Over the past several days, I have experienced my first bout ( and hopefully only) of kidney stones. If you have never experienced this kind of pain, let me tell you it is horrific. I’ll spare you the details but needless to say, I won’t be running the marathon I’ve been training for during this entire summer. Now, I didn’t come to this decision easily, even though any reasonable person would say after what I’ve been through medically and given I can barely walk today, it’s unreasonable to think that I’d stress my body out by running a mile, let alone 26. But there was part of me that actually thought it could be possible. I started to think that even if I walked the whole thing, it’d be better than not showing up. But then I thought I’d never do that; I run until I couldn’t, then walk, then try again, and that’d be how it would go for 26 miles. Not a pretty sight.
I started to think about the difference between parts of the “running mentality” in me and the “yoga mind” that I’ve developed. Believe me, there are many parallels between running and yoga and some of the most meditative moments I’ve experienced have been while running, whether in competition or just for practice or exercise. But there is a big difference between pushing yourself to the limit through running and practicing yoga in a peaceful, non-competitive way.
As I rested in bed over the past few days, then started to walk the dog- first to the corner, then the next one, and finally today, 3 blocks, I realized that the most loving thing I could do for myself is let go. I know, the loss of the past 5 months of training; the fun of running the same race for the second time and knowing a bit more about the course; the chance to better my time from last year or even just experience the victory of just finishing; these were all things I wanted for myself. But realistically, it’s not as if I’m a world class runner. In the end, running for me is a hobby; part of my exercise routine and just because I can’t run this marathon doesn’t mean I can’t run another one in my future.
Letting go is a hard thing for competitive, driven people to do. It’s hard because we feel the loss, we feel somehow like a failure when in fact, it can take a wise person to realize when to hold on and when to let go. I certainly don’t want to injure myself further and I definitely want to get back to running but in my own time and at my own pace. So with that, I will put aside what would have been the final week of training and will instead focus on getting back to regular eating, catching up on my rest and using a gentle yoga practice and walking as a way to bring myself back into an exercise routine.
Much luck to all the runners on Sunday, 10/18 in Lowell, MA. I will be thinking of you!