Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Such a Perfect Place to Hide" My Celebration of 13.1

One final surge as I reached the final 100m. My heart was beating with excitement, my tired legs changed cadence to push harder towards the finish. The sun burst through the clouds. The angel's trumpets blared. Crowds roared their support, chanting my name (which is 2 syllables and coincidentally imminently chant-able) and pumping their fists to the sky as I passed by. I might have been in slow motion, hair swept back in the wind, victorious smile on my calm and triumphant face. Gentle beads of sweat glisten on my brow. Dramatic and uplifting music sets the tone for epic victory. This is totally how I celebrated the finish of the 2015 Scotiabank Half Marathon and 10 year Discharge-A-Versary from hospital after completing a stay in Toronto General Hospital's Eating Disorder Unit.
Stop. Press rewind please. Let's take it back a bit.
I had a great run. From starting gun to final surge,the entire run went like any other..strong,beautiful and full of joy. I ran with music for the first time, and set myself a lengthy playlist of songs that mean something to me, I enjoy, or remind me of people who would be cheering me on. From there I pressed shuffle and set off on my run.
Music, as always, did not disappoint, sending me a sublime set of musical awesomeness to enjoy along the way. I was fast enough, strong enough and thoroughly exhilerated by the atmosphere. It was, as the first two songs that played so aptly stated, a Wonderful World, and a Beautiful Day.
As KD Lang soulfully belted out Halellujah on my soundtrack, I took a moment to revel in the truly breathtaking truth that I was running with all the skinny, perfect people. That I had eaten breakfast that morning. And every morning for the last ten years. That all the people who had astounded me before were now my peers. And that I was as worthy and capable of the achievement as they were.
I ran briefly alongside a true survivor, a real hero. JP Bedard was 5km into his third consecutive marathon to raise awareness for survivors of sexual abuse. I told him how he inspired me and how he was my hero. This was bravery.
The songs played on. My feet kept plodding on. My heart was full.
I thought that the ending would be, in a word, unforgettable.
I turned the corner and saw the crowds and beautiful Toronto City Hall up ahead. All the other runners streamed out ahead and around me. The stage was set. I noticed my music for the first time, really, knowing that the music Gods would choose a song to commemorate this incomparable moment.
Instead the music Gods decided to have a bit of a laugh and sent me low key, somewhat (okay,very) dark song by George Ezra, about depression.
It actually shook me a bit. What. The. Fuck. would this song come on for (because IPods care about my epic soundtrack, right), but I wasn't about to waste any precious time by fiddling and skipping the song.
It's just my name,
It's just my skin,
Holding a boulder,
Can you swim?
Oh as we fall,
Through the water,
You find a piece within,
And you know it's just your skin
So I looked toward the finish and plowed ahead, determined to just ignore the music and finish strong. But, instead of just listening, for the first time I actually heard.
I trust myself implicitly to make the right decisions. I feel capable, strong and beautiful. I listen to the needs of my body and adjust to ensure that I am able to perform at my best. I am confident and on top of the world.
Now add "when I am running" to those above statements.
Because only when I am running, all of the above and more are true.
But in my life, I let doubt creep in. I let the opinions of others lead me. I don't trust that I know what I need.
When I look back over ten years of making the right decisions, listening to the needs of my body and adjusting to ensure that I am able to perform at my best, I know that having confidence in myself is key to my being a rare success story.
When I doubt myself, when I turn away from my gut instincts, and when I convince myself that I can't, I slip and fall.
But the part that doubts? It's just my skin. Not my heart, my soul. It's just my name. A diagnosis.
And God knows, I have held a fucking gigantic boulder or ten. And God knows, because He has helped me, I can swim.
So when I crossed that finish line in downtown Toronto, I did it like I have lived most of my life. Alone,in giant crowd.
No fanfare. No fist pumps. No triumphant angelic horn section. Me and George and the black dog.
Black dog, black dog, that I'll never know,
Oh black dog haunts you mind, your world, your soul,
Oh black dog, black dog, can't you see I am fine?
Oh black dog, black dog, you're no plague of mine.

It was the perfect finish to my perfect run.

It's just my skin. And I'm proud to say I'm comfortable in it.

Find Your CORE

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