Monday, May 8, 2017

Just Run

Today I don't have a fancy or super inspiring tale to tell about the race I ran this weekend. But, for my own sake, I like to recapture what the journey was for me nonetheless.

 This weekend I had the chance to run the Flying Pig 10K.

 Now, if you know me, you know my favorite distance is the half marathon. So, while to many a 10K would be a long distance, for me, in all reality it is not. But it was a great race for me to be able to participate in this weekend for many reasons, between my hours of being there to promote the Air Force Marathon.

 If you have followed me this winter in my writings, you know that I have not been up to par in my training. This has been a frustration and a struggle for me. I'd seem to conquer one obstacle, only to have it followed by another. So, as spring came in to my view, I knew that I was not going to be able to do the half marathon. This is the first spring that I have not run that distance since 2009. And honestly, it has made me a little sad. But, I guess that has been part of the journey of this particular event this weekend. I had to relinquish my own desires and settle in at what I thought was a disappointment for my own self.

 But it turned out to be a great event for me. Perhaps even a little bit of a turning point?

 Even leading up to this event, I was not feeling so confident in myself. The struggles have been real. And if you want me to be honest, many of those struggles have been mental (as many running struggles are.) But my mental struggles go deeper. As I have wrestled through the battles of anxiety in depression, this winter was a time of really working on those. I wrote some time ago in one of my blogs that I'd even been able to go off my medications.... and while I have not wanted to  share the update, being real is what I do. And the update is that that period only lasted for a short time.
 I have learned myself and my struggles pretty well, and while I don't always enjoy admitting them, I have found the value in assessing them so I can be the best me possible.
 Apparently that means remaining on the medications. But if that is what it takes to be me, I accept that. Some people- like myself- just struggle with a real chemical imbalance that seems to get better at times, but still needs that bit of medicinal assistance to be whole.

 Truthfully - I believe that was some of my battle in my training this winter.
 You see, a person who fights depression can show those symptoms in all kinds of ways, most of them very hidden from anyone around them. I am a very motivated person, a goal setter, a doer. But when I find my motivation lacking, I know that something is wrong, and I have to evaluate that. I never quit running or training, but I was missing the drive I've always had with it. That, coupled with many other events that transpired in the last month, led me back to the reality of needing medication. And fighting that silent battle of depression and believing in my own self, regardless of what others may or may not say.

 So, all of that semi-intense and vulnerable story to share with you that this particular 10K was honestly a victory for me. I did not think I would run it super successfully. I was not anticipating a great finish time; I simply wanted to finish. I have always loved races- and sometimes I wonder if I do too much. But, sometimes you have to have something taken away just a little bit to step back and evaluate and reflect in order to fix it and keep going and becoming better.
 I started this year desperately wanting a new PR. I can't say that desire is eliminated from my blood, but at this point, it's about being healthy and strong. Physically, emotionally, and mentally and spiritually. The journey to this race was all of those things.

 The struggle has been real in each of those areas. And while there was no magical element to this 10K, I feel that there has been reasons and purposes behind not being able to run a half this year.

 My identity is not in running or finishing a race. But I have been able to learn more about myself through this training leg, without even realizing it until it was complete.

 I was lucky to have a few people encouraging me in my race this time around. My co-worker loved me enough to sign up with me and get up early and endure my pre-run routines. She doesn't like running. But she did it to support me.  I told her to go ahead of me, she is much faster, but having her there was meaningful. My best girlfriend, Paula, also not a morning person, got up early and endured my pre-run routines as well and cheered me on during a few parts in the course. And a few people who have listened to me cry or whine about the struggles this winter have been my cheerleaders the whole time.

 So, I ran that 10K with my heart. Not my legs. And maybe in part, my mind. But it was a beautiful event for me. Because I discovered great things about myself along the way. I am a fighter. It lives in me. Whether it's fighting the silent battle of depression or the struggle to be healthy or the spiritual battles or the fight to be a stronger, better me. But God is fighting for and with me for those things, too. And that is where the real strength comes from.

  I finished my race in a time I was happy with considering the obstacles of the winter. And I am excited to keep on pushing. I do not know what my next long-distance race will be, but I look forward to the continued journey of running, physical growing stronger and the spiritual parallels I always learn with it.
Bonus moments to my weekend run: reconnecting with an old friend I hadn't seen in a while who I had no idea would be at the race. Reconnecting is good.
                           - Spending a little time with Paula
                           - Laughing with Danielle and telling stories
                           - Hearing other runners' stories
                           - Meeting a few new friends

 #JustRun. #Heismystrength #Thankful #Iloverunning #Ilovemyjob

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love it. I lived in Cincinnati for a couple years and have always wanted to do the Flying Pig. So glad you ran with your heart. How beautiful!!