It’s been a weekend!
I could probably end right there, but I have things to say, so buckle up! Or walk away!
I’m pretty sure the whole world knows that I injured my ankle playing volleyball a month ago. Lord knows I’ve been whining about it enough. That injury was the final straw in a pretty horrible first quarter of 2018 and it has done a number on….well pretty much everything. My mood. My positivity. My ambition. I’ll stop short of saying “my will to live” because that’s a little over-the-top drama-llama-ish. Suffice it to say that it has done a number on me. In my rational moments I know that this is nothing more than a small blip on the radar of my life, but in this moment – right here – right now – it is hard to see past the clouds that are hanging over my head.
Yesterday was the Go! STL Mississippi 7K that I normally do in the spring. I had every intention of doing that race, come hell or high water. I feel like I’ve given up too much on the running front this winter to let go of this one last piece of “normal.” Saturday I packed up my gear, headed to the city, picked up my packet, wandered through the expo…all the normal things that go along with a big race. Typically I’m skipping and humming out of an expo with the anticipation of going through the goody bag. No skipping. No humming. Not even a semblance of talking to myself. Simply walked back to my vehicle and headed to my daughter’s house, with my little rain cloud hovering right over my head.
The biggest benefit to going into the city is that my grandson is there and he melts me like nobody else can and I spent an evening chasing him back and forth, sitting with him on the floor in front of the oven while we watched it heat up (I don’t know why this is a thing, but it is), listening to him giggle as I bonk his noggin with my noggin. He’s this huge ray of much needed sunshine!
I went to bed early and, oddly enough for a pre-race night, I fell promptly to sleep.
I woke up with a start at midnight and almost RAN to the bathroom, unsure of which end to put down first. I was sick. My whole body was rebelling at….what? I went through the checklist of everything I had eaten, certain that I must have eaten something bad to cause such a violent reaction, but I came up blank. Nothing that I had eaten in the past 24 hours was really out of the ordinary. As it has done for the past month, my mind turned to my ankle. As I fought off waves of nausea and abdominal distress, I pondered what I was doing to myself. I went round and round about the wisdom of doing a race with an ankle that is nowhere near healed. I told myself I would walk it and not do any running, but the reality is that my walks since the injury have been slow 18:00 min/mile walks. The course has a 15:42 min/mile time limit. Some running would be required throughout the course to meet the requirements. I told myself that the amount of running would be minimal and that it would be fine.
I tossed and turned. For four hours. Try to justify any running on a side-lining injury. Look at the clock. Toss and turn some more. Tell myself I can walk the required pace for four miles. Look at the clock. Toss and turn some more. Ponder the emotional ramifications if I don’t go. Cry a little. Look at the clock. Go to the bathroom. Toss and turn again. Cry a little. Look at the clock. Wonder if my stomach would even hold up during the race as nauseous as I was. Look at the clock. Remind myself that I did 33 miles on a bike at Doxa feeling more nauseous than I was feeling right now. Tell myself four miles is nothing. Go to the bathroom. Toss and turn some more. Cry a little more. Look at the clock a little more. If I don’t do this race, what does that mean for me? Does it mean that my racing days are over? Cry a little more. And then my brain went to a dark place. What if I never run again? What if I never sign up for another race? What if this is the end of being physically fit? Cry. Cry. Cry. Spiraling out of control is not who I am. I am the most “together” person I know. I’m the one who keeps it together no matter what is going on in my world. But in the dead of night “rational” goes right out the window.
Look at the clock. Four AM. I stared at the ceiling and listened to the sounds of the city. And began to just… breathe. Deep inhales. Long exhales. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Clarity. This race that I’ve done before. This race that I’ll do again. This ankle that really needs to heal. It’s all so obvious and logical. And very clear that I should not be out there on the race course. And I drifted off to sleep.
I woke up with my 5:30 alarm and headed downstairs to let Ann know I wasn’t going to go. I fixed her a bagel so she could eat something before her half marathon. She headed out the door. I headed back to bed. I spent a fantastic morning with my grandson. Lots of snuggles. Lots of giggles. Lots of happy toddler noises. We hung out on the side of the road when the half marathon course came by the house and said hey to Ann and cheered her on during her race. A suitable alternative to being on the course myself.
With snow in the forecast, I headed home shortly after Ann got back from her race in order to avoid having to drive in bad weather. No more tears. Trying to not think about anything, because that hasn’t worked out so well for me lately. As I pulled into the driveway the snow was coming down pretty good and my daffodils, which have not been in bloom for very long, were wilted and shriveled up and lying flat on the ground – their short lives cut even shorter by the harsh Spring snow. Right out loud I said, “FUCKING SNOW!!!” It seemed a cruel end to a stressful race weekend.
This morning I got ready for work like I do every day. Shower. Hair. Makeup. Breakfast. Coffee. Out the door. As I backed out of the garage and turned my car around to head out of my driveway, I was greeted by this:
The resiliency of these little plants in the face of adversity struck me profoundly. There is no way that they should have rebounded from where they were yesterday. From the looks of them, they were dead. There was no hope. And yet here they were, standing tall, blooming, living, carrying on under circumstances that are far less than ideal for flowers. I immediately burst into tears. I put my car into park, stepped out, and took a few pictures of them. I got back in my car and drove away… and just started laughing. Right out loud I said to myself, “Fucking daffodils!! Be a daffodil, Cristy. Be a fucking daffodil.”