The weekend past, Noel and I completed the Sunset Run. It was completely coincidental that I happened to see the Facebook page about the event and like everyone, I chose the option ” Interested”. A week or so passed and I decided to actually buy tickets. That way I had no excuse to back out, because it would be a waste of money.
The Thursday before the run, Noel’s back went into spasm for no reason, or at least we don’t know why. The Friday night saw us spending two hours in the emergency room, in the hope that a doctor could help him with this pain. He was unable to move his head at all and his shoulders had developed what looked like golf balls.
When I saw this, I immediately turned to my good old friend Google, in an attempt to figure out what was wrong. There are some scary stories on the internet as I’m sure you know and it left me feeling very concerned that there may be something seriously wrong with him. I was scared out of my mind, I kept thinking “my husband, my best friend – I’m not ready to say good bye yet. We still have so many things we want to do, see, be…”. It makes you think doesn’t it – we are so naïve and arrogant in thinking that we will always have time. That we will always have our families. That we will always have our health. But the harsh reality is, we don’t. Things can happen in a split second and your life is changed forever…
The run itself was good, but we definitely underestimated just how unfit we were. Although Noel was in extreme pain, he insisted he still wanted to run with me and that the pain medication would see him through. There were times when I ran out ahead of him, but I always stopped and waited. I felt so guilty even though we had agreed upfront, that it would be okay for me to do so. I was determined to finish the race for my own reasons, and I did.
A few years back, we used to run every day. It was the one thing I looked forward to when I got home from work. My love for running was actually inspired by the movie “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. In the one scene, they are creating an ad for Nike and it’s a woman running alone on a wet road and the caption is “Nike – no games, just sport”. That is really what it feels like for me when I am running. In that moment, I don’t have to worry about what to make for supper, or the board report that is due or the meeting tomorrow that I know could go horribly wrong, its just me and the road. There’s no judgement, there’s no expectation. Because I count while I’m running (strange, but true), I find that between that and the stomping of my feet as I take each step, there isn’t any space in my mind for any other thoughts and so I get to let go. Even if it is just for 30 minutes. Running relaxes me, gives me a little “me time” and its an easy way to keep fit. I really hope I can get to running more often with the warmer weather on its way.
As we approached the finish line and got our medals, I was overcome by gratitude. Grateful for being able to finish the race despite Noel’s back, to be able to witness the most amazing sunset and of course, my medal! I absolutely loved that all the participants had their own agenda – there was no competition, everyone running and walking at their own pace, doing it for whatever reason.
The message was clear for me – run your own race – stay in your own lane. You are not in competition with anyone in this race or in Life….we are all on our own journey and that’s okay. We will all get to the finish line, no matter what roads your journey takes.
“Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy.” – Dean Karnazes