Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Running for Jordan

Six weeks after Jordan had passed away, I made my way back to the gym to begin working out again.  I was approached by one of the fitness instructors to consider running the relay in the Pittsburgh Marathon. It wasn't long before I committed and gathered a team of 5 women.   Two of the women were my neighbors, Toni and Brooke. Another was a woman I met doing stroller strength, Annie.  The last team member was Pam, a random woman who got stuck with us.  I stepped up to be team captain and we were registered just after the new year.

I was never much of a runner.  I always got shin splints when I would run.  The last time I ran a significant distance was in High school, during field hockey season.  I was nervous to begin the training.  I established a running schedule and really stuck to it, increasing my distance each week.   I ended up running the longest leg of the relay, with the most hills.  I had been training at a 10 min mile without inclines.

In the midst of training, I decided to buy a custom t-shirt to wear on race day.  The shirt was made to honor Jordan.  I was excited to get it in the mail and immediately showed it to Toni, one of my teammates.  She was offended I didn't ask her if she wanted one, SO of course I ordered one for her and asked the other team members if they also would want one.  I was excited that the other members also wanted to wear the t-shirt.   What a great way to honor my sweet angel!

Race day came on May 6, 2012.  With t-shirts on, we assembled ourselves at our exchange locations.  I was excited and nervous to run my leg.   My exchange came as Annie exchanged with me, about one hour and 30 minutes into the race.  I began my leg, which started at mile 9.  I began strong with fresh legs, passing many others right out of the gate.  I knew my 2 mile incline was approaching and wanted to save my energy.  I tried to get a consistent stride, but felt the need for speed.  Ahead, I saw the hill.  Half way up the hill, when I felt like walking, a few remarkable things happened.

1. A Christian song began playing on my ipod.  The only word I heard loud and clear in the song was angel.  The song made me push harder, knowing that I was running this race for my very own angel.

2.  Running up the hill, I dropped my head to watch the ground under my feet.  As I did, I saw a penny- heads up.  Why is this significant?  Just one week earlier, Toni told me that pennies are things angels throw down from heaven.
I found a penny today
Just laying on the ground.
But it's not just a penny
This little coin I've found.

Found pennies come from heaven
that's what my Friend told me.
He said Angels tossed them down
Oh, how I loved that story!

He said when an Angel misses you
They toss a penny down,
sometimes just to cheer you up
To make a smile out of your frown.

So don't pass by that penny
When you're feeling blue.
It may be a penny from heaven
That an Angel's tossed to you.

3.  As I saw the penny, I looked up to the sky as if to say "thank you" for showing me that you are with me.  Looking ahead again, my eyes immediately found a sign that said adoption on it. I laughed to myself and thought how ironic it was for all three of these things to happen to me within a 30 second time frame as I was climbing the hill.

As I laughed to myself, I also choked back tears. Literally choked!  Running and crying are not a good mix.  I composed myself to get through my leg.  As I continued running the remainder of my leg, several young children lined the streets, hands out to slap the runner's hands.  I took the opportunity to slap each hand that was outreached.   I will never get to slap Jordan's hand in a high-five, so I felt the need to do it to those who were there routing me on.  And although I know Jordan was right beside me,  helping to pull me through to the next exchange,  I will never have the opportunity to touch him again.  (Ouch! Writing that hurt! )

I must have had a pair of my own wings that day...I completed my 6.4 mile leg in 53 minutes.   That is a lot faster than the 10 min mile I have been training for. AND I had a 2 mile incline.  (Toot, toot) It is not often I toot my own horn.  I was proud of myself for sticking to my goal and accomplishing something I never thought I would do.

I did this for Jordan, but I also did it for myself and in the process lost all that baby weight- another accomplishment!

The shirts say: I have an angel

1 comment:

  1. Congrats Allison for running the relay! I felt exactly the same way about running after so long (high school). Wish I could have run with you and your shirts! ha.