18 Mile Long Run Mantra

I sit here now freshly shaved and showered with my calves encased in bright pink compression sleeves. Like a girl less than half my age, I’ve just used a sharpie to write on my right arm and my left foot. A poorly scribbled bird with the words “faith, hope, pride” occupy the slim inside of my wrist while only a single word is scrawled on my foot: everyday.

I can most closely compare my emotions of late to a deflated, over-used bouncy ball. It can no longer reach the highs it once did and finds itself more quickly plunging to the ground. I wrote a post yesterday going into great detail about some of the reasons I feel this way, but in the interest of internet attention spans and keeping on topic (maybe someday I’ll be an editor — even if it’s a night school writing class) I will give you the following summary:

  • Working two jobs is emotionally taxing. Not only do I have less free time (I’m an introvert remember) but the reasons behind the need for the second job add their own level of stress: money.
  • Marathon training. I feel like I’m not doing enough. Between feeling terrible and achilles pain (which caused me to back off training) I’ve been worried that I’m not doing enough to prepare my body (and mind) for 26.2 miles of work.
  • Health issues. I haven’t been feeling well. I mentioned mental health, but physically, I’ve been feeling off. Why?
  • My lady bits are out of whack. I’ve had issues in this department for a long time, but this year they’ve been worse. I’ve missed work and it’s impacted my life. My last pap was abnormal and showed atypical glandular cells. This is apparently a pretty rare result and warrants a colposocpy from an OB/GYN (which is not rare). I had that on Tuesday. It also warrants an endometrial biopsy. I was prepared for the colposcopy and the possible cervical biopsy (which they did because there were spots seen), but the endometrial biopsy was a surprise. No need to imagine any of it, it’s not pleasant. What I did not expect was the intense emotion I would feel after the appointment. I’ve spontaneously cried in the ladies room at work, I’ve yelled, enraged, at other drivers and I’ve contemplated every bad thing this could mean.  THANK YOU, INTERNET.  The thing is, if they say “nothing is wrong” why have a felt so terrible month after month? Anyhow, name an emotion (other than the joyous ones) and I’ve likely felt it this week.  And if I even so much as think about “I wish my mom was here to talk to” I start to cry.

Okay, so there is my summary. But that’s not even the real topic of the post. That’s your back story.

Tomorrow, my long run is 18 miles of which 6.2 will be run as part of the Plaza 10k. I’ve been very anxious about this. However, tonight at the ripe hour of 7pm as I was working on my pre-bed night before a long run ritual – expanded race edition — I started singing and dancing. I felt…relief? What I was singing was Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” While not the most mellifluous, my voice gradually opened and soared — like birds (if birds sound like chipmunky frogs.) I kept repeating “don’t worry, about a thing…every little thing is gonna be alright.” Singing is believing.

I shook my booty — unafraid (okay a tiny bit afraid) of pulling a muscle or using too much stored glycogen the night before a big run! But I realized, there isn’t anything else I can do. I can’t make biopsy results appear any faster or change their result, I can’t get out of the run, I can’t change the weather or my body or anything really. But I can control my thoughts and my attitude. I can sing about those three little birds and hope my neighbor doesn’t think I’m drowning in my bathtub.

When I finally got in bed to carry out the official “wind down” I thought, “why not give myself any inky reminder of that kitchen karaoke performance?” Why not draw on myself like a twelve year old. I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo on my wrist ever since my mom died last year, so why not test it out? A bird tattoo and/or a meaningful word or phrase is exactly what I had been considering. But I haven’t been able to decide between several words: faith, hope, pride. In the last voicemail my mom left me she said “I’m proud of you every.day. of my life.” It’s stuck with me. I hear her voice without even having to listen to the recording. It’s carried me at times the way knowing she was always there carried me.

Three little birds: faith, hope, pride — everyday, I’m alive.