I used to tell my husband that when he said, “I’m sorry, but…..” that he wasn’t really sorry.
I volunteered at a race this weekend and all day I kept thinking…
OMG this is so fun, but……
It was fun. It was super satisfying and I got to spend the day with tons of my favorite running friends! We stood in the pouring rain handing out water and Gatorade, screaming our lungs out, dancing, laughing, and commiserating. And multiple times I said that I was so happy I didn’t have to run in this weather.
The more I do it the more I realize that volunteering should be mandatory for runners that do races. It helps to see the other side of a race. To feel the exhaustion of tired legs and sore throats and not have run a step. As a volunteer you get to celebrate every runner’s race, which is overwhelmingly powerful. I’ve hugged crying runners, I’ve taken pictures of runners, I’ve helped untie shoes, given an arm for stability, held up a towel for a little privacy during a clothing change, and I think that all of these things make me a better runner and to be slightly dramatic, maybe a better person? Giving your whole day (or sometimes multiple days) to someone else’s success makes you look at thing a little differently.
And I felt all those things and then some and it was amazing and powerful and FUN……
I couldn’t help but wonder, when will I be able to do this again? WILL I be able to do this again?
I finally got a diagnosis for what had been making me feel like I had no control over me for the first half of the year about four months ago. Since my doctor figured out what was going on and we came up with a plan, I’ve felt LOADS better. Which is fantastic, right? YES!
I’m running a little at a 135 heart rate. Do you know what that equates to? Walking with a couple feet of running mixed in. I can go above a 135 heart rate if I walk up a hill. It’s slow going, for sure, but most days I don’t hurt and my body reacts well to it, but…. It’s infuriating. I’m a slow runner without heart rate rules, now I get to add about a minute plus to each mile. So, I can run, but not the way I want to. I can run, but I can’t run the distance I want to. I can run, but I can’t even think about a race.
Sure, I could do a 5k, but I don’t like them (they are so HARD). What I WANT to run is distances of marathon and longer and I have no idea when that will be a safe thing for me to do, or even worse, IF it will be a safe thing for me to do. Even now, with my current crawling pace, I have days where something is off and some symptoms flare up and I have to take a few days off of everything. And that’s low mileage and low heart rate.
I’m grateful for the runs I have, I truly am, because in the end, I love to run. I like races too, but if I had to give up running and only run on race day or give up races, I would totally choose to give up races because I just love to run.
But....I miss races more than I realized. I miss that feeling of exhaustion after a race. I miss planning for Spring racing season in October because my Fall racing season is almost over. I miss taper dreams and wondering what I will wear on race day. I miss looking at horrible race pictures. I miss seeing a finisher medal that I threw on the kitchen island from a race I did a few weeks ago.
I’m also grateful that I get to share in other people’s victory. I’m grateful that I might be able to help them in some small way. And I grateful that I am still able to run.
So maybe it’s just two different thoughts on the same topic.
I had such an incredibly, amazing, super fun time volunteering this weekend!
I miss doing races and knowing that my body can handle doing races. And I'm terrified and sad that i may not be able to do them in the future.