If someone were to draw a chart of my life thus far, it would start off as a plateau, gradually emerging into rolling hills, suddenly extending into sharp mountains, then gradually sloping downward into tiny hills and plateaus again.
Almost one month ago, I hit the ‘pause’ button on my life in order to make the most difficult drive I’ve ever had to make yet to New York. A week later, my mother and I were authorizing a neurosurgical team to remove my grandmother from life support. Less than a week after that, I was attending my grandmother’s funeral.
Two weeks of emotion, heartache, loss and mental exhaustion…and not once did I even think about lacing up a pair of running sneakers. So, since I’ve been back in good ol’ North Carolina, I’ve been forcing myself to put one foot in front of the other to get out the door and hit the ground running again…especially since the spring soccer season is now in full swing.
I think I may be pushing myself a wee bit too hard though.
In an effort to stave off the depression demons that have been hovering around me since my grandmother’s death, I’ve been going full force, trying to pick up where I left off, ignoring the warning signs that I should, perhaps, be gradually easing myself back into things.
Back to NC..and old habits
The night after I arrived back in North Carolina from New York, I participated in my last indoor soccer game of the season. Then, because 45 minutes of nonstop sprinting wasn’t enough of a workout, I came home and ran for an additional 40 minutes on our treadmill. A few days after that, we had our second (my first) outdoor soccer game of the spring season. Having ran 15 miles a couple of days ago; completing a semi-intense interval workout yesterday and operating off of three to four hours of sleep each night due to a packed work schedule, meetings and restlessness, I was tired going into my long run today.
Still, I forced myself to get out there because this is the first really nice weekend we’ve had, and when the weather is warm and sunny, the last place I want to be is inside of my office staring at a computer screen.
Fifteen minutes into my run, my legs decided that they didn’t feel like working anymore.
So… I took a nosedive over an imaginary root in the ground that sent me flying a couple of feet down the trail.
Luckily for me, falling on runs is rare and almost always happens in slow motion, giving me enough time to properly react and cushion the blow. Also, I was fortunate that there was no one around me to witness my lasting impersonation of Superman.
I immediately got up, made sure everything still worked and continued on for the rest of my 8 mile run. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that once or twice I thought about cutting the run short. But finishing the run was important to me, no matter how slow I felt…no matter how heavy my legs were…and no matter how much my stomach was in knots because of some poor food choices the night before.
For me, running permits a fair amount of time for reflection. My personal life wasn’t always great. In fact, it was pretty awful for a while. And at times, it has been (and sometimes continues to be) a struggle for me to remain positive. However, with running, it’s not as difficult. With each step that I take,
I move forward.
I’m constantly pushing myself to try to go a little harder, to run a little longer. I am my own cheerleader and my own adversary. Sure, I make mistakes and overtrain…but what athlete doesn’t -especially if they love what they do? And yeah- falling today during my run sucked.
But it would have been A LOT worse if I hadn’t gotten up.*
There is no failure except in no longer trying. – Elbert Hubbard