Yesterday was National Running Day. Now, to someone like me, who is used to running most days, you wouldn’t think that would be very significant, other than the opportunity to celebrate what I love. But yesterday was different. Having not run at all in almost 3 weeks since a marathon, followed by a lengthy stay at the Mercy spa, it was definitely something to embrace.
This recovery process has been longer and slower than I expected which leaves me feeling a little frustrated. I’d say I’m back to about 85-90%. I’m feeling mostly like myself again. But that last 10-15% is the fatigue that is hanging on, reminding me to let my body rest. I’m falling asleep a lot earlier than usual, frequently taking mid-day naps when time allows, and even simple things, like a few hours at school, a short shift at work or making dinner, can leave me feeling wiped out.
I’m taking things as easy as I can, ordering pizza when necessary and not scheduling any activities that would be considered “over doing it”. But yesterday, I needed to make a comeback. It wasn’t much, but it was something.
After I dropped Ethan off at a friend’s house so they could go off to the Cardinals game, Silas and I were hanging out on the back porch while Ally was upstairs in her room packing for their trip to Chicago this weekend with their dad. On the way home from dropping Ethan, Silas had spotted a garage sale and since he had $5 burning a hole in his pocket, he insisted we stop. He found a table hockey game, some Legos (like we really need MORE???) and a “decorate your own football”. So we were sitting out on the porch, painting a football…arts and crafts mixed with athletics, perfect.
I said, “Hey Silas, it’s National Running Day. Want to go around the lake with me?”
“Yes, ok. Can I ride my scooter?”
While this seemed mildly like defeating the purpose to me, I agreed since I think the bigger idea is really just about getting out and doing something active. Also, since Silas struggles with asthma, running can be tough for him.
So I changed into running clothes, Silas grabbed his scooter and we went down to the backyard where we got on the path.
“I’m going to beat you!” Silas teased. I smiled.
Yes, I’m sure you will today, Little Buddy.
And we were off. Slowly. At first, running felt almost foreign. I wasn’t sure how fast or slow to even go. But after a few steps, just like riding a bike, it came back. About a tenth of a mile from the house, we came to the bridge. We stopped just before and I pointed out some baby ducks near the water’s edge. As we crossed the bridge, I noticed something perched on a log. As we got around to the other side, Silas and I stopped to check it out. Upon inspection, we realized it was a bird, but one we didn’t recognize.
“We can look it up in one of Ethan’s bird books when we get home,” Silas said as he took off again.
But we stopped almost immediately when we saw several turtles sunning themselves, it looked like a mom and 2 kids. And some were swimming nearby. We, of course, had to count them all.
Then we continued on our way. But the rest of the journey was much like that, go and stop. We saw more baby ducks and a really big turtle. We got to the lighthouse and headed up the hill. We rounded the corner at the clubhouse and started back down the hill.
“Can we go to the dock?” Silas asked.
Just before we got there, Silas called me back to look at something. “What is it?” he asked.
“It’s a dead squirrel. You can look but don’t touch it.” I said firmly, knowing how his mind works.
And then Silas ditched his scooter on the grass and walked out onto the dock. We watched a tiny little turtle scoot off a log and plop into the water. We watched a mama duck and her babies swim by. We were enjoying being out on the dock. Just a few months ago, it wasn’t even floating. You see, less than a year after I moved into this house, all the water from the lake drained into the Missouri caverns below. It had happened a couple times before, but they thought the problem had been remedied. Unfortunately though, I’ve spent the better part of my 3 years here, staring at a mud pit, rather than the pretty lake I saw when I moved in. It’s good to have our scenery back.
Silas grabbed his scooter and I walked up the hill to get back on the path. “Let’s take the short cut!” Silas yelled as he zipped past me down the hill.
“Which way is the short cut?” I asked confused since there is only one path.
He used the driveway. I guess that’s the short cut?
We continued on, at one point waiting for the geese to clear the path so we could go by. Past a barking puppy. More baby ducks. And back around to the other side, our side, of the lake. And then we were home.
I stopped my Garmin. (Yes, of course I wore it.) We had gone not quite a mile and a half, averaging about an 11:30/mile pace. For someone who is used to running 26 at an 8:30-45 minute pace that could seem less than successful. But the truth is it didn’t matter. I ran. It felt good. It was slow, but I took it all in. I was with my little buddy. And if that isn’t what National Running Day is all about then I don’t know what is.
That little 1.5 mile run was so symbolic of life, the cycles we go through. Sometimes we run, sometimes we walk, sometimes we have to stop and catch our breath. Sometimes the scenery is beautiful, sometimes we are curious and need to take a closer look, sometimes we see things that we really didn’t want to see. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it’s a world of frustration. But eventually, it all comes back around.
There is another cycle in my life that is coming to a close. And while I know that it’s a really good thing for me, it’s still hard and I have VERY mixed emotions about it.
Exactly 4 years ago this week, I walked into Fleet Feet in Chesterfield valley, for my very first shift. I was excited about what might lie ahead, but I was nervous about everything I had to learn. I immediately felt right at home with great people, who have become amazing friends, like Faith, Pam and Jess, who I’m pretty sure were all there that first day.
When I look back on everything that Fleet Feet St. Louis has been to me over the past four years, it is so much more than “just a job”. Fleet Feet gave me purpose at a time that I needed something to hold on to, and it reignited my passion for life. Fleet Feet has given me the opportunity to learn and grow, and has reestablished my confidence to a level I never expected. After almost 10 years as a stay at home mom, Fleet Feet gave me a chance. When I moved from Chesterfield to help get the Town and Country store in SBR up and running, it was both a learning experience and what felt like a reward for my efforts. Most importantly though, Fleet Feet has given me a community. The relationships that I’ve formed are extraordinary. Friends who are like family.
And that is what makes it so hard to say goodbye.
At the end of June, my time at Fleet Feet will come to an end. I’m going to spend some time this summer enjoying my kiddos and my life, before school really kicks into gear in August. The last couple months have been tough being a hero…school, work, kids, marathons. I’ve proven I CAN do it all, but in doing so, I ran myself right into the hospital. It’s time to take a step back and remember what matters.
It’s time to refocus and reestablish some balance. Change is hard. But it’s time to let go…
This part of my journey is complete, but I’m excited to see where the next 4 years go. It’s the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. And while I’m saying goodbye, I’m not going far. You’ll all still be able to find me on the streets and trails and race courses of the Lou. I’ll be easy to spot. I’ll be the one wearing Fleet Feet red.