Updated: Nov 4, 2020
This morning I went for a 16 mile run on my own. Usually I run with my husband, but he had to start an hour ahead of me to get to the stadium on time for a football game he was invited to. With limited seating these days, if someone offers you a ticket, I'm pretty sure you go. I'm not a football fan (one of our areas of contention from time to time) so I'm not 100% on this, but I assume you take up the offer. I'll equate it to being offered tickets for something I like such as some bomb vegan food I don't have to make or clean up or time alone for any length of time (Can we invent tickets for these please). I'm just trying to cultivate the same excitement he must have felt. It's still a little lost on me but I love planting plants, growing plants, reading about dirt and compost etc, and he could care less, so to each his own.
On my run today I had a pretty great time. I listened to about 4 different bits of podcasts and some This American Life and if that isn't heaven enough, I got to run the pace I wanted to wherever I wanted to, just lovely. I love my husband dearly and if he weren't training for this race with me I know my training would have totally sucked if left to my own devices, so I'm glad he's along for the ride. Although it feels a lot like I'm along for the ride because, and I say this with love, my husband is what you'd call "type A." I'm type B+ on my best day and most of the time I feel pretty good at a B-. I'm just not an over-achiever. I'm a little more laid back but that can also spell undertraining and injury so I'm glad he's there to keep me tuned up and hitting my mileage. It's funny because I'm the one who came up with this idea to run our first "ultra" but all that sounds just fine and dandy when your long run is 5 miles at the beginning. My ego was brimming with victory long before reality sunk in. Halfway through training with my feet swollen and legs aching, I'm riding the roller coaster of this thing and just trying to stick with it as best I can.
I ran from my house near the beach toward downtown and meandered through the neighborhoods there along the water front. High tide hit on my way back so I was dodging the puddles and taking in all the sights of the marsh and butterflies flying and mostly trying to say hi to everyone and mostly not getting miffed if they didn't say hello or wave back (ok, but seriously, this is the south on a Sunday morning, were you raised in a barn?! Is a slight head nod going to hurt you!? ok, rant over). I'm sure they have good reasons for giving the death stare, so moving on. It was about 75 and partly cloudy and my body felt good. Ok, I'm about to get a little mushy and a little woo-woo, so you've been warned.
I got inside, and I guess the nanny and the girls must have gone to the park or something and Jason was off to worship the gridiron so I let the dogs out to pee and went in to take a shower. Now some of you know all about sitting in the shower and how awesome and spiritual this practice is. Maybe it's because I grew up in a somewhat chaotic environment, or maybe it's because I'm a Pisces, or maybe it's just a place that I've always been able to be alone with my thoughts (mostly, with kids its touch n go), but I always pray and cry while I'm sitting in the shower and always have. I really hope I'm not alone here, and I don't think I am, but maybe I am, and that's okay too, but I'm pretty sure this is a thing that lots of people do, and if you haven't done it, well get to it, because it is very cathartic.
Okay, so I got in the shower and gingerly sat down as I was pretty sore from my run. I was sitting on my knees just letting the water rush over me and I started to pray like I do. Nowadays I like to pray out loud. So I just said "to the Angel of Running I want to say thank you..." and I broke down. Tears poured down my face and I heaved. It was that mix of gratitude and grief and humility and love. Love for my body, my soul. my family, the earth, the blood in my veins, life. That moment where the totality of existence catches you and you are hit with the magnitude of the culmination of the Now... Because, two years ago, I thought I would never run again. All I could do was 3 very (VERY) painful miles. It felt like an ice-pick to my pubic bone every time I went out and that was only once or twice a week. I knew I shouldn't run, but I missed it so much. Running had become my identity when I got sober. It saved me (ok, 12-step groups saved me, but outside of those, it was my thing). When I felt like a useless, no good, excuse for a human I'd go on a run in early sobriety and I'd thank the heavens for giving me this little victory. I'd often think "I may not be good at anything, but I can do this, I'm good at this, thank you for my able body God," and I'd go to my work or school or whatever I had that day.
So, after my first pregnancy of not running and a traumatic birth followed by debilitating pain I was at a loss, and bitter toward the Universe for taking running from me. I'd see other people running down the street and curse their good fortune "do you even care or know what you have!?" Then I'd chide myself for my judgment of this bystander in my grief. I know what it is to lose running. To me it was heartbreaking and unbearable. And yes, I selfishly prayed for it to come back, for my body to heal, to be healed, and I swore foolishly to never take it for granted ever again. And you know what, I was given a solution.
I talk a lot about my healing journey in other articles. I talk about being plant-based, and I talk about Medical Medium and how I found his books. I want to say, that I am in no way affiliated with Medical Medium or have been incentivized in any way to say any of this. I just honestly want those who are or were in the same position I was to have some answers. When you can't pick up your toddler who is begging you for cuddles, when you can't sleep because of the pain, when your life is a shell of what it used to be, just know, I know you. I know the pain of watching you abilities slip from your grasp. I know feeling hopeless and useless and thinking all the "what ifs" to work out a change in the situation. It is dark and it is hard, and I am sorry you have to go through that. So when I found the Medical Medium book, I didn't think it was going to be anything but kooky and weird. But I was desperate, so I gave it a shot and I was floored. I thought just being plant-based was enough to heal my body. I didn't think about certain substances in foods being able to break down my body over time and that research and science may not know all the answers to chronic pain and illness. So I started trying what was suggested. I started drinking celery juice first thing every morning on an empty stomach. I stopped eating all the foods that "make life hard." And this was hard! I had to give up my beloved Tofu! But I got better, slowly. I have not done it perfectly...I have had many relapses on bad food but underlying is a knowledge that I would not be in the shape I am or running 2, let alone 16 (22 last weekend) if it weren't for the healing information in that book. And I'm still learning, and getting better, and slowly letting go of addictive foods. I quit caffeine again last week.
Basically I eat whole foods. Yes, I eat some partial foods like walnut milk (the pulp is not eaten in this so thus it is not "whole"), but 90% is whole. Today I ate rolled oats with blueberries and banana, dates and oat cake on my run, lime water, banana cherry smoothie with coco water post run, and an epic salad with spinach, steamed potatoes, steamed asparagus, green onion, garbanzos, purple cabbage, tomatoes, cilantro, Atlantic dulse, orange juice, mustard powder, lime juice and garlic powder. I used to eat just anything that was not an animal product, chips- heck yes!, oreos-down the hatch!, fried okra-you betcha! I was still trying to game the system, or my system. No wonder I was sick and couldn't catch a break to heal. My poor body was not only dealing with the 32 years I spent eating fast food, hot-pockets, and all manner of chemical laced cereals, now it was still having to deal with a bunch of junk. I grow plants and I know, they only grow big and strong in the best soil. I was no different. Improve the inputs, improve the outputs. It seems so simple, but in a world where we are being sold a new fad diet every other week it's hard to know who really has our best interest at heart. It it for health or is it for profit? I don't always trust people, but I trust plants. I trust them to always give 110%. They want to grow and be healthy. They filter and produce the best water on the planet, better than any man-made filter. I saw a meme once that said "humans are the only species that need a research study to tell them fruits and vegetables are good for you." We are so far away sometimes from the truth right in front of us because of the technology we consume.
Ultimately I want to be in touch with myself and what is true for me. Today it is the power of fruits and veggies to give life and health. I wish anyone reading this, blessings on your healing journey. I hope you never give up striving to be the most radiant version of you. You can bet I'll be there trying to do the same. To the Angel of Running, thank you for never giving up on this little turtle. I may be slow, but I am tenacious. I love you so deeply for leading me down the right paths. May you continue to bless all those that strive for the small victories and may you help them touch a little bit of heaven out there. Amen