My half-marathon is a week from today. Yesterday, I had my last long training run, and ran 10 miles. The town I live in has a pretty great system of connecting greenways, and yesterday I took a route that ended up in my old neighborhood.
The house we live in now is only about 5 miles from my old place, but I never go by that house anymore. It’s not that I intentionally avoid it or anything, I just rarely need to go anywhere in that direction.
One of the weird things about long runs is the way that my mind can sometimes wander. I started thinking about how different my life is now, versus then. And man, if that wasn’t a lesson in gratitude.
Almost exactly 5 years ago, I tried to start running for the first time in my life. I remember starting the couch-to-5K program, when the idea of being able to run for 20 minutes without stopping was just unimaginable. I can now run for 2 hours, which is not something I would’ve believed I could ever do. (I mean, ok yes, I do still take some walking breaks here and there, particularly on really steep hills. Even still: TWO HOURS.) I’m really proud of myself for the progress I’ve made with that.
I also started thinking about how at this point four years ago, I was pregnant with Lucy, and my marriage was falling apart. Everything I thought my life would be – husband, two kids, pretty house in the suburbs – was vanishing in front of my face, and I was terrified. I remember telling my mom that my due date felt like a countdown to a death sentence, because my life as I knew it was ending. I cried at every OB appointment. I actually had to find a new doctor for all lady-parts related issues, because just walking in the door there, even two years later, gave me a lump in my throat and that horrible stinging-behind-your-eyes feeling when you’re about to cry.
It’s weird, I was so scared to have Lucy, because I was essentially going from a married mom of one kid to a single mom of two kids. But I can’t imagine life without Lucy, and watching how her relationship with Catie has developed is one of the greatest joys in my life. Also, I’m now in a happy, loving relationship with a man who accepts me completely, never invalidates my feelings, and never shuts me out. That’s pretty different than my life four years ago. (I don’t mean for that to sound like a slam on Dave. He’s not a bad person. But the two of us as a married couple were not a good match.)
So while it’s true that it’s not the life I thought I would have, it’s actually so much better than I ever thought it would be.
And now: half-marathon in 7 days. I’m a little nervous, of course, but after that run down Memory Lane (see what I did there?), I’m ready to go rock this.