The Art of Being Dumbasses (aka: Running With Friends)

Mile2Mile Group
Mile2Mile Group

Dear driver in the white SUV pulling into the Dairy Queen on Bardstown Road yesterday morning:

Thank you.

Thank you for providing my little band of jolly runners with something to milk for the slow, steady, and careful 8 miles we pounded out on the roads of Louisville. The sidewalks were sheer ice. The roads were mostly clear, save for some slick spots and black ice.  We found those though…either before we tread over them…or during.  Whichever came first.

The fact of the matter was…when you attempted to take our jolly band of runners out with your big-ass SUV, then proceeded toward the Diary Queen drive-thru, only to pause to roll down the window opposite your side of the car to scream out the window for the five of us to “get out of the damn road” and then proceeded to inform us that we are all dumbasses…well…our reply of “THANK YOU” was not misplaced.

Because for the rest of the run…if we hit ice or stumbled upon it accidentally, the word “dumbass” was always brought up, with laughter, twinkles in our eyes, and maybe a friendly elbow to the person running beside us.

I personally thank you for this comment…because I have been miserable these days.  Seasonal Affective Disorder has not let up…not yet.  I am trying as hard as I can to find more reasons to smile.  And, to be honest, I almost didn’t go out for this run.  Too many factors that could end badly.  I learned in December last year…ice and I don’t get along.  But, my roomie insisted I go, because I’d enjoy running with people…even out in the cold and on treacherous paths, than I would running on my own in a gym.

She was right.

This was the second week in a row that I was out and running with a group.  And I’ve found my smile again with each one.  My speed is still lacking…but at least I’m getting out.  Even if, at times, I feel like I don’t want to.  This has been good for me.  For at least an hour, I leave my troubles, my depression, my doubts behind.  For a moment…I am a runner…with my group of friends who know how to lift me up and chase away the shadows.

Dealing with SAD has sucked.  I hate feeling lost and defeated and so unlike myself.  I hate feeling like I’ve lost fitness and speed.  And…honestly…I have.  My weight is WAY up from what it was for Chicago.  My legs aren’t firing as fast as they used to.  And, honestly, this breaks me apart.  I struggle every morning with it.  But I keep on training.  Strength training, spinning, and, yes…running…mostly inside…no speed work.

My achilles is better.  It is!  Happiness.  But I ran in old shoes yesterday on the ice…and now my ankle is twinging at me.  I am so done with winter.  The negative digits, single digits, and below freezing temperatures have really hindered me this year.  Coming back from injury is hard enough…coming back to weather that is not meant or safe for running is even worse.  This has been my worst winter yet.  And all these components are really weighing me down (literally according to my bathroom scale).

Sometimes…I just don’t feel like myself…and I don’t like the way I feel.  So many friends have texted, called, invited me out, messaged me, had dinner with me, or just checked in on me.  And that makes me feel really warm and fuzzy.  Some I missed calls, but returned.  Some have given me hugs.  Some have just let me talk it out.  It’s so hard for me to open up about this because it makes me feel weak.  It makes me feel lost.  It makes me feel…so unlike me that it scares me.

The days are finally getting longer.  The air…warming up…a little.  So…hopefully…just hopefully…I’ll have more time and more opportunities to set out on these roads with my friends at my side…with more than one reason to smile.

And, if we’re lucky…a fast food, super-sizing, jackass to give us a little comedy relief…but calling us all dumbasses…when we were really doing the safer thing for everyone.

And…if I’m lucky…maybe I’ll just learn to love myself and what I can do again.  But I think that’s going to take some time.

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