Recently, I was asked to participate, on behalf of UPMC Healthplan, in a video series entitled “YOU ARE HERE” regarding the Pittsburgh Half Marathon 2019. After hearing the objective of this project, I was honored and excited to be a part of it all. I was told that, “It’s not about where you want to be or wish to be in running; it’s about where you are NOW and finding the good in that. It’s a way to inspire you and others running alongside you to continue.”
This fits so perfectly with where I am in my life right now.
Anyone that knows me, knows that my heart aches for Boston…but Pittsburgh is where I got my start.
So this hometown race, also, means the world to me.
The past 18 months have been the most diffult of my entire life and I have faced multiple setbacks, personally and professionally. I take the hits and am finding my way to adapt and overcome them all. Through it all, I have always found a way to keep running. Running is my strength, my saving grace.
“Chasing Boston” requires a higher level of running and training, which I am just now starting back down the path of. (The events I am actually RACING with PR’s in mind are not scheduled until fall.)
So, as raceday in Pittsburgh quickly approached, I had to take an honest look at myself and decide how I was going to proceed. When I heard from two of my friends that they were recovering from their own personal/physical setbacks; one recovering from thyroid cancer and surgery, the other from foot surgery and subsequent foot pain/injury. Both of them were considering scratching from the race altogether..but I could not let them quit. Instead, I knew exactly what we needed to do.
We needed to: “Stop. Take a look around. Realize where (we) are now, how far (we’ve) come, and just appreciate that.”
So we agreed to run this year’s race together just “for the love of the run”. Not only that, but to take it all in and appreciate the efforts of all the people along the way that help to make this race, not only possible, but the incredible experience that it has come to be. And we did just that.
I had created a list of things for my friends to look for, say, and/or do all along the course. We called it “Aubrey’s Pittsburgh Half Marathon Challenge 2019”.
In all honesty though, these ladies took to this style of thankful running so easily that we rarely even looked at this list, yet still accomplished everything on it and so much more!
We ran our miles together, taking our time, and giving back to those who were there in the cold and the rain, sacrificing their time and energy to inspire and motivate us. We interacted with the crowds, the race signs, the costumed funny guys/girls, the cheer-ers, the children, the bands, the military, the volunteers, and all of the first responders.
We had our small gifts, gestures of thanks, high-fives, smiles, and awards to hand out all along the way.
In the words of Des Linden: “Make it more than just a run. When time becomes memorable, it turns into a moment.”
May 5, 2019 is a moment I will not soon forget.
It reminded me of why I do this.
It reminded me of who I am.
It has inspired me to get back on my best try and continue chasing my dreams.