Sunday, May 06, 2007

There Are Worse Things

I spent many hours of last week on what seemed like a scale. I teetered back and forth, weighing things in one side, then the other. The good and bad, the action and the consequence, the effort and the reward. Much of this was, of course, due to the marathon I was "missing."
I no longer consider my knee pain an injury. My knees, like much of my body will continue to be in life, I'm sure, are now just a challenge. Something I have to take special care of most, if not all, the time if I'm going to keep doing what I love to do. And I do love running.
The product of loving running, though, is sometimes not running. This is what I decided on this weekend. Last week's decisions and vacillating were so difficult because I was focusing on all the things that wouldn't be if I didn't run. I wouldn't see the course, I wouldn't see the beauty, I wouldn't be with other runners, I wouldn't cross the finish. But, on Saturday morning before I left for the trek up to Northern Colorado, I met some friends for breakfast (Sidebar: they are truly a breakfast club. If, you know, the breakfast club were made up of four older men in their forties and fifties that both befriended and defended me for the first two years I was out in the "real world" working my very first Big Girl Job in a very male-dominated organization. They are like my uncles/brothers/fathers, depending on the need. And, they are great.).
As we were talking about the race and me running or not,I still hadn't really made up my mind. Not completely, anyway. We were walking out of the restaurant and uncle/brother/dad #3 looked at me, put his hands on my shoulders and said "kid, there are worse things, you know." And I did know.
I remembered that all weekend.

As I drove up North with a friend in the car, singing loudly and badly to Bon Jovi.

As I drove across the still somewhat empty Northern plains of Colorado, past the heifers and the sheep farms.

As we mixed drinks and ate an obscene amount of grilled food at another friend's home later that night.


When I stood at the finish line and watched people cheer, cry, rejoice and smile.

When we giggled in bed that night, as if we'd stepped back in time fifteen years. As the sun shined and the clouds stayed away. As we traipsed through the little college town, gazing at the boys we're now way too old to date. When we told stories in the car, laughing until we cried. When my jaw hurt from smiling for all the cameras.
I didn't see but the last mile of the course. I didn't cross the finish this time or wear the medal. And I didn't like it, but I didn't mind it either. There are worse things.


Sizzle said...

there are worse things. sounds like a pretty good way to pass the time if you ask me thought. :)

brandy said...

Good for you! That's such a tough lesson to learn (and one that I have to re-learn every once in a while), but you wrote about it beautifully. And as for singing loudly to Bon Jovi, I'm all about that too!

Sister Buckle said...

Oh, that was a beautiful post. I needed that. God, a supportive group of friends is imperative for getting through the tough times; I don't know how some people do it by themselves - why they'd want to, and if they can see how it could be better if they just got people around them.
And you're coupling of words and images is getting so smooth and integrated and I just love the way it all works together. Good on ya, Justrungirl!

Bre said...

Such a great post!

There are worse things.. though sometimes in the heat of a disappointed moment it's hard to remember them! Good for you for making the best out of it!

Sempre Libera said...

Indeed there are. Sounds like you had a beautiful weekend all the same!

Danielle said...

Yeah, there are worse things, like running when you aren't ready and hurting yourself and setting back being able to run even further. It's probably a good decision. And hey, singing badly to Bon Jovi is always good!

Ginger Breadman said...

What a great post - you are such a thinker. Glad you made the best of it and had a great weekend - and I love your pictures.

Trish Ryan said...

Sounds like some quality living to me...particularly singing Bon Jovi, and hanging out with people who are also trying to figure it all out. Good stuff.

e.b. said...

In this instance there are other things and there are other marathons. But if you push yourself too much there may not be. I am such a glutton for immediate gratification that I get it (at least the best I can when it is about running) but wait and the time will come when you will be crossing the finish line having run the 26.4 or whatever crazy amount it is.

egan said...

You made the right decision to sit that out. It's hard to miss that stuff, trust me on this one, but it was wise. Standing at the finish line when others are crossing the very line you should be, very very tough.

Dawn said...

I'm jealous of your network of friends...mine are spread out all over the country. :(

Backofpack said...

Good choice and good weekend too! The thing is - you can always turn that attitude around and make a positive - like you just did. We currently have a friend in a wheelchair - he's just had what they are calling a "salvage" surgery on his ankle. If this doesn't work, next step is fusion and no running, ever. The thing is - he has this great, happy attitude. You should have seen him at Eugene - out on the course, offering support, taking pictures - and a huge smile the whole time. Now that's attitude!

afuntanilla said...

wonderful and tender post. thanks for sharing. what was the drink, by the way?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That's a great attitude. Sometimes it's hard to sit out, but it can have its charms too.

JenKneeBee said...

love your blog! i'll be back :)

GirlGoyle said...

Seems that overall you made out quite well despite not having run. It was overall a great weekend, maybe not a totally fabulous one but you are still in the positive side of the scale.

Nicole said...

Great post.
Loved the pictures especially of the food - yum
Seems like you made a great decision and as the Cubs fans in this town say - there is always next year.

Orhan Kahn said...

Wow, what a beautiful series of photographs. You need to do this more often :)