Running

Breakdown to Breakthrough

Before the Mango Days 2011 5K Photo by Creatrix Photography www.creatrixphotography.com

A few days ago, I signed up for the 2012 Tropical Triple Crown. This series of events consists of a half marathon, an 8K and a 5K across the summer months of 2012.  Each event benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I’m so very happy to support this particular cause.  This past August, I ran the Tropical Triple Crown’s Mango Days 5K with my husband and our son who was pushed along the course by Daddy thankfully since he is much more patient about maneuvering through the crowd with the stroller!

Mango Days 2011 was my first “real” 5K, and I used the Couch to 5K training plan to prepare myself.  I hadn’t planned on having my husband there to run with me, but it happened to work out with his schedule and though he is an experienced runner, he sweetly offered to run with me at my (slow) pace, and I really appreciated it.

For the entire length of the run, hubs and I hardly spoke. I was in my zone and as we ran past various landmarks on the course that took us around Magic Island and through Ala Moana Beach Park, my mind was busy processing memories of people and moments past.  I thought about the times in my life when people I loved had criticized me about my weight and my appearance.  I thought about the fact that here I was, pushing myself to do something I never in a million years thought I would do (run!)  I began to feel something very deep – a mixture of joy, sadness, remorse, heartache, pride, and freedom.  As we neared the end, I pushed myself to try and finish under my goal time.

When we reached the last 200 feet of the course, out of nowhere, my husband started to speak, and though all he did was offer words of encouragement, it was like a bubble burst around me and all of a sudden, a strong, unexpected feeling of anger overwhelmed me.  This was MY run, and for him to tell me to try and get ahead of another woman in front of us and finish strong took me out of the place where I knew what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to accomplish it and put me into his world and his way of owning the run.  I cried as we crossed the finish line, and it felt like my heart fell out of my chest.  I was so upset I almost couldn’t speak.  As I caught my breath and started the long walk back to the car, I decided to tell him how I felt and about all the things I had been processing as we ran.  It was a hugely cathartic moment for me.  I broke down, and in the process of unloading all of that emotion and all of those words onto my loving, listening husband, I realized I was also having a break through.  I firmly believe the physical body can manifest the ‘baggage’ you carry emotionally, mentally and spiritually, and this was a moment when something really changed in me and subsequently changed in my body. I was able to let a lot of things go and heal myself of past hurt in the process.

I love my husband more than I could ever say, and I felt terrible that his supportive words became the trigger that allowed me to have that release, but I’m glad every day that they did.  Without him being there to listen and go through that moment with me, I would not have realized how personal running is for me nor would I have been able to feel the full power of its effects. I appreciate that, and him, more than he will ever know.

What was your running breakthrough? What kind of ‘epiphanies’ do YOU have when you’re out on the trail?

Photo courtesy of Jenna Clark, Creatrix Photography

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