John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." NIV

Saturday, March 27, 2010

11.8 miles and Emotions running wild

First, I do NOT know what I was thinking when I decided to run my long run this morning and then sit in a car for 2 hours. Let me spare you the details... but my legs were aching. I hope I win some Recovery Socks in case it happens again.

This morning, I set out to do my longest run ever. My plan was to run for 2 hours... as far as I could. Here is what I looked like before I headed out. The sun was just starting to rise - it was 6:21 am. And it was FREEZING!

I decided to run the Rockville Millennium Trail and prayed that I did not get lost.

Mile 1: 10:14
Mile 2: 10:05
Mile 3: 10:35
Mile 4: 9:55
Mile 5: 9:45
Mile 6: 9:35
Mile 7: 10:25
Mile 8: 9:47
Mile 9: 9:48
Mile 10: 11:04
Mile 11.8: 15:54

I was just amazed at my time. I am not sure why I ran faster in the middle. There were hills there too. I finished in 1:55.

But something strange happened around mile 7. History: I do not run with music because I want to be safe. Currently, I do not have a running partner or actually anyone to run with. To pass time, I sing hymns in my head. New ones from the radio, old ones that I grew up with, some children's music from VBSes the kids attended... etc. At mile 7, "Love Lifted Me" came into my head. This song is very sentimental to me because my brother Kenny really liked that song because at the chorus, he liked everyone to get up on their toes - get it - "love LIFTED me...". And at his funeral, we did it.

More history: my brother Kenny died shortly after completing a half-ironman triathlon. According to the doctors, it did not have anything to do with the race - he suffered a brain aneurysm about 10 minutes after he finished. I believe that God took him then - because the pain was just too much for him. About 2 days later, surrounded by family, the life support machines were turned off and his body died. (I am sure I am messing up some of the facts here, but nevertheless, Kenny is in Heaven with Jesus and his funeral was a celebration of his life here on earth).

I used to listen to an old gospel group sing this song after Kenny's funeral, but had not heard that hymn in years. It was strange that it came into my head... but I just kept running.

At mile 11, the emotions were super strong. I felt like I was talking with Kenny. I started to cry and as I finished mile 11, I was in full blown tears. It was strange and comforting at the same time. I just had this overwhelming feeling that I really missed him. I started to wonder what life would be like if he was here on earth with me. I just began talking to him. (I am getting choked up just writing this). I said it was strange because I was not super close to him but it was like he was running with me. He lived in Arkansas and was in the Air Force. Before Arkansas he lived in Germany and before that California. We spent time together at the holidays and during some summers (I stayed with him and his wife, Kirsten, when I went to Germany for a while too), but maybe since I have a twin sister and he was my brother, I never really got to know him well. But I do know that he loved Kirsten and LOVES the Lord.

I cannot explain it in words, but Kenny carried me home the last 8th of the mile. When I stopped, I was no longer crying... I was rejoicing and thanking the Lord for that time. I walked half of a mile home and felt great. Here is the picture right after I got home.

The only other time I felt Kenny's presence like this was when I was in the 14th hour of labor with my daughter - he gave me peace and comfort. I decided to get the epidural... and 9 hours and 58 minutes later, Kiera was born. We selected a "K" name to honor Kenny's memory.

As I write this hours after my run, I am wondering where miles 12+ will take me. Each time, I was pushing my body beyond normal limits. Maybe I got delirious... but either way, I'll take it as an opportunity. It was super special to me.

I know some of you raced today and others race tomorrow... I am praying for injury free races for you.

I leave for the cruise tomorrow morning. I am mostly packed.... hubby needs to give me his things and then we are completely ready! Bon voyage!


Melissa said...

It was SO cold this morning! Sounds like an amazing run. Have a wonderful trip!!

MomRunningFromCancer said...

Sounds like a wonderfully spiritual run. Just when you need it most - the Lord provides. In this case - time with you brother.

Have a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious vacation. Enjoy the time with family and RELAX.

and by the way - great long run. I did Tall Mom's Virtual Race for the Cure today - 10K. It was a great day to run here in Madison.

Bon voyage.

MJ said...

Running really gives us time to look in to ourselves and think about things in a deeper way. I'm so happy for you, to have spent that time 'with' your brother must have been very special. Thank you for your thoughts on my race today!! I hope you have an amazing trip!! :)

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely a spiritual/meditative dimension to running. Running clears my head of mundane thoughts and allows me to be open and receptive. It sounds like this is what happened to you today. Congratulations on exceeding your previous limits and thank you for sharing the moving story about Kenny!

Teamarcia said...

I believe running a certain distance strips away something that allows us to see/feel things we otherwise wouldn't. Kenny was/is with you. What a beautiful thing!
Have a great trip!

Me said...

Walking and running are great therapy tools for people with stress, like me. It really clears my head and de-stresses me. Maybe something like that happens with emotions too. Whatever it might have been it was special. Something to never forget.
Enjoy your cruise!!!

momof3 said...

I've been known to get emotional and spiritual on long solo runs. I'm big into NOT crying anymore on runs though, because it's too hard to breathe through the "lump in the throat"! Slows me down too much...

My longest solo run was 11 miles, after that, I always tried to have someone along for at least the last 3 - 9 miles.

We had friends who would join us at mile 16 for the last 4 miles of our 20 mile runs, just to have company.

Drazil said...

I left you an award on my blog!

Marlene said...

Sounds like quite the run. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother - I had no idea. It definitely sounds like he was with you today.

Have a great time on the cruise!

Anonymous said...

our personal angels do so much to life us upward and onward.

Great run!!!! Thanks for sharing!

A Toronto girl out West said...

What an experience. It's funny how God and those who have left us have a way of finding us n those quite moments.

Thank-you for sharing!

Kirsten said...

Oh Jen, hardly any words, just precious tears, I get it, been there many times. So happy for your amazing run and even more for the unforgettable experience. Love you!

Bethany + Ryan said...

wow, such a sad story about your brother but it must be so nice to feel his presence. Long distance running can be so relaxing and spiritual so i bet you will be feeling his presence a lot more! congrats on your longest run. you are doing such a great job!

The Happy Runner said...

I hope you are having a great time on the cruise!

What an amazing post and run. So sorry you lost your brother -- that had to be incredibly hard. Glad you had such a special experience on your run :-)

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

First off love the close up photo, you are too cute!! Second this recap nearly brought me to tears. I find that I connect with my Grandfather when I run...the words "Help me Grandpa" have come to mind a few times on tough runs. It is like we are in a state of delirium where we are aware of things around us that we normally are not in tune with.. Thank you for sharing your story Jen..

Each new milestone you set with be just as amazing as the last.

Sorry I have been MIA, life....

H Love said...

Love it when God gives you those moments. Very special and powerful. Have a great trip!

MomRunningFromCancer said...

Happy Easter!!!

I hope you had a great vacation cruise.

Danielle a.k.a Yellie said...

What a beautiful thing to share with us, Jen. I always feel close to God when I'm running and it's kind of my special time to clear my mind of other things and really focus on Him. I think it's awesome that you experienced something so wonderful. This story made me smile.