Because my world was rocked so early into the new year, it kind of segmented 2019 in my mind. This year is the year of being a widow, less a couple weeks. It would have been so easy to retreat, to stay home and avoid situations where I had to interact with people, or may encounter something that might make me emotional. I quickly realized that that was not a healthy approach and would not help in my healing in any way. Secluding myself would only allow me to dwell and get more sad, but putting myself out there forced me to dig deep and find strength I never knew I had. And almost every time, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. My mind would make me think I couldn’t handle it or that it would be too hard.
So, I set a goal for myself early this year to run in as many states as possible. Well, it was kind of unintentional at first. The initial few months were difficult to find my footing and any sort of routine. I am very active and normally work out daily, but I was completely doubled over in shock and pain for the first few weeks.
As the weather broke a little and I felt more solid, I hit the ground running (get it?!). Running in Florida in early March gave me the idea to keep myself going. To continue to get out there and live life. I am extremely active and adventurous, and I didn’t want the death of my husband to make me retreat. And I began to realize that not only was exercising good for my body, but it was incredibly helpful at keeping me feeling good mentally. It was my therapy.
I so clearly remember doing our taxes in February and just feeling so sad and HEAVY. I got home and told me sister I needed to run, so I did. And when I got back, that heaviness I felt was significantly lighter. The sadness was still there, but I realized that endorphins are an honest and true thing. And that is medicine in itself.
I still want to enjoy and experience life, so I continued to say yes. I continued to work out and run when I could, experiencing new towns and states I was unfamiliar with. So as of today, my 2019 state run count looks like this:
So on the surface, this looks like a running challenge. But it really became more than that. To continue to experience life. To connect with nature and cultures different than what I am used to. To run with people I love (or barely know!) and get sweaty and uncomfortable. To visit new cities and meet new people. To look fear and the unknown in the face and to prove that I am strong. I am not afraid of what the future holds.
My life won’t stop because Marcus died. I did not die with him. There is still so much to experience, and so much good to be found.
So… how many states can I add before the year is out? And who wants to run with me?!
*Edit to add: I was able to add a couple states to the list! Texas and Vermont, bringing the total state run tally to 10!
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