This day was destined to be extraordinary. I knew it before it even began. I knew it when I was chosing my clothes. I knew it when I was mentally rehearsing the pace I'd need to keep in order to PR. I knew it when I was rehearsing the phone call I'd make to tell a close friend I'd finally done it, that I'd managed an unbelievable PR in the midst of all my illnesses. And the PR would be mine - this was not a chip-timed run. It was going to be all me - today was MY day.
I snoozed till 10 of 6 because everything (and I mean everything) was laid out for me the night before: sunscreen, contacts, bandanna, sunglasses, change of clothes for yoga - everything you can imagine. By 6:45 am I was driving to the race. One last check to make sure I have everything as I drank water and listened to my favorite running tunes.
Then panic set it in. I didn't have my watch. I was going to have to time myself by subtracting from the clock the time it took me to cross the start line. I almost turned around, but I would have been late. So I kept rehearsing that PR. Even without a watch, I told myself, I will break 30 today.
Today was MY day.
First mile went by . . . . 12 minute pace. Perfect. Now I just needed to nail two 10's (or even betterm sub-10s.) But no luck . . . I crossed the finish line in 36:30 . . .for the second slowest race I ever ran. I tried not be too down -I occupied myself. I thanked the troops. I helped the Track Shack people put out watermelon for the racers. Then I hustled (I was late) to yoga. In the back of my mind, though my overall mood was positive, I kept thinking, I can't believe I didn't PR after all the physical and mental rehearsal. How am I ever going to run a marathon?
I don't know if you are familiar with College Park Yoga, but I can promise you that if you ever attend a yoga class there, it will be a mind-, body-, or life-altering experience - or all three. They take people who think yoga is light stretching and make them leave class crying. Instead of forcing you to watch them do poses, they stroll the room and force you to listen to directions. And you'd better not be looking around to see how to do it; they'll come tell you if it's wrong. Their motto is "focus on yourself, not anyone else. Focus on the moment."
Well, the moment was painful. Just like I haven't raced since I got sick, I haven't practiced yoga since I got sick. And it was harder than anything I could imagine. Harder even than the 5k. I actually had to stop several times because I was so hot and sweaty that I kept sliding off my mat and I thought I might actually throw up - it was like months of toxins were being released from my body. Theresa had to bring me a towel and every time Calvin told me to be grateful for having the moment I was given I wanted to smack him.
As we settled into our final meditation - and all of us were so sweaty that the floor was glistening - Calvin reminded us to take this last few moments and release everything. "Some people take the entire class to release whatever they've been holding onto. Some people take their entire lives. But that's ok. You need to be where you are and what you are right then." I tried to release my muscles, but I still didn't feel released. And THEN he said: "We often take our health for granted. We whine to our friends about not having the right house, cars, clothes. And when our friends say, 'But you have your health,' we say, 'Oh, psssh, my health, that's nothing.' But it is something. Be grateful for your health."
And that's when I let everything go. Tears began to stream down my face, gushing down my cheeks as I lay there, no physical or mental energy left in my body, silently weeping, thanking God that the studio was so sweaty that no one would notice. Because Calvin was right. I had taken my health for granted. It wasn't important that I hadn't PR'ed, it was important that, after months of not being able to do races or yoga because of my health, I had my health back, and strong enough to do a 5k before one of T&C's GINORMOUS classes.
I had the most beautiful experience on the way home. The ride was just too short. The sun glistening off the water, the breeze, the sounds of the cars whizzing by - it was all perfect. I had made plans with a friend and was dreaming about the pool and about eating lunch when I pulled into my driveway, truly dissapointed about losing the moment I had spent so freaking long being all right getting into. Sighing, I gathered my things and prepared myself for a walk up the stairs. And, as I reached into my purse for my house keys, my hand pulled out . . . .
It had been in my purse the whole time.
I was not meant to PR today. I wasn't even mean to time myself. I was meant to enjoy the moment. I was meant to help the volunteers. I was meant to be physically and mentally spent. To be reminded that I must have energy in order to spend it.
I was right during yoga - toxins were being released from my body. But not toxins from a few months. All of the toxins from the past four years. And now I am almost clean again on the inside, and I can go on to greater things.
This is where the hard work really begins.
Labels: WEEK 6