I would say mile number 12 was the longest, but I am pretty sure the one mile walk back to the car after the race was longer.
I had decided when I created the Facebook page for this website I would not post information about my day to day activities. That’s not what I had intended to use Facebook for in this situation and have refrained so far. There are times though when an event falls into both categories: daily living and the overall theme of the blog.
Today was D-day (or R- day). Race day. My first half marathon ever. I didn’t sleep as soundly as I would’ve liked to and my body thought that 4:25 a.m. would be a perfectly acceptable time to wake up today. Despite my mild sleep deprivation, I felt good driving toward the race and none of the typical pre-race jitters that I’ve gotten before. There is a lot of excitement around the starting line. Throbbing music, a caffeine buzz, and being surrounded by throngs of other runners jumping in place help heighten the thrill.
I first started running a few months before I turned 38. As an ER nurse I am constantly reminded of inertia’s effects on the human body. While aging is inevitable, we have the opportunity to mitigate the aging process by means of healthy choices. For myself, I chose running. My start was slow. A tenth of a mile run. Three tenths of a mile walk. Run to one more mailbox than last time. Start running one mailbox sooner. I had no grandiose illusions of becoming a sprinter right off the couch. I wanted to start running in a way that was manageable for my busy life. I usually only ran three days a week and started right out my front door and into my neighborhood.
I ran my first 5K eight months later (see? I told you I had no lofty fantasies). It took me eight months to go from couch to 5K. A year later I ran a 10K trail run and now, today, my first half marathon. In between races I continued to run. It was my goal to run a half marathon while still 40. It took me 3 years, 1039 miles and a pair of shots in the knees to work up to that.
Running was not only a battle physically, it was one of those activities I had to fight for. I tend to be a bit on the reclusive side. I don’t leave the house much, my personality does not necessitate socialization on a regular basis, nor do I care to shop much. (Unless it is groceries. I love to grocery shop for gastronomic goodies. My new favorite snack is honey goat cheese on toast, slathered with apricot jam and yes I did have one as a post run reward, but I digress…) Because I don’t go out a lot, don’t have a lot of hobbies taking up my time, and started out slow, I was able to put the time into running. But besides the hills in my neighborhood, the other hill I faced was fighting for the time and opportunity to run.
My former husband did not like for me to run. He said it took time away from the family (while he watched television). He also did not like that I was getting fit and he was not (his claim), but instead of joining me he complained pretty much every time I ran, unhappy that I was leaving, even if just in the neighborhood for twenty minutes, and asked how long before I would be back, even calling and texting mid-run urging me to hurry back. This is a habit he has passed on to my children as well.
While one could construe this to be the actions of a loving husband who just wanted to spend time with his wife, this was not the case. He did not like for me to have my own hobbies or interests nor for the kids and I to have any outside him. Even books I was reading were subject to scrutiny and disapproval (not because of their content). Activities that did not involve or surround him were frequently protested. We were expected to do the activities he wanted to do. There was not much room for individuality.
If I were in the other room, folding laundry or doing homeschool prep I was summoned via kid or FaceTime or text (from the other room) to come. This became more and more frequent over time. Daily I was petitioned to be by him every moment, doing the activities he wanted regardless of what I was doing at the time. This, of course, in and of itself was not the cause for divorce, nor something that could not be fixed through counseling. It was just one of those things that added another bar to my cage.
So today, for me, this race was symbolic. Symbolic of perseverance, symbolic of my new found ability to pursue interests and individuality, symbolic of my freedom.
But like the race, it was not easy. The 13 arduous miles mirrored the 15 painful years, sometimes uphill and sometimes easing into a less oppressive pace. Unlike the race, which came with a triumphant ending, the end of the marriage was anything but triumphant. And as I walked those very slow painful steps to my car, I was reminded of the slow painful end of the marriage, where all I could do was take one day at a time. When the adrenaline is gone, you are often left with the ache from what you just endured. But as with all injuries, time is key. Time does not erase all pain, but pain does lessen with time.
Running helped me both physically and as an outlet. Something I would highly encourage you to seek. Not necessarily running but some activity that allows you reprieve, time away, and the opportunity to be alone to think, meditate, or pray. Having personal goals and taking your time to reach them can help give you purpose when your life has seems to lose direction or is floundering in a sea of uncertainty.
I reached another milestone this month. I was accepted into the graduate program to start my education to become a family nurse practitioner. (A goal that I have had for over 18 years, yet was not allowed to pursue while married.)
The family unit is important. Building and solidifying relationships keeps it strong. But we are also made up of individuals who should have the freedom to be themselves, with their own individual tastes, interests and personality. This can apply to the parent/child relationship as well as the spousal relationship.
Take time to pursue a hobby or interest
But mostly just be you.