Sunday, April 20, 2014

running for life

Pain has become a state I accept. Perhaps one that I even start craving and looking forward to. 

We create pain to drown pain, if I may borrow words that keep coming back. 

There's a weight on the heart that simultaneously is freeing. A thought of destruction and burning down. A thought I know well because I believe out of ashes often comes beauty. 
So how quickly can I light a match and watch the beautiful flames do their cleansing?

Flames. Fire. Heat. Passion.  

I seek the pain of tearing myself down to build myself up stronger. I crave the pain to numb out the rest; Running up the pavement and asphalt, running up the trails. Running in near complete darkness and then under the unforgiving sun. Running side by side and then running with no other human. Two opposite runs, opposite conditions, same mental head space. Perhaps my mind is still running under the moonlight because all I can think about is having been there before. 

In my head
Stay in the present.
Build your tomorrow from here.
Fight for the flames, fight to burn down, fight to own the ashes. 
Love the ashes and throw them into the wind, over the trails and under the moon. 
Ride into the wind, run past the sunset. Keep running until sunrise.

There will be be pain.
There will be salted tears of joy and agony and wait and release.
But there will be release.

Chase that which will tear down and tear open.
Chase that which will make you grow.
Chase that which will help set things on fire. 

You must be willing to suffer, and I have accepted. 

'Get yourself a car and drive it all alone
Get yourself a car and ride it on the wind.'
                                      Getaway Car

Monday, April 14, 2014

purging while climbing

Stand still and listen to the silence. 

I think sometimes you learn more about yourself and others when nothing is said. It's in this quietness that you can truly listen to your thoughts, wants, fears and possibly see your needs more clearly. That's most of what it was, really. 

Side by side into the darkness under a moon that I never bothered to look up towards. The first couple of miles were along PCH and there were crashing waves to our right. The soothing sound of something constant was calming; my heart had been heavy and pounding hours before that.

I had pulled out my headlamp and KTed my knees for what I hadn't yet committed to; running 11.9 miles in the dark through somewhere in San Diego, serving as Eric's pacer.  
(pacer is used lightly here, for I truly believe Eric pulled me through the entire run)

I had yet to run over 4 miles since starting up again and I had already ran 2.75 in the morning. None of that is really relevant considering I should still have some sort of base left and I've ran far longer distances in worse conditions. So why was there fear?

We started. The team's cheers being left behind us. 
Though it was Eric's leg he asked what pace I'd like to maintain. My heart, still pounding. 
When the first four miles passed, the first layer was sealed. Small talk about running, of course, and other things that clearly didn't stick. A bit more silence. 

I don't remember at what point we started climbing, but we didn't seem to ever stop. I looked over at one point and said, "Well shit, they gave you ALL the hills."

More silence. 

I could definitely feel my body locked into a rhythm and though Eric looked locked in as well, you could tell he felt stronger. 

Thoughts got deeper. 

My heart finally slowed and I settled into my floating thoughts. Thoughts of my existence, my values, my choices and desires. It's at this very key point that Eric brings up Uganda. I give a short, "I've been twice the past two Junes." but he then asks about me returning. 

My heart, now open. 

The timing of what was racing through my mind and what I managed to vocally release I can't accurately relate. I don't know how much I said out loud and how much I sorted through my head. 

My heart, soul and body have been split between what I want, what is being asked of me and what I deep down in my heart believe. Issues about love and peace and acceptance. About hate and darkness. About being good enough but not being accepted fully with every fault. Faults that I completely embrace and celebrate. My opinions will not always be welcomed if they do not fit their mold of what love looks like, feels like, sounds like. Who are they? ...They. 

Snap back
More silence.

I'm deeply and truly an introvert, I remember saying that. 

I was purging. 
My body was being depleted of thoughts and feelings I'd been carrying for months. And though I may not have released them all onto Eric I released them out of myself. I was starting to drain myself. 

I could hear noises behind us. A cross between soft voices, light footsteps and movement between the bushes. Shine the headlamp behind us... nothing. More noises, more solitude. My head continues to float. Perhaps your demons are running with you tonight...

I had only filled my bottle with water and didn't bring any salt. 
I hadn't fueled before the run and didn't ask for my chocolate haze till mile nine. I say something like, "I'm feeling really sleepy." 

Eric replies with, "Me too."

 What I was thinking was, I feel like I'm going to pass out. 

We still have about two miles to go and of course we're climbing. Still going up because wherever we were running didn't have any damn flat sections to it. 

Some where in between all those things I'd asked Eric how he started running, and why he's still going. 
To quote him completely out of context from one of his posts....

"We create pain to drown pain.
We endure pain now to handle more pain later." ETC

We climb a little more then hear commotion. 
Eric hands the snap bracelet off to Cyn and I run off to the side. 

My right foot is cramping and my toes won't straighten up. Bryan spends a good 5-7 minutes trying to massage my leg and foot and tells me to down some nuun. 

What happens next is just a bunch of physical stuff. I throw up, can't stop shaking, can't hold food down for a bit and get chills that I can't shake. I miss my second (real) leg, which Cyn runs for me, but run my last after I recoup. 

The mental gains though:
Going back to Eric's posted words,
We create pain to drown pain. 

I haven't had a run that hard.
Even at my weakest at Avalon 50. 

Running has always been a way for me to purge all the toxins. It's how I strip raw and find the me that can get lost in the ugliness of the world. When at my darkest point on that run, under the moon, I was accepting all light. Silently, as our feet would strike the pavement. 

A unison of two runners with little words between them. The wonderful battle of selves, egos, fears... both fighting, both accepting pain, both creating it.

"...I've learned so much about myself as a runner, as a person..."

As have I.
In 11.9 miles in the dark through San Diego's lonely side roads. In a shared experience that allowed me to purge and drain an ounce of darkness.