I’ve had this song stuck in my head since Saturday, today is Wednesday. That’s the longest I think I’ve had a song stuck in my head. Saturday morning I left the house at 7am to run 8 miles. That was the longest distance I’ve ever run. The week before I ran 7 miles, a mile farther than I had ever run before. This is my training. I am registered to run my first and more than likely last, half marathon in one months’ time on August 3rd.
On Saturday I hit that proverbial wall and I hit it hard. Physically I kept going, mentally I was breaking down. I was doing fine up until around mile 6. Early on, as I ran through a park, down by the river I was passed by a group of high school girls running in a pack. I’m sure they were training for Cross country. My heart smiled as we were side by side for a split second, feeling as if I were part of the pack. I love seeing the pack of kids doing training runs for Cross country. I’m not sure why it brings me to a smile, maybe because during a race I am usually very much alone. Everyone that runs has passed me and most, but usually not all of those who walk are somewhere behind me. Some walkers have walked passed me as I ran, yep I’m slow.
After the initial pack passed me, a couple of stragglers came along, the ones who couldn’t, like me, keep up with the pack. They said, “hi” and “good job” as they too ran passed me. That made my heart smile even more, to be noticed, to be given praise for my accomplishment. The week before the boys cross-country team ran by me, going the opposite direction. I don’t think they paid me any mind at all. I hope they weren’t making a joke about me down the path after they were out of hearing distance. Maybe they didn’t see me. Having the girls recognize my efforts felt nice. I wanted to ask them, “how far you runnin’? I’m running 8 miles today! I’m training for a half!” But I just said “hi” back, and they were gone as fast as they arrived.
I had picked a good route for myself, I thought, some of it scenic so I could look around to take my mind off my hurting legs. The weather was hot and muggy however and I was glad I remembered to bring my water belt.
By the time I hit mile 6 and 7 I was in the middle of a subdivision, close to home. I had nothing new to look at, just these “cookie cutter” houses. I’d been here a dozen times before. I had plenty of time to think about how bad I was hurting and sweating, knowing I would have to run past my house and keep going because I wouldn’t have enough miles in. I started wondering and then worrying how in the heck I was ever going to run 13.1 miles if I was struggling this hard with 8. I wanted to walk, just stop running and walk home, be done with it and then this song came on my iPod. This is some of what I heard:
“Could you not be sad
Could you not break down
After all I won’t let go
Until you’re safe and sound
Until you’re safe and sound
I don’t blame you for quitting
I know you really try
If only you could hang on through the night
Feel like I could’ve held on
Feel like I was an angel
Feel like I was a hero
Feel like I was a zero
Feel like I really loved you
Feel like I could’ve saved you”
Maybe you recognize some of these words from Sheryl Crow’s song, “Safe and Sound”. I’ve had an attachment to this song for a few years. I have no idea of what Ms. Crow was thinking about when she wrote this song, but for me it takes me back to my cancer diagnosis, there were a few difficult nights and I had to “hang on through the night”.
I heard those lyrics as I tried to get through that last mile and a half and I kept going. It didn’t get any easier, if anything it got harder, but I kept going. That’s what this upcoming half marathon is all about, I’ve survived, I’ve hung on for almost 10 years now. I set my mind to run this half as a way of celebrating this life of 10 years.
I never planned to ever run this far, I never planned to live this long after my diagnosis, but here I am, “safe and sound”. Thanks Sheryl for writing that song and thanks God for shuffling it into my iPod at the moment I needed it.
I ran those 8 miles to my house. My body ached, my heart ached and my brain was mush. I sat down on my swing and I cried. I had done it, I ran those 8 miles and sat there scared how I would run 13.1 miles in a month’s time. I shared on Facebook how tough it had been and my friends didn’t feel sorry for me and told me I would do this. That’s what friends are for. They are my “angels” and my “heroes”. They are who keep me safe and sound. Thank you my loves for believing in me when I don’t and for kicking me in the ass when I need it.