Marathon Eve


That’s my bib for my first full marathon. The one for which I have to wake up in just a handful of hours, at the bright dark hour of 3:00am.

The one which I don’t plan to finish.

Now hear me out, I’m not (just) being a pessimist. I’m not even that upset about the situation, if I’m honest. At least I’m not yet, hours removed from the balloons and fireworks and music and cheering.

But I made a promise to my sports medicine doc and my physical therapists – the ones I’ve seen every couple of days for 14 weeks now – that I wouldn’t run this race. A few months ago we all knew that meant I shouldn’t show up to the start corrals, because I’ve been known to be a bit stubborn. And a bit stupid.

Now though? Having not run a single step for over three months? After stopping, crying real tears, after 0.1 miles the last race I attempted? I think I’m “safe” to start.

So start I shall.

I will show up and support my husband, of whom I’m insanely proud. I’ll be a part of the community and see a few of my favorite backstage sights at one of my favorite places in the world. I’ll swallow some slightly bitter pills of humility and weakness, and talk down rising feelings of failure. Because I’ve grown.

Yes, it makes me mad that my body – between a rough hand where genetics are concerned and decades of damage done dancing – is not upholding its end of this plan. Yes, it makes me sad that my joint injections done earlier this week only provided minimal relief, which brings on a whole slew of doubts about mine and my doctor’s recovery plans. Yes, I’m a little bummed to have spent the money on the entry and only – maybe – get through one of four parks.

But years-ago Jennifer would have really struggled tonight. Present-day Jennifer is thankful her body was strong enough to carry three kids. To play with them, at least for a while, without too much pain.

Present-day Jennifer is thankful this weekend, planned for a race and personal records, has still provided amazing, quality time away with her husband. That her family is taking great care of her kiddos and that she’ll get to see them again soon.

Present-day Jennifer is planning the next series of runDisney races that perhaps aren’t so hard on her broken body, but still fun races to anticipate eagerly.

Of course, tomorrow-Jennifer might still have to fight a bit of competitiveness or sadness… which is why she’s writing now :)


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  1. Lisa says

    Jen, I am very proud of you for seeing the changes that you have achieved. I know it’s very difficult for you to not be able to run this race with Kyle. You are still a amazing daughter, mother and wife. Kyle needs your support as a wife, not as a fellow runner. I’m glad you guys are getting to enjoy time away together. Enjoy the atmosphere and know that if your body were able to you would be running that race with lots of passion. Take care of yourself. Sorry genetics weren’t in your favor. Continue to keep the perspective of looking at the blessings. We love you lots and look forward to hearing about your trip and sharing our times with Nolan with you,

    • Jennifer Kaufman says

      Thank you, mama! I *would* be running it with passion :) Thank you for keeping Nolan (and for the pictures and video!). We can’t wait to see you soon, two medals or one!

  2. says

    Hey there beautiful, I am so very proud of you. Right now, you are inspiring me, giving me hope, encouraging me. I pray you enjoy the moments of the marathon – walking or running or simply watching it all – knowing that your being there is itself the victory. I pray you’ll be surprised by our precious Lord tomorrow as He shows you pictures of His power and grace that you may never have seen had you been prepared and primed for 26.2. And I want to run with you, friend.
    Ronne recently posted…Thriving in the Shadows.

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