Focus. Run. Cry later.

I never realized how much our emotions can affect our bodies and physical performance. I’ve read a lot about it, but I never really stopped to think that it could apply to me.

Over the Easter holidays, we visited my father-in-law. It was so good to see him, as we hadn’t seen him in a while. We watched TV together. We spent time together.  And we did it for three beautiful days.  On Easter Sunday we left to come home. And without warning, he passed away on Tuesday morning.

When we found out on that fateful morning, we were in shock. How could this be? We had just seen him. Was there something that we could have done to prevent this? Was there something that we should have done? Maybe we shouldn’t have left him to come home. Lots of “would of”, “should of” and “could have’s”.

The doctor said that there was nothing that we could have done. Yet, the feelings of guilt and doubt swirled around us.

His funeral was on Friday this past week.  We cried. We mourned.

We’re still in mourning.  The worst has been for my husband. The feeling of emptiness. Of such sadness. It’s so heavy. Like a deep black hole.

I’m not in the mood to run

On some crazy whim last weekend, I had signed myself up to run Sentrumsløpet. Don’t ask me why. I wasn’t very prepared or trained to run 10K. I guess I must have really wanted the shirt.

I thought that I would be OK to run. It never crossed my mind that my emotions would be in a whirl.

But, when  I woke up on Saturday morning, I just didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel light or happy or excited for the race. Quite the opposite.

I went through all the motions of preparing for the race. I continued to fuel throughout the day. I got dressed. I drove to the city with my friends and waited…all the while wanting to cry, but not.

Then, as I as standing in line waiting for my group to go, all I could think about was that I didn’t want to run this race. I just wanted to sit on the curb and bawl my face off.

The only person I thought of telling how I felt was my sister. So I sent her a quick text message as I was waiting.  I thought she would feel pity for me. She didn’t.

You came here to run. So run.

This was a hard race for me. It took me 20 minutes of the race to warm up my legs. They felt like lead.

My head wasn’t in the right place. I kept thinking about the other runners. How there were so many of them. How they were so much faster than I was. How tired I was. I paid a lot more attention to what was going on on the outside than what was on the inside.

By the third kilometer, I could feel like I wanted to give up already. My breathing was so hard and my legs were really tired.

Then, I would hear my sister’s “voice” in my head — “You came here to run. Cry later.”

And that kept me going for a while.

Until another kilometer went by and my thoughts would start to wander again to my feelings of sadness and wanting to cry.

And then I would hear, “You came here to run. Cry later.”

I’d say that this went on for the first 5-6 km. And then something changed in me.

At the 7th kilometer (which was almost my undoing last year), I heard myself say to myself – “You came here to run. Run.”

And so I did.

This became my mantra for the rest of the race. It’s what kept me going when I wanted to give up. It’s what gave me the strength to sprint to the finish.

I completed the race in 1:05:40. Almost one minute faster than last year.   A new personal record.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m pretty proud of myself for setting a new PR, even in these circumstances. I may not have trained a lot for the race, but I think I went through something much harder than physical training. I had fight through the emotions and get through to the finish. I guess that’s  another kind of strength and focus.

Finishing the race hasn’t changed how I feel. I’m still sad. The urge to bawl my face off isn’t as deep, but the sadness is still there. And as much as I hate it, it’ll probably be there for a while.

One thought on “Focus. Run. Cry later.

  1. Sandy says:

    What a touching story! It made me tear up. I didn’t know my words could have such an effect on others. I’m sooo glad that you were able to finish the race… and you set a new PR!! Woohoo! I love you lots!

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