Menses alert (like a spoiler alert, but more important): As if it wasn’t enough to attempt to move my fat body 26.2 miles, I get to do it while Mother Nature does her thing to my uterus. Thanks, lady, you’re supposed to be on my side. You are a woman after all!
If nothing else, though, I have plenty to think about on this 6-hour journey. I can replay recent disappointments with friends to investigate what I have done to offend. I can revel in recent—and fantasize about future—growths in my professional life. I can contemplate my (partially) new-found spirituality, reviewing the texts I’ve been reading as I run. I will repeat a mantra: “Just keep swimming.” I can pray for personal and universal plights and rejoice over successes. I can consider social justice issues and the ways in which I can . And, if I finish, I will feel like I’ve accomplished something big.
Well, it’s the Tuesday after the marathon, and I didn’t finish. I didn’t accomplish something big. This time. I was going strong until mile 10 when I noticed my chest starting to tighten up, and I started to have a difficult time breathing. I’ve run 15-mile training runs, so there should have been no problem. But there was.
I don’t have a formal asthmatic diagnosis, unless you count the exercise-induced one from when I was still young enough to go to the pediatrician, so I hate it when I can tell my lungs are starting to spasm and constrict. I can’t do anything to fix it because I don’t have an inhaler. By the time I turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue, I could tell I wasn’t going to last much longer. Maybe it was the gingko trees, maybe it was my imagination, but my breathing was difficult. I started crying, and then I started walking. I made it to mile 11 where I promptly got scooped up by the slow wagon.
I learned a lot about myself through this huge disappointment. I know I need to start my allergy shots, and I am hoping I am part of the 50% of the population they work for. I know I need to train much more diligently and much more thoroughly for the next go around. I know could stand to lose some weight, which would only make running 26.2 miles a little less painful. I know I need to be more careful about what I eat between now and then, maybe adding in a bit more protein and fewer “treats.”
I learned I need to give myself more grace when shooting for lofty goals, like I need to give myself grace for not having time to work on my dissertation. I learned I need to count on my friends and family who are steadfast and true and revel in their love for me.
I don’t know what else to say about this whole journey, except that I lost it on Saturday when I stopped running. The bottom of my world fell out, and all those dark feelings came rushing in and I was drowning. I came back (or to put it evangelically, I was redeemed) when I decided that not making a goal I set for myself isn’t the end of the world, and that I always have next time. Sounds trite, sounds cliché, sounds sickeningly like something I wouldn’t want to hear, but it’s true. I don’t have a terminal illness. I am not incapacitated in some way. There is always tomorrow.
While I was running, I thought a lot about the legacy I want to leave behind, and the one I was heading toward leaving behind wasn’t exactly it. Recently, I have spent way too much time wallowing in self-pity. I haven’t spent nearly enough time thinking about, dwelling on those things I have to rejoice about. For my legacy, I want to leave behind peace and compassion, not anxiety and anger. I may not be happy in every situation, but I can still be grace-filled and experience each moment for what it brings.
First, I love you. I’m one of those who revels in loving you. Let me preface what comes below by saying that I wouldn’t flatter you or tell you false things just because I love ya. I’d tell you the truth.
Second, I’m interested in why you say that for your “legacy, you want to leave behind peace and compassion, not anxiety and anger.” I’m just wondering if you articulate it like that because a) you hope you will but don’t feel you have thus far or b) know you have and hope you’ll continue to. For my part, I was a little confused because it seems to me like a legacy is something you build up–bit by bit and person by person–as you go, not a finished thing you leave lying around when you’re gone. That said, I thought you’d know by now that at least in this woman’s life, your legacy IS one of peace and compassion. Your example, your writing, your teaching, your interactions with others, Becs, and me–in all of those I’ve seen peace and compassion, yes, but also anxiety and anger, and then I’ve seen you reflect and get mad at yourself and give yourself grace and struggle back towards peace and compassion. I think what I’m trying to say is that over the course of time, you’ve helped me grow up into a more peaceful and compassionate person than I was when I first met you, and that’s partly because (following your example) I work harder at it than I did before. Does that make any sense at all?
Either way, it’s a really worthy goal, Corb, and I think whether you’re always aware or not, you’re doing it. My two cents.
Thank you Sarah, for your “two cents.” You have wonderful perspective and I for one, appreciate your old aged-ness. Thought a lot about you – and Ben today. Not sure why, but God knows. XO