PLEASE JOIN ME at the Zelle section of Runner’s World this week for my piece on triumph, motherhood, and running!
At top: Lauren Edwards of Run Salt Run crossing the finish line of her first marathon.
We’ve had a very strange six months or so in the Boston area. First there was the historic Snowmageddon winter, then it got nice for like two days, then completely hot, then downright frigid—just a week ago I wore a coat to a Red Sox game. In June! (I was sick that week so I was probably even more susceptible to cold than usual, but it wasn’t just me: The day before that people all over the city were in coats and winter hats! This day, they’d ditched the hats, but it was still freezing.)
Anyway, I say all this to illustrate how wild it was that I went out for a run yesterday without checking my weather app. I’d had a bad start to the morning, so maybe that was why. Plus, I went out later in the morning than usual, so I was a bit off my game all the way around. The temperature felt fine when I stepped outside though, so for a change weather wasn’t on my mind. But then about 10 minutes into my run I felt dizzy and like I was going to pass out, and I realized it was extremely hot and humid. Not only that, but I was running faster than usual (thanks to a new song on my running mix). For the next mile it was a war between two voices, one on each shoulder similar to what you see sometimes in movies, only mine were focused on exercise: the lethargic sloth-y devil on one shoulder—“Oh, this is no good at all. It’s waayy too hot to run. Let’s turn around and go slather Earth Balance on that bagel that’s waiting for us”—duking it out with the drill sergeant/angel on the other—“No! We’re going to run! We’re not going to let this heat beat us! Get cracking people!” (The drill sergeant/angel is a big fan of barking out orders.)
After a few starts-and-stops, drill sergeant had her way, and then something miraculous happened: I felt like I was flying, heat and humidity be damned. I did pop into a convenience store for an ice cold bottle of water which didn’t hurt (and felt very good on my wrists and neck), but not only did I finish my run, I actually looped back to add on more to it. When I returned home—completely drenched and face beet red—I felt so happy and triumphant, literally and metaphorically miles away from where I’d been when I’d left.
Each time I go out for a run, there’s a sense of that triumph—sometimes small, such as when I go when you just don’t want to, sometimes grand-feeling, such as when I want to completely drop out of a run or race, but instead push through and surprise myself with something I didn’t even know I had inside. Running’s ability to supply a triumph is one of the many reasons I love it.
My stories of triumph are small. I’ve never had to overcome anything major to run, and I probably don’t push myself as hard as I could since I’m in it largely for the Zen. But the running world abounds with dramatic stories, and I am absolutely thrilled to have written one them for my favorite publication, Runner’s World. It’s online at Zelle, which is the new section aimed at women.
My piece focuses on Lauren Edwards, who underwent two surgeries to correct her femoral anteversion as a young girl, after which she spent most of the year immobilized in a cast from her waist to her ankles, lying prone on her “wheelbed.” Subsequently she dealt with a number of issues, both external and internal. The “you-can/no-you-can’t” voices I dealt with yesterday were nothing to compared to what she had to overcome.
Check out the story I wrote about her inspirational experience of overcoming limitations, and weigh in with your thoughts!
(By the way, there should be a couple more pieces publishing on Runner’s World soon. I’ll let you know when they do!)