Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cracks in the Road

   Another year is winding down and soon the snow and freezing temperatures will have a tight grip on this part of Ohio. November is the month where I like to take a step back and reflect on what has taken place in my life throughout the year. I have become a firm believer that taking a personal inventory gives me a better perspective and appreciation for the people, events and actions that have filled this years calendar.

    For the past four months I have felt like my life has been in a rut. That state of mind where you wake up in the morning and just go through the motions. A growing emotion of frustration as if you are at the Doctor's office waiting for your appointment but never being called. Carrying this bag of emotions as if it were a delicate vase afraid to do anything with it because I didn't want it to break.

   The days and weeks following the Columbus Marathon magnified these feelings as if they were under a high powered microscope. Heading into this race I was feeling confident and strong. I was coming off of a personal best marathon three weeks prior and I expected to break through my glass ceiling in Columbus to get one step closer to Boston. Months of training, eating right and getting up early for those long Sunday runs all exploded shortly after mile 14 of the race when a pop in my hip stopped me in my tracks.

   Quitting isn't in my DNA and although I've failed many times in my life I can honestly say I've never quit. This pain in my hip almost forced me to walk off the course, almost. I hobbled along thinking that I'll get to mile 17 and run through The Ohio State Buckeye stadium,  (one of the reasons I chose this race, GO BUCKS !!) and then pull out. Then that little voice in my head started to call me names most to vulgar to describe. Whispering in my ear to suck it up and just when I needed it the most there was someone holding a sign that read "Pain is only temporary". I pushed on and hobbled to my worst finish of the year. This marathon broke me down physically and mentally and although some would say a 3:48 is a great time for me I felt like it was my biggest failure.

  Attempting to cope with this and put it behind me was harder than training. I kept telling myself and others I was OK with it and I've moved on but that wasn't the case. Holding on to something or someone never has a good outcome but this was a piece of the puzzle that I was determined to solve. So the weeks passed by with a steady pace allowing me to find a way to accept this along with other failures mounted throughout the year.

   Doctor's orders were take two weeks off so I took one and then slowly began to log miles again. Running is where I sort out my problems. Where I'm able to have absolute clarity so two weeks seemed a little extreme at least for my mental well being. Then while out on a slow run I took a deep breath and with that exhale a weight was lifted. Even though the long shadows of a mid November afternoon were reaching far across the landscape it felt as if the sun were rising for the second time that day and in that light the cracks in the road were highlighted.

  Staring at the road on that steady slow run I kept gazing into the cracks on the surface. One by one along that eight mile jaunt they hypnotized me and when I was finished everything that had been on my mind seemed to be gone. Those cracks in the road were telling me to let go of everything. Those imperfections that make me who I am also make me strong, flexible and forgiving. Cracks in the road that quite possibly no one else will notice. Cracks in my heart and soul that have made me the man I am today and will shape who I will become tomorrow.

   Running for me is experiencing life wide open. It provides a much needed peace for my soul and a love for my heart that is difficult to put into words. Over the next mile of my life I'm sure there will be happiness, sadness, love and heartache. All that are cracks in my road but more importantly make for a beautiful place to run.