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Rock n Roll Discount!
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"Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate." ~Unknown

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PostHeaderIcon Run for healing and hope

It’s amazing what running can give back to you. Sure, it takes a lot of commitment, and discipline and time too to make it a consistently good experience.

And.

Running, and race weekends, can help recalibrate when things aren’t going so well. It would feel easier in certain situations to not run, to say no not this weekend, to let an opportunity go by. But time and time again I’ve found that even in the worst of circumstances, when crawling into bed and hiding seems the best option, that actually getting myself to follow through with a race weekend and see what’s possible is the best thing I could do for myself.

Not to get tough subject-matter wise, but here’s a list of how a race weekend in the face of some tough life events has actually been the very thing I needed. Most people would say to me “you’re crazy to go run this race, to go do this weekend, you should take it easy.” And, for me, I knew that not doing it would be far worse for me long term than taking the short cut out of the race. Sure, I’ve had perfectly fabulous reasons not to run, but I did it anyway. And there in lies the power.

And, this is all slightly different than running through pain or through a cold or feeling a flu coming or just feeling tired – things (aside from major injury) we are usually capable of pushing through.

Back in 2012 I had moved up to Seattle after some big life changes that were not my choice occurred and I was feeling down. To be honest, I was depressed. I didn’t run for months. It seemed pointless and I was lifeless. But. I had signed up for Rock ’n’ Roll Portland in May of that year and that motivated me to start walking in April. To be honest, I’d probably ran a total of 13 miles, with maybe about 20 miles of walking, before the race came along. But there was something in me that said, well, you signed up and you’re not going to back out of it – you’re true to your word, you paid for it, you might as well buck up and get up to some kind of ability to do it. And so I did. I was determined to run, walk, crawl, skip, jumprope, roll, and whatever to get across that finish line. And I did. And it did plant a seed of possibility back in me and a month later I ran Rock ’n’ Roll in Seattle and shaved 13 minutes off my finish time. Worth it to get my butt in gear and run the half.

In July of 2015 my best friend died unexpectedly. I’d just moved back to the state he already lived in and we were excited to get to see each other frequently again and all the time. And then he was gone a month later. Well, I’d signed up for the Rock ’n’ Roll Chicago race that year because I wanted to take his advice and do the river architecture tour. You see, it was a city he lived in an one that he considered one of his favorites. So I would be there to celebrate in a way. And then he was gone. A week later I was supposed to get on a plane to do this race. How in God’s name was that going to happen? But I knew he of all people would be mad at me for NOT running because of him, and so I decided to go and try. I spent half the time in a daze for sure. And the race itself was reminders and signs of him everywhere. And it was hard and emotional. And. It was cathartic and the best way I could’ve honored him in that moment. It was worth it to push myself to go and run.

In November 2016 36 hours before I landed in Vegas for the Rock ’n’ Roll half, the guy I was dating all year broke up with me out of the blue. I was beyond sad. I was crying in public for goodness sake. Couldn’t help it. But again, I got on the plane in a mood not normal for heading to a race. And a few days later I pushed myself to run that race. And I felt good – it was good to run, I felt stronger with every mile and more ‘me’ every time I felt a surge of energy. I felt almost sad for him that he wasn’t there to bear witness to my triumph (his loss, of course.) And when I crossed that finish line, despite the fact the I felt way faster than the finish time I registered, I felt empowered all over again, and free to be open to possibility. Holding that medal in my hand, again it was worth it to run through the tears.

In July of 2017 I had signed up again for Rock ’n’ Roll Chicago – it’s a city I love to run in and visit and explore and it had been a few years so I wanted to check it out again. And then Fourth of July my mama had a terrible fall and hit her head on cement hard and sustained a brain injury. It was horrible. And I was there, and I was all in in terms of taking care of her, supporting her and doing what I needed to in her care. And had this race weekend looming just 10 days later. Again, the thought came to me, how would I possibly be able to do this? How could I get on a plane? How could I wander among the crowds? How could I get my body to actually take steps in the form of running? But with my family’s encouragement and okay, I did. I wasn’t a super peppy self in the day leading up to the race, I took it easy and laid low for sure. And then I ran. It wasn’t easy, sure, but I also thought about all the races my mom has been to – more than anyone. She’s been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic in that support. So in a way, I felt compelled to do it for her, in her honor. Yes, it was worth it to push myself to go straight from looking after her to Chicago and doing something to buoy me and bolster my strength to keep going.

October 2017. Been a doozy, because it wasn’t just a life event that jolted my body or derailed training or exhausted me emotionally. It was my home and my community and all of it. The North Bay wildfires happened and it was as if I suddenly understood the phrase ‘all hell broke loose.’ Not only did it hijack my body with being on edge and full of anxiety for weeks on end, but it made it impossible to train because of the smoke and toxic air. I was exhausted once I was no longer evacuated and could move back home, lucky enough to have my home still standing. But I couldn’t run – both because of my lungs and just all the trauma around us. I ran a few times – more like a shuffle – but it was a slow slog with painful lungs. But, I had Rock ’n’ Roll Savannah coming up. And I wanted to do it – it’s a lovely city to run in and my mom had signed up to come join in and cheer me on. Well, given her accident earlier in the year, we decided it wasn’t wise for her to go. So my biggest champion was missing and my whole operating system was very off – should I still go? I can’t lie – right up until the flight itself to take off to Savannah I considered ixnaying the whole trip. I couldn’t imagine being ‘okay’ enough to tackle it and do it to a way that I’d feel good. I was worried about a number of aspects of being able to do it at all. But I also knew I’d be bummed later if I hadn’t crossed that finish line. And so, I looked to Savannah and the race to help recalibrate and reset. And you know what? It did – with every day and every mile ran in the half marathon, I felt more me, felt like pieces of myself were coming together in a way that would create the foundation to build again. Do I wish it had been a few more weeks removed from the fires? Of course, a little more time to recover would’ve been lovely. But I had to make do. And again, it was worth it to trudge through the many flights to the East Coast and to get the hugs from fellow runners as I wore my #SonomaStrong tank top.

Whether the race weekend is situated conveniently in my schedule for whatever happens, or just comes up when it comes up, it doesn’t matter. Every time I’ve pushed myself to do a race when everyone and their mother would not only say ‘hey, it’s completely okay and understandable if you want to not go and not run” but actually would encourage me to not run, it has been far more pros than cons and the ultimate outcome has been positive – whether to reset, or help me realize my strength and resilience, or to help me move forward in some way. So, I run to heal these things that happen, that come up, that might initially stop me from running. And I run to have hope – hope for more, more life, more love.

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