I did something crazy Monday. Quite possibly the craziest thing I've ever done. But that remains to be seen.
I couldn't help it, really. The button was just there and something told me I had to push it. So I did. It wasn't quite as impetuous as it sounds. I'd visited and been tempted to push the button before, but had somehow gathered the sense to resist. But not Monday.
My flirtation with the button began 6 weeks or so ago when I met my friend Tracey Outlaw for a quick dinner. Tracey and I'd connected online through the Megsmiles Facebook page, a group of several thousand people who've joined forces in the aftermath of Meg Menzies' death (God's Newest Angel) to search for and spread greater good in the aftermath of what seemed otherwise a senseless passing. At some point in our first face to face conversation, Tracey shared how excited he was about the upcoming Richmond Marathon in November. Many runners from the Megsmiles community will be running in the event to honor Meg - one she would have undoubtedly been running in herself - and the thought of putting faces with the countless postings of love, care and support over the past year visibly moved him. And in turn me.
When I got back home that evening I immediately went to the Richmond Marathon website. To my disappointment running a marathon still required one to cover 26.2 miles without the benefit of an automobile. Which meant I remained ineligible by my own admission. But that's when I saw the button. The Richmond Half-Marathon button. Don't get me wrong, running half a marathon only sounded half as crazy as the idea of me running 26 miles, which was still straight jacket crazy for sure. But for just a moment it sounded irrationally feasible. Then I rationally remembered the furthest I'd ever run in my life over one run was 8 miles.
So I closed the website.
A few days later I was out for a short run when I saw Scott, Meg's husband, running through town. We stopped and chatted for a bit. Before I knew it I was in another conversation about the Richmond Marathon. I asked Scott if he was running it. He said he thought he would. He also said he thought for many reasons it might be harder than running the Boston Marathon soon after Meg's death. I didn't sense he was talking about the actual running itself. I think emotionally having so many people together in one place who've been such a support to him and his family this year was overwhelming to think about.
When I got home from my run I went back to that website. I stared at the button for awhile. I almost pushed it that day, but I thought about the pain I'd been having in my heel lately. Thanks to reading Megsmiles posts I know the pain is likely associated with something called plantar fascilitis, which sounds like a Latin foot disease. I didn't think it would be wise to run that far with a Latin foot disease, so I didn't push the button.
This past Monday I got to thinking about Scott. He'd once told me Mondays are especially hard since Meg's death. He didn't say why. I don't think he really knew why one day was harder than the others. I happened to read a scripture in Hebrews 12 that morning I felt led to share with him. So I sent it in a text message:
"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross"
I told him the scripture was a reminder that all this struggle does end in the joy set before us.
Have you ever reached out to someone with a message you thought was for them but then once you delivered it you discovered the message was actually for you. I have. And that's exactly what I realized as soon as I sent this particular one to Scott.
"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."
I went back to that website. I saw that half-marathon button. And I pushed it.
Once I'd sent that message to Scott, I realized there'd been many Monday mornings he'd gotten out of bed in spite of countless reasons not to. Even though it seemed impossible to do. That's when I started once again thinking about all the reasons I couldn't run 13 miles, but his time I started thinking about them through the inspiration of so many of the Megsmiles posts I've read the past 9 months from so many inspirational people. And suddenly all the reasons I couldn't run a half-marathon weren't good reasons at all, they were simply a list of the things I'd have to overcome to do so. And so I pushed that button.
That afternoon I told Katie, my wife, that I'd pushed that button. I told her I simply had to cover 13 miles in under 4 hours. I reminded her I'd run a 10k a few years ago in 1 hour and 20 minutes, so certainly I could cover another 10k in 2 hours and 40 minutes. She very supportively - but with some concern for my health maybe - reminded me I couldn't walk for days after finishing that 10k.
So that only means this. I'll be wearing my new I run for Meg because Meg ran for Him shirt. And it's very likely those angel wings on the shirt are going to have to come alive those final 6 and a half miles or so and carry me home. I pushed that button to register with complete faith they will, that I'll be able to run with endurance this one race set before me.