My Secret Addiction

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I’ve been quiet for a couple weeks.  I guess you could say I was letting the dust settle on my last post.  I haven’t really been able to figure out what someone says after opening up their heart in such a way.  But I would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge my gratitude for the outpouring of love and encouragement I received in response to RRG: Unveiled.  The Facebook comments alone were enough to bring me to tears many times.  But additionally, the texts, hugs and personal messages from those of you sharing your own stories with me were truly overwhelming.

A little over a year ago when I started Rambling Runner Girl, I never could have imagined sharing the depths of my soul like that, but those of you who have been loyal supporters, have made it come easy.  And while the words seem small and inadequate, from the bottom of my heart, I say Thank you.

Last week while I was at work, I had an epiphany. And that was…I have an addiction.  Now, I know what you’re all thinking, which is “Um, duh, you’re addicted to running” but hear me out on this.

I guess after a post like Unveiled, it’s not terribly surprising that I’ve had several conversations about things like attitude and the troubles that come with this life.  At one point I even typed these words in a text, “There will always be problems.  The key is having joy in spite of them.”

That’s so true, isn’t it?  Most of the time, life is about getting it all done, going to work, making the rounds, paying the bills, checking off the list.  There are days where the refrigerator breaks down or the service engine light comes on in the car or we spend an hour on hold with Anthem to find out that they are changing our health insurance plan because of Obamacare.  Sometimes the little things can make it feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders and we aren’t sure how we’re going to get out from under it.  But we fight through it all, and eventually we step outside on that first spring-like day after suffering through the Polar Vortex, then we close our eyes and smile as we lift our face to the sun just to feel it’s warmth.

So, at work the other day I was talking to Mike Barro.  We were discussing the fact that triathlons really are not a poor man’s sport.  There is always something more to buy, especially with cycling.  A new bike.  Specialized parts.  Cycling shoes.  A helmet.  An aero helmet.  Apparel.  Accessories.  The list is endless.  And even once we acquire the necessities at the very least, there is maintenance. And repairs.  And race entry fees, should we choose to be competitive.

I am the exception to that rule.  While triathletes seem to hemorrhage money sometimes, I am not capable of doing that on a single mom budget.  That’s why finally, this week, I am considering replacing the helmet that I’ve been using since college.  Do the math, yes, it’s been a long time.  That is also why I’ve considered that I may be going to Arizona in November with a road bike instead of a tri bike.  It’s not ideal, but I’ve suffered worse inadequacies before.  (Is there anyone out there who wants to buy me a bike?  Anyone? Anyone? No?) I don’t exactly fit the mold here.  But when have I ever fit any kind of mold?  I don’t.

So as Mike and I were talking, I was explaining that while the timing of getting into triathlons was somewhat off financially, it was so right in terms of so many other things.  Triathlons came along at a time that I had many uncertainties in my life.  I was about to be a single parent.  I was going to be a single home owner.  I had just gone back to work after several years of being a stay at home mom.  I was stepping out of my comfort zone on many levels.  So why wouldn’t I step out of my running comfort zone too?  Tackling challenges makes me happy.  Facing fears makes me happy.  Crossing a finish line makes me happy.  Proving something to myself makes me happy. And just knowing I had the courage to try, makes me happy.

While I was running on Saturday, my longest run this year, a whole 6 miles, a song came on my ipod.  The words were…”It’s like the sun is shining when the rain is pouring down, it’s like my soul is flying though my feet are on the ground.”  And yeah, when I’m running, it’s like that.  If I’m having a bad day, running helps me escape that for a little while and reminds me that it will be ok.  If I’m having a good day, running just makes it that much better.

My addiction isn’t about triathlons.  It’s not even about running.  My addiction may in some part be about the endorphins that surge through me after a solid workout.  And I do love a good “runner’s high”. But mostly, I’m addicted to joy.  Simple as that.

My friend Diana said to me last week that she thinks for a lot of people, it’s easier to be sad, or grumpy, or angry, than it is to be happy.  And while I have my bad days where I am in a funk, I know that is definitely not the case for me.  I find it so much easier to just be happy.  Even in the face of adversity, I will choose to grin and bear it, both literally and figuratively.  My addiction is joy.

In the words of Buddy the Elf, “I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite”.

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