December 6, 2011

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Nikes

When I was a kid, I loved music and I loved to dance. But I hated P.E.

So I was thankful when junior high came around and I could replace P.E. with band.

No more running in front of peers.
No more feeling slow and awkward.

Last Sunday, I ran my third half-marathon.
The temperature was around 39 degrees.
And it was RAINING.

I finished in two hours and 46 seconds -- a personal best.
I finished 165 out of 981 in my age division.

Five years ago, I never would have thought of running a half-marathon. Maybe a 5K. But a half? In a cold rain? No way. I am too slow, too big, too clumsy ....

And then came autism. The kind of autism I could no longer deny.
With it came personal disappointments galore. Another child with a birth defect, a marriage in trouble, fear, stress, loneliness ... sadness.

If I hadn't started running, I am not sure where I would be.

Here is what I will take away from my last race:

(1) Maybe running a half marathon sub two hours isn't such a pipe dream, after all;

(2) When your knee starts to hurt, and then you see somebody pass you who is running with just one leg, you really don't feel like complaining;

(3) I really appreciate people who get up early and stand in some crap-weather to cheer;

(4) As difficult as it is to run 13.1 miles in a cold, non-stop downpour, it is not nearly as tough as parenting a child with autism, and it pales in comparison to the challenges my son faces every day.

And what do you know?
I don't really suck at this running-thing.


  1. awesome!!! i agree with all your reasons for running. i hadn't worked out in 4 years AT ALL or ran in 2 decades. yikes. i just picked up running this past july and got a tad obsessed. i was up to 8 miles when i think i overtrained at hurt my knee, but i still ran the philly 8K 2 weeks ago (part of the philly marathon weekend). I finished in pain (knee not healed but had gotten the green light to run from my ortho. doc.) and in the dead middle of the pack of over 1400 runners BUT it was so far from the hardest thing ive done. in fact, i could run 4 marathons back to back and it STILL wouldnt be the hardest thing ive done. nor would it the hardest thing many people have done. its all mind over matter and its nice to feel you've completed something, conquered something, climbed the mountain and feel proud and full.... something that doesn't happen with so much with parenting :)

    anyway, sorry for the long comment - what i could sum it up by saying is two words

    YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. A, thank you so much, girl. You rock quite a bit yourself.

  3. Leah,
    First congrats on the run, I know it must make you feel as if it is an escape from the outside world.
    My name is Sara Fant. I found your blog through your dad. I work up at the college gym every now and then when I am in from college. I am going to school for speech pathology and your dad and I have plenty of conversations about Daniel. I have a special amazement on autism. I love these kids and there special talents. Thank you for sharing your story about Daniel. I know it's not been an easy road at all for you and your family. I would love to eventually meet him. The last time he was in Texarkana I wasn't in town.
    Yet again thank you for your story. It is kiddos like Daniel that help me push through school so I can help them and their families. It's inspiring to hear of all your hard work and love for your kids.

    1. Thank you so very much Sara for your sweet words. I would be glad for you to meet Daniel. We will be in town later this month, so just ask my dad-- we never come to town without heading to the pool!