The number 13 is a number that holds meaning in our household. It can identify with both positive and negative things. Our son, Jakob, was 13 days old when he died and he died on the 13th of February. The year I turned 13 I had some of the greatest friends and greatest experiences as I got to live in Korea.
Recently I participated in a half marathon which is 13.1 miles.
My husband ran one the year prior and I wanted to attempt one in honor of my dad who died the summer of 2015. As I set out to run my race, I had decided I would dedicate each mile to something significant as a way to keep myself focused and motivated. Here are my 13 reasons for running in no particular order.
- Team Tom- I have completed 3 full marathon’s in my life. The second marathon I completed was for my grandpa. He lost his battle to cancer in 2002. That year my family and I initiated Team Tom and ran in his honor. During that race I hit several walls and this was where I began to connect butterflies with my grandpa sending me a message that everything was going to be okay.
- Team Puna- Team Puna was initiated to support my mom. Team Puna participated in a 5k and I completed it with Jakob growing in my belly.
- Team PopPop- Team PopPop was for my dad. Several members of my family were running for him and truly was one of the reasons we were participating in this race. It was one of his favorite races and I can remember several of my own races where he stood at the finish line to give me a huge hug. I know I had him in my heart that day and had many signs along the way to remind me he was near.
- Jakob- I keep him with me always. A mile was spent reflecting on him.
- Ella-Grace- she deserved a mile. She pushes me to be the best mommy I can be and I knew that by completing this race I was showing her the importance of achieving her goals and possessing drive.
- Jesse- he has stood by me through so much and our marriage continues to grow as a result of our experiences. I would be lost without him and I am pretty sure he would be lost without me.
- Jacki- my sister wanted so badly to be with us on this day. It was only fitting to do a mile for her.
- Jared- my brother ran the full but I wanted to make sure I spent some time thinking about him and his own race. This was his first full marathon and while grueling and long, it can be one of the most rewarding moments for someone in their lifetime. I was so lucky enough to be able to find him as he was coming in to finish his last mile and ran that last mile with him so he didn’t have to finish alone.
- My best friend Amanda- she has taught me so much over the years and encouraged me to be more assertive and not take crap from anyone. I am so thankful to have met her and lived with her my first year of college.
- My brother in law Adam- he is such a great person and works incredibly hard. He is deserving of so much
- My brother in law Derek- he is setting out on his own personal race and I can’t wait to see what his future holds for him. He is so good to my sister and their family and I am so thankful she found him.
- My sister in law Julia- you have completed my brother and are absolutely perfect for him. I am so happy to have another sister in my family.
- My Grandparents – I love them all very much (whether they are here on earth or in Heaven) and continue to try hard to make them proud.
As I reflected on my list for each mile, there was one person I forgot. It took me the longest time to think about who that was. I was sure I hit everyone in my family and my extended family. Then I realized it was me that I forgot. I left that last tenth of a mile for me. As mom’s we have a tendency to put everyone else in the world before ourselves. I did just that with my half marathon. This was a race I started out to do for myself and ended up placing everyone else that I love before myself. This is how I always carry myself and to be honest I am okay with that. Being a mom is a very selfless job and I will always do that. Just the same as with my race. I would do all 13.1 miles the same exact way. Those that I love will be there for me and will cheer me on. I would put my body through that again just for that love. Because as a mom, that’s just what I do and that is ok with me because it’s how I show them I love them right back.