Running just for myself

red ink…

Last night I completed my very first 5K – the Bastille Day 5K in Chicago (thus the French flag!) – and I have to say that I’m proud of me! I started a “couch to 5K” program a couple of months ago. Now I know a 5K may not seem like much for those of you half and full marathoners out there, but it was a big deal for me. I started out literally unable to run a quarter mile without stopping, and ended up running the entire race! I’ve done a lot of things in this life so far, but honestly this ranks right up there next to passing the bar exam. You see, in a life filled with many things that are out of my sphere of control, including all that pink ink has endured and the challenges that my own family has been working our way through this year, not to mention just parenting teenagers, training for this race and just running period, has been a remarkable way for me to carve out some space for myself and to just breath. It also allowed me to empathize with, in a way that I hadn’t experienced since last giving birth without meds, the notion of pushing through pain. As I’ve encouraged Barb to “just keep swimming” and witnessed her tracking mile markers on her journey, I made a decision to “just keep running” even when I felt the burn. Glancing at the markers along the way let me know that I was making progress and encouraged me to keep going. Even as I focused on the end goal, I enjoyed a silent celebration as I passed each guideposts because they let me know that the ever elusive finish was out there somewhere even when I couldn’t see it. It is for you too, pink ink!

Now I’ll admit, I kind of wanted a cheering section at the finish, but my husband had to work, my daughter is away at camp, and my oldest son was too pooped. My youngest son, who shares my initials (go MBRs) and my drive and who I’ve cheered for at many a swim meet to the point of hoarseness, was there to greet me and give me water when I finished and I will always be grateful to him for it! Afterwards, we wound our way to Chipotle for him and Whole Foods for me, to finish our modest celebration. My experience helped me realize how important it is for our chicklets to witness us persevere through adversity even when you don’t have a cheering section. This same son just wrote a speech for a summer class about someone who taught him about unconditional love, and a bit to my surprise, he wrote about his brother, who has both Aspergers and epilepsy. One of the lessons that he learned is that while unconditional love isn’t always easy, there is a silver lining to every cloud. He talked about how having parents who were often distracted by a siblings’ greater needs, taught him to be more independent and to work hard without constant reinforcement. It taught him to work hard just for himself and to pat himself on the back when necessary. At the end of my race he told me he was proud of me, but really I’m grateful to him for teaching me an important lesson about learning to cheer for myself! So in answer to the question that several people have asked me (i.e. who I was running for?), my answer is “this time I was running just for myself!”

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nancy Berger
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 11:01:24

    Congratulations on your run!!! (I stumbled upon your blog searching Google for pics of the rads boost contraption and found you!) I had been running before chemo but had to stop (AC simply would not allow me to run; too much pain on Taxol; didn’t care much after that). Started C25k again 5 weeks ago, but it’s been slow and difficult (the heat doesn’t help much). I’m doing the Color Run in Ann Arbor this weekend and am excited to be *moving* again! I’m going to keep your words in my head as I go along…”just keep running…” Thank you for your amazing blog and wonderful words of wisdom. Peace and joy to you! -Nancy

    Reply

  2. pinkwellchick
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 18:38:13

    Welcome to the blog Nancy! Good luck on your run! Keep us posted on how you are doing! Blessings to you!
    -Pink Ink

    Reply

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