Nothing is stagnant in life, not even grief or hard times. Everything in its own time, and then it changes.
At the beginning of the letting-go process, I had a ton of wild, unfiltered, crazy energy. I ran hard… so hard. And FAST. And LONG. I couldn’t help it. It didn’t even feel like me, really. It felt like I was watching a version of myself move through emotions that were sometimes viscous, sometimes fluid, and always raging. As my heart processed emotions, so did my body. Everything was working in tandem to release toxic heartbreak. I felt like a big piece of cheesecloth; everything ran through me and out the other side.
The next phase was a slowing-down process. I stopped moving so fast, hard, and long. The many weeks of sleep deprivation was catching up to me. I still ran, but more sporadically. It still felt good to move, but many mornings I turned over in bed after a fitful night’s rest, or drank a second cup of Chai instead.
This past Sunday morning I entered the next phase. It’s time to address my fitful sleeping, running and random eating times. The weight gain around my tummy and butt is stretching my shorts tight, and I’m ready to get my head back in the game. Time to drink more water, cut back on the vodka-fruit juice cocktails, and see what the summer holds.
I promised myself I would run, bike or MOVE somehow, even if it’s jump-roping and playing on the pogo stick with my kids. The more I move the better I sleep, which makes me feel like moving more… a beautiful, healthy vicious cycle, one that I can totally live with.
As I lay in bed last night reading the chapter on “Grief” in my Divorce Recovery book “Rebuilding; When Your Relationship Ends”, I thought about running in the morning. I had a two-hour block of time to get some exercise, and I decided to ride my bike to Bobolink, run a 10k, and ride home. As long as I didn’t dawdle too much, I should make it home in time for a 10am phone call.
I read more about the different stages of grief, and considered each one carefully.
- Letting Go
Where do I fall within each one?
I fell asleep thinking about the stages of grief and putting my life back together. Each has its own time. Being the multi-tasking girl that I am, I usually do more than one thing at a time, weaving and layering and processing and planning and doing and watching and sitting… it’s all part of the same thing. When I do something, I do it full-tilt.
I woke at 5:15 and dozed in and out until my alarm went off at 7. I spent the next hour getting my kiddos fed and packed up to spend the weekend with their Dad. At 8am I kissed them goodbye and ran upstairs to change into my running clothes and slather on the sunscreen. Time to hit the road.
Not a single cloud in the sky and the air was warming up quickly. I wore my Nathan hydration vest, Garmin, iPod and sunglasses. The plan was to bike from Louisville to the Bobolink trailhead on Cherryvale and Baseline, run the out-and-back 10k, then bike my tired self back up the brutal hill into Louisville where I would coast down the eastern side and return home slightly before 10am.
This is not a difficult distance, don’t get me wrong; thousands of athletes do what’s called a Brick every day. I just don’t happen to be one of them. This sounded like a hoot though; I wanted to ride my bike, run for a while, and ride some more. That’s all.
The ride from Louisville to Bobolink went smoothly. My iPod was low enough that I heard all the traffic and the geese honking and I probably got bugs in my teeth from the big smile plastered all over my face. The wind was absolute nirvana and I gave serious thought to never going inside a house ever again if it meant I could feel the sun shine on my shoulders until the end of time.
The Garmin clocked the ride at 18:36 for an average pace of 16.9 mph. To all you serious cyclists out there- I don’t care that I’m slow. I had a ton of fun.
I quickly locked my bike and headed onto the trail. As is wont to happen after a ride, the legs felt heavy and it took a half mile of trudging to loosen up the hip flexors and quads. I sucked on my water tube and took in the sights, just happy to be moving.
As I moved along the trail I stopped a few times to take pictures with my iPhone. The sheer brilliance of the day was astounding to me, and I wanted to record visual images of the sensations coursing through this ol’ body.
I wasn’t running fast, just fast enough to feel good. I didn’t bother looking at my watch to check pace or time. Whatever data the watch collected would be there when I was home again at my computer. I was firmly grounded in the moment, and loving every second of being alive on this bright late-spring morning.
I turned around a little ahead of the gate and headed back. I don’t usually run in mid-morning on sunny days because it gets so warm, but today I just didn’t care. I had plenty of water and I was completely content. People were passing me, my shoes made this cool noise as I crunched the gravel underfoot, and I liked the way my shadow moved down the trail.
Back at the trailhead I checked the time on my Garmin: 9:32am. Enough time to get home before 10am, not enough time to shower before the phone would ring. Enough time to pour some Emergen-C in a glass and fill up on electrolytes, not enough time to towel off my sweaty back. I said a big, fat “Oh Well!” and headed up the road.
My legs were tired now, though the spinning on the bike felt good. The first ten minutes were a gradual climb, and then things got serious. The next ten minutes I put the bike in an easier gear and concentrated on getting to the top of South Boulder Road. Once there, I switched into the lowest gear on the bike and pushed it hard on the flat, gaining speed until finally the east side of the hill showed its face and I pedaled with everything I had, getting up to a max speed of 31mph as I flew home.
Walking in the house I checked the time: 9:55. I made it. I peeled off my gear, soaked my head in the kitchen sink, dried my face and hydrated with an Emergen-C and another glass of water before the phone rang.
It was so much fun, I’m thinking of doing another Brick tomorrow!