The Winter Of My Discontent…

“I think I’m finished,” I said as I approached my husband in the kitchen.

“Finished with what?” he asked.

“Running.”

It spilled out without hesitation. The run I had just completed had been one of the few times I ran outside this month. It was a horrible 6 miles. Especially the end. I had such high hopes for it as my treadmill runs were progressing nicely. I thought perhaps the tight and irritated Achilles issues were resolving themselves. I thought I saw a glimmer of hope.

But bringing it back outdoors proved futile. And as I forced myself to suffer through the final stretch towards home, I mentally made the decision to quit. After all, 2016 had been a pretty fair running year. Three marathons, three Boston qualifiers, and over 2000 total miles. Not a bad way to end it.

“You are NOT finished,” my husband said as he hugged me. I wiped my tears on his sweatshirt before he forced me to meet his gaze. “You are NOT finished. Don’t say that. You can’t stop running. It’s what you do.”

Those are pretty strong words for someone who has a 50/50 opinion on my running at any particular moment in time. And in that moment, he was all for it, whereas I was against it. But that is the story of our marriage. When one is up, the other is down. When one is agreeable, the other is disagreeable. When one is having a good day, the other is having a bad day. In a way, it is a good balance.

“I just can’t come to terms with this Achilles issue,” I stammered. “I don’t know how to fix it.”

“Maybe you just need a break. Maybe you should stay off them for a while?” he questioned.

Everything I’ve read tells me the best therapy IS therapy, and to NOT stop the activities. It is important to keep moving and stay active.

“Maybe I should just walk for a while,” I blubbered.

“That might be a smart thing to do,” he replied. “You are still going to run the Polar Dash, right? Just take it easy and walk until then. Let’s see how you feel.”

Yep. Sometimes he can be agreeable and non argumentative.

So, I had a plan…a few walks this week up until the time I run on New Year’s Day. Then, perhaps, I’ll be thinking better. The new year will bring a new perspective. I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss the Polar Dash. It has become a rite of passage for me. It is the way I bring in a New Year. No parties, no wild drinking binges, no late night, no kisses at midnight. Instead I’m asleep long before the clock strikes twelve, and up early the following morning, layering up to start the year with some miles.

This year will be no different. I’ll make it through the run. There won’t be any age group awards for me this time around. But that will be OK. I mean, I really don’t want to quit. I don’t want to stop running. I don’t want to hang up my sneakers.

I want to run.

So much has changed for us this past year. Not much of it in our favor, I’m afraid. But I’m a believer in fate. For some reason, we have been chosen to face these obstacles,whether it be to learn a lesson, or to force us to move on to a less cluttered life. It has taken me the entire year to accept that and embrace it. At the same time, I never allowed running to take a backseat because in truth, it is the only thing I can control. And up until the final weeks of the year, I did just that.

I can sit here and deny the fact that there is a problem…an issue…a reason for my condition. Or, I can accept it, continue to treat it, and move on. It might mean skipping a few of my favorite winter events. It might mean forgoing the pursuit of some new PRs. It might mean running the treadmill for a few months. It might mean delaying the start of Fargo Marathon training. It wouldn’t be the first time my training for a spring marathon was disrupted or flatly discontinued. I’ve faced it all before.

I think, however, that the older I become, the more panic sets in. Will I really be able to run until I’m 90? Can I continue this bizarre, yet horribly addictive hobby year after year in the second half of my life?

Am I expecting too much of myself?

I have a few questions to answer before the clock strikes midnight in a day and a half. I don’t think they are easy ones, either. But I think they are necessary.

I have moments where I think I can run forever. I have moments where I dread my next step. I feel like the two sides of my marriage, every minute of every day, flip flopping like a hooked fish fighting for it’s next breath, with the slightest chance of returning itself to the body of water from which it was snatched.

I’m reminded, however, that my plight is subtle. I’ve lost too many friends and family to horrendous circumstances. Now THEY suffered. Me? I’m just feeling sorry for myself. Suffering is an option I’m lucky to have.

At this point in time, I know very little. I can, however, spend a little bit of time seeking something…anything…a little voice…a small sign…a realistic course to take that will get me back on the roads. I can’t lose hope.

For now, I plan to dry my eyes, and remain focused on healing. The rest is too far ahead to predict. I may as well just take it one step at a time.

I thank you for sticking with me this year, despite my lack of blog posts. I’m striving for a more communicative 2017. I have products to share, thoughts to resolve, issues to hash over. I have a marathon to train for, and I want to share the journey with you. To quit now without even giving it a fair shake would be like putting the cart before the horse. After all, the future doesn’t necessarily hinge on today.

Who knows what lies ahead.

Happy New Year to all of you. May 2017 be all that you wish for and more. Let’s make it happen together.

-Theresa

7 Responses to The Winter Of My Discontent…

  1. Tom Waldren says:

    I will be at PPU tomorrow 10:30-1:30. If I don’t see you there, hopefully out on Sunday. Either way, YOU, my dear, have been a true inspiration to me, and I wish you the very best, wherever the new year takes you. Happy trails!

  2. Lauren says:

    Sending you a virtual hug! After my stress fracture (coming off my best marathon ever) I went into a little running depression that I’m still crawling out of. It’s hard to go from amazing shape to pretty much stop working out for 10 weeks. It sucks, but for me I needed to just rest, catch up on sleep and mentally regroup (which was hard enough adding in finals, moving, and the holidays). I have anxiety so freaking out about my first real big deal injury and worrying if I’m just going to get reinjured once I start actually logging miles again freaks me out, but the love of running pushes me towards optimism for 2017!

  3. Gina Hanzel says:

    You got this girl!! You’re not done running… you’re just working around the obstacles you face and you’ll come out on the
    Other side so much stronger!! Take time to relax. Take time with your husband, grandchildren, kids.
    All is right in the world. Yes…. sometimes it sucks so hard… but YOU GOT THIS!! *hugs

  4. Beverly Kavouras says:

    Ahh, the ying and yang of life. Whenever I get down about something I look at my BAG. (Blessings, accomplishments, and goals.) And there’s nothing wrong with throwing out the old goals and making some new ones that easier to accomplish! Ha! That can be a mood fixer. Love you babe. Sorry about the heal. Settle in with a good book, some bon-bons, a box of kleenex and you’ll figure it out girlfriend! Love you babe!

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