The Half

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

me, alison, and becca (my totally awesome running partner)

2 hours of sleep. 13.1 Miles. 1 incredible running partner. And a gorgeous mountain setting that can't be beat.

Strangely enough, I didn't cry. I think that was the most shocking part of all...I didn't cry!! I was a little disappointed in that fact, to be honest. I was hoping for a giant "release"--a feeling of euphoria and gratitude. Instead, I kind of just plowed through it all. I was so nervous about having a 'come apart' that I held it together so stoically... and once I passed the emotional moment, it was gone. The whole experience was much easier and calmer than I expected. We were well trained.

The last 5 miles or so was spent praying and repeating my new running mantra. I prayed and thanked my Father in Heaven for every little miracle. Especially my Peter and my Lucy. I poured out my heart in thanks for my husband Vic--for his steadfastness and support and his commitment to me. I pleaded for strength. Not just to finish the race, but to finish gracefully and joyfully the rest of my earthly journey. I breathed deeply to soak in the trees, the bubbling brook, the waterfall, the rushing river, the birds, and especially the spirits of all the runners. My friend John told me to make sure and look around at everyone during the race--everyone runs for their own reasons. Everyone has a story.
Next, Becca and I started discussing ALL the inspirational quotes people wrote. We kept going back to Aunt Linda's-- patience, persistence, consistence, distance. But trust me, we went through all of them. Shut up and dance! Just keep swimming. I can do hard things! Run Molly, Run! They were fueling us. When I remembered Alissa's quote "Pain is temporary. Glory is eternal" I started to get emotional. That's when I knew it was suck it up or lose it. Alissa was Lucy's doctor during her time in the PICU. Talk about gut wrenching. Those words and my feelings for Alissa and my memories of my time with her-- it is all too much. There are things that can only be communicated spirit to spirit. No words could ever come close. And I know she knows.

There to greet me at the finish line were my mom, Vic and Peter, and dear high school friend Janeese. (who also ran the half and finished and ENTIRE HOUR before me. That girl is insanity on wheels).

I'd have to say one of the best parts was the surprise gift Vic had waiting for me. A gorgeous pearl ring from the Sundance catalog. Lucy's birthstone is the pearl. When I called and told my sister, she said, "You HAVE to keep running! Just think what you'll get when you finish a marathon." Didn't I tell you she was wise?

What it all comes down to is the gift of strength. Strength beyond my own. ALL of it. This entire past year, childbirth, training for this race, the ability to get out of bed in the morning. It is not my strength alone.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Here is an excerpt from Becca's blog about our race:

"It was all worth it. The feeling that I had coming over the finish line-it makes me cry even now. Tears of joy and gratitude just to have had the opportunity to take the journey of training for this.
I jumped out of bed when my alarm went off at 4 a.m. that morning. At first I felt nervous and then I thought, "Now is not the time to be nervous. You have trained and worked so hard for this and today is the day that you get to put it all out there." We chanced it and parked at the top so that Molly could pump close to the start time. I drove the car through the mass of close to 2,000 people so the car wouldn't get towed and as I heard people's comments I was reminded to never be quick to judge. It was cool and it was just starting to become light. The gun went off and the crowd started to make their way to the starting line. As we passed over the starting pad, I energetically jumped on it with both feet. I was excited to begin. The first 4 miles was down a fairly steep road passing by cute cabins and beautiful mountains. As the miles went by, I was amazed at how I felt. We would range from a 9:30 to a 11:30 minute mile. We were consistent and determined. A little before half way, the trail started going up a frontage road that was a steady incline back up the canyon. It felt like we were doing one of our PC trails. It went uphill for about a mile and then we came back down and got back on the Provo River Trail. Still feeling good at mile 9, the watch that we had to pace ourselves lost satellite and never regained. I wasn't worried because I knew that we would still be consistent without it because of all of our training. It was then that we started talking about all of the comments from Molly's blog about what her mantra should be. There were incredible quotes and comments on there and with each phrase that we recalled I was uplifted. The main one we kept coming back to was "patience, persistence, consistence, distance." As others would stop to walk, we kept running and running and running. And we kept on. My legs started feeling a little jello-ish, but overall I felt good. When we started getting closer, I saw the people gathered and I started to cry-I couldn't believe that we were almost there. Crying made it hard to breathe, so I calmed down, but it was amazing to see people on the side of the trail-there to support their loved ones. There was a girl who was limping and we tried to help her, but she insisted that we keep going so we took her name and bib number and told her that we would send someone up for her. We got closer and closer. And then we came around the bend and saw the finish line and something inside me took off and I started sprinting and I sprinted over that finish line and I cried. I cannot properly put into words what I felt: joy, relief, gratitude, power and so much more. There was Ryan and Rulan on the side and I ran over and gave them both a hug. I felt GREAT! All of the training had truly paid off and we did it. The words of The Penguin came back to me "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." We had the courage to start. 2 moms with little boys-me struggling to get back into life and get out of postpartum and Molly dealing with the same plus the loss of her sweet angel Lucy. Together we conquered with a lot of help from above. Together we found our old selves and added new strength to our characters. We had the courage to start and that has made all of the difference. So many things have happened to help me know why we needed to move up here, but this has been the biggest. I am so thankful that Molly and I found each other and though we are very different, we have some of the same passions and we re-developed our love of running together on the beautiful trails of Park City. We got out nearly everyday and partook of the beauty of the earth. It helped me accomplish something for me everyday and I think I had been missing that. We couldn't have done it without the support and love from our husbands who were both at the finish line. And we couldn't have done it if we didn't have the sweetest little boys in the whole world who were so patient on those runs. This really has made all of the difference in my life as a new mommy."

Thank you, Becca! I could NEVER EVER have done it without you.

A gal I went to college with, who lost her brother 10 yrs. ago, wrote this song for me. What an incredible talent and gift. Isn't this something we all need?

Strength Beyond My Own
Music and Lyrics by Kylee Shields

To: Lucy's Mom

Vic and I found this song from Kylee very touching. I wish I could write music like that. Incredible.

P.S.--I have completely misplaced/lost/or had my camera stolen. Great photos of me crossing the finish line, Janeese and Peter, family photo at finish line, etc. will be posted shortly if we can find it! Grrrrrr.....


  1. that song is very fitting Molly. Kylee and I were actually in a singing group together while we were at BYU. I'd love to get her contact info from you if I could. I love those lyrics. It is beautiful and it is applicable to all. "so give me wings to fly away or the strength to fight another day...I know that I am loved, supported at home and from above." That is what I was feeling on that hard 4.5 miler back in our training. I prayed for help and then there was a gust of wind and then it quieted down and it was time for me to make my own wind with a lot of help from home here on earth and from home in heaven. That will forever stay with me. What a blessing and a strengthening experience to train and complete the half with you! Here's to many more empowering days :)

  2. Congrats on finishing the race Molly! Your fierce strength and quiet grace inspire me! Thank you!

  3. your strength astounds me.

    congratulations on such an accomplishment!

    and you have the cutest little legs in your running shorts :)

  4. i forgot to tell you about a couple of things (i wish i had written in my blog also) but did you see the lady with the prosthetic leg at the beginning of the run? she totally smoked me. i thought that was awesome.
    also there was a woman with a sign on her back that said "MS won't stop me." i thought that was so cool. and then i saw her cross the finish line. after she crossed she had to be supported by her dad and sister(?) but she crossed the line on her own. i went from thinking she was cool to total awe and respect. i am so proud of you.

  5. Congratulations Molly! You do look beautiful in the picture wearing Lucy's bow! You have amazing strength. Thank you for sharing your accomplishment with us ~

  6. I love this blog. It brings back alot of memories of running and racing. Running and finishing a race is a feeling I wish everyone could enjoy or want to enjoy. We all have our reasons to run - they are important reasons and so running becomes important. And there is nothing like the feeling when you "stop running" after 13.1 or 26.2 miles of constant running.

  7. Miss Molly,

    You DID it! WOW. I can't imagine I am training for a 10K and the panting and knee creaking are never-ending. That Vic is really taking it to the next level (Treasures from the Sundance Catalog! That would be the only thing to get me to do a half marathon!(I would let him to at least second base for that one.)

    I may even tell my own husband about the gift exchange at finish line tradition. And then forget I told him and then tell him again :)

    So your button, ya it's broke. But oh so cute. My fingers were getting tired checking it every day to see if I was missing the launch, so I grabbed a broken button. I'll take it off until your ready...

    WOWSERS look at your legs, and how old is Peter? You should be ashamed of yourself.

    What is next for the Molly Jackson Chronicles? A play, A marathon, Another triathalon? Let me tell you a secret, you should quit being so dang interesting and setting the bar so high as young as you are, then people alway's are expecting something amazing from you- (but guess what I already know you are just that- AMAZING.) But for the sake of this turning into a after school special. I'll go now.

    See you on American Idol- They are in Denver you know.
    I wouldn't even be surprised!
    Love you

  8. I love Kylee's song, but even more I love the look in her eyes as she completes it. People are so good, aren't they? It just shines out of her.

    Congratulations on the race, Molly. I hope you are able to take it all in, because this is just one of many victories for you. Through all of the loss and sorrow, it seems you are continually given "wings to fly or strength to fight another day."

    And that's why Kylee's song is so perfect for you.


  9. I listen to stories of runners and I am amazed... my own son is a distance runner... I never will be. However I am amazed by those that are.

    If it was me... after all that running I would be too tired to cry and it would hit me later...when I least expected it.

    The ring sounds wonderful... Lucy's birthstone... how thoughtful.


  10. after reading your post earlier today, i can't get it out of my head. in particular, the ring vic presented to you- a sweet and meaningful gift. i find it to be extremely metaphorical- especially when considering how pearls are formed and created. an irritant that inspires a beautiful gem.

    i'm sure you don't need me to spell it out for you, and perhaps you have already drawn a connection here.

    but, i can see your Heavenly Father, just as vic did, presenting you with your precious pearl as you cross the finish line.

    keep running.

  11. Wow, it's such a small world. Kylee was in my ward in Provo at one point, and I ran into her again living in Boston when we were there.

    Congrats on the race! You're a star!

  12. Congratulations MOLLY! I have been looking forward to a post about the race, this made my heart smile! Running has become a special kind of healing balm for you, what a gift--! I love that you and your running pal went through all of the mantras together--too cool, the Lucy bow tops it all off, and I agree with what has been said: YOU ARE AMAZING & you have above average legs--HOTNESS! ;)

    Love you!

  13. ...I can't help but feel happy {big smiles!) that the mantra-words I sent got used and served you and your running mate well! "patience, persistence, consistence, distance."

    They are powerful and solid, with both momentary stability and substance and the end goal in mind... like you.

    You're gonna' make it after all!
    ( sing those words! See M.T.Moore, and throw your pink hat in the air! YOU DID IT! )

  14. Congratulations friend, that is so great! Not just to have finished, but to have finished strong.

    It was so good seeing you with your dad. There are some people who just leave such an impression on your life and your family holds a special place in mine.

    Keep on running. You are already half way to a marathon, why not just finish it off? I even have a new mantra for you, "26.2, how bout you!" It's not as good as "Shut up and Dance" but it's still pretty strong.

  15. Wait a Alyssa--the doctor--married to Ryan? If so I forget their married name, but she's an old roommate of mine. Will you please tell her to look me up or something--my blog?

    And well, well, well done Molly. You can do hard things. What a great accomplishment.

  16. Dido on everything! Molly congratulations!

  17. Congratulations on finishing your race. What a huge accomplishmenht! I love that you are wearing Lucy's bow, and that Vic gave you her birthstone. How thoughtful! Congrats again, you continue to be an inspiration. Thank you.

  18. CONGRATS MOLLY! You are completely and totally awesome!
    Sigh...can't wait to get back into running after this baby comes!
    Beautiful song, too.

  19. Good job!! I saw you during the race and silently cheered (didn't want to freak you out being a stranger and all) Loved the pink bow.

  20. Wow. I cried when I read this, and I don't even know you. I am training for a 10K in September and I really really need to hear things like this. My reasons for running are nowhere near as noble as yours, but it's still nice to hear that it is worth it and that maybe it gets a little easier. Congrats!

  21. WAY TO GO SMOLLS! You inspire me!

  22. Molly you have the most amazing husband ever! He thinks about all these little details! It made me cry just how much he loves you!! I ran in High School a couple of races and can in a very little way relate to your race - it feels great, like your friend said to sprint the last few meters and just finish and feel great! Maybe I should start again with running and get a bit of fresh air, although we don´t have the great mountains that you have!
    Take care and lots of loves!!!!

  23. Mcbutta-
    I'm sooo PROUD of you girl! You are amazing. I love and miss your face. Come back to LA soon :)

  24. WOW - that is amazing. And very inspirational - I run my first half in September and I am a bit leary!

  25. You totally rock! That is such a great accomplishment...second only to your splits when you were pregnant. You know how I obsess over that.

    Anyways, sorry I changed the wrong blog font- do you want the other one put back in bold?

  26. So freakin proud of you. And having just given birth this spring...and can I please ask the question: AN ENTIRE HOUR BEFORE YOU? Dang, that girl moves. :)

  27. Pretty sure MOLLY will send me a CD "Most Used Mantra Award".
    Thankyou, Academy!


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