This must be the world’s most boring adventure. I know I know, shut up with the complaining already. I should be grateful that all I have to do every day is wake up, run, recover. Running is probably my favorite thing, And I get to do it for causes I care so much about it. Now I even get to run in some of the most beautiful places in this country. My life is pretty simple right now, wake up, run, recover. That’s it. That’s all I have to do. That’s all I get to do. FSM it’s boring – monotonous chaos.
I always hear from people that running is boring, but I’ve rarely thought that. My mind wanders, I listen to audiobooks, I meditate, I mull over things – sometimes too much. It’s peaceful and calm, but not boring. This run is the worst of both worlds. It’s boring but inside my mind is pure chaos. My thoughts are wandering, they’re ping ponging around my skull. My brain refuses to focus while my legs seem pretty focused on not moving.
But still I plodded along this week, met my mileage goal and stayed on track. Wake up, run, recover. I did get caught in a rainstorm for about 2 miles on Monday, that along with running with the cows was about the most excitement I had in four days. Judging by the waste left by the cows along my running path, I’d argue it was more excitement for them than for me. Tuesday came along, more cows, more desolate land, more boring pain. I have 75 more days of this? I thought back to that commercial where all these famous athletes are waking up at dawn and hitting the track, gym, or pool. It’s meant to show that winning (or in my case finishing) isn’t a 2-minute adventure, it’s years of the grind. The commercial tries to church it up, make the grind seem inspirational. I bought it then. I do not buy it now. There is no glory in the grind. No glowing sweat or encouraging coach. No rival you wake up every morning to beat – just the grind. Fine, I thought, that’s what endurance is right? There may be no glory here, but goddamnit I’m going to find my grit. There’s plenty of that to be had. I settled in for 10 more weeks of boring miles. If that was my lesson I was going to learn it. I had all day, I had all the days ahead of me too.
Then hobbling along with a mile to go on Tuesday, Crack. Wide open. I started sobbing. No, wailing. Now there's ugly crying and there's drunk crying and then there was this, the ugliest and most irrational cry I’ve ever had. I cried dry tears, fat wet tears, snot tears, some mix of dirt and sunscreen tears. I cried so hard the cows mooed in solidarity, or mockery. I cried out of pain, not really what I felt that day but every pain I had ever felt, every pain anyone I had loved had ever felt. War, death, the loss of children, addiction, the feeling of pure helplessness when the pain you've been fighting back, holding in finally demands to be felt. I wailed for all of it.
Funny run, real funny. Decided to change the lesson up on me. Fine, I’ll listen. This is what I learned: in my wailing I was not desperate for the pain to stop. Maybe I knew that was hopeless, maybe I even invited it a little, I mean I was bored. Instead of wishing for the pain to recede, in that moment, I so desperately wanted comfort. I was calling for my loved ones, out loud, willing them to be by my side. To just be there telling me it was ok.
I can deal with pain, sometimes I run from it just like everyone else, but I know that's a temporary fix. I can endure pain, I can even in a pinch endure it alone. But I don't want to. I don’t want to be an island. When I’m in pain I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to shove it deep down inside and try to handle it solo. I want someone to hold my hand when I face the scary pain, pour me a whiskey when I hit the helpless pain, and even grab me the nasal spray when I’m crying so hard I can’t breathe. How's that for miss independent? Luckily for me I’m surrounded by people who will, and have, done just that.
Man, this post got a little deep – but don’t worry (Mom), I’m doing just fine, working my way through my third state and even if it’s buried under the boredom and the chaos, I’m very grateful for this experience – the ability, the opportunity, and the village of support behind me.