Clawing My Way Back

I am reminded of a popular, common phrase of my younger years that was used when things were going poorly: “Life sucks, and then you die.” The “Hee-Haw” show of my childhood repeated the lyrics “Gloom, despair, and agony on me… If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all!” It would appear that going through difficult times is a universal part of the human condition and that we must learn to get beyond them if we are to be happy.

Everything was going great: I was eating well, I was exercising daily, and I felt that I was about in the best shape of my life. My waist was smaller than in high school. My running times were the best ever. I felt great. Then the wheels came off the Lindlauf express…

I won’t bore you with the details, but I caught a cold, tried to return to work too early, and it turned into pneumonia. I gave up on training for two weeks. I returned to work in the meantime, but what had been busy, had turned into crazy during my absence. I tried a few small workouts, but the illness had taken a lot from me, and I struggled. Then, crazy at work turned into maniacal. My normal 8 hour work days turned into 12. I didn’t have time to work out or prepare healthy meals. Then, last week, maniacal at work turned into something even crazier (I’m all out of descriptions at this point). Working out and living healthy seem like something from another lifetime. “Life sucks!”

I’m in a dark place right now, trying to see a light, any light, at the end of this tunnel I’m currently journeying through. I posted a message of frustration this week on “Face Book” and received an avalanche of encouragement from my running friends. I know I’m not finished running, but it’s easy to start feeling sorry for myself; thinking the happy, healthy life I once enjoyed was gone for good. I know my problems pale in comparison to what some deal with, but the burdens I’m carrying seem to be more than I can handle at times. I’m also a bit overly dramatic in case you haven’t noticed.

The very heart of the problem appears to be that I have no time for my normal stress coping mechanisms; what I like to refer to as my three “R’s”: Running, writing and reading. This weekend, I decided to start making some time for these important components of my life, and although I wasn’t overly successful, I do feel a little better tonight. At this point, I have to look at life as a “one day at a time” improvement, and be happy with whatever I can get.

I had to work for about four hours Saturday, but decided to have a nice relaxing breakfast before I went, reading the paper and enjoying some coffee. That went fine until I discovered that Mitzie had escaped from our yard. When I opened the gate to go looking for her, Maxie pushed past me and took off on a dead run. I quickly found Mitzie, but Maxie eluded me for a half hour while I drove around the neighborhood, a foul stream of language filling the cab of my truck.

When I finished work, I came home, ate lunch and decided to take a nap. When I woke, the warmer temperatures invited me to go running, but I decided to add some lumber to our fence instead; making escape for Mitzie a little more difficult in the future. I pulled on my “2010 Bismarck Marathon” finisher shirt, an item that had been laying in a pile of slightly sweaty running clothes since my last workout a couple of weeks ago and headed outside. I soon realized that “slightly sweaty” could turn into “really stinky” when piled up by a radiator for a few weeks. I eventually wore the shirt to “Hugo’s” to pick groceries for dinner, and although I didn’t actually run this week, I did look and smell like a runner, and in some strange way it lifted my spirits a bit.

Today I worked again, napped again, and then went to a birthday party for my nephew Kris. I wasn’t up to a run after three pieces of delicious apple pie (thanks Beckie) so I’m writing instead this evening, and it’s also lifting my spirits a bit.

Maybe tomorrow will be the day I put back on my Beast shoes and hit the pavement for a few miles. Maybe it will be Tuesday. Maybe it will be later in the week, or the week after that, but it will happen. I know it will! I’ve completed five marathons, and it’s going to take more than pneumonia and 60 hour work weeks to keep this guy from eventually training for and running in number six! When the going gets rough, a marathon runner knows they still have many miles to go, so they buckle down and get tougher. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. You can mark my words!

2 Responses

  1. Oh, Jim! Life sounds like it’s been a little rough on you lately. BUT….you’ve got to grab the tiger by the tail and just keep going. I know I don’t “know” you, but I know enough about you through your blog and Facebook to know that you are one tough, inspiring guy. You don’t give up that easily. Look at what you have accomplished already…look at where you were when you started and where you are now – you leaps and bounds ahead of yourself and many others. For some reason, reading through your blog reminded me of a really cheesy song, “I get knocked down.” Most of the words are ridiculous, but the chorus fits you perfectly right now….”I get knocked down, but I get up again. Nothings going to keep me down.”
    And I’m pretty sure I’m right about that. There is nothing that’s going to keep you down. Nothing. Not a stupid sickness. Not a stupid work schedule. Nothing.
    Now grab those Beast shoes and hit the pavement. One foot in front of the other. One step, one mile at a time. You and I both know you won’t regret it.
    Thanks for being such an inspiration to so many people. Keep on keeping on!

  2. Mom

    I know my son, and he will never give up!! You can get down sometimes, allowed!! You can get tired sometimes, alowed!! You will get sick sometimes, allowed!!! Sometimes life will be a bitch, allowed!! You will go off your diet , allowed!! You can get depressed, allowed!!! But take it from Mom, you never give up, not allowed!!
    My heart and prayers are with you, keep struggleing, that is what life is all about!!

    Love Ya So Much,

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