Gifts.March 29, 2013 at 7:22 am | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away), Career angst, Choosing Happiness., Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy), Infertility | 10 Comments
When I decided to run a marathon back in 2011, I signed up for a running clinic through what is now my running club.
The first workout – 200 meter repeats – I was struck with the strongest feeling.
I was made for this.
Over the years, I’ve wondered about my focus on running, mostly as it relates to me emotional, mental, and physical health.
Charlie put it best, recently, on a day where I was getting antsy because it was late and I still needed to get miles in that day.
Always, the running, he said. Obsessed.
I am NOT obsessed, I replied. I do things other than running. Swimming, for example. Weights. Yoga. Cycling.
… So you can run MORE! he replied, laughing.
We both laughed, knowing that he was exactly, 1000% right.
My silence these past couple of weeks has been a function of processing through layers and layers and layers of emotional baggage.
It’s like I finally decided to go up into the attic to clean it out… and was confronted with a room, packed to the brim with 37 years of hoarded Memories and Denied Emotions. There’s been little space to even navigate. So I’ve just been sorting through, processing, moving things around, letting go.
And with all the work I’m putting into sorting through all the crap I’ve never managed to get through, patterns are emerging.
For example, I’m starting to see that I have very little clarity about what really makes me happy.
Said another way: the person I am now is a function of many, many years of trying to fix my many weaknesses. I’ve found gratification in working around the faults my parents found in me.
I’m an excellent Finder of Lost Things, for example. Because I ALWAYS lose stuff.
I’m also an amazing Project Manager. Because I hate being overwhelmed by everything I have to do and not knowing where to start. I also know that if I think a task will take me, say, 2 hours, I should budget 4-6; even more if it’s something I don’t actually like or want to do.
Because I’m easily distractable, you see, and will end up using that extra time.
Last night was the second week of my spring running clinic.
The combination of weight loss and consistency in weekly mileage for the past few months has turned me into a very different runner than I was last year. And I’m working with a coach who has always told me I was capable of more than I’ve done thus far.
One of the benefits of hiring a coach is that it takes ALL the guesswork out of building a training plan. He’s stayed on top of my weekly mileage in the weeks where my ankle has flared up and I couldn’t run through it. He’s scheduled me for strength training when I mentioned my IT band was becoming bothersome again, way up at my hip.
And a couple of weeks ago, he planned a speed workout for me. And this time, he told me to hit a certain pace for each interval. I hit them, easily.
And when I got home and plugged in the distance and time into the computer, and saw the average pace, I was completely gobsmacked.
I never thought I could actually run that fast.
I WANTED to, of course. But wanting and actually DOING are very different things.
So last night the workout was three miles of intervals. I ran them strong and fast – at the pace I never thought myself capable of.
I don’t know how running does it, but the act of running somehow distills me into my very core. Everything falls away, and I’m left with just my essence, my hrdaya – heart center.
My runs lately have been moving meditations, where all I have to do is listen and something will well up from deep inside me. They’re generally phrased as questions, and they’re said with a voice that is quiet and full of knowledge; so much different than that nonstop chatter voice of my mind.
Last night’s thought? The universe has given me a gift.
A good friend of mine asked me yesterday, just before clinic, if we were definitively done trying for another baby.
She knows about our struggles, and she knows that I was pregnant last fall and lost it.
So I told her the truth: that I was 99% sure we were done, really done, but I was having a hard time closing the door completely. We don’t have any hope left. I can’t even consider walking back into that clinic, doing the shots, the medications, the transfer. And the life I have now is pretty full; I get baby time through my family and friends, and I am starting to wonder if that’s the universe’s plan for my life – if I’m just not meant to have more than one kid. And if I can’t have a house full of kids and chaos, maybe I should focus my energy into finding a career I love and making the life I have NOW better.
She asked me if we had considered a surrogate. We have, I said, but the cost is staggering and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.
Late last night, she texted me and offered to be a surrogate for us if we wanted. I know it’s a huge thing and surrogacy isn’t like a simple fix. But, I know it’s really expensive, and if a uterus is the thing you need, I mean… I don’t know, it just occurred to me.
I don’t know what’s next.
I think we are done with trying for kids, even with my friend’s generous offer to act as a surrogate for us.
I think I might quit my job for a bit so I can allow myself the space to think and feel, in the hopes that my next career might spring up organically.
I think I might keep sorting through the room of emotional baggage in the attic and let go of what doesn’t help me anymore.
I think I’m going to try my best to qualify for the Boston Marathon when I run my marathon in the fall.
I think I am finding out that no matter what is next, the life that I have now – my friends, my family – EVERYTHING that has led me to this point – is a gift.
All I know is that last night, I felt THANKFUL. Thankful for infertility, because without it, I wouldn’t be in this place I am today. Without infertility, I wouldn’t have met my friend D on a TTC board and I wouldn’t have been introduced to the idea of running a half marathon.
Because of infertility, D is one of the most important people in my life. Because of infertility, I found running – and my therapist. And ran a marathon. And found the motivation to lose 35lbs.
I have always tried to find the good in our IF; it’s been really, really hard on days.
But last night, it struck me.
Our IF is a gift, too.