Daily Archives: March 11, 2013

Letter to my Shin. No, seriously.

Dear Shin Splint,

Ok, we need to talk.

I’ve managed to run for almost a year now without ever knowing what the heck you even were.  And I was fine with that.  I heard people talk about you.  Heard a lot about you actually.  Heard you were a troublemaker.  Heard you were hard to beat.  But I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting you yet.  I guess I figured you were too busy bothering everyone else to have time to visit me.

Ok, so I was wrong.

(That’s happened maybe once before in my life.  Ok, twice.)

But let me explain something to you.  I have no better way of saying this than to borrow some words of wisdom from none other than the great contemporary philosopher, Beyonce:

“You must not know bout me.”

Do you have any idea how important running is to me?  And how intent I am upon continuing to do it?  Psssh, dude, you can’t even touch my level of determination.  Many before you have tried.  My right knee is laughing at you as we speak.  He has been trying to stop me from Day 1, and he knows he doesn’t stand a chance.  My brain?  Whew.  That chick has you beat all day, every day, and twice on Tuesday.  She has told me SO many times that I’m not good enough to do this.  That I’m not strong enough, that I’m not “this” enough, that I’m not “that” enough.  She has absolutely begged me at times not to get out there and run.  But nope.  Even She hasn’t succeeded.

Because I have something that overpowers all of you.

My Heart.

Oh, honey, let me tell you about my Heart.  That girl is fierce.  She has taken a beating, been ripped in two, and has some mornings felt so heavy inside me that I felt like I couldn’t even get out of bed, much less go for a 4-mile run.  But no matter how exhausted, sad, and lonely She may be, She always – without fail – manages to whisper in my ear, “We can do this.”

“Get up.  Get out there.  WE can do this.”

And even with her little whisper, she speaks more loudly than you or any of your other troublemaker friends can even imagine.  She is who I choose to listen to.  She never ever lets me down.  She’s strong.  She’s tough.  She’s unstoppable.

So, I’m going to keep running.  See this?

shinsplintblog

This kind of thing is just too good for me to pass up.  You tag along if you want to, but you’re not going to stop me.  It’s too late for me to turn back now.  I’m in this for the long haul.

Hey – nice try, though.

Sincerely,

Running is Hard Enough Without Your Help, Go Away

***

“Find a place inside where there’s joy,
and the joy will burn out the pain.”

Joseph Campbell

Cemetery

“The only people without problems are those in cemeteries.”
– Anthony Robbins

bloggravepic
(Photo above is taken at one of my favorite places – an old, somewhat abandoned graveyard on Round House Road in Grayson County, Virginia.)

I like cemeteries.

I know.  Weird, right?  But I do.  I always have.  And I got it honest.  I remember my daddy and I going to cemeteries and just walking through them in silence.  Not really saying anything, not even discussing what the heck we were doing there or why, but just walking around, reading the stones.  I’m not really sure what he was thinking (hmmm…maybe I should ask), but I know what I was thinking.  I was inventing lives for the people in my head.  I was looking at the time differences between the deaths of couples and wondering what it was like for the survivor during the interim.  Wondering how often they sat at that very spot visiting the grave where they are now buried themselves.  Wondering if the death of their loved one changed them…made them live life differently after that, with more of a purpose or awareness of how it could all end at any time.

Yep, all that stuff went through my head even as a child.  I’ve always been weird.

Well, this weekend I found myself drawn back to the same abandoned cemetery that I seem to be drawn to a lot lately.  I hadn’t been there in a while because of the winter weather, so it was nice to visit again.  It’s almost like visiting an old friend in a way.  For some reason, no matter how down or low I’m feeling, I find myself feeling better when I’m surrounded by these graves.  How weird is that?  Sitting there, I wondered that very thing – why in the world does being around these seemingly forgotten graves make me feel at peace?  Then, it dawned on me.

I was surrounded by silence.

Hmmm.  Mystery solved.

I’m drawn to this particular spot because I’m forced into silence.  There’s no one to talk to, no one to listen to, no need to put on airs or be someone I’m not.  I can just be me in the stillness.  I can cry if I want.  I can smile.  I can feel nothing.  It’s all accepted.  I’m surrounded by spirits of those who have gone before me.  Those who have felt all of those feelings before and will never have the chance to feel them again.  I’m allowed to just be; to feel whatever I want, and know that I’m blessed to do so, and will not be judged.  I can be reminded that, unlike my unknown companions, I am still alive.  My heart is still beating.  There is still time to say the things that need to be said, time to apologize for any wrongdoings, or, in some cases, to just learn to simply let things be.  In the stillness, surrounded by my silent audience, I can say my goodbyes.  Not for anyone else’s sake, but for my own.  I can let go.

Then, the real world starts tapping on my shoulder, and I realize it’s time to leave.

I pick myself up; dust myself off; bid my silent friends a quiet farewell; and go back to the hustle and bustle that I call my life.

megraveblog

***

“Cemeteries are full of unfulfilled dreams… countless echoes of ‘could have’ and ‘should have’… countless books unwritten… countless songs unsung… I want to live my life in such a way that when my body is laid to rest, it will be a well needed rest from a life well lived, a song well sung, a book well written, opportunities well explored, and a love well expressed.”
– Steve Maraboli