I haven't been doing any running since Boston yet. Giving my hamstrings some rest, while still continuing my exercise ball and yoga workouts. My brain hasn't been resting though as I have been having a lot of thoughts lately, some about my running and its future, some random, or so it seems.
The ones on my running future dominated my life in the week after Boston. I was still on that "I finished Boston again!" mode and, unlike what I thought might happen, I was not disappointed in my time. I think I had prepared myself as best as I could have to be happy with the experience and the finish because it was BOSTON!! I have to give credit to my family and friends, and my extended running family and Fleet Feet Sports and Team Nuun family. Not one of you complained, at least to me, about my posts and blogs related to my struggles with my hamstring. Quite the opposite happened. You all were so supportive and positive. When I posted about considering taking my camera with me during Boston to get some pictures so that my family could see snippets of what I got to see during the marathon, I received so many positive comments along the lines of "Yes! Do it!".
I received notes and talked to several people who said that my posting and openness about my injury struggles helped them with their struggles because they knew, then, that they were not in it alone and that there were others out there dealing with their own personal nemeses. It is a humbling thing, especially to a person with introverted tendencies like myself, to have someone thank me for my transparency in my posts and tell me that it gave them peace in their struggles. It is hard for me to accept such positive comments; for some reason, it makes me uncomfortable at the time, but just know that I appreciate it and I am glad to know that someone out there received some solace and confidence from my ramblings on my hamstring and my journey to Boston. Also know that while I was running Boston, one of the main reasons I made it to the finish line was because I knew my family was waiting at the corner of Hereford and Boylston and I knew my running family was out there and had been following along in my struggles. I couldn't let anyone down by not finishing!
Back to my "running future" thoughts. My self-absorbed proudness over getting to Boston and finishing re-sparked my internal fire to train and actually race another marathon. Over the past year or two, my desire for the hard training required for truly racing a marathon had been waning. I believe it was mainly due to being injured and the frustration that I have had for close to a year now, but I wasn't sure that was the only reason. Maybe it was my mind and body telling me that they were tired of the concentration and dedication needed for the rigorous training. Maybe it was age creeping up on me. In the week after Boston though, something had been stirred that has lit my drive to truly get healthy and then plan and execute a marathon racing cycle. I feel the excitement again just thinking about racing a marathon to see if I can get another sub-3:00. I know that I won't be able to get close to my PR, but maybe another low 2:50's is achievable or even another sub-2:50. The point is that I haven't been having those thoughts much the last year or so, and it is nice to welcome them back. I have to work on that "fully healthy" part first...
Now to the random thoughts. Most of my random thoughts have been about my family, specifically my Mom and Dad. I was talking to my brother the other day, and he mentioned that Dad had been out working in the woods picking up limbs. My sister told me that he had done it two days in a row. I should mention that my Dad is close to 89 and has been through a lot both physically and mentally over the past years. He went through treatments for colon cancer, leading up to having to have his colon removed. He had spent the last many years helping to take care of my Mom, who had Parkinson's and Lewey Body dementia. When she first started having issues, Dad took care of her at home until it became too hard for him to handle by himself. Even after then, Dad spent a lot of time taking care of and visiting his one true love. Mom passed away a little over a year ago and Dad has been dealing with that as well. I must say this: as noted by friends of the family, Dad is a worker. Always has been. He worked hard to support a family of 6 kids. He came home and worked hard at home. He volunteered where he could as long as it was work! Over the past year, he had spent more and more time inside and less outside working, so hearing that he had been back out working in the woods, his place of calmness, was great news. My thoughts here, though, were of his dedication and work ethic. While I am not going to sit here and say that I have his same work ethic because I am nowhere in his league, I do think that my ability to stay dedicated to training for marathons comes from his genes. I appreciate him more and more every day and I wish I had given him more respect when I was a teenager than I did, which as many teenagers go, was almost none it seems. I guess that is part of life and growing up. When you are growing up, you don't realize how a simple misplaced word or mistimed snippy remark likely stings to a parent. When you are a parent, you definitely realize it. When you are grown up, or are at least at an age where you should be "grown up", you realize everything that your parents did for you or how much friends of the family and relatives did for you, and you wish you had told them thank you more often when you were younger or given them more hugs. So thank you Dad, for being an example of what it means to love someone or something. It means you will work hard, you will be dedicated, you will strive to make sure that they have what they need to achieve their goals. You worked hard because you loved us more than anything. I realize that now and I love you more for it.
Dad wasn't the only one that I have been thinking about though. I have been thinking about Mom as well and the attributes she passed along by her example. Like Dad, she worked hard at everything she did and made sure we had what we needed. Even though she was as busy as Dad, she was always there at our sporting events, or church and school events. She was not only her children's biggest fans, but she was other children's biggest fans as well. She may not have been my friends' biological Mom, but she supported and rooted for them just the same as if they were. I find her in me when I do the same for M- and R-'s friends or for JCHS soccer teams. It makes me smile knowing that piece of her lives on in me. In addition, her fight and her defiance for many years against the diseases that plagued her have driven me over those years. While not even close to being the same battles, I have pulled from her that confidence and that never give up attitude and used it in my injury fight. If I have half of her strength, I will make it. Thank you Mom, for not only being an example of selfless love toward everyone, but being that example of perseverance and strength in the face of things not under your control.
These seemingly random thoughts about Mom and Dad are not quite so random, I am thinking. Given that they are occurring more these past two weeks since Boston and given that I have that feeling that my fire is being rekindled for training, I think that my mind is trying to remind me of my roots. It is telling me to remember what all my Mom and Dad have done for their kids and for those things that drove the fire in them. It is telling me to pull from their work ethic, from their drive, from their strength, and use it in my life. It is telling me that, while I may not have always earned it, I was given a great genetic gift from Mom and Dad, and I need use it like it is meant to be used.
What gifts were you given by your parents or from those in your past? Are you using these gifts like they were meant to be used? Are you drawing strength from those in the past and applying it to your life right now?
Oh.... And have you thanked your parents or those that raised you lately? Have you told them you love them more than anything? If not, I encourage you to do that. Let them know they did a great job.