Brooklyn Half-Marathon marks the start of Pegleg’s journey to Marathon

Pegleg’s next voyage has begun – the New York Marathon.  But first, the story of his quest to get to this point.  And a high point it is…

Excerpted from the Peglog:

Today was the Brooklyn Half-Marathon.  It also marks the 4th anniversary of the day my Mother died.  Running brings me closer to her and today we were closer than ever.

The run was fantastic – surpassing the ambitious goals I set for time and for memorializing my Mother’s death.  Starting at 7, the temperature was cool if a touch humid.  A cloudy haze burned off as the race began.  I tried to keep my heart rate down, to hold back, but it beat faster anyway.

After 2 laps around Prospect Park I saw my wife and brother for the first time and Mile 7 passed by unrecognized.  Ascending from the Prospect Expressway onto Ocean Parkway, a sea breeze beckoned me to the seaside.  Its salty air in my nose and mouth and I knew my Mom was there.

The miles fell underfoot at a faster pace as my momentum grew, negative splits the length of Ocean Parkway.  I ran down the very center of the grand parkway only because I could.  The rhythms of the trees lining the street and the lettered avenues and my breathing brought me to the state that I run for, when what’s happening within my body separates from what’s happening within my mind.  I was working hard yet everything felt good and nothing hurt.

4 years and a day ago, I ran around Cape Rosier finding a similar separation but working harder, especially on the long hill up Ames Cove Road towards home and my Mom.  That time I labored up the hill in the heat as she struggled to stay alive on the sofa in the living room.  She was working as hard to breathe as I was.

When I reached the top, I had reached my goal.  The pressure was gone.  The struggle was over.  I was flooded with the open, freeing feelings that flood me after a hard run.  So what was her goal?

I sat by my Mom’s side when I got back to her.  I held her hand and I told her how I loved her, how I love her, how I will always love her.  Then I told her about my run.  I told her how I understood her struggle better now after my struggle.  The sound of our breath was the same, our efforts as determined.

Following the parallel further, I got to a place I still don’t completely understand.  I encouraged her to make it to the top of the hill to reach her goal.  I encouraged her to die.

I encouraged her to take her next step.  I encouraged her to know she did not need to struggle.  Her hard work would be rewarded similar to mine when she got to the top of her hill.

She would be free.  Free of the body that was torturing her.  Free of the pain that came with every breath.  Free of the cancer that took over her body so much that it wasn’t really her body anymore.  She needed to live and the only way she could live was to die, to leave the body that was killing her behind.

My Mom saw the afterlife through the spiritual lens that her rational mind saw everything in the world.  When I was a kid and I asked her what happens when you die, she taught me about the first law of thermodynamics, the law of conservation of energy:

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed from one state to another.

She would describe the energy that makes each of us who we are as our soul.  It could not be created nor destroyed.  As she lay there on the sofa next to me, the energy that was the closed system of her body was transforming.  Her soul was exchanging the confines of her body for the wide open universe.

Suddenly – 4 years ago to the day  – my Mom was everywhere.  She is everywhere.  She is part of every breath I take.  And she is closest to me every time I run.

My Mother drew me to the ocean at Coney Island in 1 hour 43 minutes and 55 seconds so that I could be flooded with the feelings of being completely open and free.

Thank you, Mom.  I love you.

-Pegleg on the 22nd day of May, 2010

2 Responses to “Brooklyn Half-Marathon marks the start of Pegleg’s journey to Marathon”
  1. Bob & Donna James (The James' Gang) says:

    Oh Peter !
    My lap is flooded with tears reading this. What a incredible journey this has been for you these past 4 years – I just can’t imagine all the emotions you’ve been feeling, but I’m glad that you’ve found Gilda’s to help guide you in the strength of you and your mom’s love for each other.

    I think of your mom so much and miss her friendship immensely. This may sound silly, but I have a really difficult time going u and down the landing of the stairs in our house as I think of your mom every time. You see, I was removing wallpaper from the landing of the stairway when your mom told me over the phone that she had a lump in her breast and there was suspicion of it being cancerous. Ironically, I announced to her at that same moment that I had suspicious growths in my breasts, which later found out were not cancerous. To say the least we both bawled our hearts out together while I was sitting on the landing. We shared our deepest thoughts and understanding of life at that time……

    How special that we’ve been touched by Rosemary! Love, Aunt Donna xo

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  1. […] I ran my first race in New York City in 2010 – the Brooklyn Half Marathon. […]

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  • Running & Pondering

    May 2010
    M T W T F S S
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