I’ve been haunting a lot of websites lately trying to figure out 1. just how weird I am and 2. how to get to be a better me. I guess maybe that makes me even weirder but hey.
I’ve been reading a lot about can’t.
And I’ve been getting irritated.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~Albert Einstein
fat people can’t
skinny people can’t
people with RA can’t
people over can’t
I heard a lot when I was growing up all of the things that I was told I can’t. I worked really hard to prove out that some of those were wrong. Some stick in the back of my head and I fight the words EVERY SINGLE DAY.
There are a lot of things I know I can’t do. I can’t “win” a half marathon (marathon) but that is because I never loved running when I was in a position to train that hard for it. I suppose if I really REALLY trained now, in several years I might actually have a shot at at least winning my age group. I’m not sure if I care that much, and that is on ME. It isn’t that I can’t. It’s that I won’t… that I choose not to.
I can’t do a full marathon. NOT because I can’t (believe me I have been thinking very seriously about training for one… and maybe some day) but because I can’t justify in my head putting in that much work to git-er-done. I am not incapable. I choose to not put my effort there. For now.
I got all caught up in my head that I couldn’t lose weight. I resented being told by the doctor that WW was the magic bullet and that all I needed to do was follow their sheeple and I would magically be perfect. “THE PLAN” works. It completely works if you work the plan. I just went out and bought (thank you for the Salvation Army 50% off clothes sale for Memorial Day) pants that are 2 sizes smaller than I have worn in YEARS and they fit (some actually are already baggy). It works. I’m kind of scared that when I reach goal that I won’t be able to maintain because the math really doesn’t work in my head still. Anyone can lose weight if they are running 2 – 10 miles a day and eating 900 calories. The trick is to be able to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle. I’m trying to learn.
I thought, I can’t. But I have, I am.
I was registered for a half marathon when I was diagnosed with RA. I immediately went out and googled stuff (duh… and DOH) and what I read suggested that I can’t do half marathons (or 10ks or whatever). My rheumy suggested that I probably ought not (at least then) run. I was not controlled in my disease. I am still only marginally controlled… If I insisted on this, I should train to walk very fast. So I did.
Only a couple months after diagnosis, and just a month (maybe 6 weeks) after starting methotrexate, I finished my first half. I almost quit. Thanks to Monkey Butt walking out to walk me in I didn’t. But I almost did. My hips were screaming about an 18 on a scale of 1 to 10 and it was all I could do to move. But I was stubborn and I was determined and I did it.
And I did it again.
This morning I have been reading.
One thing I read was the Cleveland Marathon Facebook page and I realized that my PR was even better than it should have been because the course was .18 miles longer than it was supposed to be (so I ‘ran’ 13.28 instead of 13.1 and I still shaved 19 minutes off my time). That was surprising. People are SOOOOO upset because there is a decent sized hill in about the middle of the half marathon course and it is a smallish brute. Austin’s was way bigger. And Cleveland had awesome signs to entertain you going up the hill.
Did you ever stop and think that a lot of life is kind of like a marathon? There are hills. There is pain. You get tired. There is rain and heat and utter exhaustion. But you keep going. You might bitch later. You might whine that you can’t can’t can’t can’t can’t… but you can. And you do.
Don’t get me wrong (and I know I could take a LOT of grief for the misunderstanding here)… not everyone is cut out to run. Not everyone wants to, cares to, thinks about, running races (or running at all). There are people with RA that are way more debilitated than I am. There are people who’s bodies will not allow them to get out of bed. There are people (I love you Bear) who struggle every day and finally take a deep breath and admit that they need assistive devices. But we all have our challenges. There is no shame in needing help. There should be no judgement in running our own races and learning what we need to learn from them.
And in trying to help each other up the hills.
If I was an elite runner (or an elite anything), I probably would have a different mindset. I would be determined to win at all costs. But for me, the races are mostly just life. We are all in it together. We are all running our own races, and we are running side by side up the hills, through the rain. Sometimes we fall and need help getting up. Sometimes we just do what we need to do and push through it all alone.
But you can’t give up.
You don’t know who is watching you.
You can sit down on the curb sometimes and cry until you can’t cry any more, but in the end you just pick yourself up, wipe the dirt off your butt, and keep plodding along.
Some time around mile 9 or 10 (or 19 or 20 as I hear tell) you start to feel so very very alone. Sometimes alone is accurate. And that’s okay too.
And when the course gets rough and the hills get long and steep, it’s okay to stop and catch your breath… rest a bit… and keep on plodding on.
Love and Light