“Remember that any goodbye makes room for a hello.”  Kristin Armstrong.

On Sunday, I ran the Chicago Marathon on its 40th anniversary. I am incredibly grateful that I had the chance to run the marathon and do not take for granted my body’s ability to do so.  I am even more grateful that it is over and to be back home with my kids. Every marathon teaches you some lessons, both in the training cycle and in the race itself.  The truth is, I probably should not have signed up for this race in the first place, although I have no regrets and am glad that I did not defer my entry.  I should start by saying that the marathon itself was incredibly well-organized, and that the Chicago spectators and crowds were unlike anything I have seen anywhere else.  I would highly recommend it for anyone who is thinking of running it.  I can also tell you that there is a good chance that in addition to being my third marathon, it will be my last one.

This was the slowest of my three marathons (4 hours, 55 minutes, 20 seconds) for several reasons.  I did not get a chance to train as well as I did for my prior marathons and only got in one 20-miler.  Chicago was unusually hot that day.  I also had a few minor injuries during my training, and at mile 5, I suddenly felt my left knee buckle.  My immediate thoughts were I may not be able to finish this today, followed by I hope this doesn’t force me to be sidelined from running for a while.  I promised myself that if my knee pain got worse and my knee progressively swelled, I would stop the race to preserve my ability to run in the longterm.  I slowed down my pace by about a full minute per mile and was able to finish, but other than the crowds and the energy, I wasn’t enjoying it.

The main reason that this was my slowest marathon is that my heart was never fully in it from the first place.  My heart was heavy with the thought of leaving my kids who are going through some critical developmental issues and need their mother now much more than they did as toddlers.  During training, I kept picturing myself in a hotel room without my kids and asking myself what the hell are you doing here.  The week prior to the marathon, the Vegas shooting gave me a feeling of hopelessness and despair.  I was nervous to fly to Chicago alone, and nervous to be in a crowd of 40,000 people, despite multiple emails giving us reassurances about extra security measures.  During the race, I kept telling myself, “after today, you never have to do this again.  You never have to run another 20-miler again, but you came here to finish this race.”  I kept reminding myself that I had left my kids to do this, that they were tracking me.  “You never have to do this again” became the mantra that I kept repeating until the end.

The highlights of the overall weekend were definitely getting to carb load with Teresa and Jessie who came from Austin to run it.  We were in the same wave as well, so we got to start together.  I’m also thankful for one of my running partners from LA who came and cheered me on and organized our post-marathon dinner.  And again, I can’t overstate what a great marathon it is for someone in the right state of mind to run it.

Since running LA, I have not stopped running at least 3 – 5 times a week every week, because I want to and I love to and I need to.  That’s what makes me a runner.  But running marathons is incredibly hard, and running a marathon is at least 3 – 4 times harder than running a half-marathon, not twice as hard.  While I was running Chicago, I kept looking around at the other runners.  There were so many runners who were wearing singlets for various charities.  The singlets that stood out the most said, “No distance is too far to save a child’s life.”  For me to run another full, I’d have to have a real reason to do it.  It is no coincidence that my fastest marathon was my first one, when I ran for my aunt.

And as for this blog, I think this will be my final post as well.  What’s in my heart to write about now is mostly about my kids, and I have started some private journaling about them.  I do want to write about motherhood in a broader sense, our roles as women in general, gun control and activism.  I plan to write about those issues over time and try to submit them to other sites with a larger audience.  I have another post I’d like to work on for Kevin MD which is a little about the interplay of medicine and politics but mostly motherhood, and I need to do it while the idea is fresh in my head.  I’ve also written a few stories about my childhood that are about identity and immigration, and I’d like to figure out a way to get those out there somewhere as well.  I am still writing for Women’s Running Magazine once in a while when a topic really inspires me.  All of my writing will get updated on the “portfolio” page of this blog and put out on my twitter.  But a blog is really about what is happening to you personally right now, and I don’t think I can currently be authentic in that area and still protect the privacy of the people who are most important to me.  While I will continue to be a mom on the runsanity for the rest of my life, it is no longer the inspiration behind what I want to write.  I will still continue little updates on Instagram, because I love Instagram and there is a part of me that will always be a 12-year-old girl who posts there; I make no apologies for that part of me.  Every part of me that you see, whether being serious on this blog or acting like a child on Instagram is me being authentic; I don’t know any other way to be.

I’d like to give my deepest thanks to those of you who have been loyal readers of this little blog of mine.  Your kind words and encouragement mean more to me than you will ever know.  Run with your heart and be well.

“In the midst of regular life, running is the touchstone that breathes adventure into my soul.”  Kristin Armstrong.

“Running has taken me in, and continues to comfort, heal, and challenge me in all kinds of magical ways.  I am a good runner because I am me.  I am a good me because I am a runner.”  Kristin Armstrong.

“Running gives us a blessed window of time-for-self that somehow makes the rest of the day easier to carry…when we breathe deeply into one passion, we provide oxygen for others.”  Kristin Armstrong.

“I don’t run from things anymore, mind you; I run through them.” Kristin Armstrong.

About Paria

Runner, mother, pediatrician, blogger

23 comments on “Farewell

  1. I have loved watching you grow as a writer, person and friend –
    I will miss you in this space but I know where to find you!!! ❤️❤️????

  2. Glad to hear you’re doing what is best for you and your family. Of course we’ll all miss your posts on here, but other things are far more important. Sending all my love to your kids and to you. xx

  3. Oh Paria! I have so much to say to you but mostly – right on!!!! I hate when adults say they’re “proud of you” but that’s what I’m saying so deal with it 🙂 As sad as I am to see you leave this space, I’m more excited to see your words elsewhere and I will always be stalking you on Instagram and Twitter!

    I know EXACTLY how it feels to run a marathon like that and to pull inspiration from other runner’s bibs and it’s not fun. But – YOU DID IT even when you’re heart wasn’t in it.

    May that same heart guide your head and lead to whatever both may desire.


    • Why is it when I read your blog I always find tears shedding from my eyes. Happy, sad, insightful, a realization of how much time passes from when we first met. I look forward to your new journey and am blessed to have been able to vicariously live this chapter of your life through your writings as if I had been running right by your side this whole time. Does this end call for a “PAKE!” ?

      • I can’t tell you how many times I have driven there and parked and they don’t have PAKE.. they keep telling me it’s seasonal… If you find some, please buy all of them and I’ll freeze them.

  4. I have had some of the same feelings you have shared about my now older teen kids. I feel like they need me more than ever and i want to be there for them. I’ve have so enjoyed reading your perspective on life, running and family. I look forward to connecting with you on your other channels.

  5. I hope you never lose the peace that running brings you. I also hope you continue to write, no matter what topic, on Instagram or other avenues. Your words inspire so many.
    Your kids are lucky to have you! We only get one shot to be the best mom we can, so make every day count. ?{{hugs}}

  6. This blog was a big reason why we became close and I have enjoyed reading it. I have a feeling you aren’t done and the best writing you have in you will get out there. It needs to. I love you always. X

    • Yes… I remember when I took a chance and printed out my second post and gave it to class and hoped that you wouldn’t think I’m crazy… but turns out that we all have so much to gain by being vulnerable and putting ourselves out there…xo

  7. Paria you have inspired me over the last two years more than you know and I am forever thankful! You are extraordinary and everything you do from this point will be extraordinary too! You are so special to me ?

  8. Paria, Congratulations on your marathon, and may your rest and recovery be deep and satisfying. You are such a beautiful person, authentic and kind and wise. You are always a runner, it isn’t the race that makes us so. It’s the soul. 🙂 Continue to share your journey. Blessings over all your miles. xoxoxoxo Kristin

    • Wow.. my heart skipped a few beats when I saw this.. your kindness amazes me, and so does Jessica’s of course who I know is responsible for you reading my post.. my life has been better because I’ve had your writing in it.. and I’m still a Kristin Armstrong stalker who checks Runner’s World weekly to see if you’ve posted another mile marker:)

  9. Paria, I am saaaaad to see you go! I have loved watching/reading you, your transparency, insight, and humor! I SO LOOK FORWARD to what is to come! See you at ExMo! xoxo
    And what KA said–its the SOUL.

    • I look forward to what is to come for you…what you are doing with We Are Brave Together is amazing… and I’m glad I’ll be able to see your Portland performance virtually from LA… thank you for reaching out to Kristin, both for my first marathon and for this final post… the gift you gave me is truly priceless…xoxo

  10. Hello friend –

    Congrats on finishing your 3rd marathon! Having said that, it makes me happier to see that you didn’t injure yourself seriously that you can and will continue to run. Life is the marathon. Run for your life, not the medal.

    I must admit that this post didn’t surprise me. I’m a bit removed from the ins and outs of your life by not living locally, but I felt a shift in you as you approached this marathon. However, the constant is change, and I love how you are embracing it, and moving on to what speaks to your heart now.

    Though I will miss the “present in my inbox” and the lessons you’ve shared (that made me think or look at things differently), I’m super happy that it brought me closer to you (almost as if it was rediscovering you all over again) through this medium. I’ll be periodically checking your future writing!

    Am I going to have to get on Instagram and Twitter now to continue my stalking habits??? Much love to you.

    • You don’t need to join twitter or instagram… if I write something that gets published somewhere and I think it’s a piece you would enjoy, I’ll direct email it to you… I’ve loved reading all your well thought out comments.. I will miss seeing those… xo

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