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December 17, 2013: Learning to Run Slow

I don’t do slow.

It’s not a brag. I will say up front, that there’s busloads of guys (written as gender inclusive cause “gals” has always sounded corny to me) who can kick my butt in a run. So when I saw I don’t do slow, I’m not making out to be the Jewish Usain Bolt. No, “Slow” and “fast” are relative to each runner. Let me explain what I mean.

If you are a smart runner — a sensible runner — you know how to pace yourself. You know how to conserve energy until the end of a race, no matter what the distance. Even in training, you should do long runs in which the second half is run faster than the first. Not only will your overall time be better, you won’t risk flaring out and having to finish your run gasping for breath and ready to collapse over the finish line.

But I’m not a smart runner. I use my heart and not my brain when I run. No matter what the plan, I go hard from the start and struggle at the end. It’s just my personality. I’ve tried to change, but most of the times I realize that it’s not going to happen and I just go with it.

My life has become one long run now. Stella may have reached the finish line — obviously not the kind I had hoped for — but a finish line nonetheless.

But I feel my run has just begun.

And there are many times when — believe it or not — I feel good, real good. I can smile and banter and laugh and feel like my old self. Sometimes I feel “Hey, I CAN do this. I’ve turned the corner.” I pump my fist in the air and sing my music. And I feel that Stella is supporting me in spirit. That is how she wants me to be.

But I run too fast. Invariably something will set me off. And then I go from jubilation to feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck. I cry and scream and shake and hold my sides as a wave of emotion rips through my body. I see nothing but injustice and demand to know WHY. The tears flow and everything I see and everything I hear reminds me of her. All I can do is wait it out until the feeling passes.

It does and I know in another day the cycle will start up again. And if I am smart, I won’t let myself get carried away by the “highs.” I should know it will take time and not to get too excited when things appear to be moving along.

But I just can’t. This is just the way things will be because I am who I am.

And I don’t do “slow.”

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