“Your life is made of two dates and a dash. Make the most of the dash.” – Linda Ellis, “The Dash”.
When I first started writing this blog, my primary focus was on the documentation of my running. Through the years, however, it has really become more about Life… well – Life, Death, and everything in between.
Isn’t it funny how, when speaking in terms of a Runner, a Race Time is really just a numerical documentation of how long it took them to make it from Point A at the Start, to Point B at the Finish? Likewise, when looking at the headstone marking my parents grave, beneath each of their names are two dates – their birth dates (START TIME) and the date of their death (FINISH TIME). The dash between these two dates, metaphorically, represents their Lifetime.
To the random person passing by, who happens to take a leisurely glance at that “DASH” – the numbers really don’t mean a thing – because they weren’t a part of it. They weren’t there to see all the things, feel all the feels, or experience any of the emotions or events that unfolded during that span of time. To them, it’s all just a bunch of numbers and, “just a bunch of numbers”, could never tell the story of what they represent.
But I was there. The numbers surrounding the dash inscribed upon my parents grave tells me so many stories, brings back so many memories, and overwhelms me with so many emotions – good, bad, and everything in between; but what I notice most of all right now is just how short that “dash” really is. While anyone who “does the math” would agree, their time upon this Earth ended much too soon, I am faced with the reality of just how fast it goes – and sometimes I just can’t believe they are really gone.
Likewise, with my Boston Marathon Finish Time, the numbers, in and of themselves, don’t really matter. Since finishing this incredible race and sporting this iconic jacket, I have been approached by so many people and, after their enthusiastic “Congratulations!”, they almost always follow up with: “What was your time?”. A million bittersweet and beautiful memories come flooding through my mind, overwhelming me with emotions – none, of which, would make any sense or mean so much to them… so I just smile and say, “It was the BEST!” – because, for me, it really was!
For those of you who have followed my “Chasing Boston” journey, and those who have become my friends and family throughout this Life, I thank you! To those of you who personally reached out to me during my “one shining moment”, as I strutted my broken body all the way from Hopkinton to Boston, I can never thank you enough! Your love, support, and encouragement helped me to endure.
The Boston Marathon is a notoriously difficult course, so on raceday (“Marathon Monday)”, the streets along the most challenging portions are lined with people, screaming and cheering – offering any kind of physical, mental, or emotional support any runner might need. For me, however, there were very few people along the way, as I ran this course the Sunday before the “official” race.
It was in these moments when I leaned upon YOU, in spirit, to pull me through. You sent me love. You sent me strength. You sent me the courage and the confidence I needed to keep moving forward. I could feel you with me every step of the way, and it kept me from ever feeling truly “alone” as I made my way towards the realization of my dream.
So now, as my “Chasing Boston” journey comes to an end and I take some time to figure out what’s next for me, I hope that each and every one of you reading this finds something amongst these pages that strikes you – something that comforts you, inspires you, and helps you along your own way.
May you never, ever forget that, (just like in the marathon), although the road may, at times, appear to go on forever – Life is short and time goes by so fast.
Slow yourself down, take a deep breath and a good look around. There is beauty to be found here, if you’d just take the time to truly SEE.