Today marks the anniversary of my last marathon, the marathon that did me in. You can read about it in an earlier post. The result of this marathon has been a year of the most incredible pain and huge measure of discouragement. Not a day has gone by without some of the most intense pain. Pain in my feet mostly, but my legs as well. The doctors could not find any obvious problem with my feet. X-rays revealed nothing. But clearly there was some soft tissue damage in the foot bed, the arches, the heels, and more. Most days I could barely walk, let alone run. I would shuffle about, not having any ability to raise the heel and get into a fluid pace. Cycling was virtually impossible as well as the pressure on the pedal also caused pain. To this day the achilles pain has moments of intensity but the at least the feet seemed to have finally healed. That endured until about October.
But without exercise or movement and the heaviness of discouragement, my weight has increased. The added weight has now caused further pain, some sort of joint reaction in my elbows and arms. I can barely grip things and shaking hands gives me intense pain. I find myself caught in this vicious cycle that a lot of overweight people find themselves in. One is heavy and needs to exercise but is too heavy to do so. I know to many (most) this sounds like excuses, but it just isn’t.
When I was nearing my goal weight and doing the running, I felt a lightness and freedom in movement. It motivated me to get out and move more. But when one is heavy you feel anchored and every move is an exercise in frustration – not the type of exercise that motivates. Much of the battle is mental and emotional, particularly when pain is in the mix, but there is a physical component as well.
As a result this has been a very discouraging year. Constant pain, extreme weight gain, and loss of fitness have led me to wrestle with a lot of frustration and perhaps even a bit of depression.
As today approached I have been asking myself, “Do I regret running that last marathon?”. Of course there is no practical reason to second guess – nothing can be done about that. OF COURSE I would prefer to not have all the pain and weight gain this past year. I think not having run the race would have made the year very different. But I also completed a major goal. I learned some incredible lessons during and from the run that have been valuable. I understand empathy and the value of truthfully acknowledging one’s pain so much more. So no, I do not “regret” doing the run. I can not live by the “If only…” trap. I have to stand by my choices, whatever comes. But the choice to run, even with all the lessons learned, did have consequences. As all choices do.
Ups and downs in my weight will always be my battle. Fitness will be harder for me than most. It is the genetic cards I was dealt. The emotional and mental, and even physical, battle will face me everyday. I hope I can find my way back. I hope I receive the empathy I have learned to offer. And as depressed and depressing as this last paragraph sounds, I do have hope. I really do.