Friday, May 09, 2014

In the which I Bare my Soul and Leave it Naked and Bleeding

Have I ever told you that one story, the story of how I started running?  No?  I don't think I have.  Now seems the time to tell that story.

As you might recall, I have this previous life.  And as you also might recall, I gave birth to its disgusting details on this here blog about three years ago.  It was a life of deception, despair, depression, drugs, druthers, doom, and desecrating debasement.  It was that life I had while living amongst the dirty deeds of a dude named David, known here discretely as "Jimmy."

(If you want the links to the story mentioned above, leave a comment.  For some reason I'm hesitant to dig them up for display and I plan to roll with that hesitation.  Or, if you want the throw-yourself-off-a-cliff-notes version, here it is: I was married to violent dude with a drug addiction and a girlfriend.)

I turned towards two things during this time: work and beer.  I'd work long, fierce hours, masking my woes with a truculent injection of all things software.  Then I would come home and ingest an invisibility cloak of sorts, my favorite being Mississippi Mud.

Did I have a drinking problem?  It's hard to say.  My job kept me from overdoing it, as the need to perform each day was essential for masking the woes and I wasn't getting trashed.  The need to numb was there, however, each and every dreadful day, and it seemed I couldn't make it without.  The duration of this little phase of life was roughly a year.

I've always tried to look at things squarely.  And when it comes to looking at myself squarely, I tend to over criticize and perhaps see my faults in a less than positive light.  (I'm just throwing this out there, to demonstrate that I ain't all that objective when it comes to me... since I'm baring my soul 'n whatnot.)

One night, as I was basking in the fuzzy afterglow of the evening's invisibility cloak, I thought, "I wonder if I have a problem.  I mean, here I am, drinking alone every night so that I can tolerate my living conditions.  And as those narc-anoners and al-anoners say, if you run to a substance for hiding (I know they say this because I went to the meetings instead of the dork, who really needed to go) then you prolly have a problem.  Addiction is in the genes, evidently, so maybe I should be careful?"

Two things came from this conversation with myself: the decision to run, and the birth of "prolly."  (Invisibility cloaks have a tendency to make the speech sloppy.)

So that's how it happened, fall 1996.  I traded my daily black 'n tan hiding place for a few miles on the road.  And it was glorious.  Ran the Moab Half Marathon in 1997 and was hooked.  Committed myself to the St. George full marathon (pre-lottery, imagine that) then ran my newly divorced guts right out of town!

Barring injury or pregnancy, I've been at it since.  Seventeen years, give or take.

So, why the sudden need to tell this story now?

Because a good story needs a beginning and an end; and because it looks like my running story has reached its final chapter.

"No!"  I hear you say.  "No, Rabid, No!  It's not over, don't give up, never quit!  Go! Fight! Win!"

Two years ago, I tore the left Achilles.  That, I suppose, was the beginning of the final chapter.  I nursed that for a year and limped my way back, but not without acquiring a few calf strains along the way.  (For the record, a few is more than two.)

A year ago, I was able to rehab considerably, and I ran the Utah Valley Marathon.  My sister came to watch.  That was the best part.  The second best part was that I took second in female 40-44.  The third best part was that I qualified for Boston.

Training went well last summer, until – dun, dun, dun – the end of August.  I'll spare the monotonous details and provide you with the jump-off-the-cliff-notes-version.

Injury-fest 2013-2014:  left hamstring tear in August, during the TOU half and had to walk in, that healed quickly, got back at it, left calf tear two weeks before St George (would have been #10,) one month off, two months on – increased mileage slowly, decide I'm in for Boston, buy tickets, tear butt cheek so bad I can't walk, nurse by taking one month off, then another month back on, more quickly this time, because, like, I want to go to Boston so bad it hurts, tear right calf again, cry furiously, cancel Boston, realize I've lost all of my friends because we only see each other when we run, take another month off, walked like a banshee and was bored to tears by it, then finally, another month on – increasing mileage slowly.

Things were up!  I'm running three days a week, slowly this time, and I was feeling pretty good.  Butt cheek still nags, but calves seem strong.  Monday, last, was the deadline to register for St. George.  I woke up with a tight and sore left calf, tight as a whatever-vulgar-coloquialism-you-wanna-insert-here.  I know this pattern.  I've been here for two years.  Me 'n the pattern are now very intimate. I have had five major injures in the last nine months.  Clearly, I'm falling apart.

In the last two years I have a registered and received a DNS (Did Not even freacking Start) on: Utah Valley Marathon, 2012; New York City Marathon, 2012 (there was a hurricane that year, but I was too injured to run anyway); St. George Marathon, 2013; Marine Corps Marathon, 2013; Boston, 2014; and now it's looking like the American Fork Half Marathon, 2014.

I've spent mega doses of moolah on massage, gadgets, supplements, physical therapy, and doctors. Evidently, the recurring calf strain is a common theme among runners and tennis players in their late 30s, early 40s, but no one has an answer.  Anyone in PT grad school?  Please use the recurring calf strain among athletes as your project! Somebody help us find out the why-the, how-the, and prevent-the!

Monday morning, last,  I was going to see how I feel and run.  If the run went well, I'd register for St. George.  Well.  I didn't register for St. George; this was not a good day.  I have nine St. Georges.  I want ten.  Now I know how Beethoven felt when he was pushing for ten symphonies and never made it.  Except for I am not dying and Beethoven was, so maybe I don't know how Beethoven felt.

No, I'm not dying.  Everything will be fine.  The world is moving around and carrying on.  The jobs for Spouse and me are good, the Yahoos are great.  Our lives could not be better.  Truthfully, though?   I am miserable.  I cannot go five minutes without my heart and my soul, yearning, aching, pining for, a run.  I would give every last dime I have, and everything I make for the next few years, just for the guarantee of five more years.

I suppose the worst part of it all is that I must go on.  I must pretend everything is fine.  When people ask how I'm doing I say, "Great!" because, like, what am I supposed to say, "Life sucks because I cannot run, I cry my weight in tears every three days, and it's all because I'm super healthy and my kids are healthy, and life is great, but it all sucks because I can't run?"  


What I really want, is for my family and friends to send condolences and listen to me cry and complain, and offer words of encouragement, and to don dorky pom-pons and cheer me on during this game called life.  I want them to look at me with empathy and understanding.  And maybe even to tell me that I'm fine the way I am and don't need it.

Being as the world is busy with real problems, my mid-life and final running chapter must be dealt with here.  I suppose I'll take notes so that when it happens again to someone else, I'll be there.  If you're there, or have been there, I salute you and ask that you salute back.  Leave a comment or call me.  I feel your pain!  I get it!

It's time I look at things squarely (because I try to do that.)   So without further ado, here we go with the final paragraphs of the final chapter.

Dearest self:

Running as you know it is officially over.  It's time to take the "runner" away and be just Rabid.

Hello, Rabid!

In the mean time, there can always be a sequel, right?  I parked  Ramblers can do anything... bike, swim, read a book, hike, play piano, cook, donate, love the Spouse 'n Yahoos and friends – maybe even... nothing.