Sometimes it isn’t about the physical gain that I get from running. Sometimes it isn’t about being behind my music pushing me forward. Sometimes it is just being, in nature, with the colors of the trees, grass with the pavement navigating through the woods.
When I run with Julie, life makes sense. We beat each other up and reward each other with every step that we take together. She is truly my soul sister. We met on the race course by literally running into each other and with her battling vertigo; my nickname soon became “seeing eye runner” with the next races because of my pink earmuffs she could focus on to get through a race. The second our arms touched, I knew that she was going to be what I needed in my life to push myself beyond comprehension in my running, my life, my thoughts and my emotions.
November 9 was the last race of the season. We both were mentally and physically beat down. Her right hip is sore, my left hip is sore. For the lack of better terms, we were a “hot” mess (She is waaay hotter than I). I was unaware of what this race would bring but I had set the bar too high (unknown until after the race). Daryl, her husband (the most amazing man I have met in my life, truly), paced us. I was unaware this was happening until through the race I said to him and her to go ahead and through the switching of songs, I heard both of them say, we are a team, we are not leaving you. My hip started in on me the first ½ mile and it was all downhill from there. I walked. A lot. Too much. Every time I started walking I could hear Julie (keeping it clean in this blog, dear reader)”Kick those demons out of your head, you got this, you ARE NOT giving up, do you hear me? Get your butt moving. YOU DO NOT HURT, KEEP MOVING.” When the finish line was upon us, I gave it every ounce of left over energy I had. I had to use the bathroom so bad, I gave the guy my tag and kept walking to the bathroom. I was going to cry and worry about my mixed emotions after that little/big task was taken care of. The second I stepped out of the bathroom and Julie was still right next to me, I let it all out. I was defeated, I was broken. I had the worst time of the season and I let my hip dictate my feelings. I let my hip decide how I was going to feel and what I was going to do that day. That is when I decided that this hip issue was not an injury I could nurse and some sort of professional was needed. Let me just be clear on something. Not only did I have Julie standing there, her amazing husband, who I adore, Daryl (can you tell I dig the hell out of this new brother I have?)was right next to her waiting to catch me. Then Steven (I learned to put my phone on airplane mode when I run now, thanks for calling in the middle of my race J ) and his daughter to greet me. (Steven is also a phenomenal human being that I met through running) Seeing both of them coming to support our running group when it was far too cold, especially me, put my heart in the right place. I may have not run the fastest time (probably my worst, in fact) but I did it and I have the best people in the world to support me.
As a group, it is our unspoken rule that we walk back to the finish line and wait for the rest of us to come through (and cheer on those we don’t know). Matt was next with his half marathon. Let me tell you something about this man and his family. HOLY LOVE BATMAN!!! He has the coolest story and is the best motivator for anyone who just needs a purpose. He will give you on or make you feel extremely guilty and you will start running or biking or swimming anyway (ALL the micros are good at that too). It was getting where most of the people in our group had come through and we were making decisions about food. And extras what to do after the race.
There is still one person who I make the decision not to leave in this race, even though she went way farther (always has) and faster than I. My sister. For certain reasons, I will leave all of the scary logistics out of it but we have always run each other in to the finish line if one got done before the other. More like she would always run me into the finish line when I was approaching, because I am a sloth. This was my chance to do that for her. After much debate on whether or not I thought she would accept it. There are things that I don’t have to say to her and she gets my heart, she understands what I need to say, without saying it. So I did. Seeing her accomplish a goal with a heavy heart and laden with a burden, and putting herself in a vulnerable situation that only running could cure, was eye opening and a very beautiful experience. I needed her to know that no matter what, our sisterly unspoken rule was not any different because of other things that were going on, as to why I wouldn’t run her into accomplishing her goal. I didn’t get to see her crush her first half marathon I ran with her, BUT I was there for the second, and it was BEAUTIFUL. She is beautiful, even in sweat.
After this race, I decided to actually take care of my hip, nurse it, lift more to make it stronger, and actually listen to my body. Listening to my body has been a crazy ride BUT I think I may have got the hang of it. It is a start to understanding my addiction and the way that this food addiction trying to contain my body and trick it into thinking that unhealthy food in large amounts is a must. Listen, learn, and move forward in good decision is probably the biggest thing I have learned about my body and life in the last year of racing. Here is to another year of being healthy and racing and most importantly, showing my daughter that life is you deciding to live it.