Today, it’s not about me.

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Every time I head out for a run, I’m focused on MY goals, MY progress, MY training and making it to the next mile. But today it was different. Today we traveled over 400 miles so we could run 5 miles with the “Run for the Fallen” team. The “Run for the Fallen” team, lead by Jon, is a group of 12 people that after recently losing a loved one in Iraq has decided to run a mile for every fallen U.S. soldier. There have been over 4,080 lives lost in Operation Iraqi Freedom and starting on Flag Day 2008 these runners began their journey from Fort Irwin, CA to Arlington National Cemetery. The goal is to memorialize each soldier by assigning them a mile and planting a flag and placard at the start of that mile.

At 5 a.m. the alarm goes off and although I want to hit the snooze button, I don’t because this workout is especially important. We make our way to Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA and look for our starting position. At 6 a.m. we have joined the team and are ready to start our run. At the beginning of every day, the team lists the 60 soldiers that are being memorialized that day. We reflect on our reason for being there. I never really pictured myself as a runner. When I started this ‘Year of the Marathon’ project, it was just because it has always been a goal of mine. Somewhere along the line, my goals, the loss of a friend and the worry of others started to blend. Here I was at 6 a.m. mourning the loss of someone who was so influential in my love of fitness and I had never even realized it. I use to dread Tim waking me up to go for a jog before our 7:30 classes. I found this especially ironic this morning because here I was at 6 a.m. running for his memory. (I know he was looking down at Chris and I and found it amusing!) After the reading of the soldiers’ names and planting the first flag, Jon, Chris & I started our run. It was a crisp, foggy morning and as the sun was coming up and the waves were rolling in, it was really one of the most peaceful moments of my life. I don’t think I have ever felt like I was in the exact right place at the exact right time more than I did right then. I knew that somehow everything that had happened from meeting Chris and Tim McGovern to becoming a personal trainer to training for a marathon had all been for a reason. After the first mile, Chris and I planted the second flag and then we headed through the town of Oceanside. We picked up another runner and then proceeded to make our 5 mile trek. I didn’t feel any pain, I didn’t become out of breath, I didn’t look at my times and I didn’t even wear my ipod – I was just in the moment and that moment wasn’t about me.

In a world where everything is moving so fast, when you are always looking forward to the next project, it is important to take a moment to reflect and be inspired by the people that have helped us to become the people we are today.

If you can, I would encourage you to run a mile with the Run for the Fallen team, meet them at a mile with encouragement or some water, or even just be thinking of them and wishing them a healthy journey as they cross the country. The lives that have been lost will not be forgotten and those that are still fighting will not go without our prays of a safe return.

*written offline after our June 18th run*

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