It's been a journey, this time training for an ultra marathon. To recap, we started out methodical and strong, but quickly frustrated. Virginie struggled with trying to find her place in our running relationship. This went on for months, and before long, became all we could see in front of us. Running became a chore. It became a frustration, and it became demotivating. We stopped talking, stuck behind the paradigm that we were ultra marathon runners, and without the label, we were in and of ourselves, of no worth.
It's okay, self worth has never been my strong suit, and I can imagine all these people responding to my post, ensuring me that I'm an inspiration and to not listen to negative self talk. I can imagine me wondering how to reply to them, not knowing what to say. Consumed by the self imposed requirement to respond with perfect eloquence.
Perhaps there are those who can relate to my struggles. Those who know what it was like to be bullied while young. To feel helpless and alone. To learn to not trust anyone, and to isolate myself from people, because in the end, they would only use me to advance themselves socially, and that requires them to demean, insult and ostracize.
Then running came along.
It gave me an identity, it saved me from the chronic depression that runs in my family. I was able to get off medication, and felt I had something to offer people socially.
But I wasn't social still.
I could see that the changes were only skin deep. My running served as a means to prove to the world that I am not broken. That I have worth. I began running hundreds of kilometers per month. Literally thousands per year. There were people who told me that it was unhealthy, but I was too vulnerable to listen. I felt that their solution was to deprive me of the one thing that was providing me hope and healing. I felt they wanted to take away my running.
This past weekend something wonderful happened as I watched my one and only best childhood friend push beyond his own limits to conquer a difficult 100 mile course. His efforts, and enthusiasm for the sport have been an inspiration for me. I think my kids get annoyed hearing me talk about him. Seriously though, I had one friend until grade 9. That was him. Our friendship was something that held me together as a child.
The last couple of weeks, I have decided that I really do love to run. I love the sport, and I love the people. I started running intervals with the Fast Trax run and ski shop the last couple of weeks. The friendship, comarderie, and enthusiasm brings to my mind one word in particular.
... Healing ...
Nobody will ever know this, and sometimes I hope nobody does, because I don't want to be treated differently, because I have been so insecure in the past, but honestly, all you folks from the shop are restoring my faith in friendship. Something I have denied myself all my life.
This weekend looks like it will be very hot for the Sinister 7. Perhaps 30 degrees. If that is the case, it will be a very difficult run. But, with that said, I still plan on going out there. It's truly different this time. I'm not going out to impress anyone. I'm going out to take part in an event because I'm not only passionate about the sport, I'm passionate about the people.
Runners: thank you for all you do for me. Seriously. This means anyone who has got off the couch, tied up their shoes and put one foot in front of the other, repeating the process for whatever length of time until you arrive at your destination. I don't esteem myself above any of you. You are all an inspiration to me. This includes all those boys out there who would run, but can't because their bodies simply won't allow it.
I love you all.