The Women of ChAos

ChAoS in MOtiOn

The Women of ChAoS

            About a year ago, while running with my friend Jamie, I said out of the blue, “That’s it! I’m going to do it!!” She looked at me a little confused and asked “Do what?” I explained that during my last few runs I had this growing idea of starting an “online support group” for women runners I knew. From that point, Chaos in Motion, a Facebook support group for the running inflicted was created. 
            The women of Chaos are a very diverse group. Some of us are mothers, but not all.  There exists brand new runners, runners in training, runners that used to run in high school or college and are now just getting back into it and we even have our token IronWoman.  They are friends, and friends of friends.  My goal of this group was to share ideas, support, advice, knowledge and encouragement.  A year ago I never realized how important these women would be in this marathon journey!
            A while back, a friend posted a picture to the site that read, “Girls compete with each other, Women empower one another.” Our group completely embodies this statement.  We all bring different reasons and different stories to why we each run. However, no matter the reason, the unconditional love and support that these women bring is endless. Many have struggled this year with injuries with some severe enough to require them to give up running for many weeks.  Through the MRIs , X-rays, diagnoses and prognoses, we were there for each other. We celebrated the “Clear to runs” and grieved the “6 more weeks of no running.”  We piled on the well wishes and “Go get ems!!” to each of the women who prepared for their 5ks or halves or IronMan races.  We celebrated the finishes, and the accomplishments along the way, whether it was finally running nonstop for 30 minutes, or exercising for 15 hours straight.
            One of these women, Rebecca, probably doesn’t realize I would not be running a marathon without her in my life.  I met Rebecca in June of ’06 at a function welcoming the incoming Medical Residents.  She looked tired, a bit irritated, and I decided that night we would be friends.  Her exhaustion was completely understandable since she had given birth about 6 days before her husband was to start residency, where he would be working no less than 80 hours a week.   Probably one of those plans that looked better in theory… In our first year of residency she ran Dam to Dam, a 20k in Des Moines and I thought that was a pretty amazing feat.  She was a runner, one of those people who mystified and intrigued me.
            She was my lifeline during these 3 years.  Both of our husbands were spending more time at the hospital than at home, and thankfully we had each other, just a couple blocks away.  Many mornings started with a text: “Coffee and bagel?” and then we would decide who would run for bagels and who would watch the children. The children that started in the beginning as 2, and would climb to 4 by the time we left residency.   Our friendship was the kind that we could sit in silence, watching our kids destroy the living room, and feel safe and understood.  She is the kind of friend that tells you what you need to hear, though sometimes you may not want to hear it.  She is the Type A, all-about- the- process of training personality to my Type B, can’t find the process, lets just race personality.    
The end of residency would take her to southern Minnesota, and me to North Dakota.  In the years since residency the four kids have grown to six and our husbands are still busy, and there are still mornings we virtually have coffee and a bagel, via picture text.  She has gone on to do Dam to Dam several more times and I became one of those mystifying runners as well.
In the last year we had thrown around the marathon idea. “Some day we’ll have to do that.” Someday when the kids are older, someday when our hubby’s schedules slow down… Then Boston happened.  Instead of being scared off by the Boston Marathon bombings, Rebecca let the ridiculous act of bombing people who run 26 miles for fun empower her to sign up for her first marathon.  I shortly followed her lead.  We have trained for this race together. She marking off each run on her training calendar, me asking her what we needed to run because I can’t find my training calendar. 
The week of our 18 mile long run, Rebecca had done her miles on Friday. Saturday morning I set out to do mine. Things were fine until mile 6. I had run 3 away from my house and 3 back. About the time I hit my driveway something went horribly screwy in my right knee. It HURT. I mean worse than Pitocin induced contractions hurt.  I hobbled to my house and tried to stretch while I bawled. There was something about this run, because my training had been so hit and miss and shoddy, it was crucial in my mind to complete. I reasoned if I completed this run, I would be able to do the marathon, if I didn’t I would withdraw.  All I kept thinking was Rebecca did it. Rebecca did it yesterday. She had never raced more than 12.4 miles and she did it, I can do it.  She had no idea that her run the previous day allowed me to muscle through the pain, though it wasn’t pretty or fast, and complete the 18 miles. 
Sunday I will gather at the start line with Rebecca and Tracy, another Chaos Woman, who has kept me laughing throughout this process.  I am positive we will not be the fastest group, but we will probably be the one laughing and dancing the most.  We each bring our individual reasons for doing this marathon with the common goal to just cross the finish line. So to all you Women of Chaos, and you know who you are, my most heartfelt thanks for your love, wisdom and encouragement through this journey! Mile 26 is for you all!