Back in November I wrote this post, Crossroads II, where I talked about, what else, my divorce.
I was struggling with feeling good about my life and for the most part, how things were going, but not wanting to send the message that I condone the past, most especially the behaviour of my ex. I was struggling with the idea that if it looked like to other people that I was doing good, or great, then maybe I was ok with all that happened. That maybe it was not a bad thing. I still struggle a bit with that. When someone asks how I am, I want to say “I am great, but he is still a $%#@er”. And while I can see that this has not been all bad, at the time it was shitty.
It is hard to not be defined by what has happened to me. My divorce and the affair is not who I am but rather just two things that have happened to me. Just like my ex. He cannot define me, but is just someone that was once in my life, whom I loved dearly, and now he is not and I do not.
And then today happened.
I have had a busy weekend.
Back in October I signed up to do a half-marathon at the end of May. Not too sure why I signed up but I did. A friend of mine had signed up and when she told me, I thought that if she could do it, so could I.
When I told my best friend this, she laughed. Out loud. You see, I am not a runner. At all. Well, I did not used to be. I don’t think I can say that any more.
I started running in October, and tracked my runs using Strava. Amazing app by the way. Very quickly I made progress. Very quickly I felt the benefits of literally and physically putting one foot in front of the other. If I needed to burn off some anxiety or anger, off I went for a run. I created a great play list that had music that motivated and pushed me.
When I go out on a run, I just run. I don’t worry about my pace. Not really. I just run. Unfortunately, towards the end of November, I injured my calf. Took a week off and when I tried to run again, it hurt like a mother $%#@er. I took another 10 days off and then finally visited the physiotherapist.
I look back on my blog posts, and my journal, and it is not a surprise to see how much I struggled, emotionally, when I could not run. Running had become my therapy.
My physiotherapist is amazing. She knew that she could not completely restrict my running. By the time I went to her, my calf was almost healed. I went to see her more because I was worried about a) doing further damage, b) wanting to make sure that it was really ok and c) I was nervous to run. So she put me on an interval plan to ease me back in, with the stipulation that if I felt anything that resembled pain, I would stop right away. I was allowed to run/walk. Two minutes of running and 30 seconds of walking, for a total of 30 minutes. I had to stick close to home in case there was any pain and I had to stop. So around and around the blocks I went.
On my second “interval” run, using her parameters, I ran a personal record 5K.
Still under her parameters, I ran here and there but with snow coming to town, running outside was problematic. More than anything, I was afraid to run outside because I did not want to hurt myself again.
When I took the kids to NYC for Christmas, I took advantage of the warm weather and ran on Christmas morning. A 5K. No personal records, but an amazing location. The greatest gift, seeing the sun rise through the buildings while I ran north to Central Park.
With the New Year, brought my training schedule for my half-marathon. Two to three times a week I will run. Very gradually, as I have a total of 21 weeks to train for my half, I will increase my distance and time spent running. But now with snow on the ground, my running would be moved inside, to the treadmill. This I was not looking forward to.
My first run of my training, I ran on the treadmill at one of my gyms (I have two gyms because I am an instructor). It sucked. I hated it. But I did it. Got it done.
And then came the next day of running. I did not want to run on the treadmill. I am a procrastinator by nature. I pushed it off to the next day. While out for lunch though, I realized how mild the day was and noticed that in fact the roads were only a bit wet. There was no ice or snow.
I rushed home, laced up my shoes and hit the road (well the bike path that is part of the road). I needed to run 5 kilometres. I did some quick math, set my timer for 15 minutes so that I could turn around and head home and it would be a 5K. The run that I was not planning on running ended up being another personal record! A 5K in less than 30 minutes.
I realized that I needed to solve the outdoor winter running. This should do the trick. Shoes that will keep my feet dry and spikes to keep me from slipping.
I went out yesterday for a run and it was amazing! It was a bit mild but the sidewalks were snow covered in areas, and icy in others. No slips. No falls. A bit slower than my normal pace but I did not care. I was outside!
My afternoon yesterday also found me at the gym practicing choreography for a class I teach tomorrow.
And today I went for another run. This was after my run. Happy girl.
I posted all these photos on my instagram this weekend and received a message through Facebook from an acquaintance. Short and simple, it said, “you are inspiring”.
Those three words hit me like a ton of bricks. Where some people maybe have looked at my posts this weekend and been sick of the repetitive “look at me working out” pictures, here was someone who was looking at it from a different perspective.
The acquaintance vaguely knows my story, my deal; is going through a struggle of their own, and found me inspiring.
It never occurred to me that if I answer the “how are you question?” with “great” or even “good”, that the message I am actually sending is that I am strong. I am not letting this define me. I am not letting this limit who I am or who I can become.
Sometimes, I find myself unrecognizable.
This is not who I was, who I used to be. Yet this is who I have become. And I may not have become this person, had it not been for the ex leaving. He left and made room for me to grow and blossom.