May was better. Running was better, work was better, I wasn't angry at everyone. Then a friend died. Unexpectedly. Distressingly. I got the news as I was walking out to door to go running, but it took days and days to slowly seep in and become real, a recurring hurt that kept cropping up. Then my mom's mom, Grammy, was put into hospice as the reality of her situation became apparent, after emotionally draining discussions about end of life plans as those close to her struggled to accept the inevitable. Family gathered. People I had not seen in years and years. A celebration, a commemoration, hugs and songs and vigils by Grammy's bedside. She lingered, made comfortable by steady pain medication and not ready to quit the party. She continued to linger, for days and weeks. It was easy to forget that there was an end drawing near while I got on with work and family and travel and the last few weeks of marathon training.
June 1st, the day before the marathon, we are picking up our race packets. As I look around at all the other participants it crosses my mind that I am not ready for this. I do not feel fit enough and strong enough. June 2 the race begins and by 6 miles in I am tired. By 18 miles in I have started to walk intermittently, just wanting to be done. If a shuttle had come by offering an out, a freebie to the finish line, I would have taken it. Somewhere between mile 20 and 21, I got the text message that Grammy had finally passed away. She had lasted so long, been so tenacious. I had forgotten, for the moment, that she was on the brink of passing. There was 6 miles left. There was the humiliation of walking past cheering crowds. There was the running coach at mile 23 who reached out and grabbed my hand as I walked by and said "you got this" (I cried a tiny bit, then started running again.) I finally ran the last two miles crossing the finish line almost an hour slower than my first marathon.
In reality the marathon was just a few difficult hours in a weekend that was otherwise enjoyable and full of friends and family. Today, a week after the marathon, I finally ran again. Just a quickie. My legs still feel like lead, slow, sluggish. Today's run put me at 500 running miles for this year. Tomorrow, I'll go out again.
It was a disappointing marathon, but a good time to hang out with people I love, a good time to be alive and moving, no matter how slow. That's good enough for now.