Sorry to disappoint you that I won’t be busting out the John Lennon song and dance of his ever so popular ‘Imagine’ even though it is amazing. ♪
As I embark on finding a “new normal” as I am calling it, I find myself flooded with thoughts as I watch this part of my journey unravel and reveal itself to me, piece by piece. Thought processes can be scary, ESPECIALLY if you try to visit mine; Crazy Train! <insert your singing of Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne -you know you just did it; ha! ♪♪> It amazes me the tangent(s) my thoughts can take. Today, the trajectory of my thoughts was pretty enlightening and I thought I would share. It started with, “wow, I am tired and it is only noon; usually I am on my A-game with plenty of energy all.day.long! Well, Becky, ‘training’ can be tiring, duh! No, you aren’t training for a race-well, uh, maybe you are (?) it just isn’t the ‘normal’ race(s) you are used to training for? Maybe, I kinda see what you are saying BUT STILL, I shouldn’t be this tired. Could you imagine how hard this would be if I wasn’t in the ‘shape’ I am in? Geez. And for that matter, all the people that are ‘sticker on your vehicle haters’ what’s up with that? Sorry they can’t relate but -don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Just a brief snippet of a conversation and it’s tangents in my mind-this lasted all of about 2 minutes—I WARNED YOU (!!!) #scary
^^okay, so maybe that is a bit much? 🙂
This brings me to the topic of endurance athletics and finding your strong. I love my stickers. I love my medals. I love my bibs. Hence why I have saved every.single.one. Why? Because it reminds of where I started and how far I have come; and, each time I look at one/them I instantly remember the good times, the bad times, and the just straight up ugly times. So, for instance, take my 26.2 sticker on the back of my car. Friends, at mile 22 I H.U.R.T. (!!!) and didn’t want to go any further; everything hurt; I just wanted to stop and then the internal dialogue starts and says, “just quit, why the hell are you doing this anyway? And, you paid money to do this. What made you think you could run 26.2 miles? Idiot! Now look at how you feel…UGH! Just STOP already! It is hot; your stomach hurts; you need water; your feet hurt so bad you just want to take off your shoes and sit down; your stink to the high heavens, you have called your running partner every name in the book aside from her real name (Anne) and for the love of all that is Christmas related you have dried salt on your legs, arms, face and; well, you are a hot mess. Dumbass.” AND SO that’s the mental ‘wall’ that you inevitably hit in endurance athletics (at least I hit it-frequently). The first time it occurs, it is uncharted territory. The second time it occurs, you recognize what it is, but still have to gather the mental fortitude to push through it. So forth and so on…you are ‘training.’
For me, pushing through it is not easy, it is challenging, and takes strength I didn’t know I had until having that strength was my only option/hope for finishing as unscathed as possible-or hell, just finishing period. You see, you will be scathed-for sure, but the extent of the ‘fallout’ is up to you. It is during these “dark side times” that I have become stronger than I ever thought I could be. You have no other choice during the ‘dark side’ to examine your mind, examine your heart, find your ‘want to,’ pull yourself up by the bootstraps and just.take.another.step. This DIRECTLY correlates to how you handle certain situations in your “real life” outside of athletics and for those of you who don’t like my “stupid stickers” I am sorry you feel that way but the next time you see one-thank it for me, would you? Because the ‘inspiring,’ ‘motivating,’ ‘caring,’ Becky we all know thanks them, immeasurably so. When everything points to you needing to quit something, but you have the mental fortitude to check yourself, realize that the real reason you are doing this is for, say, ‘the children of St. Jude who don’t have a choice in the hand they are dealt, or the needles they are stuck with daily, or….or,'<insert charity of your choice>, or ‘I do this for me, because I deserve it, and I will finish this,’ (feel free to combine this and bundle this with reason #1 previously mentioned-it’s what I do) then my friends you win-and I’m not talking money. You win strength. You win the feeling of accomplishment. You win the feeling of greatness that no one or nothing can take away from you. And, you just put another rung on the ladder of your journey up to a better version of you and helped millions of St. Jude patients along the way-ShaZAM!
I’ll see your “Stupid Stickers“ and raise you what I like to call ‘ENOUGH ALREADY!’ We all know I Facebook too much (what? Me? GASP!). Well, this Finding a New Normal has disabled me from doing such; and, I believe this is a blessing. I do sign on these days and see posts like (exaggerating here, because I can) “Really? Seriously? FML! (I have never and will never like the saying or acronym ‘FML’ by the way) I just had to pull over my car from the middle of the Watermelon 400 race on Sam Cooper Boulevard because a hot air balloon landed right in the middle of MY lane-I AM GOING TO BE LATE FOR WORK PEOPLE; UGH!” Wow. That’s all I got.
Imagine you have to be seated or lying down 24 hours a day; Imagine when seated you roll over (because you are in a motorized power wheelchair, now) to turn the light in the bathroom off but you-just now- while trying to do this, realize that your fingers won’t go up far enough to do so-but they did yesterday; Imagine you took a shower and now you can’t dry off half of your body because your arm just won’t let you and won’t go where you brain is telling it to go; Imagine you can’t reach the soup cans in the pantry anymore because they are too deep inside the pantry-so they need to be moved so you can just get out a can of soup; Imagine when you do finally get that can of soup, you can’t reach the bowls anymore-but you can’t stand up to reach those bowls, so…?; Imagine when you can’t drive your car anymore and have to depend on someone else or someTHING else for transportation; Imagine you WERE the athlete with the “Stupid Stickers” on your car and now you can’t swim, bike or run; walk; stand up for long; your mind is sharp as a tack but your body fails you; and, have to be on the ‘dark side’ every.single.day because #ALSsucks and you don’t even get a “Stupid Sticker.” Imagine facing this without God-doable?
I thank my “Stupid Stickers;” I say “Enough Already;” And, I just CAN’T “Imagine.” I can empathize. I can sympathize. I can be there every step of the way and give 100% of my effort and ability to support Razorback Turtle-there are going to be good days (good runs-yay I hit my pace!); there are going to be bad days (bad runs-I was tired, thirsty, couldn’t hold my pace, couldn’t breathe right, and my stomach hurt) and today was one of those ‘bad runs’ for me as a MNDCG (Motor Neuron Disease Caregiver -my new acronym; for those of you who know me are not shocked-Becky loves her acronyms-ha!). Thanks, “Stupid Stickers,” for allowing me the strength I NEED to meander through my ‘dark sides’ and realize that strength comes in many forms and I realize that it is never just physical-more importantly, it is 90% mental (for me anyway) and because I can meander through this gives me the mental strength to empathize, sympathize, give my best-and live to train another day. Thanks “Enough Already” posts for keeping things in perspective for me. Thanks be to God for blessing me with another beautiful day on Earth and allowing me to be me. Amen.
Can YOU Imagine?