Saturday, April 28, 2012

Running With (Not Away From) Life



Today I am heading over to one of the local colleges to participate in my first 5K Fun Run/Walk.

Now, most of my friends will tell you I can walk 5K with no problem.  In fact, some mornings I go out and walk that on a regular day.  So what makes this event special?

Well, when I signed up for it last fall, I was still aching with pain from HOB's decision to end our marriage.  I sat in my office at work, feeling weak and overwhelmed.

At that time, I was not even sure I could make it to my car at the end of the day, let alone around a 5K route.  After thirty years of being with the same person, living the same kind of lifestyle, I couldn't fathom my future.

I was depressed, confused and full of self-doubt.

When the invitation to to participate in this event came, I stared at that date, April 28th and wondered what my life would be like then.  It would be in the spring, I thought.  Renewal.  A fresh start.  Sounded good.  It took effort and a sort of forced faith in the future, but I put my name on the application.  It felt good to put a pin on a date in the future.  I would use it as a benchmark.

Walking has always been a big part of my life, and I turned to it for my recovery. That was fine but some days when I was walking, I would be absolutely overwhelmed with anxiety.

Then, I would start running.   It was not a healthy kind of running.  It was a lunging, gasping, madly determined kind of running. It was clear I was running as fast as I could to get away from all of the thoughts that invaded my brain.

As I ran, I literally I shook my hands to get all of the mire and pain that I felt hung on my very being. I ran faster and harder than I ever have in my life.  Looking back, I can see it sometimes gave me momentary relief, but overall, it didn't feel good.  It just felt desperate.

Soon, my body decided it had had enough.  It went into revolt.  My feet were the major messengers.  Through extremely painful achilles tendentious and other serious foot problems, I was finally hobbled, sidelined, forced to listen to the quiet inner voices that had been trying to get through.

Slow down.

Deal with what you have to deal with.

You can't outrun this.

You have to sit, center yourself, work through all the emotions, all the pain.

Believe me, I resisted.  I tried running again.  Nope, my body said.  No way.  So, I did what the inner voices urged me to do.  I slowed down.  I stopped. I had to.  I had no choice.  I got into therapy.  I faced my fears, my demons, my shortcomings, even my role in the disintegration of our marriage.  Exhausting?  Yes.  Painful?  Yes. Debilitating?  At times, yes.

But I got stronger.

As soon as my feet got better, I slowly got back into walking.  Then one day, there was an extra kick in my step.  I felt especially light and spontaneously went into an easy jog.  It felt great.  I stopped after about a block, walked anther half mile or so and then ran a little ways more.  Over the weeks, I built up little by little.

Now, I would not claim the title of runner but more often than not, I run at some point in one of my walks.  The difference in the way it feels now, compared to the way it felt back then is amazing.

Then, I was running away from turmoil, trying to escape the mental and spiritual work that needed to be done.  It felt heavy, desperate and depleting.

When I run now, I am filled with a lightness, an energy, an appreciation of my body and the way it carries me through this life.

So, April 28th has arrived--that date I looked at on that flier all those months ago.  I wondered what my life would be like and now I know.  It's good.  It's very good.

So today, I'll join a whole group of people on that starting line and run as much of the route as I can,  walking when I need to, and enjoying every single minute of the journey.

After all, I am no longer running away from life.

I'm running with it.


31 comments:

Shelly said...

Good for you, Betty! You've forged your own roadmap out of this. I know you will be a champion, no matter where you finish in the race.

Daisy said...

I'm cheering you on, Betty. You've worked hard to get to this point. Enjoy it. :)

Teresa Evangeline said...

Enjoy! How fine, to come to this realization and be able to run with a light heart and feet.

Linda said...

Well done, Betty. Good words for all of us...those who have been through difficult trials and those who have yet to go through them.

Olga said...

There is so much wisdom in our bodies if we would only make a habit of listening. You GO!

Brian said...

WOW! That is very impressive and you are going so good!

Marlene said...

Great job! What an example you are to others.

The Green Streak said...

I love the way you're meeting your new life with finesse and gusto! With you in spirit today.

Peggy K said...

I love the highs and lows I feel when I read your blog posts. Such a wonderful journey. You inspire me, BB. Way more than I can convey!
Have a wonderful 5K!

Marg said...

Well said Betty. Glad you are now running and walking for the enjoyment of the exercise and not running away from life. Life does stink sometimes but it gets better. Have a great time. Take care.

EmptyNester said...

It does feel much better to run with life instead of away from it. Good for you running your first 5k. I hope to run/walk my first one on Thanksgiving day with the lovelies! Of course, my body is in revolt right now. Sheesh.

Out on the prairie said...

Since you get the same calorie burn I walk briskly more than run, but still like to turn it on to prove I can.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now you are running with life! Hope it's a great day for you.

Ms. A said...

Have a beautiful run!

Pearl said...

Betty, I've loved watching your transformation this last year. Such pain, such confusion -- and such a growing sense of self...

Gettin' pretty darn mature, ain't ya? :-)

Onward and upward,

Pearl

Brian Miller said...

run on...smiles...i am glad you have found healing (both ways) enough to run with life now...hope you do well today

Madi and Mom said...

BB
Way to Go!! I bet you had a great big happy smile on your face all the way through the run!!
As always your post are inspirational. I've always heard it isn't the problem you have that causes distress, but the way you handle it and my dear friend you looked it in the face and said 'nope you are not getting the best of me anymore'.
Hugs C

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Your post made me want to put my running shoes on, right until I looked out the window and saw the expected rain had finally arrived. Hope you have fun.

Shan said...

What is it about us that makes us say, "I run, but I am not a runner"? I said the same thing, even as I was completing a marathon. (Okay, by the time I was completing it, I was NOT running, but you get the point. Right?)

Mimi said...

Oh well done to you! That is a great achievement to get to this point, with your new life and with running.
I agree with you that one's state of mind affects how one runs, and the "ligh footed" run is much more pleasurable than the other one.
Bask in your glory, you worked hard for it!

Retired English Teacher said...

You have inspired me with this post. You were wise enough to know that you had things to deal with on the inside that could not be addressed through physical activity alone. So many never have the courage to do this. I'm so proud of you. I hope the race went well. You remind me of the song, "I Run for Life." You go, girl.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

You always inspire me, Betty. I hope your run was exhilarating.

xoRobyn

Ann said...

It's so great to see you running with life Betty. You've come along way in the past year.

faye said...

Another great post and I love the shoe shot....

I would not be running with you... but I would be on the side lines capturing the start.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Running with life and with enthusiasm. I love it. Well done dear friend
Enjoy and good luck
Hugs
SueAnn

Theresa Milstein said...

Beautiful post, Betty. I'm inspired by your ability to take a terrible situation to empower yourself and learn.

Hilary said...

You are so inspiring for so many.

Green Monkey said...

Oh BETTY, this is so wonderful! You're inspiring me (again). I was once a distance runner. Stopped the day after my son died. It's been almost 10 years now. Maybe I don't need to run marathons but a 5K would be fun!

GO BETTY GO!!!!

The Empress said...

A post full of hope.

Thank you, Betty.

xo

Pat Tillett said...

You are an inspiration my friend! Go for it all! You deserve to be happy...

Heidrun Khokhar said...

An excellent way to move along. I love that seekers pic.