Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Long Run

A while back I wrote to you about how I love to run.  I do.  I love to run.  It is one of the things that defines me.  In that post I was open about how I only run shorter distances, about how I seem to lose the energy when it comes to the long run.  That was then, this is now.  In the months since then, yes months, I have grown to enjoy the long run. 

There is something altogether amazing about the long run, allow me to explain.  I am not a fast runner by any stretch of the imagination, but I am not really that slow either. I am kind of right there, in the middle.  Of course this doesn't mean that I'm not out there trying to improve with each step that I take.  I have ran many distances.  Short, quick, one mile out and back taking up roughly 15 minutes of my time all the way to just shy of an 18 mile loop, which I did at an average of 9:24min/mile pace a month or so ago.  (My next goal is a 20 miler) It is said that a mile is a mile no matter how fast you run it.  Truth.  There is no negating this.

I used to be content with stacking up 3-4 miles a day 4-5 days a week.  I would have a sense of accomplishment. In fact, if I could get my 5k time a little faster each time out I would mentally reward myself for a run well done.  Then on those off days, yes, we runners have off days, I would get so angry with myself that the next day I would just run farther.  I got stuck in this rut for a few months until a friend of mine asked me to run a half-marathon with her.  A half marathon!  Game on!  What runner doesn't love a new challenge?  That is when I learned a few things.  You don't run 13.1 miles the same way you run 3.1.  Nope, it is true.  Unless you are a Kenyan.  Then you just go and win. Ha!

So in this training I kept at my comfort level, distance wise, for a while and every so often I would eek up to 5-6 miles at a time.  But I was exhausting myself early.  My problem?  I was running twice the distance with the mentality of running half  of it.  I'd get angry when I couldn't get a particular end result.  Then I read in my running magazine, yes I subscribe to 1 or 2, oh, alright 3 different ones...sheesh...that distance isn't about speed it is about maintaining the pace.  Well, come on.  Pfeph...I knew that!  I mean, didn't YOU know that?  Everyone knows that.  OK...so I didn't know that.  Well, not exactly really. 

Then I went for my first really long run (up to that point).  10 miles.  My friend A had a goal of 11:00min/mile.  Me, being a short distance runner wanted to belt out straight away at my > 8:00min/mile pace.  Uh Uh!  See she has ran a full.  (Brave girl + good runner = rock star in my book).  She maintained we go S...L...O...W.  In the end, we compromised...I slowed down and she sped up.  And on that day, was born a distance runner.  I fell in love with the long run. 

Since then I feel almost cheated when I can't get in more than 5-6 miles on the short days.  My real love is the 10-14 mile range.  I will be running a full next year with my aunt to celebrate her birthday.  Yes, that is 26.6 miles of yummy goodness.  Yeah, I know, sweat is neither yummy nor good, but hey, it's my story :) I've shaved almost :45 off/mile for the average time at my current half pace. I'm much pleased with this, but am working towards a more aggressive goal.  However, it is getting colder out and the days are getting shorter and my longer runs are getting pushed to the weekends.  Thankfully I still have the treadmill at the rec center just down the way from my work, where I can pop in and run a quick 5k at my lunch time.  (I'm desperately hoping my parents get me a treadmill for Christmas - they'd be super cool in my book if they did...hint, hint mom!)

It is in the long run where I have time to zone out.  I can lose myself for miles.  I do not listen to music.  I enjoy the feel of the road under my Mizunos. I enjoy the rush of the air through my hair.  I find peace with my mind and wholeness with myself.  It is during the long run that I am no longer filling the multitude of roles that I hold during my day/week.  I am a woman out there taking one well practiced and perfectly choreographed step after another towards a destination that is often planned by the feel of my legs.  I let my shoes lead me while my Garmin Forerunner tracks it.  I am free.  I am in a place that only I define myself.  I am there for myself.  I am competing against myself.  I am learning about myself.  I am finding out just who I really am.  All in a place where I am simply a runner.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Time it Takes

There are days when it is really hard to see things in the right perspective.  Days that turn into weeks and well, those into months.  In fact this whole past week has been an extremely rough week for me.  Now, I won't deny the moments in it that were great.  I had a few, all of which involved my Littles and doing things with them and for them.  But the times that were the hardest were the ones where I was left to my thoughts.  It is amazing the pull our thoughts have on our lives.  The way we think can lead us to a place that is so lonely and sad that even medication can't pull us out.  Well, personally speaking of course.

This deep rooted depression has taken its toll on me.  I've gotten myself to the point where I don't sleep and I cry almost non-stop.  My heart is broken.  Completely.  Wholly.  I'm lost in the despair of my loneliness.  It is truly without a doubt the most crippling emotion.  I do not enjoy this by any means, but it isn't something that I can "snap out of" either.

Several people believe I deserve this and actually laugh about it at my expense.  I am sorry that they feel the need to believe that.  Then there are others that don't understand why I am still consumed by this feeling, they believe that I should be over it already.  Here's the thing.  Until you have experienced something of this magnitude you cannot relate to the hurt and pain that it causes; this consuming emptiness that is created by the sheer rejection of your spouse.  Time can, and I am quite certain does, heal all wounds, but can one put an actual amount on that time? No.  We are not the manufacturers of time, but merely the recipients of it.

During these past few days I have exhausted not only myself but the time offered to me by some very dear friends.  Bless them for their willingness to just listen to my brokenness and my doubt of ever finding a true love or even simply getting over this broken heart.  I have spoken with friends that even after years are still in this boat, some that have never climbed aboard, and another that has just set sail, if you will. Many people across the globe have been where I am.  Many have felt the despair and many have dealt with it in their own ways.

Me, I'm still dealing with it.  I'm still struggling with time.  I feel like I am racing a clock, because frankly I'm not getting any younger. However, today as I was talking with a friend, the one who just set sail, I was reminded of a few things I have learned along this journey.  I have learned that you cannot hide the pain in other things.  I chose to hide it with drinking.  This lead me to making unwise choices.  I have also learned that you cannot hide it with wrong relationships.  No amount of want to can hide pain.  If you are not healed then you will always have that with you and carry it with you.  I have learned that the Creator of Time is the only one who can be all things and heal all hurts.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I am still struggling.  I have not conquered this thing.  Truly I doubt I will ever be able too, but I know that He can.  I just have to give it all to Him.  All of it.  All of the time.  Until I am able to rest completely in His hands and His timing I will fight this ongoing battle.  These are the truths that I know.  Yet the knowing and the doing are still, sadly, miles apart.  Oh, I don't want the continued struggle, the continued pain.  No I do not relish any of this not one bit, but there is a level of vulnerability to letting it all go.  I mean, to do so means that I have to be confident enough in the time scale He chooses to use.

And that is just it.  The time it takes for this process to complete itself is no more in my control than it is His.   You see, the longer I hold on to it the less He can work it out.  And the less I hold on to it the less I know how He is working it out.  I do not know all the inner workings of  a clock, all it cogs and wheels, but I know they are there.  Perhaps what I need is to apply that same reasoning to my future someone.  I don't know what he looks like, what his name is, where he is from, etc, but I know he is out there.  I know because God knows the desires of my heart and He is just waiting on me to succumb to His perfect timing.

Maybe it is a bit apropos seeing as how today we changed our clocks.  Then again, I've never been good with time.