Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rainy Ten Miler

Happy Daylights Savings! Ugh. I opened this morning, which meant that instead of having to be at my store at the less-than-decent hour of 6:15 am, I had to be there at the equivalent to 5:15 am, which is the same as a weekday open, but there is a reason why I like doing the Sunday opens - because I get an hour more sleep.

The advantage of opening however is that I was off work by 2:15, which meant I had the rest of the day to go for a run. In theory. Because I am an idiot at times I thought the boy had taken my keys to work with him. Turns out they were in my apron the whole time, but I ended up hanging around the backroom of my store for an extra hour and a half, fortunately my wonderful ASM and I have a book exchange going on, and she'd just given me a new one to start. So I sat in the back and read... Until the boy called me asking if I was sure he had my keys, asked if maybe I'd left them in my apron... and a quick check determined that sure enough I don't function super well on five hours of sleep.

I went home, changed, thought terrible things about the weather and headed out for the ten mile run my training schedule prescribed. Let me just preface this by saying that the weather was horrific, as in pouring rain and windy horrific. Oh yeah, and cold. But there was no way I was getting through 10 miles on a treadmill, I would rather get wet. The first few miles weren't bad, until my hair got so soaked through (the hood on my rain-jacket was chafing against my forehead, I love love love my rain-jacket except for that serious design flaw) that water started running all over my face. It was in my eyes, my nose, mouth... You get the picture. I pushed through and finally around mile 6 the rain let up a bit, it was still coming down but not as intensely. Around mile eight I just got cold, I was absolutely soaked through and while my core was still warm, thank you lululemon running rain jacket (it was a Christmas gift from the boy's family), my legs got cold, which meant they got stiff, which meant all the aches and pains created by a week of running, yoga, and Jillian's 30 Day Shred started to bug me. But I dug in.

I was thinking about an article I read in Runner's World recently, about Kara Goucher one of the world's top female distance runners. She was talking about the mental tricks she uses to push through the immense pain of running a marathon at the speeds in which she runs them, and talked about using trigger words. About picking a word that encompasses your ability to succeed and the confidence you have in yourself. She picked fighter, to represent how she'd fought through so many challenges in her running career. I really liked the idea, the idea of being able to trigger a single word and create a mental clarity that gives you the emotional strength to push through, because while I don't run as hard as Goucher does, I do push pretty damn hard. So I started thinking about what my word would be, about what drives me, what pushes me to succeed.

And of course I thought about my mom. My mom who fought cancer for eight years, who turned every single death-sentence on its head so that when she finally did die she did it as much on her own terms as possible. She chose to go off medication. She was able to say goodbye to everyone, to confront them about the things that needed confronting, and forgive them for the things she was upset about. I remember the last time I saw her. I flew down to San Francisco about two weeks before she died, and before my dad drove me to the airport I went into her room to say goodbye, pretty confident it would be the last time I ever saw her. She was tiny when she died, 5'2 and maybe 85lbs, but she radiated strength. I hugged her, careful not to crush her, and she told me she loved me, that she was proud of me, and she was so happy for the time we'd had. I held her hand, and told her I loved her, and told her I was so proud of her. Because I am. My mother is my model for survival, for courage, for fight. She refused to give up. I was eleven when she was diagnosed, my brother was nine, and she was adamant about one thing: she wanted to see us grow up. She got to see me turn 19, and she got to see my brother turn 17. It wasn't perfect, but it was a lot more than anyone had hoped for.

My mother was a survivor, and she comes from a line of survivors. My grandfather was a holocaust survivor and my great grandparents survived pogroms, and some immigrated illegally into Israel, risking everything for a dream they believed in. Survival is something that is inherent within me. It had to be. I survived my teenage years growing up in a family destroyed by breast cancer. I kept my sanity, my ground, and my ability to function. I've survived academic disappointments and come out stronger on the other side.

I am a survivor.

So today, when the last two miles of rain and wind threatened to make me give up. I conjured up the word, and pounded through those last two miles.

Let me tell you. It worked.

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