Running is Cheaper Than Therapy: No Coincidence

1379853_10202093978051510_436101037_nI am not a religious person. I do not go to church and I’ll admit I occasionally take the Lord’s name in vain (Thou shall not judge me…the bible says so!). I am however highly spiritual. I believe whole heartedly in a higher power. That there is something out there greater than us.  That everything happens for a reason. That we are all part of a greater plan. And I do NOT  under any circumstances, believe that that there is any such thing as a coincidence.
That is why I feel like I must share the series events that occurred last weekend. This was not the scheduled topic of my next blog, but I feel the awesomeness of what happened is too good not to share with my wonderfully loyal readers. J
So I have been training hard over the last several months for my 3rd ever half marathon.  Now I knew I was capable of running the 13.1 miles, but this particular course had hills I mean a lot of hills! And I loathe hills. The last two halves that I completed were completely flat. And they were more than a year ago. So I was a teensy bit nervous I couldn’t do it.
To make matters worse, my little friend “the voice” had returned. Talking to me in the middle of the night. Planting a goal in my head. Damn that voice! The little voice was trying to convince me that I could run this half, this hilly half, five minutes faster than I had run the last two marathons! “Are you crazy”? I argued to the voice. But that foul little voice was persistent and once it had planted that time my head, I couldn’t get it out of there. I doubted I could shave 5 minutes off my time, but that lousy little voice believed in me more than I believed in myself.
The morning of the marathon was cold and there were flurries in the air. I hate the cold almost as much as I hate hills. But I was ready. My friend Lin and I decided to run together as long as we could. We were off to a great start, “eating those hills for breakfast” as they say. Then at mile 7, just as we were about to climb one of worst hills, I spied a big bright sign nailed to tree. As I read the words on the sign, “Impossible Don’t Exist…Run Josie Run!” I began to cry. It was for me!  “ Did you see that sign? That was for me”!  I cried all the way up that lousy hill! I knew it had come from T, my bff who could not be there to spectate that morning. That gesture meant more to me than a million dollars (well maybe not, I probably would have stopped to collect the million dollars instead of running right by it, but it meant a wicked lot).
Along the way, there were spectators lining the streets cheering for us. There were homeowners partying in their yards with music, signs and water to cheer on the runners. We had friends drive by in their cars yelling out our names in support. Our friend Karly even joined us at mile 8 in an effort to motivate us. There was so much support, we almost forgot about the lousy hills. Almost
I felt outstanding for the entire race. At mile 12, the streets became even more crowded with spectators. I was so caught up in the camaraderie and the crowd that I wasn’t paying attention to my music. When I approached the finish line, I saw the clock. Was it saying I was five minutes faster than that little voice told me I could do it? And a full nine minutes better than my fastest time? It couldn’t be true! I crossed the finish line with so much energy, exhilaration and pride, that for the first time since mile 12, I finally heard my music… “Impossible don’t exist”. That was the lyric playing on my IPod at the exact moment I crossed the finish line. I have 627 songs on my IPod. Tens of thousands of lyrics. And that was the one lyric playing as I exceeded my goal by 5 minutes. Coincidence?
As I became aware of the song, I immediately bawled like a baby.  A nice lady was trying to place my medal on me, but I was busy wiping away the tears I never expected. I hadn’t expected to feel so emotional. But then again, I hadn’t expected to hear MY lyric. A sweet stranger saw me crying alone and comforted me. He patted my back and told me “good job”.
I just love the running community.
As I said, I do not believe in coincidences. That was the lyric I was meant to hear and at that exact moment. But who made sure I was listening to it? I believe in angels. I’ve had more than my share of losses in my life and therefore believe I have a lot of angels that watch over me on a daily basis. I needed to thank whichever angel was with me at that moment…but I had no idea who could have been. I asked for my angel to give me some sort of sign that it was them.
That evening I was putting my 6 year old to bed. She decided she didn’t want to sleep under her usual comforter. She said she didn’t like that one and that she wanted to sleep with the “fuzzy blanket” on the end of the bed. My friend Leigh, who died of Leukemia 3 years ago at the age of 36, made that blanket for me when I was pregnant.  I told my little girl that she can sleep with my special blanket, but to treat it with care. “It’s just so soft and I like how it smells” she said
The next day, I was reading through my emails. I received an email from an old friend whom I hadn’t heard from in over a year. She had emailed me a picture that she had received of Leigh’s two young daughters visiting their mom’s grave for the first time since her death. It was so touching and I couldn’t help but cry as I remembered how hard Leigh fought just so she could see her two beautiful girls grow up.
I hadn’t caught on to this “coincidence” until I went to the fridge later to get some wine (Hey,I said don’t judge!) I keep a picture of Leigh and me on my fridge.  Two days prior, I had a friend over my house that saw my picture and recognized Leigh. They had known each other too. We talked about Leigh for a while and shared some stories about her.  We commented on what a “small world” it was that we both knew her. And how strong she was.
And then it hit me. It was Leigh. My sweet, strong, beautiful friend who lost her battle but fought like a champ.  In two days, her presence was around me three times. I believe with my whole heart and soul that Leigh was with me and that she played my lyric for me.  Leigh died a few months after the Paternal Unit slept with the ugly chic. She knew of my plight. And though she was fighting for her life, she still managed to be a good friend. Leigh even spent her last ever Christmas Day with me so I would not be alone. There is no such thing as a coincidence. And though it took me a couple days to finally pick up the “sign” I had asked for, I eventually got it.
Thank you Leigh.  Thank you my sweet, wonderful, and eternally supportive friend.
As runners, we get strength from so many places. We get strength from within. (That little voice we all have that keeps us moving long after we want to quit). We get strength from others. (Our friends, family, fellow runners, and complete strangers who come out in the cold, the rain, and the snow to cheer us on. They hold signs, cowbells or if you’re my friend, you’ve got a bloody Mary in hand in an effort to support us). And we get strength from places that cannot be explained. If you stop to pay attention, the signs are all around us. You just have to know where to look for them. You can call it God, you can call it a Higher Power, or you can call them Angels.  The one thing I refuse to call it is a coincidence.

Addendum: If you are confused by the “impossible don’t exist” reference, you obviously have not read the blog entitled “half crazy”. Read it. Its good.

 

 

About Josie RunnerGirl:
Josie is a mom of two. In between working full time and being a mom, she enjoys running, friends, beer and good food. Usually in that order.She will be contributing to a series of blogs entitled “Running is Cheaper Than Therapy”.

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