Memorial Day Running: Pain Becomes Truth

Memorial Day 2020 • Today was a warm morning as I pushed myself out the door to run. All the fair-weather quarantine walkers and runners were nowhere to be found in the early midst of summer weather. Physically, today’s run was cursed before I got out the door. My heart was racing before the heart monitor went on. My breathing was a struggle, rugged and shallow even while walking. Anxiety ran through my blood with a vengeance and I was yawning, despite the fact I woke up not long before.

But mentally, my mind was determined to go. I knew yesterday I would run. Something was pushing me outside. It was a force that was relentless. I had to run. I even knew the route I would take. The reason why was unclear, but knowing I needed to was clear as day.

I pushed through the heat and humidity, which wasn’t terrible, especially under the trees and shade. And then I got to the third mile and my body felt like it was giving up. The anxiety never quite left my body. Running turned to walking, followed by shorter bouts of running. My heartbeat thumped in my ears. My breath was nowhere to be found. My stomach turned on itself and sips of water did nothing to quell the pain.

But through it, I ran around the memorial stadium lined with flags of the fallen. I kept pushing. There was a moment when I didn’t know if I’d make it around that mile. But my mind had a plan, and far be it from my body to stop it.

And then suddenly, when it all became too much, my legs stopped. And I had a moment of clarity that transcended everything. It was why I came out today. I saw it all; the truth, reasons and directions were right there. I momentarily parked myself on a bench and wrote all the truth in my phone notes. This was the gift the pain gave me. And I wouldn’t have found it had I not pushed beyond my limits.

At the end of the year, I publish a blog post that includes photos and the word that characterizes my year. That word comes to me when I’m not expecting it. Last year’s word, endurance, hit me while I was running the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon in September. Awakening, 2018’s word, hit me late in December of that year. My word for 2020 came to me during that moment of clarity on today’s Memorial Day run. I won’t share it until December 31, but I know without a doubt, it’s my truth.

I typically publish these “micro-blogs” exclusively on Instagram. But I’m breaking my pattern and publishing it here so I can refer back to this day when I write my 2020 wrap-up post.

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