Wednesday, April 11, 2012

26.2 Miles to Remember


Next week marks the anniversary of two important days in my life.  On Monday, I plan on reflecting on these important days over the course of 26.2 very memorable miles

First, as I have mentioned many times, April 16th is my 5 year running anniversary!  As I cross the finish line in Boston, I will remember the hard work I have put into my running.  I will also remind myself of how much running has changed my life for the better.  5 years ago, I was a couch potato who hadn't run in almost 10 years.


I wanted to change my life so that my girls could look up to me.  Now my babies will get to watch me run with 25,000 other amazing runners.  I am so thankful that I get to celebrate this anniversary running the marathon that motivated me to get me started.  I could say I would be complete after crossing that finish line, but I know I have so much more in me.  I plan on running the rest of my life and this will be the first of many Boston Marathons.

The second anniversary, is not as much a celebration.  It is a remembrance.  This time last year, I received the following text message from my older brother, Chris.


My brother knew how much running Boston meant to me.  He died two days after the Boston Marathon.  I will never forget the phone call I received to tell me that he was gone.  I literally had just talked to him the night before and now he was gone.

Chris w/ Gabbie at her baptism

Chris was taken at the young age of 38.  He was a father, son, uncle, and brother.  He was a Division I football player that I looked up to.  I shared my passion of running with him the summer he moved to Massachusetts (the summer before he died).  We drove to the trail every morning and ran some miles together, but mostly alone.  The ride home we would talk about how good running made us feel and about everything else in life.  Chris was one of the first I called when I qualified for the Boston Marathon.  His goal was to one day do a marathon and I was going to do it with him.

We don't know exactly how Chris died.  It could be blood clots, or it could be a complication of alcoholism.  My brother suffered from alcoholism and my heart hurts whenever I think about it.  I was never mad at him for being an alcoholic.  He was trapped and I was mad at myself that I could never help him.  I still don't understand addiction and haven't convinced myself to go to an Alanon meeting yet.  I have used running as a way of dealing with his death.

I spent the first few days after my brother's death just outside of Washington, DC, where my parents live.  Luckily, for me they have an awesome trail there that goes straight into the city.  I spent those days on that trail running.  I had no purpose and felt I had no control.  All I knew was, I needed to run. For the 2nd time in my life, running saved me and it has continued to save me this past year.

Dealing with my brother's death was hard mentally, but running has been my therapy.  The first 6 months after his death, I ran to sort out feelings.  Every race I entered, ended in disaster as I was not in a good place mentally.  Slowly, I have healed and I am thankful my running has been part of my healing.  Now, more so than ever, I am thankful to have found a hobby that I am able to love and that takes care of me.  My body and mind are better because of running.

And now, on Monday, I will reflect on all that running has done for me in the past 5 years.  Yes, I do have time goals, but I am OK with not hitting them.  I am OK because running has made me a better person and I know I will have my brother rooting me along every step of the way.

I dedicate my race to you Chris!

18 comments:

krissy murphy said...

What a powerful post, Robin. I know your brother is looking down on you from Heaven and so proud to be your brother.

Slomohusky/Generation X said...

congrats on the achievements! have a great race. sorry to read about the circumstances with regards to your brother. always sad to read of someone taken from life early. you have much to run for in this life. keep kickin'!!!

Jolene said...

Wow, Robin...so many milestones, both very very difficult and pivotal moments but also such moments to be so proud of, all wrapped together. I am so so sorry for your brother's passing, I cannot even fathom it, if it were either of my sisters. You will run such a proud race on Monday for your brother and for you. You have come so far and damn girl, you look amazing.

Runthelongroad said...

I'm so sorry about your brother, Robin.

This is such a nice post. Your brother will be with you on Monday!

Runnin-from-the-law said...

Hi there Robin -

Monday WILL be a memorable day for you. You are a fabulous role model to your beautiful girls and your brother will be with you in spirit every step of the way. I'll be rooting for you from my computer in Minnesota too!

Jessica M said...

Hugs Robin--he will be cheering you on from up above. I can relate to dealing with alcoholism first hand too--it IS such a heartbreaking disease :-( Can't wait to hear all the details of the race!! You are going to rock it! :-)

Laura said...

Oh gosh, Robin- how powerful. I knew your brother died recently, but didn't know you were coming up on the one year mark. I'm so glad you found some healing through running-- it can be such a tremendous form of therapy. Could I share this at some point in the purposeful running series? And you are amazing. I hope to meet you at Boston one of these years!! :)

Julie said...

it sounds to me like you've already won the race. i'm so sorry for your loss and admire you greatly for channeling it into something so positive that i'm sure is making your brother smile down on you. good luck to you!

Jessica Hofheimer (pace of me) said...

Oh my goodness, Robin. This post made my heart swell up. Monday will surely be a powerful and emotional day for you, for lots of reasons. I know you will carry your brother with you, as I'm sure you always do but especially for those 26.2 miles. You should be so proud of all you have accomplished, and how you have turned your life around. Ever since finding your blog I've found you inspiring, and now more so. I will be thinking of you Monday and sending you lots of love!

Middleaged Runner said...

Wow, what a beautiful post.... Monday is sure to be an amazing and emotional day for you- you have been thru and accomplished so much! Good, good luck on Monday, finish strong and take it all in!

Jess said...

Wow. This is a beautiful tribute to your brother and also to your journey to Boston, as well. You have come so very far in the past five years, you totally inspire me, girl! I can't wait to see you rock 26.2 on Monday!

Kendrabergstrom said...

Nice Post Robin. You can bet Chris will be holding a sign for you up in Heaven...

Colleen said...

I love this post, I love seeing how running has changed your life in so many amazing ways and I am glad you are dedicating this run to Chris. I know he will be watching you on Monday cheering the whole way.
*hugz* Have fun running Boston, enjoy it, you certainly earned every single second of it my love.
Thank you for being such an inspiration for the rest of us!

Leonor said...

Just found your blog. What a journey you've had! Running helps everyone in different ways. It's amazing the closeness we can feel with others by running. Good luck in Boston.

Katie said...

Good luck! So sorry to hear about your brother.

Jjrrstrand said...

I've read this a few times Robin. So incredibly inspiring. Tears and Hugs here. Have a super race girl-a super experience!!!

Jill said...

Just found your blog; have a fantastic time in Boston. For me, Boston was never about a finish line time but more so the experience. The reward for all the hard work it took to get there. Savor every second and smile with every step :).

I've lost a couple close family members to addiction and just recently read a book ("The Addict. One Patient, one doctor, one year". I can't even tell you how much the book brought me to realize that addiction is not a choice, you can't just stop. Loved the book).

Good luck to you Monday!!

Kat Jones said...

I agree with Julie's comment... you've already won this race! Enjoy every step and every heart beat! You're living life to the fullest!