Monday, April 9, 2012

Running with One Headlight: Learning Acceptance

“I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
- Maya Angelou

I was having writer's block.  Or maybe it's called blogger's block.  Ideas bounced around in my mind, but nothing was inspiring me.  So I decided to go for a run. 

I began executing my "pre-run" routine.  I began drinking lots of water, ate a healthy breakfast of blueberry Greek yogurt, and some crackers with roasted-garlic hummus.  I took my multi-vitamin and my B-complex vitamin for extra energy.  I put on my wicking performance top, my Athleta running skort, a pair of dual-layer, wicking running socks, and my carefully selected and sized running shoes from a local boutique running shop.  I grabbed my Timex Ironman watch.  As I placed the watch on my wrist I noticed there was no display. The battery must be dead.  Hmmmm. Okay, no problem.  I can monitor time on my iPhone.  Next, I looked for my ear buds so I could listen to my tunes.  My music is a must-have for inspiration during my run.  Where are my ear buds?  Then it hit me.  Damn!  I left them at work.  Okay. This can be easily solved in the modern world.  I hopped in my car and drove to the local CVS pharmacy and bought a new pair of earbuds and a couple bottles of nail polish for later. :o)   Done.  I returned home, opened up the annoying plastic packaging encompassing the ear buds, grabbed my iPhone that acts as my MP3 player, filled up my water bottle, got back in the car, and headed for the running trail.

I decided that given my freedom of being on my own this weekend, I was going to run somewhere more adventurous than running through my neighborhood.  So I headed out to a "rails to trails" trail not far from my house.  Walkers, runners, cyclists and horseback riders flock to this trial for exercise, fresh air and communing with nature.  I was excited to be able  run on such a gorgeous day and was looking forward to running on the dirt trail surrounded by the trees, birds and other fitness, nature lovers like myself.

As I walked down to the trail I put my earbuds in my ears and scrolled through the music menu for my "Running" playlist.  I was fired up to listen to my new songs just added, Katy Perry's "Part of Me" and Anastacia's "One Day in Your Life" among others.  As I scrolled down through the list of songs, my heart sunk.  The songs were not there.  Noooooooooo. Where are they?  No, this can not be! 

But then I knew exactly what happened.  The previous night I had synced my iPhone to iTunes on my computer so I could pull my new songs off my iPhone and burn a new CD for my car.  Damn iTunes!  How I hate you!  My newly added  inspirational songs I needed for my run were gone. 

Alright, I'm on the trail.  May as well take advantage of it even if I have to make do with my old, worn-out songs I've listened to a hundred times.  Blah!

So I started running admiring the scenery, breathing the fresh air, waving to other people on the trail walking, running, and biking.  This isn't so bad, even if I am listening to "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha.

But then another crisis awaited.  Pain began shooting up through my right quadricep and hamstring.  What the hell?  I just had a massage two days before.  Why would my legs be sore?  I kept running trying to run through the pain.  Come on, Donna.  You can do this.  Keep running.  I tried.  I finally had to stop and walk.  Damn!  Damn, damn, damn!  What the heck?!  It's a beautiful day.  My lungs feel good.  I have lots of energy.  Why is my leg sore????  So I stopped and did some stretches hoping that would do the trick. 

Okay, feels better.  Let's run.  So I ran for another 5 minutes until the pain became unbearable again.  Damn!  Okay, let's walk.  Stretch, try again.  I proceeded in the following manner for the next 2 miles.  Run, pain, walk, stretch and repeat.  By this time I was getting pretty bummed.  Do I turn around?  No! I didn't want to give up just yet.  I continued moving forward.  And finally, the pain in my right leg was a bit milder.  So I kept running. 

And running and running and running. 

The pain was gone!  Thank you!!!!  And I kept running.  I turned around at 2.5 miles knowing no matter what I would complete 5 miles whether I had to walk or crawl back in.  And I kept running listening to my old, worn-out tunes.
From "Stayin Alive" by the BeeGees,

"Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother
 you're stayin' alive, stayin' alive." 

Yes! I am staying alive. My muscles are moving.  My body is strong. My lungs are working. I admired the beauty of the dogwood trees and honeysuckles blooming.  I sucked in deep breaths of the clean, fresh air. 

Mile 3.  From "One Headlight" by the Wallflowers,

"Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There's got to be something better than
In the middle."
But me & Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight "

That's right.  Nothing is forever.  Try a little.  I'm going to finish this run with one sore leg or one headlight.  I waved to a few more people and smiled.

Mile 4.  From "Not Myself Tonight" by Christina Aguilera,

"Cause I'm Doing Things That I Normally Won't Do
The Old Me's Gone I Feel Brand New
And If You Don't Like It F*ck You"

Yep, this is the new me.  The me that faces fear head on.  The me that doesn't take any bullsh*t.  The me that enjoys being on my own.  The me that sets boundaries and surrounds myself with positive people.  So, if you don't like the new me, f*ck you.  You go, Christina!  I squared my shoulders and held my a head a little higher.

Mile 5.  From "S&M" by Rihanna:

"Na na na na
Come on
Come on
Come on
I like it
Like it
Come on
Come on
Come on
I like it
Like it
Come on
Come on
Come on"

Last mile.  My left knee was getting sore.  Come on. Come on.  Come on.  Na na na na.  You can do it, Donna!  Come on, Come on, Come on.  I really needed the encouragement at this point.  My knee ached.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breath in.  Breathe out.

As I ran the last mile in, I realized one of the crucial elements of healing and recovery after abuse is acceptance.   We survived.  But to heal and move forward, we must learn acceptance.  Accept yourself.  Accept your present circumstances may not be what you intended.  Accept your life may not be perfect now or ever.  So stop floundering.   Maybe you have a sore leg.  Or a sore heart.  Maybe you don't have the right tunes on your iPod.  Maybe your living arrangements are difficult.  Maybe you don't have the money you need or the job you want.  Maybe your future is uncertain.  But accept it.  Then make a plan.  Set goals.  But remember the goal is not the destination.  The goal is only to support you moving forward.  To allow you to dream.  To understand that "nothing is forever."  You are not "stuck in the middle".  The journey is the destination.  Feel gratitude for your present circumstances and the journey.  When you reach your goal, set new goals.  Because once you stop living and moving, you die.  By continuing to move forward, you will thrive.  But first, accept this day the Universe has given you.  Because it's beautiful whether you have the right songs on your iPod or not.  You are stayin alive.  Nothing is forever. The old you is gone. Come on!  You can reach your goals with a sore leg, a sore heart, and one headlight.  And I promise you. You will reach your destination as long as you accept your situation and keep moving.  So, come on!  Let's go! 

And keep running and running and running.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your very motivational blog. Just what I needed today.