Time heals all Wounds, if you let it.
As my last blog indicated, as an injured, aspiring [non] Olympian I was unsure of how watching the Olympics would sit with me. I imagined I’d need to force myself, like a good little American, to turn on NBC and get through it.
Maybe a solid week of gymnastics broke me in, I don’t know, but by the time track came on I was streaming every race I could and stalking Flotrack like it was my job (I love you guys by the way. Not romantically, but close).
All this while I’m on “vacation” in Hawaii. As my Aussie GF Georgie and I were climbing volcanos, snorkeling, or hiking to waterfalls, every iPhone photo op was followed by a cheeky peek at twitter for an update. Pretty sure I was driving her crazy, but since Georgie missed out on London too, we knew a vacation during the Olympic Games would require tolerance of weird adjustment behavior.
To be honest, in my post-Olympic Trials emotional detox, I was surprised how much I cared. What made me so captivated? I suspect two things: without my own race to focus on, my head wasn’t up my own arse. That and thanks to being social in Daegu last year, I know lots of people on the Olympic team (and not just the skinny white people for once).
The night of the 5k prelim was the only night that really sent me reeling. Since it was in the middle of the night, I intended to sleep through it and hit the internet in the morning. Glance at the results, move on. But then I woke up from a deep sleep at EXACTLY the minute the first heat of the 5k started. That is not hyperbole. It literally happened. How messed up is that? Talk about programming the body for something!
As Georgie slept peacefully, I stalked Flotrack’s tweets from my bed for every update until it was over. The results? Molly Huddle (SB), Julie Culley (PR), and my teammate Sally Kipyego made the final with incredible races, and Kim Conley didn’t get through but ran a PR. A great showing. Nobody bombed; nobody left me feeling like I would have done it better.
[Insert 45 minutes of staring at the wall here]
I needed my trusted therapist of 16 years: The Run. Running is so much more to me than a job or a way to test my potential. Running is “move, sweat, process, move on.” With running I’ve set goals, won championships, flushed out ideas for writing, started two businesses, developed friendships, grown up. My run is meditation, prayer, therapy, and source of pleasure and pain. Problem was, just like the previous 43 days I needed my “therapist”, I remembered for the ONE THOUSANTH TIME she was unavailable due to injury. The injured runner is like a recent amputee victim, continually forgetting that the limb isn’t there, crestfallen at each realization. What we need more than anything is a suitable prosthetic and an attitude adjustment.
[more wall staring]
At 2am, I finally went for an absurdly long walk along the ocean, found a hammock, got horizontal, and stared at the stars. Alone for the first time in weeks, I quieted my mind. I listened to the waves. The trade winds blew my hair around my face and brushed the ink-black palm trees across the charcoal canvas sky.
I wanted the wind to take away my discontent, my edges. I imagined the top of my body opening like a casket and the wind blowing across everything inside me, taking with it all the pieces that had come loose and scattering them like confetti in front of a fan. I cried, but not like I feared I would. They were noiseless tears, and afterwards I felt clean. The wind continued to blow my hair and my shirt but I felt no resistance inside me.
Ah, that’s better, I thought. It’s only going to get better from here. A smile crossed my lips. You know what would be great right now? A moonlight run.