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.