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.



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  1. I completely agree. If I wasn’t infertile then I wouldn’t have had my 2 girls. If I hadn’t had my first miscarriage then I wouldn’t have had my Lucy. I currently struggle with jealousy as my friends have their 3rd kids, especially after I lost my first and only spontaneous pregnancy last year at 14 weeks. I wanted a bigger family but my life is what is and I try to fill my girls with as much love as I can give them. All these struggles and loss bring us to where we are today which may not be what we planned or what we wanted but it’s not necessarily bad, in fact, it’s mostly great.

  2. What a wonderful gesture that your friends offered to do that for you. I’m glad you can make a decision about whether or not to pursue that knowing you have some close to you on your side.

    As for IF being a gift, well I commend you for feeling that way. I know how hard it must be. I hope that you can recapture that sentiment later, when it fades away. I know how cyclical these things can be.

    I also know that stepping back from a struggle can be when we finally see it for what it really is. And that moment can be very powerful indeed. I feel like you’ve been having so many powerful moments lately. I hope they continue.

  3. As a long time reader, what strikes me most, is the gift of introspection you continue to give yourself. Your hard work is paying off as you uncover these truths and I hope they lead you to the happy life you deserve (at work, at home, in your body).

  4. I admire your ability to look at your infertility as a gift. I’m certainly not there yet… many gifts have come from our fertility issues, but I can’t quite make that leap to viewing it as a gift in and of itself just yet.

    The decision to stop trying is the hardest one in the world. For us, I think if we were younger, or had lots and lots of money, we wouldn’t have stopped when we did. But the fates conspired, and there was no doubt in either of our minds that it was time to quit. It was a combination of circumstance and my inability to risk suffering another loss that lead us to stop when we did. The key for me was to get to a point where there would be no regrets, and I firmly believe that we got there with my last loss. Huge hugs to you… I know how tough it is to be wrestling with that question. You’ll just know when the time is right.

    Awesome job with the running! It seems to be the best medicine for your body and your mind… keep up the good work!!! 🙂

  5. You are such an amazing person, I hope you truly know that… I can feel the difference as I read your words and it makes me smile… That was so awesome of your friend to offer to be your surrogate, as you know we had to go that route and it wasn’t nearly as costly as I thought it would be (our surro is a family member).. You know you can reach out to me IF you ever want to talk logistics of that whole thing, it’s awesome that it’s an option for you either way! Keep on running and healing… xoxo!

  6. Running really can be so healing. My dad ran his first marathon at age 50 after getting laid off from a really great, well-paying job. The feeling of his feet on the pavement was cathartic for him and it was really cool to see him do better and better and better, gaining confidence and purpose and joy as he ran. Six years later, he’s run about fifteen marathons. His fastest time was 3 hours, 11 minutes. He’s also done really well in the fast races, like placing 20th out of 6,000 in a 5K last year. He ran Boston a couple years ago and we all got to go watch him do it. Such an amazing experience…and from what he’s said, it was really, really worth all the work it took to get there. I don’t say all of this just to brag about my dad, but rather to tell you that as a non-running outsider, I can still totally see how this has become your lifeblood in some ways, how running has become a passion that has healed other stuff in your life. I am so glad you found it. And I wish you the best in all of your pursuits – athletic and otherwise.

  7. I have been away so am just getting caught up now. I like what the previous poster said about your introspection. I’ve been reading for a long time, and I have always admired how you are able and willing to process things, even the hardest things.

    I think you are coming into a really good place. I know this last year has just sucked on so many levels, but your headspace sounds a lot clearer and more settled.

    I am so impressed with your running. Seriously seriously impressed and cannot wait to see if you make a Boston qualifying time.


  8. I’ve been a reader for years on and off (mostly on). Hope you didn’t run in the marathon today, watching the news. Thinking of your city

  9. Just read some posts and see you weren’t, happy you’re safe. Sending thoughts to the rest. As someone who lives in NYC and was in the city on 9/11…I just have the chills right now. How horrible 😦

  10. I came here to check that too, hope you are all OK

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