Originally posted on March 19, 2015 on Salty Running.
On December 10, 2014, my motivation disappeared and I decided to stop running. That was exactly one month and one day after I ran a one hour marathon PR, that’s right one whole hour in the Soldiers marathon. No, I wasn’t tired of running, I wasn’t mentally exhausted, or any of the normal reasons people stop running. I just did not see the point anymore. I know, I know. I am the one who eats miles for breakfast and seemingly runs every day. And yes, I now failed to see the point anymore.
I did not see the point anymore because I noticed that all around me people were dying, young, healthy, and vibrant people. These were the ones who were eating right, exercising regularly, and who were genuinely good people. People like my training partner and best friend, Yvonne were dying while some lazy people sitting on their couches constantly eating and drinking highly salted, highly fatted, and highly otherwise unhealthy things were thriving. Okay, I’m sure I’m way over-simplifying things, but you get my drift.
So, running just didn’t make sense to me. It wasn’t necessarily going to stop me from dying. So what was the point? Why should I continue to run at 4am when chances are I could not run another day in my life and just be fine? I wallowed around in this feeling of futility until I read something on my Facebook feed. It was from a woman in the group Running in the Pink which is a group for runners (and other athletes) who have or have had breast cancer.
She said that she was getting ready to run a half marathon and she was at 40% lung capacity, her skin was itching from the chemo, and a list of other things. She wasn’t complaining. She was asking for advice, support, and prayers. And she got a lot of all that. Many replied from their own experiences with her same issues, others offered medical and homeopathic solutions. Others of us, myself included could only offer high fives and prayers because hers is a journey that I have watched only from the sidelines. But she reminded me of someone who I have problems thinking of in the past tense.
Meeting friends to share miles for breakfast at 4:00 a.m. is living.
That is when it hit me. She was fighting for her life. Not only with the medical stuff, but with the spirit of a warrior and the the spirits of the other warriors who closed ranks around her. She was living and making no excuses for it. She was not begrudging the lazy couch potatoes or comparing herself to her former self. Not at all. She was doing the best she could to get through her half marathon which is a feat even in the best of circumstances. It was amazing. It was truly inspiring. It was truly uplifting. It was truly the dose of reality I needed.
So I dried my tears, laced up my shoes, and ran. And I ran. And I ran. I ran for those that I lost, I ran for those who no longer can, I ran for those who hope to run again some day, and I ran for myself. No running isn’t the magical mystical cloak of invisibility that will keep me from dying. It is the thing that will help me keep living.