Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Harsh Realities

I am back where I started one year ago: devastated, inconsolable, and disconsolate over the limitations of my body. One week before the Long Beach Half-Marathon I picked my sick grandchild up by hooking my arms under hers and ran for the bathroom. In my haste I failed to handle my back with care and have been in excruciating pain for 4 days. Driving to work was no easy task but my high threshold for pain kept me going. I sat at my desk with a huge pillow behind me but nothing alleviated the back spasms radiating from my back to my lower legs. My hubris is a natural pain killer because I repeated, "I will not succumb to the pain, I will not succumb to the pain, I will not succumb to the pain," and truly believed I could survive a full day at work. Why do I always think the rules of pain do not apply to me? 

My doctor's prognosis--nerve impingement! Hmmm, I've heard THOSE words before. When I first heard them last year it felt like the guillotine blade slammed down and ended my life. But last year it was my neck and this year it's my lumbar. I've ignored the words "degenerative spine" for a year and was grateful for each mile I ran during training with my team and by myself. October 17 was looming in my future and I was filled with anticipation to run the Long Beach Half Marathon. Only my runner friends understand my love, the need, the frenzy, and the addiction of running towards the finish line. I refuse to discuss running with my non-runner friends because I silently seethe at their ignorance. 

For me, running is so much more than a goal, an endorphin high, an addiction, or a crazy whim. When I run I am transformed into an empowered woman--a woman who found the natural remedy to ward off the lifelong depression that has tormented her, a woman whose spirit refuses to be broken by her circumstances, a woman who knows pleasing others is a formula for disaster, a woman whose fear does not hinder her from loving life and living it, a woman who will continue to pursue a healthy lifestyle despite what genetics dictate, a woman who believes beauty emanates from within after forgiveness and acceptance have taken place. To take running away from me is like severing the lifeline of my womanhood and independence. 

So today and maybe tomorrow I will allow myself to grieve, to cry, to mourn, and to wallow in woefulness for not being able to run the race I worked so hard to train for. Last year I was bleeding to death (literally, not figuratively) but I managed to complete the Nike Women's San Francisco Half Marathon in 3 hours. This year I cannot walk a few feet without hunching over in pain. There will be no finish lines to cross or medals I can proudly display. Yet, I am certain that grief will fade in the dawning of a new day. Borrowing the words of Ray's friend, Chris, "Create a beautiful day." 

To cheer myself up I searched for a few beach pictures I've taken in the past 2 years. I love the beach and it has always been a place of solace. God whispers his comforting words through the musical concert of the wind and waves.