Saturday, October 16, 2010

Support

A month ago I almost cancelled plans for Chicago. It was going to be my race of the year, my focus race. The one where I would attempt a qualifying time for the Olympic Marathon Trials. Instead, I sat here looking forward to a jog on the trails. I would be grateful for five minutes of feeling what I love: the wind, my breath, and my feet jumping off the ground. But, I will continue to wait, maybe one week, maybe another month or more. Everyone has a different opinion, but the consensus is somewhere around 12 weeks. I just made it 8.

I did go to Chicago a couples weekends ago to support Sam and spend time with our families. The plane ride made me teary eyed, being amongst 45,000 runners at the start ate me up, and then, I just accepted where I was at, on the corner of Jackson and Michigan Avenue. I made my way to mile two and camped out with tons of other supporters until runners arrived. It was loud and chaotic. I shouted for Sam, but my cheers got lost in the noise of cowbells and fellow screams. Then, I was off to mile 13 where I stood awed by all these people. People showing support, excitement, and encouragement. It was a part of a race that I have rarely witnessed. As I stood there overwhelmed my this sense of love, my phone rang. It was my parents informing me that Sam had pulled out at mile 11. I booked it two miles down the road to meet them. He sat on the curb and I walked over and hugged him. I wasn't in his shoes, but I could relate to that feeling of things not going as planned. Seeing a vision and then getting struck by unexpected reality. We've all been there in running and in life. Sometimes we know why it happens and often, we have no idea what went wrong. Not being able to run has made me discover a great deal about loss. There are many emotions involved. At first there was the pure anger, then denial (Who says you can't run 20 minutes on a stress fracture? I did. A couple times. Of course this is when I so badly just wanted it to be a little tendinitis.), several bouts of sadness, and then you just come to a point of acceptance.

I am incredibly grateful. Grateful that I didn't fuck up things worse and that I can still move my body in some form. That I have a wonderful family and friends that will love me whether I run 100 mile weeks or just sit and cry about not being able to run five minutes. They will support me through all my ups and downs. And also realizing that I love supporting people through their ups and downs. Seeing people go through the process of childbirth, having pilates clients recovering from chemo, calming teenagers who have no home and no family, giving prisoners resources to feel competent in a world that says they're not... just giving a friend a hug when they're having a shitty day. This is life, this is important. And this is what I miss about the running community. I miss that support. I miss the camaraderie. The long runs where you can discuss life, all its positive and negatives. Sure I miss the actual act of running, but there is more to it than flying down single track trails. It is my support. It is my hug when I am having a shitty day.

Patiently waiting to have a healed body,
Caitlin

8 comments:

Nicola Gildersleeve said...

One thing I learned when I was injured is that- there is more to life other than running. Yes, I love to run and I have met some amazing people through my running adventures.

But, if I can't run, there are other activities I can do that give me a similar feeling- like climbing. I have made new friends and have been to new places. All the things I loved about running (community, scenery, body movement) I find I can get from climbing.

I have had opportunities to just relax, smell the flowers, sleep in on a weekend and go out for breakfast with my boyfriend- things I never did while training for ultra's.

I am not saying I don't love running because I do- but, taking some time off after ws100, really showed me some of the things I have been missing and although I will no doubt train for another 100 next year, I have really enjoyed spending less time thinking about races, needing to train 15+ hrs a week, and discovering other activities I may not have had the time for before.

Enjoy the down time while you have it because I know you will be eager to get out there once you are heeled! I look forward to it...

Anonymous said...

Well felt and written; thanks.

I haven't yet seen the word "bike" mentioned. I agree, nothing can compare with the primal nature of running, but, but ...

AV said...

Caitlin: Awesome post as usual. Your injury chronicles describe every runner's feelings. The denial followed by the acceptance that even 1 minute of running hurts. That nagging feeling that I will never run again is scary.

oakley said...

This is a very awesome post.. I love your thoughts.

Scott Dunlap said...

I bet you end up running faster than ever with this newfound appreciation!

Sorry to hear about Sam, and bummed we will miss him at Lithia Loop this year.

Ditto on the bike comment.. ;-)

ShutUpandRun said...

Such a beautiful and insightful post. I too am sidelined with a hip stress fracture as of 10/7. Been water running everyday and hoping to run again on Jan. 1 if the MRI is clear. It has been an incredible challenge and I know you understand. I have learned quite a bit along the way even if I've hated not being able to run.

Lady C said...

Just randomly stumbled onto here. Damn, that is rough. I empathize and wish you all the best, truly.

Stay strong.

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...
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