01 August 2013

The Long Run

I've been training for my two marathons and ultramarathon.  It's been a lot of fun, but also tiring as fitting in running when on the road 80 percent of the time means dealing with jet lag and running on treadmills in hotels at odd hours of the day and night.

Travel is a lonely business for me.  While I am surrounded by people in airport lounges and on flights, for the most part, I am on my own.  I move from place to place, eating the same food and listening to the same safety announcements time and again.  Smiling at others as they move through the same travel-induced haze that takes over after 70 segments of flying on one airline online this year...and it's not even fall yet!

That being said, I find my solace in the run.  It calms me, grounds me and puts my body back into a familiar rhythm.  Pair that with some yoga and I'm singing a good song.

While running, especially alone, is perceived by some of my friends to be a lonely endeavor, I never truly feel alone.  Take a 19-miler I did a few weekends back as an example. 

I started out the run, Camelback strapped on, energy chews in place and trail runners securely on my feet.  The morning dawned bright and warm and I was ready to get out there and tackle the miles on trail and road.  From the start, something was off.  I felt tired, I had landed the night before from a work trip and hadn't yet stretched enough to bring the jet legs back to earth. By mile four, I could tell I was moving pretty slow and that this run was going to be a grind.

I got down to Wakamow Valley in Moose Jaw where I have to do several repeats of trails.  The ground was super muddy, aided by some heavy rain that occurred the night before.  Coming out of the Valley, I decided to switch to the road off the trail to avoid some of the slippery ground.  In order to hop back on the muddy path, I needed to jump a low chain.

Chalk it up to tired legs and me just not paying particular attention, but instead of sailing over the chain, my shins hit it, tangled and tossed me face-first onto the ground.  I immediately got up, embarrassed and looking around to see if anyone captured my fall-from-grace-face-plant.  Lucky for me, it didn't appear anyone had and I limped my way over to a bench, sobbing and watching huge red and purple welts take over my lower legs.

I immediately called Dave and asked for a pickup.  I then texted my friend, Jac, who I was planning on meeting up with at the halfway point for a few miles together to let her know I wasn't going to be making it.  Dave came around and I climbed into the car, still crying and feeling stressed about how I wasn't going to complete the 19 miles I set out to do that day.  He drove me home and a battle ensued between my desire to get back out there, my unhappy mental state and large knobs that were coming up on my shins as the redness increased.  

I never run alone...and what follows demonstrated that in more ways than one.  Dave turned my head around, drove me back to the spot of the fall and sent me back on my way.  Jac texted and supplied some much-needed support in letters across a screen.  As I neared the halfway point, she passed in her car and gave a honk and a wave to let me know I was looking okay.  Her husband, Blake, ended up passing me in their other vehicle after the halfway point and he stopped and chatted with me for a good five minutes...enough to let me know there were friends out there who cared.  Dave checked in on me through phone calls and texts and even drove out with 6 miles to go to offer love and support the only way he knows how to do.

The day was really long...even though it was a few weeks ago, I still have bruises on my shins as a reminder of that day.  However the good vibes and love I felt carried me home and reminded me that even when I feel alone, there will always be family out there to support and carry you through the toughest times.

I love running...it keeps me grounded and feeling connected...even across the miles.

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