Today’s run broke me. It didn’t break me physically, but it exposed my already broken heart. My father-in-law started hospice care today. I still can’t come to terms with the loss my aunt.

Let yourself be gutted. Let it open you up. Start here. ~ Cheryl Strayed

I was drawn to the trails today. I needed to be surrounded by the world that I love. The views comforted me, but the trails with the pretty views are physically challenging. My legs didn’t want to go slow either. I tried to hold back knowing I was entering new territory today with 17 miles. I couldn’t (at first).

Mile 1: 9:57

Mile 2: 10:50

Mile 3: 10:40

Two and a half miles in, I was falling apart. I doubted my ability. I didn’t think I was mentally strong enough today to run.

I can’t.

Long Creek Trail

Mile 4: 12:16 (crazy dunes and man-made steps that are unrunable)

Mile 5: 10:37

At mile 4.5, I had to stop. I laid my head on top of a bridge. I cried. I cried until my shoulders shook.

Keep going.

Osprey Trail

Mile 6: 10:12

Mile 7: 9:58

Mile 8: 9:52

Mile 9: 10:06

At mile 8.5 I reached my turn around point. I can do this. I’m half way. I’m strong. I’m running strong. I can do this. Craving more comfort, I ran 2 more miles back to the park entrance in the sand.

I can.

40th Street

Mile 10: 10:37

Mile 11: 10:33

I left the beach, and I had found my way back to the park entrance. Before I left the sand, I needed something. I needed a shell in my hand to remind me to keep going. I had a long boring flat 3 mile trail ahead of me. I have to do this. Six more miles.

I have to.

40th Street
61st Street

Mile 12: 11:07

Mile 13: 11:04

Mile 14: 10:44

Mile 15: 10:50

That long boring 3 mile stretch broke me. It cracked me right in half. My hips were burning. My faster early miles on trails caught up to me. I stopped. I sat on a bench, and I cried. I cried hard. After I got myself back together, I kept on. F&*$! F*&$! F*$&! I hate this trail. I hate cancer.



Mile 16: 10:36

Mile 17: 11:03

As I made the final turn back towards my car, I saw two woman just ahead of me. It took me a half mile to catch up. As I did, I knew I needed them to get back to my car. I was choking on tears. I couldn’t stop trembling from emotion. I needed a band-aid. As I got closer, they moved to let me pass. I told them they were pulling me, and I asked to join them (something I would never do in normal life). I introduced myself to these two woman, and I ran the last mile and half with them back to my car. They saved me. The are running the Shamrock Marathon too and were running my exact same route today but in reverse. They where exactly were  I needed them today.

Thank you!

Today’s run broke me. It cracked me in half. I don’t know why I do this. I even doubted running a marathon somewhere along that long Cape Henry trail. I told myself I didn’t want to do this next weekend. When I sat down next to my car before driving home, I cried more. I’m looking for strength to get through this time of my life. Even though I don’t know how to do this, I’m embracing it. And when my run came to a close, I was amazed that I did it. I wanted to turn around at mile 2.5, but I kept going for 14.5 more. I did it. I don’t know how, but I just have to keep going. I cried when I needed to, I reached out when I needed it most, and I made myself proud. I proved to myself that I am strong. I will be running 18 next weekend. I will keep going because I love it. Where else can you live a lifetime of emotions in 3 hours? I’m starting here.

If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. ~ Martin Luther King Jr

17.03 miles. 3:01:24. 10:39 pace – trails, beach, and boardwalk (run time. does not include cry time. I took an extra 20 minutes to cry.)

Published by Kristy

Storyteller. Copywriter. Connector. Documenting the inhales and exhales of daily live.

13 thoughts on “Gutted

  1. I am so sorry, kristy. You brought tears to my eyes. You give me perspective during a rough time in my life. I don’t have cancer and my mom is healthy and that is all. I should be happy with that and stop whining about this pain or that or what I can or cannot do. thanks for keeping it real for me. I needed that. I hope your run and tears brought you a little bit of a relief. I’ve cried during a run too and it is oddly cathartic. Again, hugs sent from Richmond. This quote helped me a lot: You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. Love, Erin

  2. Now…now the healing can begin. Now you have faced your doubts, your fears…listened closely to them and made a choice. A choice to accept the tears and embrace the anger. A choice to bring others into the circle of your pain. Now…yes, now the healing can begin. Stay strong and weak. It is here that you will make it. mb

  3. Reading your last four posts, my heart is breaking for you…no, with you. I know. I know these emotions and I am fighting back tears because your writing brings me to these emotions that are buried ever so shallow, not deep enough yet.
    Keep going.
    Yes, that is what we have to do. It will get easier. It will be hard. But keep moving forward is right. I admire you for feeling, for really FEELING your grief. Keep carrying your Aunt’s spirit. Take time to meditate and embrace her lessons. Let the sweat and tears of your runs wash over you, help heal you. And please know that I am lifting you up and thinking of you.
    Keep breathing. Kristy, marathons are an amazing challenge and feat. Training through what you are going through will make those 26.2 miles even more important and will set your soul on fire. Believe this.
    Please take care of yourself (rest if needed!) and know that I am cheering you on and carrying you in my heart this week.

  4. Kristy, So sorry to hear about your loss and this difficult time. I will be sending lots of well wishes and strength your way.
    I would like to suggest a book to you. Long ago, my father read the book “The Frozen Leopard” by Aaron Latham. It is non fiction written by the author after the heartbreaking loss of his sister. He takes a life changing journey to East Africa to heal his soul. The book was so moving it motivated my father to take the family to East Africa. I too read it and was moved to tears. Years later, on one of the most beautiful nights of my life, when traveling in East Africa as a student, I felt the urge to read it again. I found out a week later, when I called home to ask to have the book sent, that that moving night was the night my grandfather died. He touches upon the connection we have with family and the spiritual journey that is intertwined within us. As family members we are all one…your aunt is you, she is in your children…as well as your father-in-law. The book is out of print, however, you can find used copies. If you would like to read it and can’t find it, I would be more than happy to send you my copy.
    Wishing you the best of strength.

    1. Thank you! Thank you! I found the book online at used textbook website. I just ordered it. (hopefully it will arrive okay). I can’t thank you enough for your words and for sharing with me!

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