“Hello, it’s me…. I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be….” Adele.
Hi there. I’ve missed you. After I wrote my LA marathon recap in Sweat, Tears, Sea, I wasn’t sure if I would be back here again. I felt like I had a marathon story to tell, and you graciously went on it with me, and is there really more than that to say? And I’ve got this big to do list (who doesn’t) of things that aren’t urgent but do need to get done at some point, and when am I going to do them? In Next Chapter, I told you that there are other stories I need to write, and when am I going to write them? And then I questioned myself for the 100th time on the value of committing time to a blog with a small following that just repeats the same theme of running changed my life.
But here is what happened in the last few weeks and why we are meeting like this again. For one, I’m running more days post-marathon than pre-marathon…I’ll tell you about that in a bit. I wrote a couple of posts for Women’s Running Magazine, and I really do love writing those, but it is not the same. Some of my posts for them are serious, some are light and fun, but in writing for a general wide audience, you don’t quite put yourself out there the way you do in a personal blog. I missed the intimacy of sometimes just sitting down and having a heart to heart. And although I’ve got this looming to do list and I took a few weeks off from this place, I’m still ignoring that list anyway. Just when I questioned again whether or not I was going to come back to this space, I got what I think is a sign. Yesterday, an international blog subscriber, a mother-runner herself who just did her first half-marathon, sent me a picture of some wristbands she made with inspirational sayings for her run, and wrote me saying “you and Kristin are major inspirations, running has this amazing power to bring random people closer together – I read your letter post from blog last night to beat stress and self-doubt”…. THANK YOU to her for writing me…. It reminded me that I started this blog with the intention of not having hundreds of followers, but reaching even just a handful of people who would understand and connect with how running changed my life….who would be inspired…..this post is for her and the other people who have been moved…. so with that, I’ll continue this post with what I like to do best…. reflect back…..
A little over a year ago, on February 15th, 2015, I had a food binge. I sat down the next day and wrote the post Cousin Binge Revisits and then posted it last year at this time. If you haven’t read it, it is the one post that immediately got read by the most people based on the title. I wasn’t scared to put it out there, because I knew that many women struggle with food but just won’t talk about it. Since that a-ha moment in that post, I have not had a single food binge….over one year and counting…. the longest that I have gone without bingeing since the age of 12. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of times when I ate more food than a person generally should in one sitting…. plenty of times when I went to a restaurant and had drinks and appetizers and my full meal and both desserts because I wanted to…. that is not a binge…. That is not secretly shoveling food from your pantry in your face to muffle frustration and emotion while feeling guilty and out of control and hating yourself. Thanks to running, I’m in such a general state of high and happiness, that for the first time I’m thinking that it’s possible that I may never binge on food again. I will continue to regularly enjoy rich, delicious, fabulous meals with other people and on my own as well, but it won’t be secretive… accompanied by feeling a lack of control….feeling hatred…. feeling like a big fat fake phony. Did I substitute one type of addiction for another? I don’t think so. Bingeing makes you hate yourself and want to hide and lie and go to sleep and wake up to a new day. Running makes you want to tackle and conquer the rest of your day…. it makes you want to shout from the rooftops that you ran today….but then you don’t because you think that the non-runners in your life are probably really really sick and tired of your incessant talk about running.
A year ago today, I met my guru Kristin Armstrong on March 7th, 2015 as part of a small women’s retreat of about a dozen women. Her message and mission were clear. She believes in women supporting other women. It was evident that she had spent hours preparing her presentation for our retreat…. she was genuine….she was invested in the people who’d made the time to be there. She made me realize that she is a role model beyond what I knew just based on reading Mile Markers and stalking her posts on Runner’s World. She was a clear example of women supporting rather than competing with other women, not just in running but in life. One year after meeting her, I have run my first full marathon, and I am doing my best to continue to be a genuine person who really takes an interest in others and invests and supports the tribe that is around her.
And now back to running…. since the LA marathon, I have been on an absolute high. The day after, I was driving in my car to work after dropping my kids off at school, and I saw people running on my regular running path, and I was jealous. I wanted to be out there with my sore quads. I knew that I was going to make myself wait until 4 days after the marathon to run again, and I just couldn’t wait. That first post-marathon run was with no Garmin on for the first time in a long time…. it was “free” with no worry about pace or distance or time…. It was flight…. And I’ve been running since… more than before…5 or 6 days instead of 3 or 4 per week… in fog, in rain, over hills, through trails…. Just last week my husband and I were at a quite dinner together in a little cafe, and he said, “As much as I worry about your knees, I have to admit that I have never seen you so happy and confident as I have in the last 2 years….” While he doesn’t exactly get the whole runner thing, he gets that his wife is changed…he gets that the change is good for the entire family…. I’ve been walking around with a certain constant vibrancy….those who know me well have seen it and feel it….It’s been there over the last year at least, so it’s not just marathon high that will eventually go away…. I think it’s a high from a new-found serenity that is the greatest gift that running has given me…. namaste.
***If you haven’t read my post on thirty years of binge eating, here it is: Cousin Binge Revisits. If you missed my LA marathon re-cap, then read Sweat, Tears, Sea. The post that my subscriber read the night before her half is Letter. Thank you to Carly at Fine, Fit, Day who posted my LA marathon recap in her High Five Friday post, and has repeatedly referred to my blog as “poetry for runners” on twitter.