Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Stumpy's Marathon Report

Every night the sun sets and the moon and the stars become the prominent figures in the sky. While most people sleep I lay awake staring blankly at the walls in my home. I can not dare sleep for if I do I will have no way of fending off the demons that occupy my inner being. If, by chance, I do doze off the uneasiness of the emotions brewing from within awaken me in fear, anger and frustration. The energy generated by these emotions keeps me on edge for hours until the rays of the bright sun once again shine and allow me to feel protected. Though now secure the emotions have produced an unwanted reaction causing my hands to shake and my heart to pound. Over the years I’ve tried many different methods to help me to release this negative energy but the one that I have found that works the best is running. This particular method has served me well over the years but gaining the positive effects is not without consequences.

I’ve found it to be quite difficult to identify the appropriate dose of running that will alleviate the negative effects of my wild emotions while also maintaining a healthy body. Improper mechanics, a body structure that is unsuitable for running ultra distances and ignorance has led to many long-term injuries. One in particular that I’ve recently battled is a stress fracture to my right tibia that I first became aware of in February 2006. The long physical battle has led to an inadequate dose of running, which in turn has produced emotional struggles. I’ve felt lost in a pit of despair and though I reached out for help my hand seemingly slipped away every time I felt a firm grasp. Finally I made the decision to withdraw and limit my exposure to those with whom I work and one very good friend. It would now be my battle alone and a battle that I would have to face eye to eye without feeling as though my mom would somehow protect me and help me escape. Though I believe my presence is missed I’m certain that I was hurting people while also allowing them to hurt me. If I were to win the war I had to first win each individual battle and the first on the docket was to find a way to balance my running to my needs. Making amends with people in the end will happen if they indeed truly do care for me.

On Sunday September 9th I carried a new way of life and a new perspective of who I am with me into my first trail marathon of 2007. Stumpy’s Marathon is billed as a no frills event boasting a tough course with relentless hills, water crossings, rocks, roots and extra miles at no additional cost. I was wired for this race literally shaking in anticipation the night before, as I slept not a wink. I expected to run as though this would be my last race ever and I planned accordingly. It wasn’t about competition with others or beating a tough course but instead it was about satisfying a need to explode and release unwanted energy. It was about pounding my feet hard on the ground while forcing long strides and breathing in deeply. It was about that feeling that I get when I’m alone in the woods free of worry with the ability to feel accepted amongst the trees, flowers and animals that inhabit the area. I could be a bird, a deer or a rabbit and fit right in without fear of judgement or gaining acceptance. My goal was not to win or to run fast but instead my goal was to be alone.

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