileage and the momentum that I lost along the way....and fearing that three weeks may not be enough time to get ready.
"Hello?," I said.
"I hope I'm not interrupting your dinner or evening with your family. I was thinking about you and had to call. I'm experiencing shin splints from the crazy amount of pounding on pavement today on my long walk (she works for a national non-profit) and I'm in pain. I have no idea how you've been doing it. But I wanted to let you know that I'm behind you. You're not just running for you. You're running for all of us."
After thanking her, I got off the phone and sobbed.
A stupid, dumb, 13.1 mile race. Why has this become so important to me? Enough to have me icing my legs four times a day. Taking ibuprofen with each meal. Reading everything I can get my hands on about form, cadence, shoes, injury remedies and running, in general.
It's important, I think, because in some tangible way, it represents me. The re-birthing of me. Since I started this process, I've lost 22 pounds, gained strength, endurance, a lot of heart ache, and confidence.
The running I do is for me. It's so that I can be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend...so that I can feel me again. The miles, the pain, the endorphins, the exhilaration, the hurt, the hope...it's mine. And I want so bad to finish this first big race.
So thank you, friend for the phone call. Thank you for actually picking up the phone, dialing my number, and saying the words. You have no idea how much they mean. Your call demonstrated how we should never underestimate the power of reaching out. We need each other more than we know.