4.22.2008

Dear Erin,

When I read your post yesterday, my heart sank for you. It. Sank. For two reasons:

First, had it not been for your mention of training for a half marathon many months ago, I never would have undertaken a twelve week training program myself - a program that was grueling at times, but was truly one of the best things I've ever done for myself. I wasn't so sure that I was up for the challenge when I said that I'd train virtually with you, but your e-mails along the way kept me going. I often thought to myself that if a mother of two who works and is the most prolific crafter around can stick with this program, I have no excuse not to. I have you to thank for the idea, for the inspiration, and for the support. And I can't thank you enough. It was an awesome experience just to participate in the training, an experience I wouldn't have had if it wasn't for you. My heart sank because if anyone should have the satisfaction of completing the race, it is you, Erin.

My heart sank, too, though, because I know exactly how it feels to be unable to complete a race for which you've trained so hard. As you know (but most of my blog readers don't, since I hadn't mention the race here before), I was scheduled to run my half marathon here in Portland on April 13th. I started the race with some stiffness in my legs, but soon found my groove and was running comfortably at a pace I was really pleased with. But by mile six I wasn't feeling well, and at mile nine I had to drop out. My legs and lungs felt great, but other issues with my body demanded that I stop. My initial reaction was devastation. I know how it feels to train so hard and so diligently only to have the satisfaction of completing a race taken from you.

I didn't want twelve weeks of hard, satisfying work be overshadowed by the uncontrollable events of this one race day. I was lucky enough to find another half marathon scheduled for the following week. Nevermind that it was located two hours north of Portland. Barry, my parents, and I schlepped it up to Elma, Washington, where I was able to complete my first (and, I think, my last) half marathon. I know, Erin, that our situations are different, and that your injury is going to take some time to heal. But there will be other half marathons if and when you're ready. Honestly, though, I think that completing the training program that you were kind enough to share with me is a far greater accomplishment than completing one isolated race. What I accomplished in those twelve weeks far outshines the events of that one day in Elma. Thank you, Erin, for playing such a huge role in my training experience. You have much to be proud of.

Wishing you a speedy recovery, friend.
Susan

P.S. I also owe thanks to Barry (a great coach and cheerleader), to my parents (who traveled across the country and endured an additional 240 mile drive to see my little 13 mile run), to my sister (for being an major inspiration by successfully competing a triathalon), to Ursa (for her encouragement and expertise), and to Terry (who provided some great advice on stretching that kept me moving throughout training).

13 comments:

house on hill road said...

oh susan. i've got too many tears right now to comment intelligently, but thank you. for everything.

mariss said...

You have such a big heart, Susan. Thanks for letting us ready your sweet letter to Erin.

I'm happy to hear that you were able to do your race. But I was far happier to hear the great sentiment about your journey.

Chickenbells said...

I'm sorry sweetie...but did you just call your half marathon a "little 13-mile run" ? No no no...you accomplished something MAJOR here! Even when you had to reschedule and try it again...congratulations! I think it's so wonderful that you were able to do that!

I am so sorry for anyone having any injuries when they are trying so hard to complete a goal...I hope that everything clears up and heals fast...there's nothing worse than wanting to do something so good for you, and then having your body change it's mind and ask you to slow down...

The Lenart's said...

You are amazing to accomplish it. The training, doing it almost twice in a week. I am so happy your parents were there with you too. It adds so much more to the whole experience. Now I think you should try to do another one. As I told Erin, I vote for Memphis TN (December). :) I am starting running after we get back from vacation.

heyyy said...

YOU ROCK! yeah!

ease between notches said...

Wow! That took a lot of courage to go and try it again just one week later - that is SO FANTASTIC!! And as I'm sure you know, the biggest accomplishment is the commitment and dedication it took to get you there. Erin should be so proud of herself for that too. It is no small feat to get as far as she did. And it is so kind of both of you to be so supportive of each other along the way. I'm just getting back to running now - more than 6 months after my injury. But the pain-free three-mile run I was able to do yesterday was so sweet, so it was worth the wait, and the time off. It can be so heartbreaking to not be able to finish what you started, but I've learned that the races will always be there. And hey, I had more time to craft!!

shy_smiley said...

Of course the disappointment overshadows the journey but hopefully with time you and Erin can look back on your amazing commitment and know you did the very best you could, race or no race. I'm impressed with your ability to listen to what your bodies are telling you, not pushing your bodies beyond their limits, and honoring your bodies as the temples of your souls. Many lessons to be learned here. Congratulations.

amandajean said...

oh, susan, you are such a sweetie...this is a wonderful post.

I am glad to hear that you were able to complete a half marathon. yay for you!!!

Erin said...

Erin is lucky to have such a caring and compassionate friend!

design for mankind. said...

Awww, what a touching story of friendship, Susan.

Kat - Taylor Made designs said...

how sweet are you?
Sounds like you both are winners no matter what you ran or didn't run.
congrats :)

shari said...

susan, you are so thoughtful and caring. such a touching letter. thinking of both you and erin.

mansuetude said...

this is a terrific post--i think it challenges me in some ways, too. Our dreams are always somehow within reach.