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HEALING ON THE TRAILS // MEMORIAL DAY MILES

29.5.17

Hello everyone! This weekend was Memorial Day weekend and to me it is always a somber time because of it's significance-- the day we remember the men and women who have given the last measure of devotion.  I have lost friends and colleagues in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq, and it never gets easy.  And every year I try to make a point to honor them and their sacrifices.  

This year I was asked to be the main speaker at the Memorial Day Remembrance for the city of Red Wing, Minnesota.  It was my first time there and the ceremony was amazing.  So moving that at one point I was all chocked up.  After my speech and the ceremony I had many people to come and introduce themselves, but especially younger girls who thought it was "awesome" to have a female Lieutenant Colonel as a speaker and they had many questions especially about being a leader.  And it struck me as surprising that I never realized how much younger girls need mentors and leaders to guide them.  To me the Army was a way of life (I just retired a few months ago) so maybe I took it for granted.  Every day I try to live a meaningful life even in the simple little things and yesterday I made a promise to myself that I will look for a way to use my leadership skills to mentor other young women .


The other way I tried to honor America's best is by running.  I am part of an organization called Wear Blue: Run to Remember.  Their whole missions is to honor the fallen and their families through running.  As a way of grieving collectively for the loss of our military men and women. And we do so simply by running.  All throughout the year people gather and run together for the fallen, their families and the mission.  A few years ago WBR2W started a Memorial Day Remembrance event where runners and walkers pledge miles to run/walk on Memorial Day in honor of specific or general service members who have died.  It is an amazing event.  And this year, I chose to do my miles-- like every year-- on trails.



It is said that nature is good for the soul... and I have to agree.  Running for Memorial Day is always a bit emotional. My mind automatically goes to the events that took the life of the person I ran for.  They memories come hard and fast.  Yet I find that once I started running on the trails for Memorial Day, I was able to just let it go.  There is something about being in the moment connecting with nature while trying to muddle through the emotions building inside of you. Trails brings you to nature in it's purest form.  And being surrounded by nature always allows me to reflect and just feel.  I have cried in the trails on my own thinking of the many people that has been lost in the war, because while I do not know most of them, to me they are brothers and sisters in arms.

This year I chose a 4+ mile trail in the Whitewater State Park. The trail, which goes through limestone bluffs and is basically uphill the entire time, is challenging but it is so rewarding, especially the views at the top.



And it is in that challenge, that I find the grief I need.  Through the memories, tears, laughs and acceptance, my soul finds cleansing.  I am able to push through and breath.  Trails are such a fitting allegory for life.  Through peaks and valleys we go, in life and in running, and it is in the ability to rise that we become stronger.  I don't fear feeling when I am on the trails.  It gives me life and it gives me strength.

 I may be joining one of these awesome ladies: Week In Review / Sunday Fitness & Food / Fit Fashionable Friday / Friday Five 2.0 / Tuesdays on the Run/ Wild Workout Wednesday /

2 comments:

  1. Thank YOU for your service!!! My husband recently retired from 31 years (active and reserve duty), he also was a LTC (Air Force). We went on a group run yesterday at a lake, which is right alongside our town's cemetery. It was a tough run...physically (very hilly and curvy) and emotionally (Lots of graveside flowers and flags along the perimeter of our path. But the portion on the trail around the lake was very serene and beautiful...much like your run ;-)

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  2. What an honor to be chosen to speak! Great picture!

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