For Cale’s upcoming birthday we took a night to go camping. He loves it so much. Matt and I couldn’t wait to jump in the shower and we didn’t look half this disheveled. He was kicking and fighting the whole way to the bathroom. But he had fun.
I write this in the midsts of an anxious period. You are waiting to see your worth as a runner, held up next to those much greater than you can even fathom. A race you never knew existed a few short years ago. Or at least you never paid any attention. Then you stepped into this world where you learned just how strong and determined you are. You began to love yourself. A feeling you have never had before. You gained a confidence that you never had. Crazy that a series of leaps and bounds would cause that to happen, but it did.
You found that you could survive. You could last through the 90 degree humid mornings, through the blistering cold windy afternoons, through the endless pre-dawn wake ups, through the pitch dark miles, through the side stitches, through the mental barriers telling you to stop, and through the burn in your lungs as you ran faster or longer than you have ever run before. That survival proved to you that no matter how much grief, or worry, or pain, or stress was thrown at you, you would survive.
You have survived. And you will survive this too, if your dream is not manifested. You trained as hard as you could with an injured body. You raced as hard as you could on that day. You pushed through pain and never stopped. You accomplished something only a very few are able to accomplish. For that you should be proud. You may not have the opportunity to stand at the starting line, but you qualified for one of the hardest races there is to qualify for. That can’t be taken from you. One day you will see Boylston Street and hear the cheers of Boston celebrating this activity you love so much.
But if you do get your chance, don’t let the haters hate. You deserve this race. You earned your spot. There are many that would love to be in your spot. That’s mostly why the haters hate. They want what you have. But it was not given to you, like a silver spoon. Hard work, dedication, and drive brought you to the line. It is no accident or gift that you are granted access to this experience. There was no fluke involved on that day or in any of the thousands of miles you put forth to get you there. As you have been known to do, you put a goal in your mind (‘I think I could qualify for Boston’) and you set out to accomplish it. You had never run that distance before but you believed you could do it. Then you had enough guts to try. No luck. Just the fire in your belly and mental fierceness to do it.
Regardless, chance or no chance, you are worthy. You need to get up tomorrow and run like Boston is in your tomorrow. For one day (be it April 20, 2015 or not) it will be.
I may have missed a picture of the boys’ first day this year (cut me some slack it was a new school, new times, new place, new schedule, had just brought home a new puppy, AND it was Perry’s birthday…), but I got Sadie’s first day.
And maybe this outtake explains the need for puppy school…
Why not throw in more? But Perry has got to get trained. It is a race to see who will come out on top. And whether I will come out with all my wits intact. My vote is that Perry will be first trained, but I will not have any wits left.
Especially if this is the outcome every day…
I notice two types of birds out in the sky. There are the gliders and the climbers. The gliders are those coasting; tree to tree, branch to branch, nest to nest. They enjoy the sun and air, spreading their wings, getting to their destination in their own due time. Then there are the climbers. They head straight up, beak to the clouds, wings fiercely pumping in the attempt to touch the morning sun.
Every bird is not a climber OR a glider. They are both. They have a keen instinct for when to climb and when to glide. That is the lesson I am trying to gain from this injury comeback. I know I am in this spot because I was a constant climber. I pushed and climbed on every run until eventually my body wouldn’t allow me anymore chances to touch the sun. It grounded me. Left this bird hopping around, unable to take off. Now that I am back to the air and building my wings back to strength, I don’t want to forget what happened. Losing my wings for over 3 months was the hardest thing ever. And then I had to come back. That is now even harder. The work is hard. The memory of what was, even harder. Gaining the balance of climbing and gliding is the hardest. My instinct is to push and push, climb and climb again. I was so close to that sun, I could feel the heat. I want to get back there again. And I know I will, but this time I have to do it right. If I climb and glide together, I will be in the air longer. My wings will not get so tired and force me to come down. If I remember and respect the rest my body needs, I will feel that glorious heat on my face and it will warm my wings so I can reach higher than I ever imagined.
She pisses all over my house and out she goes…
I hit the treadmill and she hit the mat.
I think I got a better workout.
I forgot how much puppies go crazy with massive amounts of energy and then crash just as intensely.
Also, how much they piss and shit all over your house. Good times. For her, not me.
If I ever make it back. Returning to competition after an injury is frustrating. One of the most frustrating and disheartening things I have ever been through. After 14 weeks off, my fitness deteriorated tremendously. Despite my efforts to cross train and strength train during that time, I lost an incredible amount of fitness. Upon my return to running I knew my hammy was not healed. But I had given it 14 weeks. If it had not healed in that time then I just had to deal with what it was. I needed time to build a base back before spring marathon training would begin. I continue to see improvement every day, but it is always in comparison to where I was. I am minutes off my previous race pace. Any improvements are shadowed by where I used to be. How will I ever get back to the runner I used to be? It seems impossible.
All I can do is remain positive. I work everyday on using my inspiration wall for the push I need. I am trying to take each improvement as an accomplishment. The trails are helping me, as well. I don’t have any comparison pre-break to how fast I would run these trails. I just see my times get better every day. I know I want to run another marathon, but I am becoming more and more addicted to trail running. I wonder if that is my new calling. Maybe an ultra? I’m not sure yet, but I do know that I am finding my joy for running again in the trails. Running had begun to lose something. I was becoming too wrapped up in times and paces. It started to lose the fun. I would feel good with hitting a certain mileage for the week or a certain tempo pace. But I would also feel pretty shitty if I didn’t hit my mileage or my tempo run was off. It was becoming all too serious. Where was the joy that it had once been? I watch the dogs on the trails. They run, jump, sprint off along the dirt. Hopping around and galloping up the hills. You can feel the happiness and freedom they feel in the act of running. I used to feel that, but I had started to feel like it was a job.
Trails have been good for my soul. And I love the idea of the trail races. From what I have read about the trail races it is not a competitive atmosphere. It is about the internal competition. The runners are out for each other instead of against each other. They are helping, encouraging, caring for each other. That’s what running has always been about for me anyway. The camaraderie of the community, less about the competition. So, maybe that’s what I need to do with myself. Lose the idea of competing against past times, past awards, and past PRs. Instead encourage myself with where I am at and how far I have come from this last month. I could hardly run a mile on the trails and now I can do 6 with only a stop or 2 at the top of major inclines. Be the friend to myself that I would be to another runner on the trails. Keep the joy flowing that I get from kicking up, filling my shoes, and covering my legs in the dirt of the trail.