Running Through the Pain

This is not a post about running. I mean, it is. But it isn’t. Running is so metaphorical with life that it’s hard to avoid using it as a continual source of inspiration.  So many of my blogs formulate while I’m running that it can be hard to disconnect. Unfortunately, I  haven’t been running as much lately because I’ve been sidelined with a little injury known as Plantar Fasciitis. This is code for “super intense foot pain especially when you get out of bed in the morning.” If you’ve gone through PF, you feel me right now. Because you remember how totally sucky it is. Thank you for feeling bad. It helps. And so I have spent the past few months on a seesaw of trying to find the balance between resting and running.  Trying to manage the pain. Half-heartedly doing some of the prescribed therapies that supposedly help heal and lessen the symptoms of PF.  But it’s been super frustrating. I am a horrible patient. And my foot was seriously hurting even when I hadn’t run in over a week! I was getting discouraged. And feeling chubby. And feeling jealous  of other runners and runner friends working toward their goals while I sat out. And yet every time I got back out there, the run itself would feel so good–mentally, physically, emotionally–that I got to thinking: Maybe it’s time to just keep running through the pain.

Predictably, this got me thinking about life. And what it means to keep running through the pain. What it means to keep going when you want to quit; when everything feels too hard and hurts too much. And how tough it can be to find the balance between giving yourself tons of slack and tons of grace and time to heal from painful circumstances– or just forcing yourself to get up and get out there, kicking ass and taking names– knowing that life goes on. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into years.  Life is happening right now, whether or not you participate. 15 years ago when my first husband was killed in a car accident, the ocean of grief was deep and dark and frightening. Life with two small, now fatherless children seemed utterly insurmountable.  My first thought when I woke up every morning  and my last thought when I went to bed at night was that I wanted to die. That life was too hard. That I couldn’t face this kind of pain everyday and survive. A year later, that type of thinking  had taken its toll.  I was only 26. I had a whole lifetime yet to be lived. And so did my kids. Something had to change. This was still my life; this new normal. It made no difference whether or not I chose it, liked it, wanted it, loved it or hated it. I needed to learn to run through the pain.

And so here I am again. In life AND in running. It’s not exactly where I wanted or planned to be at this point. And now I’ve sat around with this injury for a while, really feeling bummed about it. Disappointed and sad. Crying. Lots and lots of crying. But truthfully, I hadn’t really followed the advice I was given BEFORE the injury– and then it took several more weeks and bouts of pain until I decided to follow the NEW advice I was given to heal the injury. (I’m a slow learner. I like to take my time with my mistakes and make them repeatedly. You know, just to be sure.) But when I was out there running today, feeling like a rock star in 45 degrees and sunshine, I decided, once again,  it’s time to run through the pain.


A Bird in the Hand…Probably Would’ve Killed Me

Yesterday, a bird flew into my house. Apparently it had been hanging around in my garage and when I opened the garage to let the dog out, I scared it. The irony. Because then, it flew straight into my house, into my kitchen, and terrified me. Yep. I completely freaked out. It headed straight for my sliding glass door, thinking it had found a fast escape, only to bump and flap at the glass and cause me to scream. And shriek. In hindsight, it’s all a little humiliating but in the moment, I was completely hysterical. Really, only for one reason- my hubs had already left for work. Why do all the good things happen after he’s gone?
Had Allen had been there, I still would’ve been a little nervous, but instead of holding a Mets apron over my head for protection, I probably would’ve been just watching, jumping around saying things like,”Get it Baby!” and “Honey, you are so brave! How do you know how to do these things?” And then Allen would’ve gotten rid of the bird and I would’ve spent the rest of the day thinking about how great he is. Instead…I acted like a maniac, ran out the front door, talked myself down a little, ran back in, (grabbed said apron for protection) and called him. I might’ve cried for a second. I know. Epic. Failure.
All this was happening while my daughters were halfway upstairs, halfway downstairs. I’m not sure what was more frightening for them. Me or the bird. I’m such a role model. Me and all my fitness and workout quotes that inspire me-“I don’t run to be thin. I run to be fierce” and “Strong is what happens when you run out of weak.” Blah, blah, blah. Wow. Keep running, eh? My one daughter actually said,”Oh, it’s a bird? From the way you were acting I thought there was a masked man in the house!” Um, hello? Is anyone else out there remotely with me on this? The bird was now perched on top of my refrigerator while breakfast was about to burn on the stove. And of course I couldn’t turn the stove off because then I’d have to go near the bird. And it might do something crazy like- I don’t know- fly at me- or peck my head to a nub. Or get caught in my hair. (Caught in my hair feeling like the most likely scenario)
Thankfully, sweet and calm husband on the phone gave me some tips, such as open all the doors- which, to my credit, I had done. Then, after closing some other doors to the living room and dining room, the bird flew out the sliding glass door. I didn’t actually SEE this with my own eyes, so I had to ask my youngest daughter approximately 237 times if she was SURE the bird had flown out the door. And then, this same child looked me square in the face and said….wait for it…”You didn’t handle that very well.” Wow. Insult to injury. And then came the re-enactments of mom freaking out. The made up songs about birds in the house and a crazy mother. Sigh…it was not my finest hour.
BUT! My chance to save face came a little later in the day when that same sweet child had a fly in her room and called me for help. That’s right- a measly, teeny, tiny little fly. Puh-leeeze. Who would be scared of a fly? I ran in like a champ and let it out the window. And we didn’t even have to call Dad.