One of my worst habits as a writer is my tendency to make a metaphor out of anything. If I thought about it long enough, I could make a metaphor out of a strawberry PopTart. (And it would be delicious.) While this ability makes me well-suited for writing a certain television medical drama that rhymes with Shey’s Banatomy, it also means you guys are subjected to lofty ideas and metaphors that are stretched thinner than Gumby. You’d think this would be the part of the post where I vow not to do that anymore. Nope. Here in a second I’m going to metaphor the shit out of running.
If you’re new to these parts, I just started training for my first half-marathon. This is my training plan. Also this. (Also, if you know how to get those two pages onto one page I can print out? I’d love you FOREVER.) I’m currently in week 2, which means my longest run is 4 miles. Every other run? 2 miles. And only 3 times a week of running at all. At this point, crosstraining can go suck an egg. I just want to run, y’all. Under 10 miles a week can suck an egg.
But I’m following the plan. Because I don’t want to injure myself by doing too much, too fast, too soon. So when I’m finishing a simple 2 mile run and I’m frustrated because I want to keep going, I remind myself of two things:
- It wasn’t that long ago the idea of running 2 miles seemed incredibly overwhelming.
- Someday I will be able to run for as long as I want, but only if I allow my body the time it needs to get strong.
MUCH LIKE FEELING MY FEELINGS.
(See? Metaphor time.)
I’ve talked a lot about being a robot for the last few months. I realized recently I didn’t just turn into a robot after Kim died. My robotization was a longer process, starting when Kim’s diagnosis came back and I saw how hard it hit the people who knew her best, longest, loved her the most. Because Kim and I were such new friends, I had the distinct and unenviable ability to immediately compartmentalize how I felt about this new person in my life and how I felt about what she was about to go through — Robot Alida began to program herself to Unfeeling Mode.
My mistake was not in compartmentalizing. On the contrary, separating myself from my emotions allowed me to be the caretaker Kim needed, to make sure she was taking the right medications at the right times, to yell at her to eat because she needed to weigh more than 91lbs if she was going to fight the cancer. My mistake was I never switched out of Unfeeling Mode, save for a slip here or there. I pushed every feeling as far away from myself as I could, allowing Robot Alida to take over every aspect of my life.
This was necessary. And now that I can recognize the necessity of Robot Alida, I’m able to tentatively and gingerly feel my feelings again. This mostly happens while I’m running, which explains my fanatical need to run more. Because I never do anything by halves, I want to dive into the deep end of the feelings I’ve avoided for nearly 2 years. This would be a bad idea, obviously. I mean really. Have you ever seen a movie about robots? What happens when they begin to feel feelings? Pretty much death, destruction, and a ginormous threat to the human race. Also, the robot gets blown up.
So when I want to feel all my feelings at once, just to rip off the band-aid of sadness and get on with my life, I remind myself of two things:
- There was a time when feeling my feelings seemed incredibly overwhelming.
- Someday I will be able to feel as much as I want, but only if I allow my heart the time it needs to get strong.
(See what I did there?)
So that’s where I am today, in this moment. Wanting to break out into a sprint but recognizing the importance of holding back and resisting the urge to do too much, too soon. Live in the moment, in the current run, finding pace in where I am right now instead of worrying about tomorrow’s distance. But it’s starting, guys. I’m starting to see where I could be in the future instead of feeling stuck where I am now. It’s a great motivator.
Of course, not wanting to be blown-up is a fantastic motivator, too.