Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Detriment of Youth

a whole life ahead of her
I kissed my husband good bye early yesterday morning, before the roosters crowed and the coffee was ready, before the sun peeked over the barn and told him to stay warm. He told me the same thing, and to have a good run, that he knew I could do it. There were ten miles on the docket despite the sub-freezing temps and he knew I was nervous. Good thing I went with friends.

I don't know how he knew I could do it having never run that distance before.  He's under the impression I could run a marathon tomorrow and he's wrong but I soak up his assuredness, his easy confidence about my running that I lack. He doesn't seem to remember my failures, my aches and pains, the stress fractures, the hip problem that has plagued me for years and the ankle issues like I do. I feel like my body is a ticking time bomb of injury-waiting-to-happen. I remember how slow I felt when I was younger, how I got side stitches, tired easily and was frequently discouraged. He doesn't recall how I flitted from one thing to the next, never really dedicated myself for any length of time to one thing, always getting sidetracked and making excuses. Why now at 42 are things better? Don't we get more decrepit as we get older?

Assuming the reason had something to do with my brain more than my body, I went in search of the answer. Let's keep in mind I am not fast, and have yet to run a race, I'm just saying running is more enjoyable and easier for me now than it ever has been and I wanted to know why. I found an article on BlogHer entitled "Late Bloomer Jocks-Older Women Runners Train Hard and Run Fast". Hmmm. In it the author cites a researcher who among other things asserts "older women may be faster because, oddly enough, they are trying harder than younger women and discovering for the first time what they are capable of" and that "the experience for women as 'a kind of wakening, an epiphany'". Okay, maybe that's part of it. But I think it has more to do with what I tell myself inside. I think it has everything to do with where I am in life, yes, with maturity.

I believe our pursuits, or whatever we dedicate ourselves to as we age, whether it be running or painting or piano, writing, etc., has in part to do with the following:

giving ourselves permission
not feeling guilty, selfish or self-centered for self-discovery
grabbing fun by the hand and running with it (no pun intended)
study, concentration, research
a positive attitude (I can do it!)
belief in something bigger than ourselves (get outside your head, girl!)

It's also important to note, that my twenties were full of self-sabotage.  They were Jekyl and Hyde years, while I was on the one side studying my tail off then starting a career, they were also full of partying and eating poorly. It's hard as hell to run well with a hangover and a belly full of takeout. My thirties were spent pregnant, nursing, recovering from being pregnant, and glued to three little ones so there's all of that to consider too. I suppose now it's time I do something for myself.

But more than that is the transformation of my mind.  I've drifted away from the naysayers in my life, the negative forces that consistently, repeatedly dragged me down and reminded me I was worthless and unimportant. Wrong. Invisible. At the moment I broke free and stuck up for myself if you will, things changed. I taught myself to knit. I started my own business. An Etsy shop. A blog. I dabbled in photography. Family life changed for the better. Things have incrementally improved since that day (after they first got exponentially worse).

Now the road accepts all of my days. The wind listens to my happy thoughts and dries my tears, and God is with me on the run. 

I finished those ten miles yesterday, full of brain fog and good fatigue and parked myself in front of the woodstove after.  I watched two movies and five kids.  I am fine, just like my husband said I'd be.  It was cold as hell on those back country roads and I thought I'd barf the pancakes I had for breakfast, they were a poor pre-run choice.  Note to self.  I ran with my friends, my crew, Clair, Larry and my 20 year PT bestie, Mimi.  Without them it wouldn't have been the same, I might even have given up.  It's the support from those who love you that make anything possible. I wish I knew that in my twenties.  I'm glad I know it now.


LProffitt said...

So proud of you,Amy!!! I've always thought of you as an amazing person. What you have gone through has made you who you are today. You're such a great role model for your children. Keep up the good work!!

LProffitt said...

Previous comment was from Megan not Larry!!