this is queued because i feel like a tumblr the way i’ve been posting lately.
i had an 11-mile training run today. it was about 30 degrees and it was freakin’ snowing. i ran about 7 of those miles with snowflakes blowing into my eyeballs. i looked like i was crying half the time because of the wind and snow, and i almost did cry when i hit the end of my 9th mile and realized i had 2 miles left, i was freezing and exhausted, and i really must be damn crazy to be doing this.
i came home, stretched, and took the greatest hot shower anyone has ever taken.
and then i got into bed, and somehow found my way onto k’s old blog. as i scrolled back, i read through posts about us, about the wedding, about how we were going to build our own pine dining room table and how we were going to have 2 kittens and a flop-eared bunny. we were so damn in love; it hurt to breathe as i scrolled through the vestiges of the most beautiful life.
and that’s how i found myself, in k’s old high school hoodie, curled up in my bed sobbing into the teddy bear she got me after we finished our run of the tender land my senior year of college.
in truth, i have cried very little about the dissolution of our engagement, our subsequent break-up. i didn’t give myself room to – i was still rather fresh out of surgery, i forced myself to just focus and work. i had had enough sadness thus far that year; i couldn’t bear any more. so i let it turn to flippant bitterness, instead.
and then today, while i was balled up under my blankets snuffling into a damp teddy bear’s fur, i remembered why it is i run.
after my mom died, i came back to lexington and immediately began my training cycle for the derby half. i flew into town on a thursday; i started training on sunday and began classes and teaching on monday. i was wound tightly but determined to hold it together.
the one time i couldn’t keep it together? after my long runs. i would stumble back up to my apartment, shower, and sit down to do work…but would always end up in bed, crying uncontrollably. those runs stripped every layer of armour i had, away. i would get home and be so drained from fighting through the miles that i had nothing left to pretend to be okay.
and so i would cry. and i would miss my mom terribly. and cry some more.
when my dad first called me to tell me about my mom, and i hung up the phone, i remember thinking, “this is the part where i cry.” and as i told k, “my mom died last night,” even though she already knew because she had been right behind me in bed and had heard the conversation, i remember my face crumpling like tissue paper and my body making the appropriate heaving and hitching motions of somebody crying…but very few tears actually emerged.
as the days went by, i definitely cried, but none of the gut-wrenching sobs that i thought would happen, that i felt should be happening. i was so focused on being strong for my dad, graceful for the sake of my family…compared to the pain i was in and the sadness i felt, my tears were almost negligible.
and then i came back to lexington, and i started running again. running opened up all of the spaces that i had blocked off, peeled back every last bit of protective barrier i had built up and allowed me – forced me – to be sad. when i was so completely physically and mentally exhausted from logging all of those miles, i didn’t have the energy to be brave; i could only lay in bed and let myself be a mess.
i had forgotten about all of this until today. until i came home from a hellishly difficult run and stumbled upon a glimpse into the most wonderful life i had, and was too goddamn tired to bother being tough.
and so i laid in my bed, hair still damp from my shower, calves and stomach cramping from my run, and i cried. those same gut-wrenching sobs i avoided when my mom died. i cried until i gave myself the hiccups. and then i cried some more.
it seems silly to say, ‘yea i run because besides the fact that it gives me awful cramps and soreness after my long runs…it also turns me into a sobbing puddle of mess afterwards.’ but that’s the honest truth. running lets me be sad, in the name of complete exhaustion. it may not be pretty, and it may not make sense…but it’s what holds me together.