Shortly after the Rocket City Marathon, Mom and I were talking about her race, and I mentioned how she seemed okay despite not making her goal. At the age of 60, Mom decided she wanted to go for a Boston qualifying marathon, and has trained unbelieveably hard to get there. Rocket City was to be the race and she needed a 4:30 finishing time. That would not only have been a Boston qualifier, but a personal record as well.
For whatever reason it did not happen. She ran out of steam, got nauseated and tired, possibly started out too fast...the list of things that can go wrong during a marathon is a long one. As the 4:30 pacer, I had to leave her when she dropped pace and that was hard. Part of me worried about her, but part of me knew she would be just fine no matter what happened.
And I was right. As we talked about the race and how it had not turned out the way she had hoped she said, "My real goal in this life is to get to Heaven. Qualifying for Boston is just a thing." She talked a bit more about how qualifying or not qualifying would make no difference once this life was over, and that one is only remembered about 50 years (if that long) once they are gone from this life. We are, after all, just a mist that appears for a little while and then we are gone...as if we were never here in first place.
I was blown away. Such perspective! These are things I believe, and from time to time I consider them, but I don't live out that perspective every day. I have run marathons where I fell apart somewhere during the race, and I had to work hard to pull myself out of the blues the week after. I have let a thousand other tiny little things that mean absolutely nothing get me down and ruin a morning, an afternoon, an entire day...and for what?
I'm so glad Mom shared her perspective with me that day. She wasn't preaching or trying to change my life, she was simply explaining why she was not upset about her marathon. She has her eye on another goal that is way more important, and in that race she does not intend to miss the mark.
So yeah, Mom is pretty amazing. She's run a total of 61 marathons, running in every state of the US, and she started all of this at the age of 44. She has been an inspiration to me as a runner, and I will always be grateful that she introduced me to this wonderful sport I have grown to love so much. And while I could certainly use some perspective where running is concerned, I could use it in the rest of my life as well. When something seems bad, inconvenient, disappointing or upsetting, I need to remind myself of just how important it is... or isn't.
If I am remembered for anything, I'd rather it be that I was a good friend, a good wife, a kind person who made people laugh. I'd like to be known as a follower of Jesus Christ, both by the One I follow and those who witness my attempts to do so. I, myself, would like to qualify for Boston one day. Some days it seems doable, others it seems completely out of reach. I intend to keep trying, but I hope to keep it in perspective. I hope I remember, whether I make it or not, that it has no bearing on what really matters in this life or the next. It is, after all, just a thing.