For the past couple of weeks I have been running a mile and a half loop around downtown H’burg. I have been dreadfully out of shape since my hip surgery last December and have been struggling to find my exercise rhythm. But I know the importance of exercise and I hate feeling out of shape so I have committed to running at least 3-4 mornings a week.
At first, these runs were awful. I felt tired and sore and finished a mile and a half in 15:35. I wondered if I would ever get back into shape or if my life would remain one big exercise fail.
This past Wednesday during my run, I decided to start focusing my energies outward instead of feeling sorry for myself. I noticed that my usual loop takes me right by the RMH Image Recovery Center. The IRC is an appearance enhancement service designed to help patients deal with the scarring, skin changes, hair loss and other consequences of disease, injury or treatment. This building is important to me because my aunt went there to get hats as she was dealing with the side-effects of chemo therapy.
I realized that I was feeling sorry for myself because I couldn’t run fast enough, but my aunt never once complained when she threw all of her effort into walking a few steps. Sometimes, it took every ounce of her strength to sit up and talk with me, but she did it anyway. She was dying, and she pushed through the pain to be with us and make our lives more bearable.
From the moment I realized the insignificance of my self-pity, I pushed. I decided to push myself to the brink of exhaustion. I want to run faster than I ever have before. But I also want to love more than I ever have before and I want to work harder in all aspects of my life. When I’m feeling tired or sore or incapable I want to remember my Aunt Patsy and remember how she fought for her life. She’s helping me to realize that my battles are winnable; my battles are easy compared to the ones she fought.
This morning, I held my Aunt Patsy in my mind during my entire run. I pushed so hard and I was so overcome by her presence within me that my sweat became mixed with tears. But I kept pushing. And today, we ran that mile and half in 13:31.