pain

“I am woman! I am invincible! I am pooped!”


“I am woman!  I am invincible!  I am pooped!”

  ~Author Unknown

The amazing view on my run today.

Today I continued my quest toward running a full marathon!  I figured it would be a good day for a long run because I have not run much this week and will be working the next two days without a lot of other opportunity to get mileage in.  Earlier this week I had attempted a light, fast paced run; but my body was not cooperating, and I ended up at the gym instead.  I was a little disappointed, but got some solace in the fact that I survived 15-whole-minutes on the stair climber- which I hate more even more than push ups (and that is saying a lot!).

None-the-less, I wanted to make up for my less than par workout and gain some ground.  I got up early and straightened up the house a little before setting out.  It was still cool and looked like it was shaping up to be a beautiful day.  I headed over to the Bridle Trail, a relatively flat, gravel path not far from my house.  I had not been there in several months, and thought it would be a nice change in scenery.  The trail runs through the woods, so it stays well shaded and keeps the temperature significantly cooler than running on the road.  I was actually a little chilly when I started, but quickly warmed up as I settled into my pace.  I chose my beat up asics over my vibrams because I don’t like running over gravel (or pavement) in toe shoes.

Not long into my run, I was greeted by another runner with a happily meandering chocolate lab in toe.  His companion lagged behind him enough to keep me company for a while before he wandered off again with his owner.  I made a mental note to start bringing my lab, Penny, out on more of my short runs.  (I used to run with her regularly; however, now that she is getting older, her endurance is not what it used to be. )

I had set the timer on my phone (which I use as an ipod) to alarm after an hour and forty-five minutes figuring I would just turn around and run back.  I hoped to be able to cover at least 15 miles in that amount of time.  For most of the way out I felt terrific.  I soaked in the beautiful views and wondered why anyone would run on the road when they could have a much more peaceful and splendid backdrop.  I was so absorbed in my surroundings that it felt like no effort at all, and I started to think that running a marathon would not be that difficult.  I frequently joke to Adam that “running on a flat surface is easy. I could run forever it’s flat.”

I was just beginning to believe my jest was true when I brushed my hand across my leg and realized I couldn’t feel it.  In fact, I could not feel anything from the small of my back down.  I wondered if this was what an epidural felt like.  Like any other endurance athlete (and I use that term loosely), I figured that if I ignored it long enough, it would just go away.  Besides, I wasn’t having any pain.  I tuned it out and kept going, but it didn’t go away.  Instead, it got worse.  Then my back and legs started to hurt.  I looked at the time.  I had only been running an hour!  This was disheartening.  I wondered if my asics were a bad choice.  Yet, I kept running because it was not just about the mileage- it was about training my body to keep going when it didn’t want to.  I knew I would have to get used to this feeling if I was going to get through over 26 miles.

By the time I was ready to turn around and head back, it was becoming increasingly more difficult to move my legs.  I was afraid to stop and walk, convinced that I would not be able to get my body to run again.  I began to doubt my ability to complete this task, and kicked myself for adding an additional 15 minutes each way.  At times, I was distracted by butterflies and bright yellow birds who seemed to follow me along with curiosity.  There were also a wide variety of wild flowers in white, purple, and yellows abutting the tree line.  I tried to concentrate on the scenery: a lovely pond, tall fields, small cottages.  However, my legs were aching and numb.  I didn’t think it was right that they could be both at the same time.  I kept plodding and hoping the time would go by quickly.

When I finally reached a stretch of the trail I remembered from early in my run I was elated- only to be crushed again by the long stretch before the next familiar site.  I thought it was funny how quickly I went from feeling like I could run forever to feeling like I had been running forever.  I dreaded the idea of doing this for over 5 hours and began to question why I ever thought it would be a good idea.  Maybe I was capable of running 10 or 15 K thanks to my vibrams, but this was starting to seem insane.

Then, before I knew it, I was back at the 2 mile mark.  I remembered how I used to struggle to run from my car to this spot and back when I was first breaking in my toe shoes.  Now it seemed like such a small distance!  Over and over in my head I chanted “TWO MORE MILES, JUST TWO MORE MILES!!!!”  I kept pushing; my body kept trying to quit.  I wanted to finish running, not walking.  I continued to drag myself until the sites became more familiar; and, finally,  I knew I was almost there.  I dragged myself all the way back to the car, and a funny thing happened.  I didn’t die.  I didn’t fall over.  I didn’t even throw up!  Instead I drove myself home and tried to stretch- until my lap was filled with a very happy lab and bulldog.

it got a little muddy

another view from the trail

I Cried

 

I cried

At the thought of all the women

Who know what I’ve been through

And those who continue to live it.

I cried

At the notion that so many men

Could commit such heinous acts

Toward women they were supposed to love

And promised to protect.

I cried

At the idea of women

Being stripped of their identities

And made to feel worthless

Beaten, bruised, and worse…

I wept

Because their pain is mine.

I know the ache in the depths of their souls.

The Revolt

A day finally came

When something changed in me,

My cup was overflowing

And there was no going back.

I could not sit silent any longer

While great injuries were hurled upon me.

So I stood up,

And refused to be knocked down.

The response was swift and violent,

But I was free-

Free to do as I pleased,

Free from guilt and ridicule,

Free to pursue my dreams,

Free to love myself.

Dear Officer

“When two people marry they become in the eyes of the law one person, and that one person is the husband.” 

~Shana Alexander, State-by-State Guide to Women’s Legal Rights, 1975

 

Dear Officer,

Thank you for your compassion and understanding.

Thank you for letting me know my place.

Thank you for explaining to me that being hurled into furniture is only a misdemeanor

And not worthy of a permanent record.

Thank you for clarifying that fear of death is not the same as a real threat

And not a valid reason for a restraining order.

Thank you for pointing out “it’s not like he hit you”.

Thank you for focusing on how few my outward bruises were

While completely ignoring the gaping wounds inside.

Thank you for reminding me that a five year relationship

Is not something you just throw down the drain.

Thank you for your ridicule

And your attempt to publicly humiliate me.

Thank you for having a laugh with your coworkers

At my expense.

Thank you for letting me know that I was wrong to wait a day

And that I should have called during the beating to save you time and paperwork.

Thank you for making it clear that public servants are only available to serve men

And that the law provides no protection for women

Thank you for leaving me to retrieve my belongs without an escort

Because you were to busy to get up from your break.

Thank you for not only judging me for my own mistakes,

But for the mistakes of every woman who came before me.

Thank you for making me feel victimized all over again.

Thank you for being part of the problem.