Oh, my goodness, what a lovely summer it was. This is a rare sentiment, as I am generally no fan of summer. The bright sun and the relentless greenery can really get me down. But this summer, was different. I loved it. Our trip to Cape Breton at the beginning of August broke up the long heat jag, and we returned to a temperate freefall to Labor Day.
I ran all summer, though I did no races. I definitely felt the lack of the Vermont 100 in my life this year. Seeing all the pictures and reading all the blog stories made me feel wistful. I think that race may be back on the calendar next year.
And speaking of races, I am beginning to make my peace with running only 2 or 3 races a year. It's so easy to get caught up in the ultra rollercoaster of race after race after race. I am slowly realizing that this is simply not the time in my life to be doing that. There will be years in which I can again run as many races as I can handle. But my life right now is here. Here on this small plot in Connecticut with my family. This little world is everything to me.
You see, I had a health scare this summer that put my life in perspective for me. I had a bad mammogram that led to another bad mammogram. I visited with a surgeon who recommended a biopsy. I was in limbo for two weeks. I was introduced to my own mortality, which I have always respected but hitherto in a more abstract fashion. It was an uncomfortable place to be for two weeks.
My primary concern, of course, was for my kids. I wonder if having kids makes this kind of thing worse. Or if one simply transfers worry about self over to worry about kids if kids are available for such transference. I'd like to think that I am the kind of person who can handle questions of life and death. I try to take a Buddhist attitude and not expect heath every day, but rather to expect change and to deal with it in some sort of proper state of mind. But who knows?
Mornings were the worst. I would wake up in a pit of fear. Even running didn't help much, which was weird. But then the kids would get up and the day would go on and I would be able to mostly push it all down until the next morning.
When word came that I was okay, I was definitely relieved. But I did not, as many people suggested, go out and celebrate. I certainly did not feel celebratory. I simply wanted to sit on the front steps and breathe, because I had not been able to really breathe for weeks. It could have gone either way. I hope I could have dealt with bad news gracefully, but it was not my lot this time to try.
It's over. And summer's over. The kids and I went for one last beach trip this week. The water was warmer than the air and the waves were rough. But we had the place to ourselves. We changed in and out of out wet suits many times as we dared each other back into the water. We laughed a lot. It was great.
Homeschooling has begun. Swimteam starts next week. It's all going down. The long, shapeless summer is over.
I'll be running the Vermont 50 next weekend. I am very much looking forward to that race. I ran it a couple of years ago and it was a mudfest. Last year I was injured. I'm hoping for drier conditions this year. I love the 50 mile distance. Can't wait for a long day of running!