Saturday, November 14, 2009

The stages of grief....

Five Stages Of Grief:

1. Denial and Isolation.At first, we tend to deny the loss has taken place, and may withdraw from our usual social contacts. This stage may last a few moments, or longer.
2. Anger.The grieving person may then be furious at the person who inflicted the hurt (even if she's dead), or at the world, for letting it happen. He may be angry with himself for letting the event take place, even if, realistically, nothing could have stopped it.
3. Bargaining.Now the grieving person may make bargains with God, asking, "If I do this, will you take away the loss?"
4. Depression.The person feels numb, although anger and sadness may remain underneath.
5. Acceptance.This is when the anger, sadness and mourning have tapered off. The person simply accepts the reality of the loss.

(from the website)

I know...this may be a tad on the dramatic side, but my inability to run lately, has been somewhat of a loss for me. I think if I knew it would be over soon, it would be easier to handle or work though, but after having tried all I know to do to help the foot situation and without much improvement, it seems as if no end is in sight. In my head, I want to make the most of this time other ways to exercise and basically, get a life! That's a bit harder in reality...When I decided to start training for my first marathon, over a year ago, I'll admit that it was mostly to challenge myself and see if I could really do it. Before then, I loved exercise, but hadn't run since college. Even back then, I ran to keep my weight down and basically punish myself with a hard workout, for indulging...or to stay fit for the crazy, control-freak man I was dating at the time. Running and me...well, we didn't have a healthy relationship.

Training for my first marathon was filled with little setbacks and injuries, lots of questions, and I ran further each week than I ever had before. And I thought, that once I was DONE with the marathon...goal achieved, done running..Unexpectedly, I wanted to do it again. The second time around...still had setbacks..a few less injuries...but a bit more balance and speed work every week...with someone cheering for my improvement (not just pace, but running form, being healthier, recovering smarter, and learning to set my own goals). The Bass Pro Marathon was my favorite and best race yet. Not only that, but it turns out that I LOVE running. An unexpected gift........and just for running's sake. I miss lacing up my shoes, grabbing my ipod, listening to my breath, feeling every step...

And now...two weeks later...I am grieving....back and forth between several stages of grief....I denied for days that anything was TRULY wrong, even as I put my sneakers on and couldn't STAND to have my shoes tied, finally going to the doctor after trying all I knew to do to "fix" it. I have been isolating myself, because sadly...the only DAMN thing I talk about is running and now that I can't run, the only DAMN thing I talk about or think about is NOT being able to run...That's depressing and no one wants to hear it, so I just stay away from people, so I won't be a downer. I've been angry...angry that yet, AGAIN, I am injured and that somehow any progress I make seems to be fraught with setbacks...As I look back, I know it could have happened in any run, at any time, but sometimes I wonder if the race was even worth it, because I would rather be able to run, PERIOD! Then I tell myself, YES...I'm still glad I did my race, because it was a culmination of so much hard work. I'm angry that after all this time off, I will have to start over, FROM SCRATCH, and lose all that lovely progress. I have also bargained...been depressed, thinking it will never end...and tried acceptance, with little progress.

Whether my lack of being able to run is worthy of all this drama and introspection, the feelings of grief are still there. It does not help me to ignore them, pretend they aren't there, play the "what if" game, or in general, act like a b**. Feelings are feelings...they don't discriminate, depending on whether I deem them "valid" or not...It seems like the mental stamina I practiced for the marathon, is far more applicable NOW, when faced with the unknown and things I can't control. I'm trying to make the best of what I can do and maybe the acceptance will take a bit longer. The thing is....I can't argue with how much running has become my everything...and although I love it, that's kind of sad...When I look back at my training, I realize that it has become just another way that I have come to define friends...Although I LOVE the training...the anticipation of the race, the companionship of my running buddies, the commonality of swapping stories, the challenge of pushing myself....I have neglected so many other things that mean so much to me...the MOST important, my relationship with God and my good friends. I'm not saying that I can't have both...maybe it's been poor time management or priorities...I guess I just turned to running to "fill me up", to fill that place in me that makes me feel "OK" or "worthy"....Don't get me wrong, I definitely believe that God has given me the freedom to enjoy running and get pleasure from it...but when I can't run...what does THAT do to me? It's worth a look, I guess...even though it sucks. I think the grief I am experiencing has to do with much deeper issues than not being able to may just be the thing that gets me to take a long, hard look at myself...

I guess grief is part of life..I'm sure the next few weeks will be a lesson in that. Just know that I am working through some things that have some to do with running, but mostly...control...or lack of it...And don't most of us want to learn to be a little more flexible and adaptable to life, so that we don't fall apart at the smallest sign of trouble? I'm sure I won't be the easiest person to be around, but just wait it out...don't bail on me yet! Maybe you won't know what to say...or have "the answers"...that's OK...just tell me that I will be stronger through this experience. Alot of the hardest lessons in life come through hard circumstances. I am a runner..but that's just PART of who I am. figure out the rest!


Jamie said...

I could've written this post!! I know EXACTLY how you feel and I handled it EXACTLY the same way. I tend to withdraw and not want to be around anybody. I need that time to just sit with God and get back to my center. I had a severe deep groin pull last year that sidelined me for 3 months. I couldn't even walk. I was sooooo depressed. All I did was eat. And the extra weight I gained sure wasn't helping any. I finally got to where I could walk to my mailbox. Big woop. I felt like such an idiot. Definitely had to start at square one. But I did get back to running and now I'm stronger than ever. I have to listen to my body and not push so dang hard all the time to the point I injure myself. It's definitely a self worth thing for me too. And I know God is my source, but I too, tend to think running identifies me. Maybe we can support each other in this!! I live in Mountain Home - email me sometime and let's chat! :) I hope things will get better for ya - just keep praying about it! :)

Jamie said...

P.S. My email is (I don't have a blog yet!)

That Pink Girl said...

Fosh you can grieve not being able to run. I totes grieved when I realized my injury would prevent me from running the marathon at a pace I was proud of. And yeah, I felt like a total baby since there are so many people who would love to be able to WALK, much less run...but it's okay to grieve the dream, the goal, the process.
But you are doing the right thing to rest. That's the only way some injuries will heal. That pain is your body's way of saying "Hold up!" Hang in there!

Cheryl said...

Hey Tambo - We are still here for you! Just because you aren't running doesn't mean we don't love you anymore. We know it's difficult to be sidelined with an injury, Kim and both have been out for extended periods of time, but as you can see we bounced back and so will you! The end may not be in sight, but your foot will get better!


Ulyana said...

WHATEVER! Your grief is completely justified, and we all do it. ***HUGS*** You are doing great no matter what... keep writing about running, even if you don't get to do it now, it'll help :)