The Running Circle of Life

In October of 2010, I decided I was going to run a half-marathon every month of the calendar year. I only managed to pull-off three out of 12 halves because I found out I was pregnant in December of 2010. However, at eleven weeks, I had a miscarriage. This is the first time I mention this on my blog because I’ve not been ready to put down in writing what the experience was like. When I initially discovered I was pregnant, I was unhappy because a part of me thought the pregnancy would interfere with my running goals. Of course my ego-centric attitude dissipated within a couple of days, and I embraced the growing baby inside of me. So when I noticed heavy bleeding on the eleventh week of my pregnancy, and my fears were confirmed by the Ob/Gyn, I immediately felt guilt and believed it was a punishment. It was confusing and hard to grasp why the baby’s heart stopped beating. I had done everything right. I even stopped running.

Half Marathon Number two - Silver Falls Half-Marathon - November 2010

Half Marathon #2 – Silver Falls Half-Marathon – November 2010

I did not know how to mourn the loss of my baby. I didn’t know how to say goodbye. There wasn’t a burial. And I didn’t know how to tell people I was no longer having a baby (I announced I was expecting at eight weeks, assuming it was a safe time). A miscarriage was something that I never thought would happen to me. Apparently, miscarriages are more common than I thought. I’d like to give you the statistics, but I find them to be unpleasant statistics, so I’m leaving my statement without citing the numbers.

I ran again approximately four weeks after my body did what nature is designed to do once it discovers there is no more life within you. Each and every stride I took was painful. I wanted to enjoy running, but all I felt was a piercing of liquid guilt in my heart. The negative forces within me wanted to blame me and prevent me from finding the joy running had always given me. But I understood right there and then that was the exact same reason why I needed to run. I wanted to run for my baby. I knew I’d meet my Angel at some point in the spectrum of life (or thereafter) and I wanted my baby to know the eleven weeks that its beating heart was within me were weeks full of joy. I wanted my baby to know despite the fact I could not understand why we didn’t get to meet on Earth, I had to continue living in order to keep its memory alive. And so, I ran to celebrate life, the life that was once in sync within mine. Regardless of how short the life of my Angel was, I wanted to show that its life made my life worth living. Most importantly, I ran to heal, to wash away the guilt that would no longer consume me and replaced it with gratitude.

The Pursuit of Happiness: Second to Last leg of the Hood To Coast Relay - August 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness: Second to Last leg of the Hood To Coast Relay – August 2011

In May of 2011, I completed the Hippie Chick Half-Marathon to celebrate my baby. And yes, that Hippie Chick Half-Marathon was the same half I completed this year while I tried to pursue my sub-2. It’s held during Mother’s Day weekend, so 2011’s half was in memory of the baby I did not get to meet, and 2014 was in honor of the daughter I gave birth to two years after I had miscarried.

On October of 2011, I once again pursued the goal I did not complete the year before. This time though, I wanted to run one of those halves in under two hours. And as you may know by now, in January of 2012 I found out I was pregnant. Once again, I managed to complete 3 consecutive half-marathons from November to January. I also walked the Corvallis Half in April and the Eugene Half in May, but I don’t count those.

Half Marathon #2 - Reindeer Half - December 2011

Half Marathon #2 – Reindeer Half – December 2011

This third time around, I am once again making an attempt to run 12 halves in 12 months. Seems like the odds of completing the goal this time around are in my favor, given I’ve completed four (I’m starting with the month of May) and that’s one more half than the previous two attempts.

March:
The Riverton Half-Marathon

May:
Hippie Chick Half-Marathon

June:
Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half-Marathon

July:
Tutu Run Half-Marathon

August:
Catherine Creek Classic Half-Marathon

Here’s what the tentative schedule looks like for the remaining eight halves:

September:
Bridge of the Goddess Half-Marathon

October:
Columbia River Gorge Half-Marathon

November:
Zeitgeist Half-Marathon

December:
Holiday Half (weather permitting, may do virtual half)

January:
Cascade Half Marathon (only half available in Oregon & it’s quite a distance, might have to do a virtual)

February:
Heartbreaker Half

March:
McKenzie River Half-Marathon

April:
Race to Robie Creek

I don’t know what life has in store for me from now until next April, but the running circle of life will continue regardless of how many times I have to start from mile one again. How many times have you had to start from mile one in pursuit of your personal goals?

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3 thoughts on “The Running Circle of Life

  1. Kristen, thank you for reading this post. My Angel will be with me forever. I hope your Marathon Training is treating you kindly. Well, as kindly as marathon training can get.

  2. Pingback: For the Love of Running | Running is Democratic

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