Thursday, January 6, 2011

Moving Comfort for Army Wives and Widows at Runner's World

My Photo of the Day:
This is what happens when you don't walk the dog in a timely fashion:
He takes your spot!

Next off...A must read!  Lisa Hallett is a gold star wife from 1-17 IN BN, 2/2 BDE at JBLM {Joint Base Lewis McChord} also known as Fort Lewis.  I have participated in in a few Run to Remember events...These wives are amazing inspiration for everyone.

See the article {with links and photos} here.

This is the article:

Moving Comfort

Army wives and widows help each other cope one step at a time.By Amy BushatzImage by Jose MandojanaFrom the February 2011 issue of Runner's WorldIt's her mantra: Run for John, run for me, just one more step. For Lisa Hallett, whether solo in a marathon or with her kids in their mammoth, triple-wide jogging stroller during training, running is how she deals with the pain, the loss, and the memory.

"It's really hard to do day-to-day things—taking my kids to preschool and taking care of the house," says Hallett, a 29-year-old full-time mom. "On most days, if nothing else, I can say I ran. On some days all I can do is get to the end of the block and cry. But on other days I hit the ground and I can say, 'I ran 20 miles this morning.'"
Her husband, Capt. John Hallett, and three fellow Army soldiers died in Afghanistan on August 25, 2009, when an improvised explosive device caused their vehicle to flip and burst into flames. With a 3-week-old baby girl, Heidi, and two toddler sons, Jackson and Bryce, suddenly relying on her alone, Hallett found solace in the pavement.

She had run her first marathon in 2002 while John was in one of the Army's most challenging courses, Ranger School. During his absences, runs were a time to daydream about his return. Now they've become a spiritual escape. "There's a lot of conversations with God, there's a lot of sorting," says Hallett, whose marathon PR is 4:05. "I think about being strong for John. I know that's cliche, but I feel like I'm John's physical representation now."

Soon after his death, she laced up and ran with two military wives from John's unit—the 1-17 Infantry Stryker Battalion based in Fort Lewis, Washington. Since then, their group has expanded; nearly two dozen wives and widows meet every Saturday morning. They call themselves Run to Remember, and they've done marathons, with plans to run the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon in June.

"When I run, it's the only time I let myself connect with my emotions," says Alice Pope, 36, an original member of the group who increased her mileage to deal with the fear that her husband may not make it home alive. "This is the closest I can come to relating to what he's going through. You have to take another step—it's boring, it hurts, it's also exciting."

"While my husband was deployed, the runs were time set aside for me to reflect and pray," says Charlene Lewis, 38, the wife of the chaplain who was serving with the battalion. "We keep each other moving on runs just like we do during deployment—we keep each other going."

Grieving experts say that people sometimes don't know how to relate to someone who has suffered a tragedy. "Running can be an outlet for working through loss, and shared running can bond people," says Joanne M. Steen, coauthor of Military Widow: A Survival Guide.

The women hope that by running and racing while wearing blue shirts with "Run to Remember" on the front and the names of the brigade's fallen soldiers on the back, they'll be a visual reminder of the fallen and those who are still serving.

On a recent damp and cool Pacific Northwest Saturday morning, 20 women gathered to start their weekly run. The ritual is steeped in tradition, like most things in the Army. At 10 a.m., the women formed a circle. Lewis glanced at Hallett before saying, "I'll read the names." She started down the list of men who died in combat or, in one case, committed suicide since August 2009.

"Sgt. Troy Tom, Spc. Jonathan Yanney, Capt. John Hallett," Lewis says. At her husband's name, Hallett fixed her gaze hard into empty space. She was focusing on thoughts of John, the same thing she thinks about when she runs, she says.

It took Lewis another full minute to finish the list of 41 names. Then after short prayer, the women ran off.

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