I take a day completely off; no work, no engagements, my only plan to leave the house at all is my short morning run. I turn off my alarms and wake when I feel like it. The rain pours down as I run through Durham one last time.
I spend hours in the afternoon checking and re-checking all the things I’ve packed, doing calculations on pre-race nutrition, meticulously taking notes on which food I’ll eat when.
I assemble an impressive array of baggies; oatmeal measured out exactly, recovery drink powder, beet juice crystals, chia seeds. There are pill bags with caffeine tablets and acetaminophen, magnesium and electrolyte tabs. I carefully arrange my packing cubes and make sure I’ll be able to close the suitcase with my weighted blanket folded on top. I make myself a tall stack of pancakes with tart cherry compote for dinner and then I sleep. I wake before the alarm and meditate. My bags packed, I make time for a morning yoga practice. When the car arrives, I am ready.
Walking through the airport, I’m nervous but I’m also noticing the change in me. I don’t shrink away in fear like last time I traveled. I breathe and walk, confident. I have plenty of time. I know where I’m going. I make eye contact with people and take time to reassure the worried mother of a young child that they’re doing great.
I begin to untangle the traumatic coupling of my feelings; I am not scared, actually: I’m excited. I see it as my heart pounds but I stand easily, my hands at my sides. I see it as I handle the TSA agents with kindness and confidence. When I feel my eyes filling with tears, I know too that it isn’t what’s missing but what’s present which I am responding to–here I am, on my way to run the Boston Marathon. I am so proud of myself. At this moment, I don’t need any external validation. I am enough.
I detour from the gate to get myself a bagel and I eat it standing in line to board, smiling. I finish just in time to toss the wrapper. As the plane taxis, I smile to myself–at how I’m excited, not nervous. At how amazed I am by my happiness, sitting alone. Kevin has occurred to me several times as I’ve made my way through the airport–only I know now that he wasn’t supposed to be with me on this trip at all. I acknowledge that I still regret the severed connection and the pain between us–but I did all I could.
I’m grateful that rather than inadequate support I have my own. I am brave enough to face down all my own demons and strong enough to soothe my own hurts. I am wise enough to keep turning over all the broken pieces of myself until I can set them gently back together. They don’t all fit yet, but I see how I am more complete than broken and how I’m the person I trust and can rely on. I reach out and push the shade up the window. The sunshine streams in. The sky is the most perfect shade of Carolina Blue. Grass and pavement and colors rush by the window as we head down the runway.
The plane travels faster. I’m alone, but I’m not lonely; I am sitting with my dreams and my elation. I have all that I need; I am enough. The front wheels pick up, and there’s the slightest shudder as the plane lifts from the ground. I grin, hands easy in my lap and tears in my eyes–I’m on my way.