Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Putting My Nose Back in Joint

. . .being so mad that I start crying
no pay off for all my trying
to do it right to never fail
wishing for some fairy tale

nobody said it would be fair
they warned you before you went out there
there’s always a chance to get restarted
to a new world new life
scarred but smarter

but when my life it turns all around
jobs and things to do that I’ve found
I think how foolish I must have looked
to think I could be down for good

nobody said it would be fair
but in the end I think it is
karma justice
whatever you call it
it’s really there – keep looking for it

nobody said it would be fair
they warned you before you went out there
there’s always a chance to get restarted
to a new world
new life
scarred but smarter

Scarred But Smarter by Drivin' N' Cryin'

I have gotten over myself.

Sometimes I just forget things.

Like what is important.

Sorry. . .

I forget that 19 years ago as I lay in my hospital bed recovering from the surgery that had repaired my broken pelvis. Dr. Sabrin, my orthopedist, told me the surgery had been a success. He proudly told me that I would be able to have children, though there might be complications, he qualified. And that I would definitely walk, and again he qualified "though probably with a limp." As an afterthought he added, you might have to use a cane, but optimistically added, "probably not."

He yammered on about how gymnastics was definitely out forever--too much impact, he concluded. And went on to talk about other stuff I probably couldn't do but being of short attention span and doped up on tons of morphine I wasn't listening anyway. Quite honestly, I really hadn't been too worried about any of it; it wasn't like I had been great gymnast and at 18 I certainly didn't have babies on my mind but I think now, wouldn't he be surprised that not only do I not walk with a limp or need a cane but that I run marathons.

I forget that a little over 10 years ago I couldn't even run a mile in its entirety.

I forget that after a month of "running" 6 days a week for nearly an hour I finally ran 6 straight miles without stopping.

It took me an hour.

And I forget, how after the first I time I ran 6 miles, I thought I might die afterwards.

I forget how I ran for months in an old pair of my mom's running shoes and had horrible shin splints that made it so I could only walk some days.

I forget about how I went out one day in August when I was between shifts at 3 Dollar Cafe to run 4 miles. It was 98 degrees and I got chills and threw up and barely made it back to my apartment.

I forget that I was too dumb to know I was close to having a heat stroke and went to work anyway.

I forget that 10 years ago this November, 6 months after I started running, I toed the line of my first race ever: The Atlanta Half Marathon. I forget that I wore cotton spandex Capri's and a cotton sports bra and a cotton long sleeve t-shirt. I forget that the longest I had ever run before that day was a little over 7 miles.

I forget that a month before I had sprained my ankle and had to quit running for two straight weeks.

I forget that in the 4th mile of the half marathon, in the middle of Buckhead, that I tripped and fell flat on my face. Road rash and everything. Two men scooped me up a second before I got trampled.

I forget that I didn't use any of the aid stations as I wasn't entirely sure that I was allowed. And I forget that it would be another 7 years before I knew anything about Gu, Cliff Shots, or Gatorade.

I forget that I made it to mile 11 before I needed to walk. I do remember that it took me a little over 2 hours to complete the race but I forget how I was just so happy to have finished and was excited to do it again next year.

I forget that for many years the only race I did was the Atlanta Half marathon and that I "trained" all year for it. And by trained I mean I ran 30 miles every week. Some weeks it took me 4 days, some days it took me 7 days but I ran 30 miles every week. No more, no less. And definitely no speed work.

I forget so many things that have led me to be the runner I am today and I think along the way I forget to reflect and be grateful. So I apologize if this is all so boring, this jog down a road already taken but lately I think it would serve me well to remember.

To remember how hard it was to run right after I had Carmella because I forget that I didn't run at all for 5 straight months because of complications from my pregnancy.

I forget that I gained nearly 60lbs and how much it hurt--mentally and physically-to have that much extra unnecessary weight on my frame.

I forget just how hard it was to start back running 3 weeks after I had Carmella. I forget how much my knees hurt and how every single run was painful and that a lot of times I cried because I thought I would never be fit again.

I forget that I ran the Possum Trot, my first ever 10k and that it took me over an hour and how a man made fun of me because I was doing the walk/run shuffle during the race.

I forget that I kept at it because I had faith that somehow I might lose the weight and look like myself and most importantly I might get my fitness back.

I forget that I was hopeful but really, I didn't know if I could do it.

I forget that while it was hard for me in the beginning that I have been really lucky these past 5 years. I won't say it has been easy but compared to ten years ago the last 5 have been easy and I have been lucky to be able to train and push myself. So I just want to apologize for my negativity about my efforts at the South Carolina half iron man. I also want to say to those starting out that it is always the hardest in the beginning and we have all been there--though some of us forget. It is important to remember that like anything; the more you do it, the easier it gets. Sometimes it just takes awhile. But truly, being consistent and patient, those are the keys.

I forget about the patient part too often. I get ahead of myself. I have too many visions of grandeur. I forget about the struggle, the failures, the just getting there part that is always on the "road to success".

And I do think it is fair to have high expectations and to continue to dream big and challenge yourself but I think it is important to keep firmly right in your line of sight exactly where it is you started from so you never quit being grateful.

And I think, I stopped being grateful--or at least maybe it seemed that way and I deeply apologize.

Because above all else, I am truly grateful and feel really lucky that I have the ability to run, to bike, to swim--- that I am actually physically able to do it.

And that, well that is what is paramount.

And that, that is what I need to remember.


  1. That makes me feel guilty for bitching about my race last weekend. It was just one year in May that I started running after breaking my leg, and I remember thinking "If I can just compete in a triathlon again I will never complain about the pain." I still deal with the pain every single day of my life, just don't complain about it. But I fail to realize that I have made HUGE improvements after my injury! Thanks for helping to keep things in perspective!

  2. Wonderful post. Thanks for giving me hope that if I ever get this weight off, i might actually be a decent runner.

  3. Well finally! You're beginning to sound like you haven't lost your mind! Remembering is a good thing, without it there's no perspective. Look how far you've come!!!! Great job on your life so far Nat. Love, Lala

  4. Best. Post. Ever.

  5. Nat,
    I've been reading your blog for a little over a year. I *think* I found you on a RW forum, but I'm not entirely sure. I was training for my first marathon last year, when lo and behold, I had an injury and had to run "only" the half. It's easy to forget how far we've come.
    I'm now trainging for the marathon again and I think I'll make it this year. Your blog serves as an inspiration to me. I'm running 9:30 - 9:45 miles and I hope to someday progress to the level you have.
    I understand your disappointment, but believe me, you've been a huge motivator for me.
    Keep it up!

  6. Thanks so much for that Nat. This helps me a ton, I have my first half-marathon next weekend and i get so frustrated with myself sometimes. So it helps to hear where you started out!
    You're an inspiration!


  7. You don't have to apologize. I think we all forget our humble beginnings in all aspects of our lives. You're still such an inspiration, and you lead by example.

    Although, I must say that the "training" for a half that you described, and running 30 MPW with almost no speedwork pretty much Ouch! Here I was thinking that I'd made it! LOL! :)

  8. Great Post Ms Natalie!

    Congratulations on a successful 10 years!

    Gives me hope looking back and looking forward! ;-)

  9. Great post- its always amazing when you stop and remember once in a while.