Expect the unexpected.
I feel like that is something I should just get tattooed on my forehead or plastered all over my walls. lol 🙂 This year has been one unexpected event after another it seems. You’d think I’d be used to it by now! I suppose, in a way, that I am. It has forced me to approach disappointments and set backs a little differently than I had in the past. Thankfully, I have found myself to be less fragile in the aftermath of an unexpected event than I was this time last year. Yay for growth!! 😉
So, why am I talking about set backs, disappointment and unexpected events? Well…..as luck would have it….a higher power decided I needed another lesson in patience and perseverance. As many of you know, I was super pumped for this past weekend’s race in Virginia. I was all ready to be out there for hours, pushing my physical limits and meeting another goal. Unfortunately, that never happened.
I only made it one mile into the 62 mile race when I stepped on a root the wrong way and rolled my ankle. I heard a pop and felt a nasty shock of pain. I initially thought I could just ‘walk it off’, which is what I usually do when my ankle rolls on trail. I stepped off to the side of the single track trail and a couple other runners stepped aside with me to see if they could help. They attempted to search for cell signal on their phones while I stood there trying to see if my ankle could hold my weight. After a few moments, it was clear they would have no luck. I encouraged them to head on through and I would figure out what I would do next.
I was now alone in the darkness of the Virginia woods. I stood there for a moment contemplating going on and running through to the first aide station to see if my ankle would hold up. I thought that perhaps, I could just push through it and the pain would eventually go away. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that I would be risking getting myself out in the middle of the forest with no cell service, no help for miles and an ankle that wouldn’t hold me up. Reluctantly, I turned around and headed back towards the start. I stopped several times on my walk back, looking back at the trail and pondering if returning to the start was the right thing to do. Perhaps, it was just a scare and I will be fine going on with the race. Oh man, the chorus of thoughts that went through my head, you’re just wimping out…..it’s not that bad…..you should just keep going…..what if you make it worse…..what if you get stuck out in the woods for hours with no help…..are you really going to give up?
That litany of thoughts and what ifs continued playing over and over in my head for the remainder of the weekend. Today, four days after the fact, they have at least quieted down to a soft murmur. I am in a better mindset now that I have had the chance to cry, kick the dirt and talk things out with good friends.
Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective to help move out of a negative thought cycle. I often struggle with changing my perspective when I’m having a hard time. Luckily, a conversation with a good friend helped guide me in the right direction. As I was boohooing myself and my situation he told me that he was proud of me. Proud of me?!? For what?! I ran one stinking mile! That’s nothing to be proud of. His response caught me off guard when he said, ‘I’m not proud of that. I’m proud of everything you’ve done to get to this point.’ He went on to say that despite the fact that I didn’t get to finish the race, I should still be proud of myself. I need to think back on all the things I did to make it to the starting line, like….training for 6 months in preparation, doing nighttime runs, and extra miles BEFORE running a marathon.
That stopped me in my whiney, shuffling tracks….and I realized, he was right. I should be proud of myself, not embarrassed or disappointed. It stinks, it really does, but I have accomplished so much to get to this point. I should celebrate that and celebrate myself. So, today is a new day with a new focus and a new plan.
SEND ‘EM(ily) 😉