This is the story about how Finley inspired me to run.
I have wanted to be a runner.. In my twenties I took up running, but was felled by injury and gave it up. I tried again a couple of years later to same result. I had accepted the idea that maybe my body wasn’t meant to be a runner.
While Finley was in the hospital I had a dream about running. It felt so real. I felt the pull again. All around me a bunch of friends started to get more serious about running. I wondered..could I try again? Then I started to fantasize about holding a race in Finley and all the other CDH babies’ honor – to raise money and awareness. Her fight would inspire me to run for her. These lungs in my body that I have taken for granted – something I would never take for granted in her body – would be used. Each breath is such a gift. For all of us. The doctors would always say that her long term prognosis with CDH was excellent with the disclaimer, “but she’ll probably never be an Olympic runner or swimmer.” Maybe she’ll prove them wrong again. Maybe we’ll run a marathon together one day.
I started to run again last Fall. I started with a Couch to 5K program. I was all set to run my first 5K on New Years Day and Finley had other plans with her reherniation and hospitalization. So I ran 3 miles on January 2, 2011 in the neighborhood around the hospital. I ran my first 8K for St Patricks Day, a 10K a few weeks later with Jon pushing both girls in the Double BOB, and yesterday, a little over a year after Finley came home from the NICU, I ran a Half Marathon. Through it all – when it got hard, when it hurt – I would always think about Finley. How she never gave up, and neither would I.
Yesterday was not my best run ever. I had injured myself 10 days before the event, and I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to finish. I prayed to God that I would be able to finish. Ironically, the injury I was worried about isn’t what bothered me during the run. Around mile 5, my IT Band, which HADN’T been bothering me during the last few weeks of training, flared up. But I kept going. Philippians 4:13 was my mantra (“I can do ALL things through him who gives me strength”). Someone actually ran past me with that verse on the back of their shirt and it got me running again. I also loved the quote on some of the shirts, “The courage to start…the faith to finish.” I ended up walking more than I wanted to – but I have logged some long runs before this day and I know I can run 12+ miles. It was not in the cards for me this day – but I did cross the finish line. I have learned many lessons through my daughters. I am thankful for what each day brings – even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned. I am thankful for this body that I have been given that allowed me to accomplish this goal. Sure, I could be upset that it didn’t go the way I hoped for (more running), but that’s life. Things don’t always go as planned. I crossed the finish line – I accomplished my goal. One year ago running a 5k was my goal- I am thankful for how far I have come. I am reading this book that talks about living Eucharisto (to give thanks). Giving thanks in all situations (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Yesterday was a big day. I ran my first half marathon with some amazing girlfriends – many of them supported and prayed for our family over the last two years. At the finish line waited my wonderful husband and my daughters. I am thankful for all of them.
Finley’s race is going to be held on her second birthday and it’s going to be called The Ladybug Run (after the section of the NICU she was in). We will be raising money for local research at OHSU and/or to help CDH families in the NICU. I will be looking for sponsors, runners/walkers, and volunteers – so please let me know if you want to help out in any way!!
One more week until Finley’s MRCP. Praying with thanksgiving.