Friday, October 19, 2018

A1A After All

Awhile back, I wrote about looking for a comeback half marathon. I was thinking about the Space Coast or Miami, but neither really excited me. My heart had been set on A1A, because (as habitual readers will know) I've run that race every year for my birthday for the last four years.

The first year, my sister surprised me at the finish line, my cheer-squad wore birthday hats, and I met Kristina.
Year two, I earned my marathon PR. Year three, I ran the half marathon with Elizabeth; it was my last race pre-diagnosis and surgery.
Year four, the A1A 5k was my first race back post-surgery, and the idea of running it for the fifth time as my first half back felt like it would be perfect closure on a tough year.
February 2018
I wrote that I was going to have to miss A1A in 2019, but I didn't share how utterly heartbroken I was over it. Elizabeth can attest to my ranting over it, and Matt can attest to the tears. I even whined to Kristina about it - she was very helpful in talking out other half marathon possibilities. The bottom line was, we had other obligations set for February 2019 that were important and impossible to miss, so I had to be a grown up and break my birthday tradition.
People kept tagging me on posts about the medals this year - A1A is known for its medals - and I would immediately publicly wallow about missing out on THE BEST MEDAL EVER.

Since then, I haven't felt like finding a half marathon. I've enjoyed running at my own pace and without a plan. I decided if no race really excited me, then I wouldn't run one. On Monday evening, I did an easy two miler and reflected on the fact that I just didn't want to push beyond two miles, and because there wasn't a plan to follow that said I had to, I didn't go farther. I felt at peace with that decision.

Then, everything changed.

I texted Matt early Tuesday afternoon to find out if I had to take February 15 off of work for our plans. He responded with quite a surprise: the plans were being rescheduled and my birthday weekend was open once more.

My reaction was very mature and sedate:
After calling Matt and having the shortest discussion ever (Him: Can you train for it in time? Me: UH YEAH Him: Okay) I booked the race immediately and told Elizabeth, who shared in my celebration. I messaged Kristina,  too. Suddenly, I was filled with longing to run a race. No, not just a race. This race. And with that longing came an immediate desire to train. To build my mileage. To have a plan.
I knew I was upset to be missing A1A, but I hadn't realized that not having a race to be excited for was really putting me in a running rut. I'm past running for medals, but the tradition and celebration of A1A means so much to me, and I am suddenly filled with anticipation and pure joy.

I am going to train for a half marathon! I am going to run my favorite race! I am going to celebrate my birthday in my favorite way!

I. Can't. Wait!


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Dear Dr. G

Dear Dr. G -

This time last year, you performed bilateral fasciotomies on my lower legs to relieve my chronic exertional compartment syndrome. Before coming to you, I saw two doctors. The first seemed clueless and unmotivated to solve the medical mystery of the tightness and pain my calves. The second told me to give up on running, telling me that women always regret the scars from corrective surgery.

Words cannot express the gratitude I have for you and your team. It meant so much to me that you listened when I explained my symptoms, that you were eager to treat me, and that your vision for my longterm recovery was the same as my own. You never tried to talk me out of surgery. You never suggested that my passion for my sport mattered less to me than few cosmetic abnormalities would. Your goal to was help me run again.

These days, I am running again. The fact that I am seeing my old paces and distances just one year post-surgery is astounding, especially because I spent such a long time sidelined before I met you.

I am not a competitive runner. Maybe that's why other doctors weren't pressed to get me on my feet. But I use running to manage my anxiety and depression. Running is the only form of exercise I have ever enjoyed, so it is the only one that I have stuck with. When I can't run, my mental and emotional health suffers.

There were times last year when I thought I'd never run again. That was devastating. When I say you gave me my life back when you treated my legs, I really mean it. I cannot thank you enough.

Thank you. Sincerely.