My parents aren't in perfect health, but I've always sort of considered them invincible. Well not really, but the idea of something happening to them isn't something I entertain. Worry is a useless emotion, so I try not to indulge it. My dad's surgery a few weeks ago and subsequent hospital stay has made me face the brutal reality of his mortality, and I can't say I'm amused. Despite my best effort, worry has weaseled its way into my psyche, and I don't appreciate it.
On the positive side as I've spent the better part of two weeks commuting between Michigan and West Virginia I've gotten to spend some real quality time with my parents and siblings that I wouldn't have otherwise had. It's been a blessing in disguise. In the middle of the awful there are moments of hysterical laughter. When I'm talking to my mom and starting to break down and my sister says to her husband (who is on the phone), "I've gotta go. We're getting ready to cry." It's highs and lows and that somewhat stable place in between, but it all serves to remind me of how fragile everything can be.
During my first week in West Virginia I logged some really solid miles on the Deckers Creek and Mon River Trails. Last week I ran a sluggish but solid 14-miler. It's been nearly a week, and I haven't run since. I haven't had the time or honestly the energy. Last week I got up at 3:30 am at drive to Pittsburgh for an early flight. By the time I arrived back in Lansing things had taken a turn, and my husband, son and I drove back to Pittsburgh that night. Last weekend I woke up every morning feeling hungover. It would've been more fun if it was from alcohol; instead it was from stress. I felt headachey, dehydrated and tired. Now, toward the middle of the week, I feel my stress hangover starting to subside only to know it'll kick back in again when we head south again later this week.
This stress is temporary. I have made peace with the fact that running 26.2 miles in New York will not be my best effort because I am not willing to fit it in right now (and be a mom and wife and do my job and be there for my family). It's too much, and if something suffers it's got to be running. It's also my stress reliever which makes that a challenge, but it turns out I'm human. Who knew?
In the three and a half weeks leading up to the New York Marathon I'll be logging as many miles as I can, but mostly I'll be cutting myself some slack. Life is short. I'm thinking of that a lot right now and remembering to take a minute. The things I think matter so much don't necessarily. I love running, but if I run my next marathon in five hours or four hours...who cares? I'm not an elite runner; time doesn't make or break me. I'm taking life's challenges one day at a time. Nope not even...one moment at a time. Someone said to me yesterday that the weird thing about a life crisis is that every other "problem" becomes so inconsequential in comparison. It's true. It gives you perspective you wouldn't otherwise have. If you need me I'll be focusing on keeping this zen perspective past the writing of this blog.