10.77 Mile Birthday Run

It is my longest run so far--and I ended up running solo.
I ran in honor of my 46th birthday.

The previous evening was spent sitting at a Panera's plotting my route with Stephanie.
Although she had no desire to run with me, she was interested in directing my path.
We had several options but we decided that I would allow my heart to lead me when I started my run.


I ran past the school where I worked at for almost 12 years.
I ran past Carole's old house.
I ran past Julie's new house.
I ran close to where our children go to school.
On mile 1,  Kathleen drove by as I made the turn towards the park where our children run cross-country.
She yelled: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
I ran by Gabi's gymnastics school.

I ran through a not too pretty section of town.

I ran past Suzanne's old house.
I ran to my brother Ayo's house (no one was home) and traced a note on the dust coating his garage window:
Chesca was here.
With the dirt on my finger, I further vandalized his garage keypad with my name:
(I wanted to be sure that they found it.)

I ran all the way to the first apartment that Steve and I rented right after we got married.
We lived on the 7th floor.
Since hot air rises, we never had to turn on our heater.
Which was good, since we could hardly afford heat at that point.
I used to stand out on the balcony and wave to him every morning as he drove off to work.

On mile 6 of my run, Ernie drove by and waved at me.
(He did not know it was my birthday)
He and Suzanne worked together at that very last place I did a bit of work for in 2009.
(That was the year that my dad died.)
I ran across a bridge through the park where my mother, Steve, my dog junior and very-pregnant-I got lost.
Kika seriously labor-pained me to be born as we panicked our way out of the woods.
It was a false alarm.
I ran past a cemetery that the girls and I used to frequent.
They loved catching frogs in the cemetery pond.
I am deathly afraid of frogs.

On mile 8, I ran through the first business district I explored when I arrived in Pittsburgh 20 years ago.
I used to spend hours and hours examining American products.
It is right near the apartment Steve lived in before we were married.
(I ran by that too.)
Sweaty and kind of tired at this point, I ran into two lovely moms from the kids' school.
Kelly and Holly were out and about,  exercising.
(I told them it was my birthday, and forced them to greet me)
They cheered me on and gave me a burst of energy to run a little bit more than the intended 10 miles.

I ran by Carnegie Mellon University.
We are going there tonight to watch Kika and Gabi's very first piano recital.
I am a bit nervous about this event..
I prayed for a good performance.

I prayed like crazy while running 10.77 miles.

I prayed all throughout my run.

I am grateful that my friend Donna encouraged me to run 10 miles on my birthday.
I am grateful to be alive.
I am grateful for my family.
I am grateful for my friends.

I am grateful.