From the Womb to the Tomb

I have “suffered” from depression most of my adult life. I use that term lightly as it has not been the crippling sort that keeps me from doing what I need to do daily. When my kids were small and I was working full time nights, I was seriously sleep deprived. I wanted to be there for them during “normal” hours, so I sacrificed sleep to try to be there for them & attend their functions. It was difficult at best. I beat myself up- a lot.

There is one particular instance that bereaves my heart. It was “donut day” at the elementary school my youngest son attended. That meant that the parent showed up at a certain time (I think it was 9 o’clock) to have a donut with their child. It was a day that my daughter attended preschool and I stayed up after working all night to take her to preschool. I would “nap” during that time, then go pick her up. I had planned on attending “donut day” but ended up sleeping right through it. My son showed up at the cafeteria and I wasn’t there. I WASN’T THERE. The mom wasn’t there. It still haunts me to this day to see his little face when he came home from school & asked me why I WASN’T THERE.

If it weren’t for being a responsible adult when my kids were still at home, I would have slept all the time. I didn’t, I went about my daily routine and taking care & providing for them the best I knew how. They never went without. I wish I could have given them the moon. I wish I could have attended ALL of their functions. I tried. God, how I tried.

I was always made to look like the bad guy. Me, the one who tried to “fix” everything. My parents pretty much despised one another. At least I know my mother hated my dad. My dad always tried to do the right thing. Maybe that’s where I get it. He had a completely dry sense of humor that I suppose, got him through things. I pretty much inherited that. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he wasn’t “mean.”

I wanted to “fix” things so badly for my parents. I only saw them kiss once as I was growing up. When I saw the wedding picture of my parents for the first time I  told my grandmother, “That was mom & dad when they liked each other.” I wanted so desperately for them to at least “like each other.” They existed together, for me and my brother I guess.

Fast forward to my own marriage and divorce, three children later. I never wanted to have a “broken” family. Yet, it happened. The “church” world as I knew it then (and attended) placed so much emphasis on the “obedience” thing. Yet, in my situation, the MAN did not care to provide for his family yet told me that I was to “Fucking submit” to him. That was biblical, I’m sure. A woman can only do so much, but when divorce happens, the woman is most often to blame (in the legalistic church world that is).

Life is difficult. From the womb to the tomb, we struggle. We live, we love, we sacrifice, we give it our all. We are misunderstood. I miss the days of my innocent youth. The days when I had LOTS of female friends and life was so carefree and unrestricted.

Depression hurts. I wish I had the knowledge and resources that are available today, back then. Maybe I would have handled things differently. Maybe I would have stood up for myself a little more. Maybe my kids would understand & not think so poorly of me. Maybe they would come around more. Maybe I am delusional to think any of that.

Nevertheless, I am whole, I am free, I am in the last phase of my life. From the womb to the tomb. We live, we love, we learn. We can’t make people love us or want to be with us, even if it is our own flesh.

I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for the GIFT of running. I am thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ who understands how broken & fallible I am. I am thankful for life. Health is everything. Though my mother forsakes me, I am thankful that I am free. I am thankful that though “religion” has disillusioned me, I still know that there is a savior who conquers “religion”and knows my heart. I am thankful that depression is under His feet & will NOT be the victor.

I am thankful for humor. I can only be myself, who God meant for me to be.

It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly & not too seriously, pretty soon you find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a life saver.”- Betty White

 

View From the Rear

Alas, another year has come & gone. It really puts things in perspective on how fast time flies when I find snacks that I swore I bought a couple of weeks ago and they are dated October 4, 2016!  I guess I didn’t want them as bad as I thought I did at the time or they would have all been gone-ah, hindsight!

Hindsight – (noun) Understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed.

How many things can you look back on that happened in 2016 (or prior) and have a little more understanding now? I can think of lots of things. My overactive brain is always in “go” mode & in hindsight I should write them down when they pop in my head, lest I forget (and have) most of them.

I kind of, sort of, (snicker/snort) like to run and enjoy competition with myself. Race wise I ran two marathons, six half marathons, two 10ks, six 5ks, one 4 miler, and  10, 15, & 20 mile technical trail runs. I kind of like bling too (e.g. medals). Total running miles for the year = 1,375. That is probably not a lot of miles for some runners. In hindsight, that it is the equivalent of running from my little town in Missouri to Las Vegas, give or take a couple of miles (1,377.4 miles or a 19 hour drive). That seems like a lot for me, although my total was a bit more in 2014, less in 2015. There is always room for improvement and growth.

I try to change things up so as not to get too bored. One way in which I sought to do this was through technical trail runs. I have ran four total and I love being out in nature among the quiet and serene. I have fallen three out of the four. I’m just a clumsy butt. The last one on 11/12/16, a 25k, was a beautiful course. I had run the 10k of this race in2015 (my first), so I decided it was time to up the ante. I had run a marathon two weeks prior, so I thought 15 miles would be a breeze. Well, it’s trails so…lots of autumn leaves and rocks/roots under those leaves. I fall down go boom boom on my left side at mile 11-hard. I finished strong, but was oh so glad to be done!

In hindsight, I should not have ran that race, or I should have at least taken sufficient time to heal, but I really had no pain when I was running. I went on to run a 1/2 marathon a week later and a 5k four days after that, again with no problems, or so I thought. I tried to run with the group the following Sunday and my left knee started giving me pain. I rested a couple days and took short run/walks the rest of the week. On 12/4/16, I was feeling pretty good, so decided to run four miles. The first mile was great-no pain! Mile two was a little sketchy and in hindsight, I should have quit and called for a ride. I am MUCH to stubborn and gave it all I had to get back to my house. That was truly my last official “run” for the year. My knee was trashed. I managed an 8:38 pace, so there’s that, ha, ha!

Having one last 5k for the year-my 20th “race” for the year, I was determined I was not going to miss it. It would be my husband’s first 5k and I was not going to let him down. I thought I would just run very conservatively, maybe around a 10-11 minute/mile pace. Who the heck was I trying to kid? Well myself of course! In hindsight I was delusional! I tried to jog (in very bad shoes)! This was after I got my “boogie” on at a pre-race costume/dance competition. Approaching the first mile, I was wishing I had just signed up for the one miler! I limped/walked for the next 2.1 miles.

christmaslight5k-2016-3874-l
Photo Credit: Mile 90 Photography

View from the rear: I am not the fastest runner, nor the slowest. I am more of a “mid-packer.” My very first 5k as a runner back in 2007, was a walk/run dare. My time was around 48 minutes. My PR in the 5k is 0:23:11 9/6/15. This jog/limp was around 48 minutes. But oh, the sights I saw! I saw grit and determination from those who are always bringing up the rear. I saw walkers and families with strollers and dogs having a great time run/walking all lit up in costume and lights. People came out of their homes to watch and say, “Merry Christmas.” I was able to thank the volunteers and the police officers. I tortured people with my singing “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer.” I shouted to the runner in the “A Christmas Story” bunny suit, “Speed up you Wascally Wabbit.” My son and daughter in law passed me. They were the cutest. It was a beautiful December night.

In hindsight, I gained a whole new perspective. Way too much emphasis is placed on “speed.” That is fine if one is trying to qualify for an event, but we are all different. At my peak, running too slow is uncomfortable. My best times have come when I wasn’t even trying. The people I saw from the rear had this figured out-have fun, take it all in, and enjoy the journey. Despite the pain, I still got my bling!_20161225_111826

 

Lessons Learned: 

Heed the warnings of your body. What may have been an little issue in the past, could be disaster in the future. I ended up having a lateral meniscus injury that threw me into IT band problems by my leg trying to protect my knee. I am on the mend and have a wonderful chiropractor to thank for that. I should be able to do my first race at the end of the month.

Trail races are great for the non-clumsy, although even the swift and nimble have been known to fall a time or two as well.

After care in running is hugely important, especially as we age. If we want things to function well, we best take care of what we have.

Old dogs have joint issues as well and need lots of hugs and cuddles._20161214_201429

 

Life and running does not always have to be FAST. In hindsight, the caboose who thinks he/she can, eventually will -with determination and effort.

Temporary set backs are just that-temporary (remember the expired snacks)? Although when you’re going through it, it seems like forever which brings me to my next point.

It really is all about perspective and attitude. _20170106_091359

Goals are important but none are as important as your health. My main goal as a runner this year: _20170101_112832

In hindsight, what are your goals for the new year and beyond?

“There’s not a better feeling than when you have found that moment of balance and harmony when both running & life come together. Then you know why you run and that you couldn’t live without it.”-Joan Benoit Samuelson

Have a great January and beyond. Cheers to the New Year!

Stephanie