I just ran into a friend of mine who wished me well on running the Boston Marathon tomorrow. She said something that is still floating around in my brain. When her brother was in the military and in the midst of the intensity of boot camp, he told himself, he could do anything, he just couldn’t stop.
So my friend and I exchanged jokes about how tomorrow, I can do anything to get from the start to finish, I just can’t stop. Thinking in a glass half full way, I am now imagining all the things I can be thinking of tomorrow that will take up space in my brain where the buzzing mosquito voice lives, reminding me throughout the marathon that I should stop.
Instead, I will think of all the dogs at the shelter that take up space in my heart. Like Penny, the hound, who howled at every dog who got within five hundred yards of her, but would put her head on your lap and close her eyes. I will think of all the toppings that would be amazing on a huge messy cheesy slice of thin crust pizza. I can try and guess how many times I could sing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing in 26.2 miles. I can make up wacky Roller Derby names for all the runners surrounding me. I can high five every little kid who sticks there hand out on the sidelines on the course. I can just be present and look at the trees and smell the air and feel my legs moving. And just know how freaking lucky I am.
But I won’t stop. I will keep moving forward. Hopefully mostly running. There may be some walking. But I will move until the distance from the start becomes greater and the finish line is beneath my aching feet. Because I am running for the dogs. The dogs at the shelter who have made me a better person. I am running for those who are no longer alongside us, but live in our hearts. And I am running for the year that cancer kept me on the couch more than outside in the world.
Tomorrow, I am running in the Boston Marathon. And as someone who grew up watching and hoping maybe someday I would get to run it, that day has arrived. So there are two things I won’t do tomorrow. I won’t stop. And I won’t ever take it for granted that I am running in the Boston Marathon.