The Truth about the Holidays

When the bottom drops out how do you gracefully deal with it?

I’d been running well building miles and feeling strong and happy. Life was good. I had a goal to complete a 100 mile race to qualify for Western States. My running resume was solid, Badwater Ultramarathon, Marathon Des Sables, lots of ultra distance, and  I was the first US woman to attempt and complete 138 miles In the Himalayas. Not bad for an average runner.

Then the dreaded freak-day happened, Thursday, Dec 5. I was walking down stairs outside a friends house towards my car. Gazing out at the beautiful lights of distant Reno my foot missed the last step, I felt my body lose balance as my ankle made a horrible pop and the wrenching pain shot up my leg.

I whirled in mid air trying to break my fall, my arm bent behind me and twisted to an unnatural position. My hip smacked the pavement followed by my elbow and hand.

At first I was so shocked I just sat there. Then unbelievable pain wheeled up my body and I sobbed with disbelief and agony. Bill, my dear Buddy, was a few steps beside me, helplessly watching me tumble, unable to reach me in time.
I couldn’t stop crying. The pain was excruciating.

“You need to get to a hospital Molly” he said quietly as I lay trying to compose myself.

“No!” I sobbed. “I am not going to a stupid hospital!”

I was acting like a frightened two year old reduced to kindergarten conversation. Bill helped me into the car as I continued to sob. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I had been running so well. I had a great goal of overcoming a bad running season, bombing at the last several races. I had lost my focus and the shifting sands of a rough year had taken a toll. I was happy to be leaving 2013 behind me. It was not a good year. It seemed like every aspect of my life had been shaken. My dad had also just recently passed away and it had shattered me to the core. I was floating in insecure territory and now the thin thread of stability was pulled out from under me.

I had been hanging on to my new goal of running Umstead 100 in April, 2014. Working out and running has always been a stable, consistent part of my life. If all else fails I have running to fall back on. I received comfort and serenity with my peaceful meditational running in the morning. It quieted my mind and lifted my spirits. What would I do if that was taken from me?

Bill got me into the house and half carried me to the sofa. I sobbed inconsolably. Bill quietly looked over my leg. I hurt so bad I could not stop the tears. But still, I was not ready to surrender to a doctor.

“Molly, your leg could be broken. I really think we should head to ER.” Bill looked at me compassionately.

“No! Doctors are stupid and they don’t know anything and I’m going to spend a bunch of money for them to tell me to go home and ice it…..forget it!” I was yelling and throwing a ridiculous tirade but I couldn’t help myself.

Then there was the pain. I couldn’t remember hurting so bad. It was becoming excruciating. I looked down at my ankle and it was misshapen, swollen and purple. The reality started to set in. I needed help.

“Okay, let’s frickin go see the stupid doctors at the stupid hospital and get the stupid Ice pack!”

Bill was smart enough to stay quiet. I so badly wanted to just keeping yelling at anyone around me and he was the only one. I wanted to punch something. I wanted to scream that it wasn’t fair.

Bill drove me to the hospital as I sobbed. I started to feel bad that I was acting so irrational.

The nurse on duty was so kind and understanding. She grabbed an ice pack and I was suddenly grateful. The doc told me I had torn a major tendon in my ankle and needed crutches. No running for a couple months. It was time to face reality and the needs of my body. It was time to chill out. I didn’t really have a choice. The first 2 weeks I had to deal with the shooting pains up my leg. And I had to get a grip. Both my daughters were graduating from college a week a part. Bailey was graduating from University of Reno. Taylor was graduating from University of Las Vegas, Nevada. I needed to quit moping and appreciate the blessings in my life. I was so proud of my girls. I needed to grab the crutches and keep moving.

So the holidays sped by. I attended and celebrated at the graduation parties. I appreciated the quiet time I had and slowly reflected on new goals and a new direction. I put together a new work plan for my business and I focused my attention on 2014.

I decided (after talking to my awesome foot doc) that I would keep the goal of Umstead 100 mile race in April on my schedule.

Bill invited me to go to South Korea to a science conference and we are running across JeJu Island off the coast while we are there. After the Umstead 100 mile I am leaving for China to run the Great Wall Marathon with a group of runners including my daughter Taylor and my son Devin ( Bailey is working and can’t make this one!)

Will I be able to complete all those goals in the next couple of months? I don’t know. But I’m giving it my best shot. When the challenges hit hard in December it took me awhile to see past them. The new goals helped. It took the focus off the negative and propelled me into a reflective time in the present and a promising future of adventure. We all can get inspired by one another with our goals and dreams. What goals are ahead for you?

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