Sunday, July 11, 2010

Today I ran for the first time since my dad died

My dad had a long battle with his health and various illnesses. There's a long list, yet in the end it was Alzheimer's and bladder cancer.

I took up running as a positive way to deal with the stress. Beginning 1/1/2010 I started training for a triathlon. The running portion of the mini-tri at Hanson Dam in August is 3 miles. For me a non-runner, a 3 mile run seemed unattainable. I could barely run half a mile. After a few months I felt ready to attempt a run around the Rose Bowl which is a 3.12 mile run. This route was something I had attempted to run around in the past & always had to stop after about a mile with a sharp pain in my side, and had to walk the rest. My goal was to continue running around the Rose Bowl without stopping, to complete the loop. I was prepared for disappointment. If I couldn't do it, I'd head right back to the gym & hit the treadmill. Yet what was so funny was I completed the loop, saw my car where I had started the run and thought, "Is that it?" My body was ready to run another mile. In my mind the distance was so much farther. That gave me a lot of confidence. I could do it!

I started to love running. Running around the Rose Bowl was a piece of cake. When traveling to Europe in May I ran through the forests in Germany for 4.5 miles. A friend referred to me as a "runner", which was the ultimate compliment. I started thinking about running more outdoors, and which running paths had the nicest views, etc.

So I continued to run and bike, 3 times a week (with Yoga on Sundays) and kept up with it for 6+ months. I had just started the swimming portion of the training, when my dad passed away on 7/4/2010. I stopped running. I stopped training. I didn't even think about running.

Until my husband said, "You need to start running again. It's good for your body & your head," tapping his temple on the side of his head.

So yesterday I attempted to run again for the first time since my dad died. My dad died on Sunday so 6 days after his death. I put on my headphones like usual, and got my heart rate up & legs pumping. As I was running I thought of my dad and my body started sobbing. I felt like I was literally crying out of every single pore of my body. I barely made it to 2 miles. My pulse was over 190. Someone once told me 180 was cardiac arrest.

Will I continue running? I don't know. It was such a help to deal with the stress of his illness & all the worry with his health worsening & caring for him. Now that he's dead I don't know if I want to keep running. I would love to think that I'd continue running & see the benefits. Who knows. Maybe I'll be like Forest Gump and hang up my sneakers. Or maybe I'll take up something new like kick boxing or something to get out all my frustration & anger. I don't know. I just know it was really sad to run again today. Afterward my face was the reddest I've ever seen it. I just kept thinking of my dad & how he's gone forever.

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