Making It Through

Fine. Fine. FINE.

What was I whining about? Don't get me wrong, it still hurts, well, I wouldn't exactly describe it as hurts, but it definitely feels funky.

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A Bona Fide Physical Therapist took a look at it and stated it for sure seems like it's something "nervey." Mmm-kay. I mean, I know I wasn't in her office, so to speak, but hello! She examined me at my son's soccer game (the very first win for his team, no less!). On the bleachers for mandy-pandying out loud. So if "nervey" isn't an official diagnosis, I don't know what is.

C4 Miles (Making Strides for Mental Health). It hurt felt nervey for most of the four miles, but it didn't stop me. Maybe it should have. And hey, I won my age division. I know, I know. It's a tiny race, 108 people in total, but still, it feels good. Especially after not having run well for the last several weeks. And especially after deciding  I could. not. run.

C4 Miles is a special race for me. My friend Amy works there and I like to support the work she does. And, as a mental health practitioner (almost) myself, it's a cause I truly believe in. I mean, c'mon. We all need to think about mental health. My own issues with anxiety rear their ugly little heads a lot these days. Example #1: Right before I ran the race, I was literally in tears because the disorganization in my house is sometimes too much for me to bear. I know we just moved, and I'm in school, and I have no time and like six million kids, and blah blah blah. But, it's real for me and sometimes it can be difficult to deal with.

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I didn't think I'd actually manage to run the Cinco de Miler as planned either. But, all decked out in my new compression sleeve, I headed to Montrose Harbor prepared to walk if need be (I promised the Little Bit she could have my bottle opener medal, and those of you who know her know she is not one to be crossed -- just look at the way she's forcing me to hold my hand up in celebration as I get my medal at the C4 race. I'm pretty sure I heard her say "get your hand up in the air, dammit! No, higher! THIS is your moment. SEIZE it. You WILL be PROUD! Do it!"). Imagine my sheer pleasure at the funness of the day: A mariachi band, a great course that wasn't too crowded, seamless gear check, mustachioed volunteers, a couple of Green-Red-White guys, and lots of sombreros! Ole! Sadly, I had to skip the beer and food tent afterwards to get to the aforementioned soccer game.

And somehow, aches and pains aside, I made it through the race.

That's the thing right? Even if you don't know how it's going to to tun out, you have to keep going, or else how will you ever find out how it ends? And maybe the ending isn't quite what you planned. Or even what you hoped for. Maybe you'll be disappointed. Maybe you'll be achingly sad.

But what are you going to do? Lie down and let life roll over you? Live behind the fear of disappointment, sadness, and the unknown?

Sometimes life is disappointing, sad, and scary.

So, Run Along Now.

For Granted

It's funny how you can appreciate something so much, but at the same time take it totally for granted -- having no idea how valuable of a thing it is in your life. Having no idea just how much you expect it to be there when you want it to be there.

I've been running for most of my life. And I have taken some pretty substantial breaks.  Ummm, hello, I used pregnancy as an excuse to discover what it would feel like to totally pamper myself. And what kind of mother would I be if I just abandoned my baby at the first opportunity. So naturally, I stopped running for the 4.5 (consecutive) years I was pregnant and/or breastfeeding.

But mostly I ran. A lot.

And then I'd take a break, for oh, I don't know, say, winter.  Or I'd get sick and almost die (I promise I'm only being a little dramatic).

Then BOOM. The weather is tolerable. And I'm off and running.

Until I'm not. And I'm not. But it's because I can't. Like Can. Not. Run.

I totally think I have this: Compartment Syndrome. Ok fine. It's really this: Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome. A little less gruesome, right? Still totally unable to run.

Which sucks. I was just gearing up for my the running season on the lakefront. I have signed up for several races: The C4 Miler, The Cinqo de Miler, I Heart Momma, The Run for Boston 5K, and a couple of half marathons.

I took my running for granted. I thought it would always be there for me. And it really sucks to wait around for my running to decide that it is coming back. I'm trying to keep myself busy with school work and online shopping and what-not, but it just isn't the same.

My running is probably pretty annoyed that I just assumed it was something I could always depend on. Maybe it wanted a little more from me. Maybe it feels a little unappreciated. Who knows. It's running so it can't tell me.

But I promise, if my running comes back to me, I'll appreciate it and understand how precious of a gift it is. Isn't that what we all want, anyhow?

So, Run Along Now.

Sacred

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As I sit here, waiting for the words to come, trying to understand what has happened and why, my heart is filled with such sadness. But there are no words.

I've never run a marathon. But I do love watching marathons on television. I love watching the elite runners come in. And more importantly, I love watching the people come in for whom running the marathon is a major accomplishment in their lives. It makes me cry every time.

In 2009, my sister and I trained for the Cowtown Half Marathon, side-by-side on the treadmills at our gym. But we don't run at the same pace, so, on race day, when the gun went off, I gave my sister a high five and said, "I'll see you at the finish line."

As I waited for her, and saw her distinctive gait coming towards me, I started crying. Emotion overwhelmed me. I was so filled with pride at her accomplishment.

So it should be no surprise that last year, when my sister signed up to run the Chicago Marathon, I knew it would be emotional for me. I teared up as I cheered from the sidelines at mile 8, and because I also had the honor of running the last 12 or so miles of the marathon with her, I frequently fought back tears as I ran with her during the race. And it was me that had to hold it in as she crossed the finish line, not her.

And now that this has happened, during the most honored of marathons, a part of my world, every runner's world, has been changed. Running is where we go to escape. Running in a race, regardless of the distance, is where we get to be with people who share that special joy that comes only from running.

Running is sacred.

Except nothing is sacred.

But we must continue to run. We must run because it is what we do. It is what we have to do. It is what makes us whole.

So, Run Along Now.