April 5, 2008
The weather was perfect. No stomach issues. No cramping. There was nothing but blue skies and a tail wind. Could it get any better than this? The adrenaline that coursed through my veins was unlike anything I had yet experienced.
Me and the Universe were vibin’ on all the cylinders.
I had been running alongside a pair of brothers since the race began. They became my unofficial pacers telling me when I was going too fast and reminding me to take small steps on the ascents using the balls of my feet.
“Time?” I asked
“3 hours and 35 minutes,”You got this. We’ll see you at the finish,” one of them replied.
I had 1/2 mile to the finish. My goal time? 3 hours and 40 minutes. The Yakima River Marathon was a Boston Qualifier.
I didn’t have a fancy Garmin like the other runners. I relied on the steady beat of my heart to guide me.When my heart felt like it was ready to burst, I knew I was running 7:30 minute mile pace. I let my legs loose and ran hard to the finish.
3 hours and 37 minutes and 40 seconds. Pace. 8:18 minutes per mile. I was going to freaking Boston!!!! I lived in that happy place during the entire marathon and then some.
My thought process when I began running went as follows.
If I can run a 10k, I can run a marathon.
If I run a marathon, I can run a 50k.
If I can run a 50k, I can run a 50 mile race.
If I can run a 100k, I can run a 100 mile.
Did it make me happy?
Hell ya it did. I was very happy come into a race…
until I crossed the finish line.
I used to think of happiness as a destination. I was searching for the elusive “happy” like it was an island where I could set up my treehouse and never leave.
What is your happy?
Ready? Set? Go.
I’ll give you 30 seconds.
What did you write down? Here’s my 30 second list: sunrises, sunsets, walking on the beach, a cup of coffee in the am, making a recipe because I have all the ingredients, comfy shoes (like Sanuks or Bob’s), listening to Imagine Dragons, not smelling a stinky diaper in the air or reading a book. I know I could have written more, but my mind loves to wander and wonder.
What else makes you happy?
I’ll give you a minute.
On this second round of my happy list, it turns towards moments with my husband and children. Number one is talking at my husband. You read that right. I talk at him and he indulges me by listening to me yammer about everything and nothing.
The deeper I look at what it means to be happy, I realize there is no pattern. Happy is a montage of insignificant and significant events and moments that have occurred, is occurring or will occur. You just have to be more aware of them or you’ll miss out.
The definition of happy is showing pleasure or contentment.
It seems like happy times are intermingled with the sad, the ho-hum, and the no good rotten ones. Think of happy like rainbow sprinkles. They are the highlights of our day-to-day grind.
It is woven into the past, present and gently tied into my hopes for the future. When I see my one year old smothering her daddy with wet open mouth slobbery kisses, my happy meter lights up. My second daughter, Lexi loves to sing, when I hear her singing in the morning. Her happy makes my happy meter light up.
Happy is found in the momentary blips that occur everyday. I see it on my Instagram feed. Friends who I met along the way through running have shown me when their happy meter lights up. Some of us have branched off into other passions and interests. Although I no longer take part in races, I’m grateful for the moments I shared with them.
In 2014, I met Sue at a 50 mile race out at Ft. Clinch State Park, Florida. She exuded a certain joie de vivre that was full of fire and spunk. She went on to complete her first 50 mile race and would later complete her first 100 mile race on the same course.
She is full of light from within. Enter Sue’s happy…
While I was putting this post together, it gave me an excuse to catch up with her. I learned that she has Stage 3 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. There is no cure for this type of cancer. She has left an indelible impression on me and all the other people she has met throughout her life. I pray that her health will allow her to continue to share her light with others.
Sue is a true example of living life well. Her beautiful smile says it all. Life is too short to get stuck on the petty and insignificant. Find your happy everyday.
The Secret to Happy
What is the secret to happy?
There is no secret.
Happy exists all around us and when we aren’t feeling it, like I used to tell my kids, “Sometimes you need to make your own sunshine.”
You are happiness.
Take a look at the list you made. Your happy has always existed. Sometimes you just need a little nudge to remind you where to look.