R. I. P.

October 18, 2012

My Running

I have waited 6 years to repeat my very first half-marathon. And I finally re-did it! So one would think that I would have been blogging from here to Kingdom Come once The Race was over. (What does that phrase mean anyway? “From here to kingdom come”). I have been so overwhelmed with a myriad of emotions—I haven’t been able to make a single sentence make sense.

I have been doing SO MUCH reflecting…on so many things…it’s kinda paralyzing. It didn’t hit me until I was at the airport Friday morning. I was so very excited to be there with several members of my Team from Team in Training. I was ecstatic! I had been doing a countdown from the 66th day! All the way down to RACE DAY!

In 2006 I was depressed the entire week leading up to the race. I was on my couch from Sunday to Thursday. Crying and not able to eat. I lost 6lbs and I was very sad and my stomach felt so sick. On one of those days my husband came home from work and just walked right by me. The man who used to get on his knees when I was on the couch and kiss me and ask me how I was feeling. That man was gone. And I remember feeling petrified.

Being at the airport, excited and happy, triggered that memory. As I was boarding the airplane, I looked around and thought “this is the life. To be doing what makes me happy, to be doing what I have wanted to do for 6 years….”

Arriving in San Francisco, there were people in red vests holding signs that said “Team in Training”. They led us to a nice comfortable shuttle bus. There was no confusion. It all happened so effortlessly. And it wasn’t just my Long Beach team. This was the GREATER LOS ANGELES chapter, so we had a lot of people! Different people, different races, different ages, different stories, different reasons for running—all with the same goal. TO KILL CANCER. And to get a Tiffany & Co necklace….

After checking into the hotel, again effortlessly thanks to Team in Training, I headed over to the expo to pick up my bib and race packet. One of my teammates was already there, and waiting for me. She texted “where are you. I keep turning around to talk to you and you aren’t here. Text me when you get here.”

In 2006 I headed over to the expo and I was drained and weak. I had just flown on an airplane that I dreaded getting on. I was not happy to be there. The underlying thought this entire trip so far was “does he not love me anymore?? I don’t understand what’s going on? He said no hand-holding. I’m so scared…” I had my two kids there with me. This was a family trip. Aren’t family trips supposed to be happy?! I had a black cloud over me. And I tried. I tried to be happy for my kids. It took so much energy. Because all I wanted to do was cry. I ran into Mary at the expo and I remember sitting on the steps and telling her “something is up”. But I couldn’t go into it there. It was not the time. It was not the place.

I walked down those same steps when I was at the expo and I smiled. I smiled because I’m not that same sad woman anymore. I could almost see a ghost-like image of the sadder version of me sitting there. And then when my friend said “let’s take a picture in front of the RUN sign”….the vision disappeared.

After the expo we went to Niketown. Then to dinner. Then on a cupcake adventure. And after that we stopped by a teammates room and had a mini slumber party. Four of us girls kicking back and talking and laughing. My favorite part of that night was Daphne telling me “OMG I am going to jump over this bed and slap you!” You see….I got to meet George Lopez at the airport. Our plane was delayed and he said he’d go for a drink but he didn’t want to drink alone. (Silence). Then he said it wouldn’t look good if someone was drinking alone. (Silence). Then he said (pointing to his assistant) “unless she drank with me but she won’t drink”. When he looked at me, my witty response was “I sat behind you once at Dancing with the Stars!! And I tapped you on the shoulder like this!!” Then I tapped him on the shoulder, showing him how I did it.

So Daphne wanted to slap me because what I should have said was “Who says you have to drink alone?! I’ll have a drink with you!” But no….my reflexes were not that quick. That’s ok Daphne….I’ll just slap myself….

Saturday brought more walking around. More eating. A TNT inspiration dinner. In which we had a speaker that explained her struggling year of 2006. While I was going through major heartbreak and crying everyday—this young young woman was fighting for her life. She had two forms of leukemia and her brother wanted to be her bone marrow donor but he was not a match. A complete stranger was. The radiation and chemotherapy kicked her ass and she said to this day she still has repercussions both physical and mental. I cannot imagine what she was going through.

In 2006 I cried everyday. I woke up crying. I went to work crying. I came home crying. I went running crying. I went grocery shopping crying. I went to meetings crying. I just cried. I couldn’t do anything else. I didn’t know how I would ever live without him. It wasn’t normal to be without him. He was all I knew for 20 years.

So someone else now suffered in 2006. The year 2006 brings back horrid memories for her as well. I don’t discount my pain and heartache—but I was healthy. This young young woman was fighting for her life in 2006.

In 2006 I didn’t want to live.

This young young woman today was getting ready to run the same course I was going to be running. She would be running the same 13.1 miles I was going to be running. Not alone either! She was going to be running with her bone marrow transplant DONOR! Life is simply amazing.

Race Day: Met in the lobby with my team. Excitement filled the air. I was sooooooo nervous!!! And so happy!! The DAY was finally here!!!!

In 2006 I felt sick the morning of the race. All I kept thinking was “something is wrong. Something is wrong. Something is wrong. Something is wrong….”

We walked to the starting line. I had some TNT Teammates with me. We were jumping up and down. Talking about nervous stomachs. High-fiving eah other. Shouting. Singing along to the national anthem. Our day was HERE! And off we went!!! As I took off running ahead of my friends, I turned back and blew kisses. They waved me off with excitement. I was happier than I had been, probably ever.

In 2006 I looked back to wave to him. And he wasn’t even paying attention. The man who always had eyes just for me, was gone. The man in his place wasn’t paying attention. And didn’t wave me off as the race started. After I started to run I looked back once more. No….he wasn’t looking. I couldn’t help but cry. I didn’t want to. I couldn’t help it though.

Running through miles 1-6 I thought I was going to be nostalgic. But I wasn’t. Surprisingly enough—I was having a brand new experience. I was smiling. And listening to some music. I was finally here. The weather was perfect. I was looking for my coach. I hit mile 6, the first big hill. And you know at what part bugged me? I was getting a little frustrated at the slower people in front of me. This race was too crowded. I kept slowing down. Um hello….these were my thoughts as I was running UPHILL. How amazing I felt!!!

I turned my music off from miles 3-9. I listened to all the feet stomping the ground. Listened to all the conversations people were having. Listened to the sideline crowds cheering. I saw Heather’s husband before he saw me. I poked him as I ran by. I heard him say “Renee!! Looking good!!” And I kept going. I heard a lady say “I just have one complaint. I hurt all over. That’s it. I’m done complaining”. And I told her “imagine how you are going to feel when you are done!!!” She smiled. And then I smiled. And I kept saying “just imagine!!” And as I kept running, I kept repeating out loud: “Just imagine! Just imagine! Just imagine….”

I passed a point that once again gave me that ghost-like vision.

In 2006 I saw my husband and my friends at a spectator spot. I ran up to him and leaned into him. I told him I didn’t think I could do this. He kept his hands in his pockets. And it didn’t matter that thousands of people were around. I was so very alone.

Mile 9 was tough. A long long long uphill climb. Not steep. But long. And when I thought it would never end, I heard a lady on the side say “this is the toughest hill! You’re almost to the top!!!” Sure enough–I reached the top and downhill we went! I felt like I was flying! I wasn’t….but it felt like it!

In 2006, Mary was running alongside me. She ran the entire race with me. I couldn’t run. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t do it. And Mary said “ok! We will run one minute and walk one minute!” I thought: ok I can do anything for one minute. We were beginning the downhill climb and Mary said downhill was going to be easy. I couldn’t even run downhill. I cried and said “I CAN’T DO THIS!!!!!”

And here I was encouraging strangers! I turned a “corner” and all I saw was the ocean. It looked so beautiful covered in mist.

I was coming up on mile 11. I was still running. And I had to call the one person who saw me through this entire race. Mary. And when I heard her voice I started to cry. And I said “Mary!! I’m at mile 11 and I’m still running!!!!!!” She called me a superstar and said I was amazing. I told her I had to hang up because I was gonna cry more and I didn’t want to lose any time.

Miles 12 to 13 was the absolute LONGEST. I was really tired. I wanted to quit. Seriously. Q-U-I-T! All I kept thinking was “WHERE IS THAT FINISH LINE?!!! I quit! WHERE’S THAT FINISH LINE?? I quit!!!!!”

And finally, we made a right turn. And there it was. This huge light blue “FINISH” line. And the past six years flashed right through my mind. The crying. The begging. The desperation. The snot-coming-out-of-my-nose crying. The melt downs. The pretending. The loneliness. The praying. The laughter. The friends. The ones who carried me. My kids. Who couldn’t do anything but watch. Sami—who saw me cry so many nights. And asked me if I was sad. And the closer I got to the finish line….the harder I cried and laughed all combined. I was at the FINISH!! I had re-done what I had come to re-do!!!! And as I came into the finish line—another ghost-like scene played before me.

In 2006 I was at the finish line and I couldn’t believe this horrible ordeal was finally over!!!!! When I crossed the finish line, I was looking down because I thought I should be dead. And I heard “MOM!!!!” And I looked up, and there was Dani. My 16 year old. In her basketball shorts and her grey “Brea” t-shirt that was cut all the way down the side. And I think she wore a red sports bra. She was smiling for me. She was proud of me. She was laughing with pride. I was in her heart. That was clear.

And as I came into the finish line I was screaming. And I was crying. And I saw Dani standing there on the red carpet. And then she disappeared. Slowly faded away. I went through the finish and looked to the right. That’s where I saw her back in 2006. And I was shaking as I tried to dial her number. But I had no signal. I tried twice. And my phone never connected to hers.

I called Dani the last two half marathons I ran. I called her when I ran the Las Vegas Half….when I wanted to give up. And I called her when I was running on the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Half…cuz I heard a song she told me reminded her of me. And I didn’t realize that I’ve been calling her till this time when I couldn’t get through. She’s my emergency contact. She’s my first-born. And she loves me. My heart bursts every time I think of how much I love her.

I got my necklace. I got my picture with my fireman. I got my do-over.

The next day, we were all parting ways to go back home. We went to breakfast. We met up in the lobby. We took some last minute pictures. And we all wore our Tiffany necklaces. TNT had a curbside shuttle waiting to take us to the airport.

Bye bye San Francisco. Thank you for being there for my do-over. My heart needed to do that. Today I run free. I don’t run from. I don’t run to.

I run free.
I run strong.
I run victorious.

Now this chapter has ended. Finally.

Souleret Marriage
Rest In Peace

The shuttle waiting for us at the airport.

I told Heather “no pictures! I look frumpy!!!”

Happy and Silly. And loving life.

He didn’t want to drink alone. (Silence). SLAP.

After our Inspiration dinner. This is MY team.

At the starting line.

Starting up Mile 6.

Starting downhill….saw the ocean.

I choose to Run Free

My Fireman giving me my Tiffany necklace.

My “medal”.

“You can go the distance; you can run the mile. You can walk straight through Hell with a smile…” –the script

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About rsouleret

I am a mother of two beautiful girls. I work full time. And I run. ILML.

View all posts by rsouleret


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4 Comments on “R. I. P.”

  1. Heather Says:

    Thanks for the tears. Now, on to the next chapter of your life. I am so excited for you! Love you much my strong, beautiful, amazing friend.


  2. Donna Hargis Says:

    That story (your story) should be shared with millions. It should be published. You should send it to every running / fitness / woman’s magazine in the country.


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