I want you all to meet my friend Jody. She is going to kill me for a. putting up a picture of her and b. doing a blog post about her! That’s okay, I can handle the evil stare that will come my way when she reads this! 😀
Jody started running last year. I had the opportunity to get to know her through the 5k training program through Run For Your Life in Charlotte. She had only planned on continuing with the 5k program until one day we started talking about half marathons I want to do. She told me there was a Princess half marathon at Disney World and of course we both wanted to do that race! What girl doesn’t? 🙂 I told Jody about the half marathon training program that I would be coaching through (USA Fit) and we started talking with others about joining the group. We both encouraged several others to join in this adventure! We can be pretty convincing!
About half way through our training Jody started feeling some intense pain in her left leg. After going to several doctors visits and trying to run through the pain, she found out it was a stress fracture on the inside of her leg about two inches above her ankle! OUCH! No runner whether a novice or veteran wants to have a stress fracture. I remember one Saturday that I ran with Jody and her group for our long run. This was before she knew she had a stress fracture. After two miles I noticed that Jody was no longer in sight. This bothered me greatly. After waiting for five minutes and then running back on the trail to see if I could find her, our group pushed through the long run. I didn’t know this until the end but she had sent me a text that she couldn’t finish and went back to her vehicle. I was sad. I knew this was serious. She WANTED to run! I wanted her to run. I so enjoy running with her. But for some reason she now had a stress fracture to deal with.
At the end of the run that day, I looked at Jody and with tears in her eyes she knew that this season was over for her. I wanted to cry with her. She was grieving. I was grieving. This was a huge loss. Lots of time had been put into training. Shoes and clothing had been bought. Everything seemed to be wasted. (In hindsight this was not wasted at all.)
Before the stress fracture Jody had talked to me and a few other runners about running a half marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC. I wanted to run it because of the medal. 🙂 There was also the fact it was a pretty flat course. It had been decided we would all run it. This was one race that Jody had planned for. She couldn’t run it but the rest of us could. So we did!
My favorite part of the race was Jody. You see, even though she couldn’t run the race she decided to come down and cheer on our group! This was not easy for her at all! To be honest it wasn’t easy for me knowing I was going to run this race and she wasn’t. She. was. there. She cheered on each runner from our group at two different spots on the course.
At the end of the race, Jody was there screaming and cheering us on! I was so excited to see her at the end. For me that was a picture of grace that day. With very mixed emotions on a day she should be running with our group, Jody was encouraging each of our runners through to the end. I learned a lot being on the side lines of this journey Jody has been on. Without realizing it she showed me grace throughout this journey. She graciously came out to a race when she could have easily said “Becky, I just can’t come cheer you guys on, it’s too hard.” I would have completely understood her coming to me and saying those words. She didn’t and for that I’m thankful!
The picture below is of me and Jody after the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon. The headband I am wearing is one that she made! I wore it in honor of her that day!
Do you have friends that teach you grace in unexpected ways?