It sounded like a good idea in theory. There’s a nice convenient loop behind our house, with enough flat road and enough hill to be both easy and challenging; the weather’s nice and cool; and it’s a convenient, productive pastime for your Sunday afternoon.
Oh, but in practice it was awful. My lungs felt frozen, my nose was snotting and I couldn’t decently spit out the saliva that was trying to escape out my mouth. I was a mess; I cried and cursed myself for being so weak while my other half bounded along like a gazelle, clapping and shouting encouragement.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I kept saying. It’s a nervous tick I have when I feel like I’m putting someone out. He was being so helpful and I was so weak and I couldn’t stop crying and whenever I thought about it I started crying again. Running is not the most flattering thing I could do.
“Don’t tell me sorry,” he said. “The only person you should say sorry to is yourself. You can do it, and you’re overthinking it. Stop telling yourself you can’t do it.”
At the time, in my emotionally and physically wounded state, these words felt harsh. But it wasn’t long before I realized it was good advice. I completed the second lap without a mid-life crisis, and then I collapsed on the bedroom floor.
It took me a hot shower and a few hours to recover. After that we made amends. We lit Advent candles and read some Bible. It was a grand old time.
When I was younger my family cared for my grandmother, who was too sick to live on her own. She lived with debilitating pain and health issues. Her later years were marked by visiting nurses, bottles of medication, and hospital visits. It hurt to see someone who’d once been so resilient, creative, and caring go through that. I loved her, but there was one thing that always frustrated me, even as a child, about her situation:
I was frustrated because she accepted it. She accepted the medical route that wasn’t helping her. She didn’t change her behavior, her diet, or her social habits. I’m sure she was just tired, exhausted with the cycle of medicines and doctor appointments, but I think it was more than that. She was passive.
Even to me, this sounds like a harsh judgement, but I mean it as more of an observation. And it’s one I feel entitled to make because I posses that same passivity. I got the gene. I don’t like some parts of myself, but I refuse to change them because it’s painful. But I end up creating much more pain for myself and those around me by doing nothing.
So, this week my pride hurts. So do my muscles and my vertebrae. I walk around like Bambi because I’m pretty sure the tendons in my knees gave up.
But it’s okay to hurt at times, especially when it means you’ve pushed and humbled yourself. I do it and need to do it daily, in writing, in social situations, in fitness, in spiritual growth, the list goes on.
So in the end, my husband took me for a run, and I guess it was a pretty good idea.