After a brief hiatus, most people would say that they took time to stop and smell the roses. I did do some of that but most of this week was spent preparing for 13.1 miles of insanity on Sunday. That’s right, I might have Gastroparesis but I’m still going to cross the finish line of a half marathon on Sunday!
I was always a runner growing up and it is in my blood. I was never extremely fast but have learned the insane ability to get over the mental hurdle of physical endurance and pain. There are times that I attribute growing up running long distance for my ability to remain positive amongst the pain of Gastroparesis. When you are running for 2-3 hour long practices, you definitely learn the ability to have mind over matter. There are times when this is easier said than done, but in general you have learned the odd skill of being able to torture yourself.
Last year I was able to complete 2 half marathons and was incredibly proud of myself. I even had a race shirt made that says “At Least I’m Faster Than My Stomach”! It is quite the conversation piece back amongst the slow pokes of the race. There are periods of each race where I must walk due to Gastroparesis, but I don’t mind because I am proud of myself for being out there. This are also the points in which other walkers ask me about my shirt and are in complete shock that I have a screwed up stomach and am still out there. It always brings some tears to my eyes and I doubt that there will ever be a time that it won’t. It means so much to be able to educate while taking on such a lofty goal.
My first half marathon was last year at this time. I was quite ill for the months leading up to it and was not able to train. I was worried and confused as to whether or not I should still attempt it. My wonderfully supportive boyfriend egged me on to give it a shot. (We are both competitive in a fun manner and I wasn’t about to see him with a medal and miss out on mine!) There were several times during the race that I thought I was going to have to drop out, but then I would hear a Johnny Cash song coming from a band along the route. He was one of my grandpa’s favorites. My grandpa had recently passed away and we were extremely close. I felt that all of the Johnny Cash songs were my grandpa also egging me on to keep putting one foot in front of the other and cross the finish line. (Really? What are the odds of 5 out of 6 bands playing Johnny Cash?)
This also got me thinking about Gastroparesis. We have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving. We have to keep fighting to find treatment options and cures. We have to keep putting one foot in front of the other to try to remain positive. We have to keep taking steps to try to maintain some “normalcy” in life. We have to keep moving both physically and mentally. It might seem like the race will never end, but one day it will. Hopefully it will in our lifetime!
So my 13.1 miles on Sunday will be dedicated to all of the GPers and all of you will be in my mind as I keep putting one foot in front of the other!