Saturday, December 19, 2009

Slowing down

I had a nice run Sunday morning with Susan and her dad on the trails at Bluff Point. My foot was feeling great, though my stomach was on the fritz. It's always something these days. When I was young (what, 5 years ago?) people used to tell me, "Wait 'till you get to your forties. Everything starts to fall apart!"

Well.

How right they turned out to be. My body is simply not what it used to be. My foot and ankle, after feeling so great on Sunday morning, hurt again Monday. And Tuesday and Wednesday and....

And my stomach is acting up. I am off dairy and off wheat, and I was feeling great for weeks. But now I feel kind of nauseous and heartburn-y most of the time. My naturopath thinks this is a stress reaction to all of the business with Simon's asthma and subsequent hospital visit last week. Maybe she's right. We've upped the dosage on all of the enzymes and stomach soothers for two weeks. See how it goes.

But there is an upside to all of this. I am learning to slow down. I have to. I have no choice here. My body is rebelling in a constant and unrelenting way.

I do think of myself as a mellow person. People find me "laid back." WAAAYY back, it has been said. But I'm learning that I'm quietly driven. I think many of us ultrarunners are quietly driven. We're not flashy, not Type A in the typical sense. Perhaps we internalize. More to the point, perhaps I internalize. (Duh!).

This is not an easy thing for me to admit. I guess I kind of take pride in "being able to handle stuff," in "not making a fuss." But it's not true. There are things I cannot handle. Seeing my little son wrapped in tubes and wires in a hospital bed is clearly one of these things. I held it together pretty well when I had to. But inside, I'm breaking down.

So I'm slowing down. I an learning to be happy with what I can do. I can run 5 miles in the mornings with Eddie. I can be present for my family every day. For my friends. I can play my violin and write my essays and homeschool and cook. I love all of these things.

Sunday afternoon Brian and I took the kids to Haley Farm for a "hike." Old Me would have insisted on a forced march. Three miles, kids! No stopping, no playing. Hop to!

New Me shudders. I am slowing down, remember. What better place to start than with the kids. We "hiked" at Haley Farm for 2 hours. I don't think we made it more than half a mile down the trail. But we climbed trees, chatted with lots of people we knew (including Bob heading out for a late run!), we walked on stone walls, found and ate the last autumn olives, dissected an owl pellet (lots of fur and tiny bones!), and played in the stream.

Nell and Brian making time on the rock wall.

The kids at the stream. There were a few tears here, a few wet feet. But well worth it, I think.


Nell likes to make little things from found materials. She has endless patience for this. Here she is making a tiny boat out of leaves and sticks.


We found this great tree to climb.



All three kids loved this "hike." And that's what matters now. Not mileage, not destination. It's all about the journey. And what a wild ride that journey is turning out to be!


6 comments:

  1. Getting used to not being fast has been hard for me. When I switched to ultras, it was because I no longer could run 5K in 16, but felt I could run longer and slower. I just didn't think slower meant SLOWER. Watching middle-aged housewives pass me for 20 hours in a race has taken some adjustments in thinking!

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  2. Yup, me too. As a soon as I hit 16:01 in a 5K I knew it was time to hit the long trails.

    NOTTTTT!!!

    I've never been fast. But I've never been this slow either. It's a process.....

    We middle ageed housewives are stronger than we look. It's birthin' them babies what does it.

    Love your blog SteveQ! I'm linking.

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  3. So where is the card picture? I looked for you when I returned but you guys were probably long gone. I was out for 2.5 hours and it was raining when I got back. Don't think of it as just slowing but as healing for later.

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  4. I am off gluten too, and hoping I feel better soon. Keep running. I am 51 and still running strong. It gets harder but we need to keep moving forward. We can rest when we die. lol. I really like your blog. Happy New Year!

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  5. Thanks, Kelly. Keep on keepin'on! Funny, I just found your blog the other day....very cool. Happy New Year.

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