Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Couch to 5K: Day 62

Well, I didn't run at 1:00 pm.  A parent-teacher conference and an early out day for my kids moved my run time to later this evening.  I didn't hit the road until after dark, but I got out there and did it.  I still don't have a timer, so I used a trick I taught myself in high school.  In my head, I sang the words to a particularly rousing song I used to sing in church choirs as a teen.  It's about 3 minutes long, so it served the purpose of distracting me for just the right amount of time.

"Let the mountains shout for joy! Let the valleys sing, let the valleys sing, and the hills rejoice! Let them all break forth into song! Let them shout and sing and be glad before the Lord!" And later: "For the wilderness has blossomed, blossomed like a rose.  And the barren desert is a fruitful field. Joy and gladness now are found therein. Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. Thanksgiving and the voice of melody."

It's catchy, no?

There were moments when I wondered if I had really resorted to the song again.  Did I really want to sing about joyful shouts while running?  I did not feel joyful.  I had no desire to break forth into songs of any kind.  Well...maybe, "Nobody knows the troubled I've seen..."

This was a tough run for me.  During my training call yesterday with Michelle from Phazes Fitness, I mentioned that my knees were feeling a bit sore.  I thought it might be related to the fact that I hadn't run in a week.  As the day progressed, they felt worse and worse, as did my shoulders, elbows, and ankles.  By bedtime, I was hurting all over, my muscles refusing to relax, my joints screaming in pain.  A strong pain pill leftover from last year's knee surgery got me through the night.

Today, the pain in most of my body has lessened considerably, but the soreness in my knees persists.  I hope to be back to 100% by tomorrow.

Seems dramatic...Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disorder that killed my thyroid in 2005, is my nemesis.  Medication usually keeps things running smoothly, but every now and then, I suddenly feel like I'm back in 2005, struggling to get through each day.  Those days were sometimes excruciating and anxiety ridden.  I felt my body grow weaker and my muscles become more and more unpredictable.  Sometimes, they'd seize up and spasm.  Other times, they'd go numb.  When I couldn't walk from my car to the front door without severe hip and leg pain, I finally dragged myself to the doctor.  Blood tests revealed the worst case of hypothyroidism she'd ever seen.  I sang hallelujah that it wasn't in my head, and happily agreed to a lifetime of thyroid pills in order to feel better. 

When symptoms return, stress and water retention are usually the culprits.  I've not been able to manage my fluid levels, with or without Synthroid, since all of this started.  Michelle mentioned that some people worry about the way their weight fluctuates by a pound a day.  Mine can fluctuate between 5 and 10.  (Interesting side note: One of the reasons I enjoyed drinking Coke was the way its diuretic effects helped regulate my fluid levels.)

So there's my sob story...or my pain story.  I ran anyway.  I didn't make it through the whole run, because my legs started to feel numb after my third run cycle.  My left knee locked up shortly after that.  I started to wonder if this isn't a really dumb idea...to run in spite of this.

And then it hit me.  I run in spite of a lot of things.  I live my life in spite of even more.

What's Hashimoto's disease except one more obstacle in my path?  So, you're an obstacle. Big deal.  I have lots of those.  Hashimoto's, meet my schedule.  Let me introduce you to my rebuilt ACL.  Have you met my fears?  If they haven't stopped me, what makes you think you will?

Running is so much a reflection of my life.  I do so many things that sensible people would never attempt.  I take on challenges that make the average person say, "I can't."  I do this because if I don't, if I live in my can'ts, I'll lose something of who I am...that part of me that's special, the part of me that's destined for greatness.

And then I think of you.  Yes, you.  You're sitting there, hedged in by your can'ts, afraid to step toward those obstacles and do the things you've always wanted to do, and why?  Because sensible people wouldn't do that?  Because you might fail?  Because you think you don't deserve it?

It's all a lie.  I'm no more destined for greatness than any of you.  I'm no more special than anyone.  I just choose not to live in can't.  Sometimes, that means facing things that are hard, but I'm always better for that.  Always.

The words of the song come back to my mind.  "For the wilderness has blossomed, blossomed like a rose. And the barren desert is a fruitful field.  Joy and gladness now are found therein. Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. Thanksgiving and the voice of melody."

When you throw away the lie of "I can't" and start doing things sensible people wouldn't do, you blossom like a rose.  There was not joy and gladness in my heart while I was running tonight, but there is joy and gladness in it now, as I consider the ways in which I've been blessed by this crazy, unconquerable spirit I choose to carry with me every day.


These are the feet of a woman who was deathly afraid of heights for most of her life.  I'm not afraid of heights anymore, because I faced that obstacle and climbed that rock anyway.


This is the face of a woman who had never hiked more than 8 miles, but who took on 19 grueling miles of Half Dome in one day and came back confident, aware, and inspired.


This is a woman who thought she would never be able to love freely again.

If you're living in can'ts, please, consider my life. There's so much I shouldn't be able to accomplish. There are so many people who are willing to tell me what I can't do. There are so many reasons for me to believe them. I do it anyway, and my life is rich and deep and happy because of it.

Whatever it is you think you can't do, know that you can. You absolutely can. If I can climb rocks and run and love and write and believe, you can do what it is you've always wanted to.

Stop holding yourself back. Stop letting others hold you back. Look those obstacles and fears in the face and say, "Big deal." Let them become your mountains to climb and then climb them.

And then let your mountains shout for joy.


Anna said...

This is a truly awesome post. Thanks for sharing. I don't know of any can'ts I'm letting get in my way right off the top of my head. But I'm going to try facing them more. Good challenge.