That’s my bib for my first full marathon. The one for which I have to wake up in just a handful of hours, at the
bright dark hour of 3:00am.
The one which I don’t plan to finish.
Now hear me out, I’m not (just) being a pessimist. I’m not even that upset about the situation, if I’m honest. At least I’m not yet, hours removed from the balloons and fireworks and music and cheering.
But I made a promise to my sports medicine doc and my physical therapists – the ones I’ve seen every couple of days for 14 weeks now – that I wouldn’t run this race. A few months ago we all knew that meant I shouldn’t show up to the start corrals, because I’ve been known to be a bit stubborn. And a bit stupid.
Now though? Having not run a single step for over three months? After stopping, crying real tears, after 0.1 miles the last race I attempted? I think I’m “safe” to start.
So start I shall.
I will show up and support my husband, of whom I’m insanely proud. I’ll be a part of the community and see a few of my favorite backstage sights at one of my favorite places in the world. I’ll swallow some slightly bitter pills of humility and weakness, and talk down rising feelings of failure. Because I’ve grown.
Yes, it makes me mad that my body – between a rough hand where genetics are concerned and decades of damage done dancing – is not upholding its end of this plan. Yes, it makes me sad that my joint injections done earlier this week only provided minimal relief, which brings on a whole slew of doubts about mine and my doctor’s recovery plans. Yes, I’m a little bummed to have spent the money on the entry and only – maybe – get through one of four parks.
But years-ago Jennifer would have really struggled tonight. Present-day Jennifer is thankful her body was strong enough to carry three kids. To play with them, at least for a while, without too much pain.
Present-day Jennifer is thankful this weekend, planned for a race and personal records, has still provided amazing, quality time away with her husband. That her family is taking great care of her kiddos and that she’ll get to see them again soon.
Present-day Jennifer is planning the next series of runDisney races that perhaps aren’t so hard on her broken body, but still fun races to anticipate eagerly.
Of course, tomorrow-Jennifer might still have to fight a bit of competitiveness or sadness… which is why she’s writing now