Yesterday, I was supposed to race a marathon. It was going to be my 27th marathon and my second one this year. It was going to be my first international marathon, one that I had been targeting to podium, or — if I was having a good day — compete for an overall win. But, the universe and I have been in kind of in a big fight these past few weeks and instead of racing in Banff, Canada, I spent the weekend on Long Island in a walking boot nursing a sprained ankle and a wounded heart.
Yikes. I didn’t mean for that to sound quite so dramatic. In all seriousness, though, the summer hasn’t exactly turned out the way I thought it would, but if a series of little (okay, more like, big Canadian Rockies-sized) bumps in the road have taught me anything, it’s that these days, I’m all about finding the silver linings — listening to my cousin sing “This is the New Year” instead of going to a concert at Bowery Ballroom, having my aunt take me to Bed Bed Bath and Beyond instead of buying new clothes at Lululemon and Banana Republic. It’s Friday night pizza and wine with family instead of late night dinner dates at home. And in the case of this weekend, it was celebrating my grandmother’s 90th birthday instead of racing 26.2 miles through the Canadian Rockies. Oh, and there was also an impromptu pool side dance party, a challenger league baseball game, Father’s Day dinner, and a little game called “Bean Boozled” where 4 of us dopes sat on my cousin’s bed in our pajamas and ate jellybeans flavored like rotten eggs, moldy cheese, barf, skunk, and boogers, just to name a few. We laughed (and gagged) so hard our eyes watered. And yes, there is evidence, but only in the form of video — physical evidence in the form of, well, actual vomit, has (hopefully?) been washed from my cousin’s shirt.
This weekend, I didn’t get my typical pre-race jitters (or, less flatteringly referred to as “that time before a marathon where Kelly turns into a crazy lady”). I didn’t get to carbo load. I didn’t get the challenge of trying to convert my kilometer splits into mile times (as an enginerd, I was kind of looking forward to it). I didn’t hit the wall and then fight through it. I didn’t get to see my sherpa. I didn’t get that indescribable feeling that brings me to tears every time I cross a marathon finish line. And the fashion-inept engineer/scientist part of me is disappointed I didn’t get to wear my favorite post-race accessories: bright purple compression socks and brown crocs.
But I did spend the weekend with my family. My family, who makes me smile so hard my face hurts, who cares so much my chest aches, and who insists on feeding me so much my kellybelly hurts. My family, who is reminding me how to be happy and how to laugh again. And if that’s not a silver lining, I don’t know what is.