Spring 2017 Survival Notes
NOTE: this blog was written in June, before RnR Seattle, left in a document as I sorted my site issues. I have been small edits and tense corrections.
June 11th, I’m running past a strip mall in Gig Harbor surprised to be (again) openly sobbing. I feel like this is an accurate picture of the past year, specifically the past 6 months. My whole body is electric, quietly listening, absorbing and attempting to file all the information sizzling through my paper skin. Most days the information means it’s hard to get out of bed, and harder to fall asleep.
I have at least 10 blogs written and unpublished. The past months have felt like a time to be quiet. To be listening. And running, mine in particular, feels less than unimportant. The world at large and my own small one, have both been full of uncertainty, sadness, hopelessness, and stress. I am reminding myself constantly that I’m not alone. I know many of you have been there too. Are there.
On top of the political climate, the seemingly endless violence and loss, it f***ing would not stop raining here this winter. I was in a new city with no friends, spending way too much time alone, in the endless gray rain. There were cracks of light, but only a few weeks ago did I peek out of my depression and anxiety, blinking at the sun. But I didn’t trust it, it had been so many weeks and months since I’d felt lightness at all.
I’m not sure why or how I kept running other than I needed to for my own survival. To have one thing with clear dimensions, a start and end, a time and place, a goal and a deadline. To start my watch and think of nothing but splits even for an hour was a relief. I would exhaust some of my anxiety and depression, leave space for a little light.
My biggest goals for the training block leading up to Seattle Rock n Roll was to be conscious of what I wanted from running, what the sport was adding or subtracting from my life, why I was doing it.
I meditated on these questions often on the run. I logged mile after mile alone. I listened to my steps, my breath, music, and podcasts. And on that Sunday in June, on mile 8 of 16, Amelia Boone said “the people who really know me, tell me to have fun [before a race]. “ and I cried. Couldn’t I just let it be as simple as that? That I love running and racing? That it’s okay to want to do well, but it’s also okay just to want to do something because it makes you come alive, it makes you happy? Both can be true. Performance and play.
It was like coming full circle to where my mind was before CIM when I was just running with pure gratitude and joy. Something got messy in my mind after so publically failing (IMO) at the Trials and NYC. I started to feel embarrassed, and judgmental. Who did I think I was? I felt like I was too committed, and never committed enough. Just one look at Instagram let me know I wasn’t training hard enough. And just one look at myself whispered I was over-invested in a silly pastime. That I was selfish.
But survival isn’t selfish. It’s kind of necessary. Running is part of my mental health medical plan.
And as far as Seattle Rock n Roll Half went, the goal was to run as fast as I could on the day. I promised myself I was going to hurt, but I wasn't going to suffer.
UPDATE: Done and done. I ran as fast as I could that morning (1:19:?), when I started beating myself up, I made the choice to smile at someone instead to cheer on another runner, to love what I love. I didn’t run a PR, I further complicated my storyline, but months out I wanted to publish this blog I wrote before I toed the line. It’s all still true.