Friday, November 6, 2015

Opinions, a letter, and running (of course)

This week I have been struggling.  Struggling to understand why I let some people affect my way of thinking.  Struggling to hold on to the feeling of finishing my ½ marathon on Sunday.  Struggling to respect the miles, and the distance, and the toll it takes on my body.  Struggling to remember that everyone has an opinion and sometimes don’t have a filter, and the only thing that matters is my reaction to their action.

Someone told me on Monday when I was pretty sore while walking around, and still feeling the runner’s high from Sunday’s race, that running is stupid.  They said that if running makes you like that [sore and achy] after a long race, then doing it is stupid.  I could just let it go.  I could just move on.  Which I did, that day.  I responded and said that they don’t understand the feeling.  However, those comments really put a damper on my week, which is strange because I have a pretty good rebound rate – I can bounce back pretty fast when someone says something that bugs me. 

That being said, I decided to write them a letter.  Publicly.  Well, publicly as in, here on my blog which means the only people that will read it are you and me.

To my opinionated friend,

I love people like you.  You make me stronger.  You make me better.  You push me.  I respect you. 

You are quick to give me your opinion.  I welcome your opinion.  I simply ask you to ask for mine when you’re done giving yours.  You don’t know me.  You don’t know that one year ago, I was struggling to walk, let alone run.  You don’t know that when I finally ran one mile again last January, I had tears streaming down my face the whole time.  Tears of joy.  Tears of pain.  You don’t know that I was told running Ragnar last June was a long shot but I did it because I thrive on “long shots.” 

I’m not an elite runner.  There are more people that finish a race before me than after me.  I met some of my favorite people in the world because of running.  I have had the privilege of being matched with an amazing kid because of running.  I look terrible when I'm in the last couple miles of a race and I love it.  I love looking at race photos and race shirts and medals and knowing that I earned every mile. 

I have a few questions for you.  Do you know what it feels like to want something so bad you feel it in your bones?  Do you know what it feels like to cross a finish line with your running family cheering for you?  Do you know what it’s like to run for someone else?  To have their lungs in your chest, and their soul in your heart and when you’re ready to give up, their face continually pops into your head?  Do you know the feeling of someone handing you a cup of water and giving you a big smile and telling you you’re “a rockstar” and they’ve never even met you?  Do you know what it’s like to watch your friend cross the line of her first full marathon, knowing the journey she took to get there?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I have some homework for you.  Just a little assignment.  I ask you to train for a 5k or a 10k or a ½ marathon.  I want you to start the training journey, and finish the race.  I ask you to have the courage to try.  The courage that my running friends have.  I bet you it will change your life.

I signed up for my next ½ marathon while still sore from the last one.  I love that sore feeling.  I earned it.

Your favorite runner

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