Marathon training for the mind

Song of the post: Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley

The Honor Guard from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base folds the flag prior to a memorial ceremony.

“What are those people doing?” a mountain kid asks as they watch two Airmen outside a church in rural North Carolina.

“They’re folding the flag,” another one, the oldest boy, says.

This is the second time in a week he’s watched the flag being folded into a neat triangle. The first time was when they buried his namesake, a 92-year-old World War II veteran.

This time, they watch the flag being folded as the Honor Guard gets ready to be presented to Mountain Granny, my mother.

Both men were good men and their funerals were tributes to that. One had an afternoon service that was pretty formal and fitting of a World War II veteran. The other was fun and inviting, as my father was once you got to know him.

That week, I ran three of my scheduled four days in preparation for marathon training. I didn’t do the 6 mile long run because I didn’t have it in me. I was too depressed and scattered mentally to muster up the mental strength needed for a long run. Especially in an area I never ran in. I wasn’t familiar enough with the roads to get out and just run.
The day before funeral No. 2, I ran on the beach and chased Mountain Kid 3 around. We jumped over waves, collected seashells and hopped on hot sand en route to the car. We even saw some dolphins. It prepared me to what was ahead as much as possible.

My beach running buddy.

I was supposed to give a speech for Mountain Grandpa’s funeral. It came out more like a lot of mumbling and even more crying. He had been dead for three months, yet this was the last goodbye. I had the words written down, but I just couldn’t say them. They didn’t do justice to how I really felt. The crying did justice though. It was just raw and real. It felt good to get the speech and crying over with, but afterward I felt like I didn’t do it right. I failed yet again for Mountain Grandpa.

Relatives came from out of state, many I hadn’t seen since I was a child. It provided some closure to see these people and learn what they’ve been doing with their life.

As we headed back to the mountains, my husband asked what I learned this week. It was a life altering week for him as well. 

For me, I learned to not take life for granted, to live as these wonderful people did. They served others and their God in everything they did. They did as much as they could, for as long as they could.

It reminds me of people who pick up hobbies, especially athletic in nature, later in life. It’s so much better to live as much as you can than sit on the couch and complain how you can’t do something. If you put in the effort, you never know what you will accomolish.

But you have to take that first step, the next one, etc., until you get it done.

This past week steeled my resolve  to try to set an example of my kids as to how to live. I am running for something more than myself. Time to put it out there and watch it fly.

I’m using the marathon training plan from the Zombies, Run! App along with weight training, plyometrics and a weekly Crossfit-esque training session (primarily for Obstacle Course Athletes).

 

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