Just be happy, it’s not that hard

A month or so ago I read a post by Joanne that got me thinking. She had toured a graveyard and taken a few photos of captivating headstones. I use the word captivating because they did captivate, engross and enthral as I read them. The one that stood out was one that had minimal details. The deceased’s name, the year they were born and the year that they died along with this statement:

Just be happy, it’s not that hard

I didn’t even comment on this post. I didn’t know what to say. It entered my mind and has stayed there. I’ve thought about it off and on (more on than off) since I first read it. Just be happy, it’s not that hard. True and false all at the same time.

I got into running because of marrying my runner husband Paul. I didn’t want to be the wife on the sidelines. I hated waiting at the best of times. We are both busy. I didn’t want him to be involved in something that I could only spectate in. So I donned my old sandshoes and tried to run up the driveway. I tried and I tried and I tried. What stands out in this transformation from non-runner to runner is that I finished. I didn’t quit. I did indeed become a runner (and no one is more surprised about this than me). Many training runs and fun runs of all distances later, I find myself writing to you as a non-runner.

My knee is not getting very much better so I have made the call to completely rest it (Friday’s run had to be aborted after only a few kms). This decision has come with a huge cycle of grief. Running has become my thing. My identity. My friend. My time out from all the farm rubbish. It links me with friends both here and through the blogosphere. Without running I am lost.

Right now Paul and I are facing uncertainty. We’ve been facing it fully since October 2015 but in truth it’s been tough and getting progressively tougher since the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2008. We are facing not being dairy farmers anymore which brings with it so many negative emotions. It’s really hard to be happy when we might have to move but we don’t know when and we don’t know where. We don’t know how much we will have to move with either. So much uncertainty. So much anxiety.  If we aren’t dairy farmers who will we be?  It forms so much of our identity.  It’s our home, our job, our way of being.

Running was my out. Running was the thing that we could talk about with a sense of happiness, anticipation, achievement and success. Dear Reader I am being 100% honest with you when I say that the only person I want to impress with my running is me. I don’t care one iota if I come last. I don’t care about PBs. I run to go the distance and to finish.

And now I can’t run. Being happy is hard. Telling myself all the usual things like I’m not gravely ill and I’m not starving and the sun comes up every day and there are people that love me just glosses over the surface, they bounce off the double bricked layer of pity I have encased myself in.

That was until today.

Last night I had a glimmer of hope. After releasing and stretching my right ITB and having three lots of anti-inflammatories during the day I got a glimmer of hope. No pain. Today I’ve done all of the above but no drugs and guess what? Pain. That glimmer was enough for me to give myself a slapping. So what if I can’t run Bruny Island Ultra this year. It will be there next year and if they cancel the event the road isn’t going to disappear is it? I can go down there with Pauly when I’m better and run that dam course myself. Wanting to run this event has become more than the event; it’s become about the distance and the location and just wanting to run. And let’s face it, I’m in excellent company when it comes to having to change plans due to the body not performing as it should. The Lovely Joanne who has got me mulling over happiness, suffered a cycling accident and had to cancel long cherished plans to go on an overseas cycling tour. I cried when I read her post telling her readers of this.

And I have cried for myself. I’m devastated, upset, angry, sad and so jolly mad. I’m a slow runner for goodness sake. I was helping my husband feed calves when I hurt my knee. It’s not dam fair. But it happened. If it was up to me I’d withdraw from Bruny now to take the pressure off myself. Pauly won’t let me. He says I’ll come right and while I don’t believe him he has the annoying trait of always being right! He is like a cat who falls on his feet. Even with all the uncertainties of dairy farming in Australia by rights we should have lost the battle several years ago but we are still here! We are still fighting, admittedly the ammunition is running low but we’re not gone yet. The Fat Lady hasn’t sung, in fact I suspect that the Fat Lady has become a runner, slimmed down and has been too busy to sing. Keep running Lady, we don’t want to leave the farm!

Just be happy, it’s not that hard.

Well it is hard right now without my friend running to help with the stress and anxiety. There is also pride in all this. I said I was going to run Bruny and I want to keep my word to myself.

Here is the plan.

I’m going to keep swimming and using the elliptical. Keep up with my osteo and remedial massage treatments. He can poke in as many needles as he likes! (I’m so mad I won’t feel the pain). There are 10 weeks to go and I’m just as fit as ever I was. However if I haven’t managed to run pain-free in two weeks’ time I will withdraw.

Here is what I’m happy about right now. I’m happy that I just had a wonderful weekend in Victoria with my two daughters, I’m so happy and humbled that blondie daughter and her boyfriend insisted on shouting me over. I’m so happy to be married to my best friend who buoys me up and believes in me and hopes the best for me. I’m really happy to have a gym buddy in Janette who knows more than anybody what it’s like not to be able to run. I’m going to be happy to see Louie run Bruny even if I don’t. I’m invested in her running career because I feel like I’ve played a major part in her becoming a distance runner and will be over the moon to see her finish at the lighthouse on Saturday 3rd of December, 10 weeks away.

Just be happy, it’s not that hard. No it’s not. Be happy. There is always something to be happy about even if it doesn’t involved putting one foot in front of the other in running steps.

Happy running, walking, swimming, cycling, weight lifting, yoga-ing. Happy being you!


36 thoughts on “Just be happy, it’s not that hard

  1. Love this post. It can be so incredibly hard to live with the uncertainties of owning your own business. Yet it gets done… day after day…
    The motto boils it down. Hope the knee heals up quickly and you keep enjoying everything you have!

  2. )))hugs((( Oh AnnieBabes *sniff*
    i hear you… please don’t be disheartened… just keep being positive, hold onto that Annietude and just look after yourself… You will get through this, the difficult times test our resilience and sometimes to breaking point. Don’t panic about your injury, let it heal and heal well and that will see you running again, soon.
    I have such a bad back at the mo, god know what i did, i had to take the lift one floor up this morning to me desk, because i just couldn’t walk the stairs, the drive to work saw me in tears… i haven’t run for two weeks… i sat here sobbing this morning just wanting to be home, in bed, sleeping the time away so that when i woke up it was all gone, and things were better…
    Instead, i cleared my email, replied to what i could and then logged into WP so see what all of you were up to…
    YOU give me courage… YOUR posts make me smile… YOUR ANNITUDE is infectious… )))hugs(((
    You will get through this stronger, wiser and you will KICK Bruny’s butt XXX

    1. Thank you CJ x I’m so sorry to hear that you are battling. You give me strength right back. Thank you so much for your encouragement and belief. I really hope your back gets better very quickly. We shall hang in there and heal together xxx

  3. Your blog really resonates with me Anne-Marie. You are such a wonderfully positive person and role model. I’m sending big hugs.❤️

  4. I’m so sad for my dear friend Dewey 😥But I know your a fighter and a marathoner and we will be running Bruny together and we will be finishing 😀 You knee will get better and every things going to be ok. We will change our plan and do what ever it takes. For now resting is a very good idea and staying positive. All my ❤️ Louie

  5. ))hugs((( )))hugs((( )))hugs(((

    What an amazing friend you have… you will ROCK Annie, here is to healing fast and good… and happy runs with your lovely Louie and Huey! xxx

    i wrote a longer comment, but it seems its not posted…

  6. I’m not going to lecture you about perspective, you are beating yourself up enough as it is, but the same determination that got you this far will see you through this also. I hate to read the despair in your words and wish for you a bright future, one you can’t see right now, xx

  7. Annie I’ve had some tears and chuckles reading your post. I hung on every word. It’s such a bummer that your knee isn’t cooperating. I think it is fine to be sad about that. I think you are doing a great job in seeing the possibilities of what a different finish could look like. You may still do Bruny this year, or maybe it will be next. Listening to your body will be the key.

    The ultimate test of a dedicated runner like yourself. Harder than any race previously. Having to ‘run’ on the sidelines for the better of the long term goal. Perhaps framing the recovery as a race unto itself. “I finished the grueling 2016 rehab epic and came across the finish line!” Recovery takes a lot of work and its not for the faint of heart. A lot of time energy and dedication without a medal at the end. Just the knowledge of the inner will, grit and determination it took to do it. I know you have it in you.

    Sending huge hugs from one of your biggest fans. I’ll be waving the pom poms whether you are running Bruny or ‘running’ to recovery. Xoxo

    1. I imagined you cheering I did my stretches this morning. Made me giggle! That is an excellent way to put things and so positive. Thanks Sue. I appreciate your support and friendship. And of course the hugs, they are wonderful x Thank you so much x

  8. omg Annie. This is one of those times I wish there was a *love* button in WP. I’d be banging away on it ❤

    It's funny, but I've had the same expression stuck in my head for a while. I've tried to make it my new mantra because there is so much sh*t I can't control … except my attitude. Next Tuesday our flights leave for Thailand and I won't be on it. I've been obsessing about it and my own feelings of disappointment, frustration, and anger echo your's.

    I agree with Pauly. I think you're going to make it to Bruny. You have a strong running base and you're maintaining your fitness during this recovery stage. Trust your training. In fact, you may find on race day you'll be practically ready to jump out of your skin with pent-up energy.

    … but I know how hard it is right now for you … I cheering for you ❤

    1. I just want to pop over and have a cup of tea with you and give you a big old hug. Your post has helped me so much (pre-knee about farm stuff, post-knee everything!). I keep thinking about happiness and what it is and it really isn’t that hard to be happy. Thank you Joanne for your wonderful writing and wonderful perspective on things. When I started this blog it was to tell my story and to encourage others but what I’ve found is a wonderful tribe of souls who give me more than I could ever give. Thank you x And next Tuesday I hope you have something really awesome planned!

  9. Oh Annie, you made me cry with your post. I know it’s been hard for you lately and now your knee problems on top of it all. You sound determined so that’s good, but I know how hard it is at times. You deserve so much more. Hugs coming your way. xx

  10. I am so hoping that ‘glimmer’ grows. So understand how you feel. Like you say Brumy ultra will be there another year, first of all get better! X big hugs

    1. Thanks Shaz x that glimmer comes and goes and then the next thing I feel is the big thorn in the side of my knee. It’s so frustrating. Oh well. It will come right eventually. Thanks for the big hugs x

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