Last week, I watched my son get pelted in the face with a soccer ball. He came off the field crying, and like any good mother :), I urged him to get back out there and keep trying. I quelled the urge to coddle. He was fine; he needed the experience of "suck it up."
Huntsville, TX. 6am the start goes off. "Man I am ready for this," I think. I quickly find my new teammate Connie, and we introduced ourself in the first 10 minutes. She started giving me some advice, saying that "these roots don't seem like they are here now, but they'll be here in the last two laps. Just make sure to pick up your feet." I tell her, "thanks! I've actually got pretty strong ankles. I can turn an ankle pretty severely and keep going." Just like that the first mile clicks off, and I feel like a loaded gun. Someone finally let me out. This is the first race in probably a year that I've showed up healthy, trained, and ready - 100%,
Alexander runs over to the other side of the field and grabs a drink, and his coach also tries to get him back on the field. I can see the exchange, and Alexander seems to have a ton of adrenaline. Still, he tells the coach "No, I don't want to play anymore. I don't want to get hit in the face." Then just 30 second later, something happens, and he's out on the field. The coach didn't even notice it at first, and they scrambled to shift the fielding around. Alexander is out there being aggressive - the kid who 20 minutes before would back up from the ball is going after it.
As I run, I'm playing it conservatively, but god, I'm wondering, where Pam, Michele, and Kaci are at - this is my day. I take a stride and POP. That's my ankle. I try to keep going, but it's painful. I get all sweaty and sick to my stomach a bit. I pull over to try to address it, and I quickly decide I need to keep moving - blood flow, right. My gait is noticeably changed, and I'm favoring one side. Every .10 miles I stop off to check back it, but it keeps getting worse. I don't even think about quitting. I keep inching along. 100 miles is a long way, I can recover. Except that I can't. My day is done. I know it, but I'm not ready to accept it. I continue on slowly for .50 miles, and then I stop and accept defeat.
After the game, I run up to Alexander, and I tell him how proud I am. I explain that his determination was awesome. Then he looks at me and says, "Mom, soccer is really good anger management. I just put everything I had into the kicking that ball after I got hit in the face." The mom in me corrected the anger concept, I mean I'm not sure I'm comfortable with my 8-year old saying anger is okay. Then again, I know he's right. He had teammates were violently pushing each other and kicking the ball out, but he took his anger and respectfully used it to play more aggressively.
Anger. That's what I feel as I hobble back to the start. I wanted this so badly. I didn't cry or sob - that's my normal way of dealing. I just felt angry. I yelled some choice words into the woods. As I reached the start, I tapped on the car window, startling John and showing him my ankle. As we drove back to the start, I didn't wonder "why me," my anger is doing something else to me. I refuse to be the victim of circumstance.
This weekend, I didn't sulk (I mean I did watch movies and eat candy) - I didn't stew in my defeat or my failure. My anger grew into drive, and I thought about the next target.
So, Lake Sonoma 50m, I'm coming for you...