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!