Never Say Never

It sounds so trite. So full of shit, but there’s never been a more accurate three words to sum up this post.

Never. Say. Never.

I must admit, I’ve been in full-blown denial for the past few months.

I miss running. I miss feeling my legs move forward, back and forth, back and forth, increasing with speed and feeling lighter each time I set out on the road. I miss the mental challenge that running provides. I miss the solitude. I miss pushing the limits of my body, with each passing mile. I miss training for a race. I miss the way this body felt as a ‘runner’.

I have been watching others run for months now. Friends on Facebook sharing their personal victories, running stories, and I remember a day when they first laced up their shoes. It’s akin to watching your child grow before your very eyes. A great feeling, but one that left me feeling a bit sad.

That used to be me.

I long for that feeling again. I long to stretch my legs. I long to lace up my shoes and go outside and just…..run…..Run for no other reason than I can. I can run.

While I have been dealing with some cardiac issues that have since been mostly resolved, there were no other obstacles in my way. There is nothing standing between me and my running shoes.

This past Monday morning found me reading running posts by my friends, smiling as I looked at their recent race photos. I could feel myself changing as I scanned the photographs and reading the race reports. It all suddenly clicked with one text message that came through from James:

“Now go get on the treadmill and sweat a little, and test your heart a bit!”

Boom.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I was going to run today. The thought hit me so hard that I began to laugh, then cry.

I immediately got up, changed my clothes and grabbed my running shoes out of the closet. I peered down as I laced up my shoes. I took a moment and just stared at my two feet and my two legs.

These unlikely partners have taken me to places I thought I’d never go. Six marathons, three half marathons, a 100K trail relay, countless 10Ks, 5Ks, a healthier, leaner body, and most importantly, a healthy mind. A happy mind. I am in the midst of a beautiful honeymoon with my running shoes again, and our reunion has never been sweeter. I don’t claim to be the fastest runner, and I never will be, but one thing is for certain: I may be the happiest runner right now, and for me, that’s much more important than speed. I have had a few false starts over the past few years, but for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, I do believe this return is gonna stick. I’m hungry for it. I need it. I want it back.

Back in 2006, I treated myself to a little inspiration in the form of a necklace. It was a $25 purchase that I cherished more than any other piece of fine jewelry. I never, ever, took it off, until a few weeks back prior to my cardiac procedure.

After the procedure, I remember staring at my pendant and thinking, “I’m not really a runner anymore.”

I put the pendant away. Out of sight, out of mind, right? (Another trite saying).

This past Monday as I was preparing for my run, I opened the drawer and found my pendant. I smiled. Countless family, friends, strangers, patients, and patients’ families have looked at that pendant over the years and asked, “What is that? A runner? Are you a runner?”

Yes. I am.

 

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