Saturday, April 3, 2010

This has been an amazing year for me so far. That is a strange thought considering I have spent more time injured than well and until this week, I was barely able to log even a third of the weekly mileage I was doing pre-marathon (December). Historically, my mental well-being has been strongly linked to my running, and my sanity, in general, has relied on the daily sweat sessions in order to maintain some semblance of normalcy. But, like a heroine addict entering rehab, it was snatched away from me. I ruptured my posterior tibial tendon when I rolled my ankle back in November and the marathon was the last straw before my body asked me to take a break and let it breathe for a second..... gulp! Commence the withdrawal shakes, inner brain wars with ugly demons, and floundering self-esteem. How the hell am I supposed to deal with all the crap inside of me without running?!?!? After several "relapses" and subsequent bodily revolts, I knew the options were quite clear:

1. Take the time COMPLETELY off from running and just heal for God's sake...... and learn a
new, improved, healthy way to deal with your mushy brain. Clearly, the world is not going to
come to an end just because Rebecca Wroten cannot go log miles.....


2. Keep pushing it... Go ahead... you just keep pushing your body until the running gods take
running away from you permanently.... I double dog dare ya...


I enlisted the help of Dr Frank Shultz to give me someone to talk to about all the swirling junk in my head, but also to help me understand why it was there and how to better deal with it. My friend/colleague/adoptive mother/sounding board, Betsy, tells me almost daily that the hardest change to make is self-change and the hardest person to deal with is the one that looks back at you every morning in the mirror. Oh, how true! This was a scary journey, but a necessary one, and I felt like the timing was impeccable.

I am looking down the path and I see the door to my thirties just ahead. If I turn and look back at my twenties, it is not a pretty sight-- full of bad decisions, self imposed chaos, multiple directional changes. As Dr Shultz puts it, I haven't done anything "wrong," I've just survived and sought answers using the map I was given and the knowledge I had acquired through the years. I was seeking a path the only way I knew how, survival mode, and I was doing a hella good job at surviving..... the problem has been thriving. The map I had wasn't cutting it, but venturing away from what you know, heading off the beaten path requires a lot of courage, humility up the wazoo, and determination. My map was a circle and I was diligently running the loop over and over again in an attempt to somehow end up somewhere else. Maybe you can see what I couldn't..... that was never gonna happen..... huh..... weird.

So here we are, three months later. I haven't written much about this journey... at least not publicly. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I have had to become vulnerable, to open the ginormous gate to my heart and break down some pretty thick walls. I do not like to feel vulnerable, it is a scary scary scary feeling. I have had to look myself in the mirror and decide that I'm ok with me, just as I am. I have had to start to learn to love people unconditionally, for where they are right now rather than trying to "fix" them or "save" them. They aren't broken or lost, they are on a journey just like me and all I can do is show them a different map. I have had to learn to be okay enough with myself to accept love rather than trying constantly to earn it, working harder and harder to prove that I deserve whatever love is given to me.

This week I ran a long run. It was a wednesday morning at 11 am. I ran to Betsy's office and I cried. Not a sweat cry (ok, well yes a sweat cry but this one involved tears too). My first real, true, tears and everything cry in 15 months. Tears actually fell from my eyes. My stomach squeezed, my heart flipped circles, my brain stopped working... and then, I ran some more. I ran a hole right through the bottom of my shoe. I blazed a trail until my body ached like my heart and all the pent up emotions fell from my eyes. This was a different sorta run, like a final hoorah, a goodbye to my past. Not that I will never again run out my emotions, but that my emotional well-being will no longer rest solely on that release.

I took a turn.

I stepped off the loop I have been running for over a decade now.

I am heading in a direction for which I do not have a map. It's a little scary, I'm not gonna lie, but it's the only way to move forward....... at a full tilt run, of course! :-)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Becca! Good luck with your new direction :)