Everyone has a vice. Mine is clearly running. It's the only thing that show's up every morning as long as I do. I can always count on it to push me to my absolute max...as long as I put in the work. Running will scrape you from the deepest pit of darkness if you use it. And it will help you enjoy everything you have to be grateful for if you allow it. Like so many things, it's a give and take. As long as you put in the work...it will give back every single time. I have learned that is a lot more than you can expect from most people. Just because you put in 110% doesn't mean other people will. Even when I am injured...the thought of being able to run sooner keeps me doing my rehab and exercises. No matter how heavy life gets and how much pain I am in...I can count on the inevitable ability of running to practice tough love. Sometimes, that means that I am only able to walk. Sometimes that means, I can walk up hills and jog the flats. But my favorite is when it means I can bomb the down hills pain free.
Sometimes you are draped in loss...and sometimes injuries happen and if you are real unlucky or if the universe thinks that you are just that tough....they happen at the same time. The amount of time I have spent processing this is kind of amazing. If I would've been able to throw myself into just running during this painful time....I wouldn't have processed as effectively. I am 31 years old and drowning in this feeling of belonging no where. My skin feels wrong...my mind is clouded with negativity and I am suffocating in this feeling of impending doom. But, there is something so very vivid and powerful of allowing myself to feel all of those intense and overwhelming emotions without covering it up or dulling it. I could take all of these feelings and fears and throw them in a box and forget it for as long as possible...I could keep adding to said box until one day it just overflows, touches and taints the rest of my beautiful life. But, the fact that I did get injured and was forced to come face to face with some pretty heavy demons....I am processing it all--> one tired and painful step at a time. Sometimes, taking care of you....and making sure you are ok isn't pretty. Sometimes, it is down right just awful. But, in the end I know it's going to make me better. It will make me DO better. I've thrown on the running shoes since my ankle has allowed it. And now I am processing while running. I can feel each step and each painful hot breath through my lungs and I am grateful for life. Pain means I am breathing and that I haven't given up. Pain means I am still here and that there is still chance for me to do better. Not everyone gets that chance.
SO, as the losses just keep on coming....whether it's a life I thought I was going to have, or friends and family I thought would stand by me or the inability to just go out and run 30 miles right now-- I am choosing to be grateful. Grateful for the little moments that remind me it's not all bad. Grateful for the people who have taken the time to be there for me and grateful for the people who've walked away because I'd rather know where people stand with me...and if I can count on them or not before I actually need them. Attacks have been coming from every angle of my life lately. Left and right...I am being pushing into a corner that makes me choose right then and there if I will be a victim or if I will walk away and grab the life I know I deserve. As I climbed up Angels Rest this past weekend (the 3rd trail run of the day) my legs were tired and my soul was weary. I felt like I had lost everything. I felt like I was alone. Feelings are a funny thing. When pain takes over it can make it pretty hard to see the truth. Truth is, I have so much in just having a choice on how to live my life. I have a choice on how I am going to react to everything happening. The freedom of choice and my ability to adapt to whatever is happening is a gift. Arriving to the top of angels rest I hit my knees and cried. So much loss and so much pain. I took a deep breath and realized how much I still have and how far I've come. And these wonderful strong legs got me here.