Wednesday, October 12, 2011

... Counting my blessings

(Note: This isn't exactly a bouncy-typical Amy type of post. But this is me and this is my heart, and it's what I have to give you today. I'll be back to business as usual tomorrow with my final *sniff* CA vacation post!)

Hi, friends! Happy Wednesday:)

Boy, has this been a week for me. I am an emotional train wreck (poor Jon, I know). I am exhausted, and it's only Wednesday. Methinks it's time to take a deep breath drink a glass of wine and count my blessings.

It's been rolling around in my mind for a while now that I need to write a post about the emotional ups & downs of marathon training -- and marathon tapering, which has been a whole new beast all together.

This coming Sunday, October 16, is the Columbus Marathon. I have been training for almost 6 months, and have put more than 400 miles in. I have had blisters between my toes, and learned *the hard way* that Gu does not agree with my tummy. I have taken ice baths, and crawled out of bed at sinful hours to put in long mileage before work.

... And through this, I have grown. I say with certainty that I am not the same person I was when I started this journey. Everyone has their own demons that they battle in their life -- those dark forces that seek to steal your joy and take away your feelings of self worth. For me (and this is hard for me to put into words, so bear with me) -- the demon taunts me that I am not enough. Not good enough, not dedicated enough, not strong enough... Earlier this year, my heart decided that it had had enough, and, in a moment of reckless spontaneity, I signed up to run a marathon.

Throughout the course of marathon training, I fell in love with running, I fell in love with my amazing training partners, and I fell back in love with me. The long mileage has forced me to come face-to-face with myself.... to judge, to distance myself and look with new eyes and find ... me. I am not (by any stretch of the imagination) flawless, but I am tenacious, I am willing and I am strong. I have found strength in my spirit that I always hoped I might have. ...I have taken that leap of faith and become the woman that inspires me.

...I have come so far. ...And this Sunday's race will just be icing on the cake. The "end" of a beautiful journey. I know that I do not need to cross the finish line to grow and heal -- I've all ready done that. This journey... the most physically & mentally challenging I've encountered yet... has proved to me beyond a doubt that I am enough.

But, even though I know that it's the journey -- not the destination that is the most important, I'm kind of invested in this. At this point, not being able to run my race on Sunday would be nothing short of heartbreaking.


So, now I have a story for you. (Hint: you aren't going to believe this -- and it is, in fact, the reason I've been avoiding writing for a couple days.)

This past Saturday when I was up in Toledo helping Laurie move into her new apartment (which is gorgeous, btw...), I stepped off a concrete step the wrong way and rolled my ankle.

Frankly, I roll my ankles all the time when I'm running... most of the time it happens because I'm running next to a friend on a narrow strip of sidewalk... Ooopsie-- no big deal. ...But this was a heck of a roll --the pain knocked the wind out of me. I immediately tried to save face walk it off... but I was limping... and becoming scared. When we got inside I took a look at it, and it was definitely swelling. But I iced, compressed and took my NSAIDs (heh. Laurie, are you proud?) diligently, and did my best to remain positive.

...It was when my ankle was still sore and swollen yesterday that I panicked. ...I had a miniature meltdown in my office at lunchtime, and followed that up with a call to Dr. Bright (MiT doctor extraordinaire.) I hadn't run since last Thursday and I was worried about going back out too soon and really getting hurt. Thankfully, Dr. Bright's staff was able to fit me in this morning in between appointments.

It's not a stretch to say that I had about a bazillion thoughts racing through my mind as I sat waiting to be seen by the doctor. Finally, as I sat trembling (nerves, not coffee... I made sure to drink decaf this morning!) I threw my hands up in the air and turned my face to the heavens, "Thy will be done."

The doctor walked in sometime after that, and after turning this way and pushing that way, gently pressing and asking, "Does this hurt?" ("No.... Nope. ...No.... Yoww.") He gave me the verdict: buy a good ankle brace and take it easy, but by all means, run the marathon. ...And then he shook my hand and left.

I am so thankful.

... After that, the rest of the day has been... well, long. I'm worn out. Lunch with my friend (since forever high school) Bethany was a definite high point ... but there have been some pretty low points, too. Life goes on.

My wake-up moment of the afternoon came when I received an email from my husband, telling me that he spent his morning driving a couple of friends to the hospital after they learned that 2 of their friends had been involved in a terrible motorcycle accident last night. After I read his email, I just sat quietly for a few moments, my heart breaking for the families of these two young men. And all I could think was "Why?" Why am I so lucky today while these others are hurting so deeply? ... I am indeed blessed, and today the gravity of that grace is weighing heavily on me. How small I am, and how small my problems are.

... Yet... how big my God is. And so tonight I will press forward, knowing that in Him, I am enough, and I am strong enough. I will pour a glass of wine and not stress about my marathon training, and I will kiss my kitties more & hug Jon a little longer than usual.

And on Sunday I will run my marathon, as a celebration of life: for the overcoming of the demons, for love, for the everyday triumphs of the human spirit.

...For me. For Life.