a different path

It's been five months since I started running again.

I ran when I was in college, doing summer road races and around my parents house where I lived again. My sister Laura and I ran our first Half-Marathon together in 1998. One of the first things that TJ and I did together after meeting each other was to go on runs. We would run early Saturday mornings and then end up at his parents house (where he was living) only to find a scrumptious breakfast waiting for us (made by Tom!) We ran the Half-Marathon together in 2000. That was fun. Then, we get married and pregnant, and I begin to walk. Walking was good, no great actually. I have thousands of memories of me walking. Walking (rather waddling) around our neighborhood at 8 months pregnant with Thomas. Walking for an hour and a half every day while pushing him in the stroller as he slept. Walking with friends on the mo-pac trail as we all pushed our one child in the stroller. Walking with two babies in our double jogger stroller. A two year old and a baby. Watching Annie's chubby, fat, rolley polley legs get tan from laying in the stroller as I walked. Beginning my early morning routine of walking at 5:30 am when Annie was 4 months old (so I could go out alone.) Walking around and around and around and around.......(you get the picture) of the boulevard in front of our new home. Waddling around it thousands of times during my pregnancy with George and Evelyn. Bundling up and heading out in the freezing cold early mornings during the winters.

The boulevard in front of our house that I have walked/ran around probably one thousand times. It's like an old friend to me.

It's the most beautiful when the sun is just rising in the early mornings.
Which brings me to where I am now. I really had thought I was no longer a runner, but a walker. I can't do that anymore or my knees will start hurting....was my thought. Then after my miscarriage with Joseph something changed. I needed to do something. My first thought was to run. And so I just started running again, simple as that. I started coming home from my runs and writing down my thoughts. This is from the first day.

Feb. 15th 2010

It's been just one week ago since I miscarried our dear little Joseph. Since losing him, I've felt like I wanted to "do" something. I found myself eager to get back into our routine of life. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, projects with the kids. I don't know if I wanted to get my mind busy and not dwell on the fact that I am no longer pregnant, not going to have this baby in August, I really don't know. Usually, after I have a baby I dread the "getting back to normal routine." That's why I cry so hard the night before TJ has to go back to work after being home with us and the new baby for a week. The routine means that "life is back to normal." Bringing a child into the world is anything but that. So, I shocked myself a bit when I felt the desire to "do" right away. Maybe its God's way of helping to heal me? I thought. Of course the day I decide to begin running it's a balmy 12 degrees outside. Windy, cold, and snow are not exactly optimal running conditions. I am always cold. I hate being cold. But, out I went, bundled up like an Eskimo to run around the blvd six times. Despite the bitter wind blowing in my face, it felt really good. It felt really good to be outside. It's been a really long and cold winter and I feel like I haven't been outside except to take the kids to and from school. It felt good to move my body. After I ran six times around, I walked to cool down. I lifted my head up to the sky and breathed in the bitter cold air. As I was walking with my head up, I realized how much of my day is spent with my head bend down. It's down when I nurse Evelyn and stare at her face, when I'm helping with homework, while making meals, picking up toys, vacuuming the floor, reading books, ect. So as I lifted my head up and took some deep breaths, I felt alive. I was overcome with a happiness to be alive, happy to have made myself get out into the cold and run, happy to be able to walk.... run no less. Happy to have been given the chance to see and hold our fifth baby, even if only for a few minutes. I realized that I have a purpose for living. God created me for a very specific purpose. I've always known that, but now I understood it better. God created me to LOVE HIM. Love Him when life is wonderful. Love Him when He asks me to carry my cross. And I am trying to do that Lord, I am thankful for this cross of losing a child. Thank you Lord for my life. For TJ, Thomas, Annie, George, Evelyn and Jospeh. Thank you for our health. Thank you for the opportunity to be at home with our children. And thank you for the ability to run.

It helped me so much to do that. I never run listening to music, I usually pray the rosary and then just let my mind wander. I remember those first weeks of running, all I would think about was losing Joseph and how God was changing me. There was a reason why. And now, looking back, I can see that God wanted to put other people in my life during this time. Shortly after I started running, Janel sent me an email. She said that she had heard I was running and wondered if we would like to run together some time. I knew of her, but that was all. We began meeting at the MoPac trail a few mornings a week. I was surprised to find someone else who wanted to run early in the morning! We would meet at 5:15am and run five miles. You can really learn alot about a person when you are spending an hour together talking while running. We found that we really had LOTS in common. She asked me if I would like to pray the rosary together. We formed a beautiful friendship. Soon, Laurie began meeting us. Now the three of us run on Tuesdays and Thursdays together. We pray, talk and listen and encourage each other. Even better, we've added coffee at Scooters after our Saturday morning runs. That's actually my favorite part. Sitting together, all sweaty, sipping coffee and talking! Erin and I have ran a few Sat. mornings together and I always love and look forward to our conversations we have while we run. Many people have asked me how and why I wake up at 4:45 to go run. It's actually my favorite time of the day. I so love getting up, starting a pot of coffee, putting in a load of laundry, unloading the dishwasher while the house is dark and quiet. I enjoy so much the conversations we have on our runs, that now I look forward to getting up. Don't get me wrong, I'm dog tired. Especially since I usually don't get into bed until midnight. But it's worth it to me.

Last winter, when I thought about the coming August, I was picturing me adjusting to life with a newborn while having a 16 month old and three others. I was excited, and nervous. I thought about how we would work out TJ taking the kids to school so that I could let the baby, myself, George and Evie sleep in. I wondered if I would get so engorged this time around when my milk came in. I had lots of thoughts and pictured life a certain way.
It's almost August.
Life is so different than how I pictured it just a few short months ago. I've grown, changed, challegned myself, and learned what I am capable of. We always use the phrase "go with the flow" to our children to help them learn to be flexible and ultimately to trust in God. I've definitely had to practice what I preached and learn to go with the flow. God has always had a grander more beautiful plan that anything I could ever imagine. Thank you Lord for teaching me this lesson.
I see now that God was leading me along a differnt path. One that I could not have imagined only a few short months ago. I'm running down a different road. It's beautiful. Different than where I thought I would be, but beautiful.


fullofgracex7 said...

Sitting here with goosebumps...another beautiful post. I am so thankful for you. Looking forward to many more mornings together! :)

Jennifer said...

I love it! You never, never know God's plan. It is so amazing how He puts people in our lives at different times. What a cool path He has put you on now!

Lindsay said...

I love your reflection the month after you lost Joseph. It is amazing how he leads us down different paths, how beautiful they become, and usually how we resist them at first and never would have chosen them if He asked our opinion. I am so glad you have found this path. God keeps us moving right along.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, Kristi.

Although I will never get up that early to RUN, you've inspired me to get myself moving too, just to feel good in this body God has given me. Alive and healthy. It's good medicine to get the heartrate up, right?

I've been using the elliptical now at night, so thank you for the inspiration.

And the 4th anniversary of when we lost our third child is coming up. This post reminded me of that raw, raw heartache. And then, of the healing that comes when we are ready.


Anonymous said...

P.S. You girls are even bigger rockstars if you can pray and talk while you run. Do you ever get out of breath? ;)

Stephanie said...

There is a lot to be said for re-gaining trust of your body through exercise. Jude and I started P90X after losing Michael-a different path indeed! God bless!