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Done. Now what?

Posted Nov 22 2009 10:00pm
13.1 miles done and done. 2:23:21. I can honestly say I felt great crossing that finish line. I had a big dopey grin on my face, and I was whooping like an idiot. My knees complained at me the next morning, and I was moving a little slower than before, but all in all, my body handled the 2 plus hours of pounding remarkably well.

I was back on the treadmill 4 days later, and ran a 5K yesterday at my son's school. I got complacent--what's 3 miles after 13?--and didn't prep for the race at all. No stretching the night before, no breakfast, no liquids.

I almost puked at mile 2.

Lesson learned---even the smallest races still require preparation.

And so I find myself now in the best shape I've been in my life. And yet, there's an odd sense of let-down. This goal has sustained me for months, and I achieved, pretty much, exactly what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to run the race maintaining a 10 minute mile pace. Done (well, 10:12, but close enough) (and don't mock me for being slow until YOU'VE run for 2 hours straight). I wanted to feel good enough to sprint the last mile. Done. I wanted to cross the finish line with dignity and happiness. Done.

Now what?

Another lesson learned---races don't change who you are on the inside.

I'm not sure what I expected would happen after I ran the half marathon. Certainly not that my PKD would go away. I wanted to do it to prove something about my body, which I think I did. I proved that my body is still capable of doing great and amazing things, that I can push this thing beyond what I think possible, and that it will respond better than I had hoped. I also developed a more profound sense of gratitude for what my body is. That's certainly something I wasn't expecting.

But I'm still the same person. What's up with that?

And so another lesson learned. If I want to change who I am, it has to come from something deeper within. I'm not sure exactly what that means---I'm still pondering it. I'm still trying to figure out who I want to be, and where PKD and my body fits into the bigger picture. And after almost 4 years of sort of obsessing over my body and the numbers and the doctor's appointments and all the rest of it, the idea that who I am transcends physical space is something that is going to take some getting used to. It's an idea that I took for granted before my diagnosis, an idea that has gotten lost in the shifting sand beneath my feet as I've struggled to find my footing. It's an idea I have to spend some time getting reacquainted with.

In the meantime, I'll be hitting the trail tomorrow with my running buddies, getting ready for another 5K in December, and perhaps even another half marathon in April.

Yet another lesson learned: post race let down notwithstanding, running is addicting.
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