Or, so runs the tag-line of every MLB team vying for control of the postseason. Despite the baseball fever that spread across Canada and the impressive and exciting run by our boys in blue, the Jays, however, only took part of October. But it was pretty incredible while it lasted. And there's always next year, right?
October always feels a bit like being reaquainted with the slower and cozier rhythms of fall and winter: pulling jackets and scarves and boots out of our closets that we haven't worn since much earlier in the year, curling up by the fireplace with a book or to watch a movie, and crisp bike-rides and early morning runs where we have to get used to wearing layers again. But, as if to ease the transition, it also give us Thanksgiving, and - with the bulk of baseball's postseason, the start of soccer playoffs, the kick-off to hockey season, & this year the rugby World Cup - one of the best month of sports the year has to offer.
This October was a bit different than anything "normal" for me, as I'm currently on a sabbatical-of-sorts and neither working nor in school right now. In so many ways, that space has been (and is) good and necessary and in so many others, incredibly difficult. But with the extra space and time it's given, it also included some unexpected surprises like moving into a new house with roommates I adore, a trip down to Northern California for some time with my Uncle, Aunt, cousins, and brother who live there, getting to visit (incredibly gorgeous!) Yosemite and drive out to Lake Tahoe, geek out about the lead-up to and results of the recent Canadian Federal Election, and to finish the month in Arizona where I'm currently enjoying summer 2.0 (read: sunshine and temperatures in the mid-twenties) and time with my oldest brother, sister-in-law, adorable nephews, and one of my best friends from university.
October was also the official kick-off to the races for Project Hope! Woohoo!
By necessity, we Vancouverites become quite accustomed to running in quite a wide-array of weather - especially rain - and the Granville Island Turkey Trot was certainly no exception. It was very wet. And yet it was still so much fun.
It's hard to know how to explain how unspectacular the race was and yet how huge this one was too. Let say it like this: I crossed a finish line without pain. I finished a 10k that I ran the whole time and didn't have any injury pain during or after the race. And as simple as that seems: it's something that hasn't happened since I first got hurt: 7 years ago. There's something about that that holds more redemptive promise than I know how to express. There were a few points during the race where I almost teared up thinking about countless moments in the past few years where I wondered if I'd ever run without pain again or if the doctors' initial prognosis that I should "try to wrap my head around life without running" was actually going to be correct.
My/our pace wasn't impressive. But maybe the best part of that is that that doesn't matter. In fact, I almost laughed when a friend asked me what time we ran the race in because I legitimately didn't know. The girl who used to be driven and consumed by athletic perfectionism and statistics and splits didn't even think to focus on the clock. Which sounds and feels a lot like growth and freedom to me, in ways that make me so beyond thankful for the ways God works in our hearts and minds and re-wires some of the ways we tend to chase our identity in all the wrong places.
This race wasn't about competition and it wasn't about pace. It was the beginning of this crazy journey and it was a step forward. And, as my incredible friend Chandler (who ran the race with me) told me at the end: This was a win.
And this race - the first of 10 in the next year - quickly showed me that this is also about the people who are around me and with me as I do this. It was humbling and inspiring to run this race for my Aunt Tina and to think of and pray for her family as we ran. It was beyond exciting to get to run on my beautiful Mum's birthday and tell her - the person who's more closely than any other experienced the best moments in my running/athletic career and also been my biggest support in the roller-coaster of tears and frustration in the worst moments - that I finished. And, I can't imagine running this first race without Chandler by my side: a woman of passion and wisdom beyond her years, who makes me laugh and inspires me to live well and to give myself more grace than I ever think I deserve, who breathes and speaks encouragement like it's air, has impeccable taste in music, and is one of my go-to people to talk to about politics/social justice with. She danced and laughed with me as we warmed up, encouraged me every step of the way, & celebrated with me afterwards with a post-race brunch at one of my favourite hole-in-the-wall coffeeshops.
This season is teaching me a lot about what it means to rest. And what it looks like to give myself space to breathe and recover and heal. I'm not particularly good at any of those things. In fact, I'm still much more comfortable with the familiar world of "hold-it-all-together", "do-as-much-as-you-possibly-can", and "just-keep-fighting" paradigm(s).
Rest isn't easy. It's beautiful, but it's hard, because it's still so counter-cultural to embrace and acknowledge weakness and limitation. And in that, I'm slowly coming to see that Mary’s choice (in Luke 10) to rest and sit at the feet of the Saviour who wept rather than to keep busy working for the sake of working was not only the better choice, but also the much harder and braver choice.