Life knocks you down. And then, just when you think you can get up, it gives you a nice swift kick. What’s that saying, “It’s not how many times you are knocked down, but how many times you get back up”? It’s corny. Corny, but true. One of the the things that I’ve just realized after several years though, is that getting back up might take some time.
I started this blog because of my love for running, passion for spending the day hovered over the stove creating new meals, and most of all, so that maybe someone out there would benefit from hearing that they are not alone. Confused? Keep reading…
Everyone always told me that your twenties are the best time of your life. You’re just starting out, you have so many opportunities, blah blah blah. What they forgot to mention was that all of these opportunities just don’t pan out sometimes. Being in your twenties is hard. You see, I graduated from college, a couple significant life events later, and BAM. Depression central. I went through years (3+ counting) making bad decision after bad decision. I made 2 really good choices, though: marrying my husband and starting to run. Those were two support systems I have learned so much from and helped me build from the bottom up.
My husband teaches me everyday to believe in myself. (By the way, he’s a saint for putting up with my antics!) When I don’t believe him, I go for a run. I started running in 2009 when I began my rough period. I ran a 5k without any training and did OK, but I didn’t really continue after that. I can’t pinpoint why I started running again in 2010, but my gut is telling me it is because of the healthy living community that I follow on-line. There are so many amazing blogs that offer daily motivation. Anyway, I signed up for a 5K Thanksgiving race, trained for it following Hal Hidgon’s novice 5K plan. I felt strong, accomplished, and proud of myself. Following the 5K, I was out of a job (teaching jobs are hard to come by!) and really in a bad place, so one day I thought, “What the heck, if a 5K provided me with such a rush, what about a half marathon?” And so I signed up, trained for, and successfully completed my first half marathon in Pittsburgh, PA on 5/15/2011 in 2:16:06. I was now addicted.
The summer of 2011 I sustained an injury to my right knee and had to go to physical therapy and not run until September where I re-joined the ranks to race a 10k in 59:26. I kept running through some hard times during this period which I will not disclose, however, signed up for a full marathon in January 2012. I was pumped. “This is it!” I would tell myself. The defining moment of a runner – a full marathon, a full 26.2 miles. I thew myself into training, but felt like one thing was coming after another. A got bronchitis, then the flu, etc. I was so frustrated. I was so frustrated that I would just go out with friends and drown my sorrows in greasy bar food and drinks and then wonder why I wasn’t performing the way I dreamed of in my head. I had a few good long runs, but during one in late April I got a excruciating pain in my left knee like someone broke a glass bottle, took one of the shards, and stabbed it into my knee. I couldn’t complete my 19-miler that day and I was crushed. Looking back, though, I should have known.
I tried to run the marathon, that sunny, hot day in May, but I could only make it a little over 10 miles when I stopped. Disqualified. That disgusting word felt to me like it was painted inside of my eyelids, because every single time I closed them, I saw it. I was so disappointed. Disappointed that I wasted the past 4 1/2 months on a goal I couldn’t finish. Disappointed that my sister, brother-in-law, and two cute as ever nieces were cheering me on just past the half mark and that I would never reach that part in the race. Disappointed that when I came home, my husband had posted the signs he was going to carry for me during the race all over our apartment, and I had let him down, yet again. Disappointed that my sister-in-law got me a cookie cake that read, “Great job, Amanda!!” I had let everyone down.
Halushka, by the way, is a nickname dubbed by my loving husband. When I started running, he named me runnerlooshka and it just stuck. Now runnerlooshka is back, and is striving to get her base built up so that I can redeem myself and complete a full marathon.
Now I am trying to figure this crazy thing called life out. I have to keep pushing forward. Life is a gift. Yes, I am not always an angel. But that is the reason why we are so blessed to have a new day everyday. A chance to get out there and fight. Fight your hardest to the the best person you can be. They said that today is the “present” and as cliche as it is, we are given each day to start fresh, and push. Fight for yourself and your health. Stand up for yourself. Just one more mile, I tell myself often during my runs. This phrase is not only for runners, but for anyone trying to better themselves, trying to strengthen themselves, and trying to figure out who you really are. (I’m looking at you, 20 somethings.) One more mile, one more workout, one more push to be your best self, not what someone else wants you to be. I was recently having a discussion with a mentor and I said I felt pressured to be all set in my career at 25 and settled in everything I wanted out of life. Their response (with a chuckle): “This is just the beginning, my dear. Since when is there an age restriction on fulfillment? That’s when you stop growing as a person and start being stuck in a rut.”
One more mile, I tell my self. There is always one more mile on the road to healthy living, happiness and success. This is my journey. Care to join me?