I did a crazy thing this week. It is either going to be pure genius, or completely crazy. It’s been a bucket list item of mine for a few years now and I decided RIGHT NOW is the best time, when I am walking into our second surgery of the year, RIGHT now is the best time to do something I’ve always wanted to be able to do.
I am an officially registered participant for the half marathon in Bridgehampton scheduled for May 11th!!
To be completely clear about this crazy thing I have decided to do- I am not a good runner. I don’t have a history of long distance running, or fast running. In fact the longest I have ever run in a race before was 5 miles.
I have also not been very actively running for the last year, but just a few weeks ago I laced my sneakers up after a chat with a friend. We signed up for a 5k, and it was just enough to get me out on the street. We quickly caught runner’s high and signed up for another one.
The thing about running for ME is that I think it’s horrible! And boring! And exhausting! BUT it is also mind clearing and cathartic. I exhaust myself physically and numb myself mentally, I run away all of that anxious energy I feel buzzing in my body and come home proud of how I pushed through.
As soon as my feet hit the street that day a few weeks ago I was reminded of the therapeutic nature of running, because running for me is as much of a mental game as it is physical. Running is an exercise in mental toughness as much as physical ability. Mentally going out when I don’t want to, to keep running even when I would rather stop.
These next few weeks we will also be physically, mentally, and emotionally absorbed with the stress and worry and care of post-op. I feel the tears well in my eyes as I type this, but I don’t want to go through it all again. I don’t want to see my son in pain, I hate the sleepless nights, and worry over every possible scenario while we care for this small boy. Recovery from a major structural surgery is draining – physically and mentally.
So I am running a half marathon. Because running is a mental game, about not giving into the voices in your head that wants you to stop, wants to walk, or take a break. I cannot stop caring for my son when the days get hard, the way I cannot make our circumstances different half way through- we still have a long road ahead and I need to be as physically and mentally strong as possible. That doesn’t just come, you have to work for that kind of strength.
I am not running this race to make a certain time, I can be the last one across the finish line as far as I am concerned. I am not running this race to lose weight or get “summer body ready”. I am not running this race so people can think I’m super mom. I am not running this race for any reason other than pushing myself during this challenging time to care for myself too. I am going to prove to myself that this seemingly huge goal for a non-runner IS possible. I am running this race as a motivator to keep going – to set aside time 4 days a week to get out of my house, get away from the worry and stress that consumes me during recovery and to literally run it out.
Tuesday morning I completed the official registration. I had a woman coming to hang with Patrick for a few hours and I was getting ready to get out and run. I was buzzing with a touch of excitement, and a lot of hesitation. I kept thinking I must be crazy, THIS is crazy. It was all I could think of during my run and as I hit mile 1, I could feel myself settling into a steady pace and I began to cry. Full blown tears, running along the side of the road. It’s getting very real, the days passing, and surgery coming sooner, and I feel the weight of it. The tears came fast and hard and left the same way.
Because this is the therapy of choice in the next month, I have a feeling it won’t be my last cry while running… 13.1 miles here I come.