Alone with you, you’re alone with me…
Alone with you, you’re alone with me and I’m hoping that you will see yourself…..like I see you.
I see you when you chase all the dreams inside your head.
In the dark, at the dawn of something new, I see you.
Those are some of the lyrics from an amazing song by Missio.
I heard the song “I See You” a few months ago on a run.
The lyrics hit me so hard, I started to cry. I believe the song is a message to those contemplating suicide, but for me, it spoke a different story.
I heard it that day, as a message from God.
“I’m hoping you can see yourself as I see you”. Strong. Resilient. Beautiful. Capable.
I added it to my running playlist. I continued to wonder why this song was impacting me so profoundly.
I think I know why…
Sometimes God speaks to us in “mysterious” ways.
Why is that we seem to lose that childlike confidence as we age?
It seems we start to doubt our abilities, lose our passion.
I’m not certain, but after this weekend, I found my power once again.
God teaches us lessons in the most unique circumstances sometimes.
I’m 45, just started really running about a year ago….had no idea what my I signed myself up for….but what an eye and soul opening experience!!!
My friend and I have this “thing” we do.
We go out to eat and have a couple cocktails. We then become ten feet tall and bulletproof and agree to do things we never thought we could. It’s awesome actually. Because of this, we ran a half marathon this year and also our first Ragnar Trail race.
You know, typical Girls night…
Yeah , not so much 🤷♀️
We left Friday morning and set up camp with 6 other awesome humans that we work out with at our local CrossFit gym.
We scoped out the area, the vendors, the map of the green, yellow, and red loops.
I personally had no clue what I was about to do.
My friend and I had only done 3 or 4 trail runs in our new shoes before the big weekend.
And I’m here to tell you, I was not prepared.
Now, I did learn, there was some advantage to that. The not being prepared part.
Had I known what the red loop between 8 and 10pm that night would teach me, I may not have come.
I would have stayed home!
One of my coaches is good about putting my excuses back onto me. I can say I am afraid or not ready and he doesn’t care. He wants me to recognize my strength and power, and….I do now.
I was the first runner in our group.
Around noon, I ventured out on a “quick” 3 mile trail run.
No big deal, been there, done that.
It was hotter than planned, it was rockier than I was used to.
And I lost focus.
One of the first things they tell you with trail running is to not “look back”. It’s easy to lose your footing.
As I ventured out on the first loop, I felt confident and calm. I was keeping a good, steady pace and was feeling good. A man came up behind me a bit too close to pass on the left. I made the mistake of looking at him and my foot got caught in a root. I tried not to fall, but in doing so, tripped and slid across the roots and rocks below me.
What a way to start, hey?
Well, I got up(said some choice words), wiped the blood from my chin and ran the rest of the loop with ease.
I was impressed, not a tear was shed.
I fell. But the importance of that fall was that I got right back up.
I didn’t give up on me👍🏻
The day was fun, long, bonding, and memorable.
I was feeling pretty good about tackling the 7.6 mile red loop, which would begin around 8pm. It was the main reason I came.
I wanted the mental challenge of a long run in the dark woods.
What the hell did I ask for?!!!
This is the part of the trip that I feel God had crafted just for me.
After 45 years of testing….the teacher decided I would finally master the lesson this time.
We had dinner together that night and cheered one another on. I called my son for a pep talk and started “suiting up” for the night run.
I was dolled up in my hat, headlamp,chest lamp, and bandages(from my earlier fall).
Long story short, I felt ready.
Just before I was about to leave, I felt like I needed another headlamp just in case. It’s kinda my thing, to over prepare.
I’m glad I had that lamp with me that night.
As I ventured out onto the trail, I felt ok. I wasn’t afraid, as there were other runners around me. As I continued on, I saw varying headlamps behind me, shuffles of runners around me.
But, as I kept on, it got lonely.
Like really lonely.
I noticed this trail was much more decorated with tree roots and rocks. I found myself hopping over things and walking some areas so I wouldn’t fall again.
And then things got “real”.
About 2 miles in, it seemed as though all the runners must have passed me, because I hadn’t seen anyone in quite awhile.
I don’t know that I have ever been in the middle of the woods in the dark. Like, ever.
It’s not a bucket list item. It’s not romantic. It’s not even exciting.
So, nope. Never had done this before.
You hear things in the night that are haunting. Like the hoot of an owl, or 2 or 3…, the clicking of the acorns dropping off trees, the wind through the leaves, the animals that are living in there as well. The creepy thing is, you can’t see any of what you think it may be!
It’s actually quite spooky.
As I ran, I became a little more aware of the sounds and tried hard not to focus on them, but rather just run and get the hell out of there. I was keeping a good pace, staying focused and such, when I came upon a bed of boulders. Yes, not rocks, but boulders. I’m sticking to that.
In the darkness, they appeared to be very large and never ending.
I wasn’t prepared.
The paths are marked with little reflective arrows here and there. You just know to follow the dirt path and you should be fine.
Now, there were no arrows, and no dirt to be seen.
I walked up on the rocks and started to panic. What the hell?
Which way do I go?
What do I do?
I played my typical helpless record in my head…..but on fast forward this time.
No, Linda. God brought you to it. He will guide you through it.
I made it through the first bed and was back on the trail. Whew!
As I ran along now, my muscles were getting tense.
I don’t like surprises.
My anxiety was in high gear.
Test #2, and here we go.
I had been running along, feeling calmer and yet another unmarked, area of boulders was in front me me. I’m pretty sure I swore.
To top off my anxiety and fears, the headlamps we had ordered were not good lamps.
I was so glad I had gone with my gut and brought along the 3rd lamp, that I had wrapped around my hand. Relying on it to show me what was below me.
The fog didn’t help much either.
So….I can’t really see where I am going, it’s dark and scary and I still have 4 miles to go?!?!
As I stood on the 2nd set of rocks, panicking in fast forward motion, I spoke out loud to myself that night.
I Ordered myself to STOP.
What’s the hurry? I’ve got nothing to prove.
I don’t know where to go, so I will wait upon these rocks until another runner comes along.
We get so used to hurrying through life.
I tell you.
So used to it.
Trying to be strong.
To keep it together.
Well, I’ll tell you straight. I was not strong at that moment, not keeping it together.
Finally, a young girl came along.
We laughed as I said, “My friends said this would be fun, but it’s more like a scene out of a Freddie Krueger movie”(because it was).
We navigated the rocks together.
As we got to a better part of the trail, we parted and kept on.
As I ran, in fear now, I asked for my Dad to stay with me. The song “Daddy never was the Cadillac kind ” came on.
I sang out loud to calm myself.
I prayed out loud on that run.
I also asked God to show me what I needed to learn.
And then I came upon rock bed #3.
I may have said some choice words again.
I mean, come on,
I was tired.
From the day.
From the heat.
From the mental challenges that were forced upon me.
I just wanted to go home.
So, I did what I felt I needed to do at that moment.
I didn’t care who heard me. I didn’t care who saw me, what they thought, what I looked like or anything at all!!
I stood and cried out loud for my husband. Crying out his name.
I just wanted to go home.
Then, after a short time, I realized that I was wasting my time standing there and crying would not get me any closer to home.
So I ran.
I ran the rest of that fucking trail.
I ran through the noises. The uncertainty. The unrelenting darkness. The fog. The lack of light. The pain in my feet. The ache in my heart.
I ran with my Dads spirit.
I ran because my body let me.
I ran and ran and while I ran, I thanked God….for it ALL.
I made it out….all those awful things that I thought could have happened , didn’t.
He ran with me and lit my way once again.
The way He has my whole life.
He lit the way through the childhood darkness. The chaos, the sadness. He guided me through my divorce many years ago, He showed me how to be a mom, a friend, and a wife.
Who am I to have doubted His Love for me?
There’s another verse in the song,”I See you” that makes my heart so full.
It says, “Even when you cry and even when you’re shy, you mean everything to me”
We mean EVERYTHING to Him.
He may let us stumble on the roots, but He will hold our hand as we get back up to journey on.
As I laid down in the tent that eve, I Quietly cried.
I must remember to have faith.
Faith over fear.
In all things.
And, I will.
I am stronger than I thought…in so many ways.
Those woods placed every fear I could imagine in front of me that day….and I conquered them all!!
I often hold back from things due to my fear of getting hurt, I don’t like the darkness, unknown situations, I don’t like being unprepared, I don’t like being alone.
I realized when I had to rely on God and myself, how empowering that can be.
It seems that in today’s world, we rely on everything, other than those 2 things.
Our self and our God.
We have GPS to tell us the way, technology, we protect our bodies in all sorts of ways from injury, we have choices, options and comforts we don’t even realize…until they are taken away.
I survived my fall, and got back up.
I survived the darkness, and found my inner light.
I survived the unknown, and found my certainty in Him.
And I found a part of myself I didn’t really know was missing.
My belief. In me.
Not sure where that had gone, but I have it once again.
And this time, I won’t let it go ever again.
I got “this”.
Whether it be my job, my family, my goals, or the dark woods some night.
I have all the power I need, next to HIM…and inside of ME.
One of my teammates asked me that next day if I would do this again.
I paused, as I’m not certain I would.
The camaraderie was spectacular, the landscape was great and the experience of it all was so much fun.
But, at the end of the day, I got what I came for.
……And a few other life lessons I didn’t know I needed.
As we pulled into my driveway the next afternoon, I “saw” things differently.
My husband was waiting with a healthy dinner for me. I slipped into my hot shower. Slept in my amazing bed that night.
Life is so good.
But, the next morning is what really got me.
I looked into the mirror and for one of the first times in my life, I was truly, absolutely 100% in love with what I could see.
A strong, resilient, Beautiful overcomer who finally was able to “See” who she really is and what she is truly capable of being.
That made all of the bangs and bruises worth it to me❤️
The next time I face a challenge, I’ll make sure not to cry. I won’t look back. I won’t question my instincts. I won’t deny His presence.
I won’t close my eyes because I am too afraid of what “could” be. I will walk forward with confidence and know that my Faith will never fail me.
And I know, in Him, all things are possible.
Oh, and my 2nd dark run?
Ya, that one was a breeze. 5:30-7am.
I had already gone through the longest run of my life so I enjoyed the 4.6 and was gifted with the sunrise as my Dad, Brother, and Grandma ran along with me.
I’m home, well rested and ready to find another adventure…..well, maybe in another year or so😉
So, take those chances and push your limits.
There’s much to learn about ourselves every single day.
Our purpose here is to learn and to be the best version of what He created us to be.
“The only regrets we have are the chances we didn’t take ”
Blessings my friends.