July has the potential for being ugly to me. July is the month of tough anniversaries, from the last full day I spent with my husband (7/4/09) to the last embrace with my husband (early morning 7/5/09) to the day my marriage ended (7/11/09) and the aftermath. Oh, the bloody aftermath. As these dates spin around on the calendar once again, it is impossible not to have them chafe.
That is only one of July’s faces; however. July has become a month of wonderful memories these last few years as my boyfriend (dubbed “Sir Beef” by one of my readers) and I have embraced the activities of the summer. One of my favorites of these is the Peachtree Road Race, a 10K held every July 4 in Atlanta that welcomes 60,000 runners and about as many support personal and spectators.
This is the second year that Sir Beef and I have run the Peachtree, and it has now become a tradition. The event is like no other race I have ever done. You have everything from the elite Kenyans who complete the entire 6.2 miles in under 30 minutes (yup, that is sub 5 minute miles!) to ten-year-old kids running with their families. Some people take it seriously and compete for time; others take part in keg stands along the way. I love running along side (and around! there is quite a bit of zigging and zagging!) so many people with different backgrounds and stories that lead them to this race. I always overhear conversations about people using this event to encourage their wellness journeys as they work to lose significant amounts of weight. Others have run this race for 20 consecutive years and can tell you about the history of the event. There are always a large number of current and former troops on the course and the support for them is deafening.
Apart from the energy of the larger community, I enjoy participating with Sir Beef. He makes me proud as he encourages slower runners up “Heart Attack Hill” or give a fist-bump to a kid running his first race. He almost made me cry last year when he slowed down in the last few tenths of mile to run alongside a troop who was struggling in full fatigues in the heat and humidity. That’s my boy:) I love the encouraging kiss we share at the start line and the sweaty uncoordinated one mid-run. I especially love that we cross the finish line together, hand in hand.
After the race, we chowed down (love me some veggie nachos!) and we took the beast to dog park so that he could get some exercise too.
As I continue to layer memories like these over the pain of three years ago, the painful past fades and is replaced with smiles and hope for the future. I like this face of July a whole lot better:) And, now, all I have to say is, “Go Braves!”