..because no one knows the words!
I was serious when I said that I was never taking the medal off…I wore it around for a solid week before retiring it to its display for all of eternity. It’s been pretty humbling in hindsight to realize just how many people I’ve had cheering me on–I’ve cried a lot of happy tears since we’ve been home with the messages, hugs, surprises, and conversations that have ensued.
Isn’t my office staff amazing?
In the process of learning about running, choosing a training program, researching the mechanics/methods, asking questions, learning about gear, and basically everything running, I didn’t realize there was one topic that was missing in everything that I had been reading–what happens after the race. Yes, in the dozen or so books I’ve read, handful of memoirs, and hundreds of articles and periodicals, and likely thousands of social media posts I’ve learned about recovery, stretching, nutrition, foam rolling, hydration, rest…the physical post-race things that happen minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months down the line, but none of the authors I’ve read really discuss anything past the initial rush of the finish line. I’m not sure I can even put it into words yet. It’s…just…weird…
Every moment is still absolutely crystal clear to me–every foot strike. I can still feel the absolute amazement and sheer joy (and complete exhaustion) of finishing. And the bizarre endorphin rush that followed that didn’t allow me to sleep following when I really wanted to crash. By the way, I totally forgot to mention in my last post about the high school marching band! Mile 9 had the high school marching band out there playing for the runners as we all past by, how cool was that?!
But here’s where my twisted mind comes into the mix…while I can still so crisply grasp this beautiful victory that God granted me, it almost feels like a dream. It can’t be true. It’s too good to be true. I didn’t really do it. Was it really possible? My mind can’t connect the idea that I really honestly and truly met a really big and personal goal. I just don’t get it. I am over the moon excited and thrilled–it makes me teary sitting here excited think about the event again, but there’s that other part of me that still hasn’t caught up with reality–where I am today–that I AM capable–that I HAVE done this–that I can and will do it again, and do MORE and greater things.
There’s still that part of me that sees myself as the Stephanie sitting in this same chair back on January 23, 2015, when I cried out in my pity party to God–The person that was so lazy and overweight that I didn’t care about anyone or anything or even myself. No, I have not reached the finish line of my journey (bad pun)–truly, my wellness journey is still in its infancy. Yes, I’ve lost 120lbs and have met some great goals, but I still have a lot of goals to meet, weight to lose, and life left to live. I intelligently know I am not the same person that could not walk to the end of my street and back without wanting to die, yet I can’t explain why I can’t make that sink into my thick skull. It frustrates me to the core.
This is the area where God has to take over. I don’t get to set the agenda, I’ve learned in this process when I cried out in desperation when I didn’t know what to do anymore that I needed out of the driver’s seat. My job is to follow God’s will–the goals I set are based upon His will for my life that I have earnestly sought and listened, keeping my eyes fixed on Him and growing my faith in all areas of my life. I know it really doesn’t make sense to a lot of people until they’ve put themselves in my shoes, but yes, it is an act of faith to log your food, to exercise, to seek out like-minded support–whether it be Bible study, support group, exercise group, whatever!
I believe my mind will change. Someday. It’s not mine to change–God will change my mind and heart in His time, because I’ve left it to Him. Left to my own devices I just get into trouble, I don’t need that kind of control. I’m not a patient person by nature, but I’m good in this case. I’ve seen it play out so far…I’m content it will happen, slowly but surely. It very much bothers me that I can’t do it on my own, but when I take the two seconds to remember that’s because I’m meant to rely on Someone stronger than me–that I don’t have to be my own savior–I can wait.
I’m no closer to figuring out why no one writes about the period following the post-race honeymoon, but I can tell you I understand very much now why people joke about signing up for more races…at least for me, I think I’ve felt almost a sense of mourning in the assigned recovery time on my training calendar being less active. I can see the addiction. I’ve also had some type of cold-type deal which has just made me a peach to be around (I’m cranky when I don’t feel good). I have to say, I’m pretty excited for my training program to start over again–next half marathon is January 15! I’ve got some other goals in the areas of spiritual and emotional wellness that weave into my training program this time, so let’s see where this sixteen weeks take me this time. All I know is, just as it was in Bellingham, the person that crossed the start line won’t be the same person that crosses the finish line. Game on!