Thursday, October 25, 2012

Running through grief

I have recently taken up running. It started out as a means to weight loss but it has become a means for me to escape, take time for myself, and feel proud of myself for accomplishing something.

But the funny thing is, I hate running.

I am always thankful when I finish, but I never want to get started. It's hard. It hurts. But about halfway through I find my stride, take a deep breath, and smile when I reach the end of my run.

Almost every time I run, I find myself face to face with....myself. No distractions. No excuses. Just me and my thoughts (which can be quite dangerous, let's just be honest). It can be hard to face the day and realize I brought all my distractions, baggage, and mistakes from the day before. I've got to work them out even though I don't always want to. It's quite humbling. And what I find is that 9 times out of 10, it boils down to grief and how has changed me, my relationships, and my life altogether. I don't say that as a cop-out or to blame grief on all my problems, it's just a testament to how life changing grief can be and how it trickles down into every aspect of your life.

Grief is my marathon. I hate lacing up knowing I have to face the road. I procrastinate. It's a long and difficult race, one that threatens to defeat me. But then I remember that there is a finish line, and that I am capable of pressing on. Even when my body starts to give in, even when I want to give up - if I take it slow, just one step at a time, I can get through it. Grief will not defeat me.

And the most beautiful thing of all is knowing that Jeremy will be waiting for me at the finish line.


  1. Vee,
    I too have taken up running recently and though I began training because I was turning 50 and I wanted to check off a half-marathon from my bucket list, I found that it has helped me in so many more ways than I could have ever imagined.

    I can relate to so much of what you have written, including the fact that I procrastinate every morning and can think of a million reasons why I shouldn't run. Yet I know when I am done, my mind will be clear and I can attack the day. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words!!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Deb. Keep running, I am super impressed!

  2. This post resonated with me for a few reasons.

    #1. I too hate running. I took it up briefly in the spring as I agreed to go in the Warrior Dash (see with friends in July and needed to ‘train’ at least somewhat for it. (I’m not in bad shape – but I’m not a runner by any means.) And I found that after a few weeks/months I was proud to realize that I could go farther and farther each day. And for a while I found that I’d hit a zone where it felt like I could keep on going forever. It was a good feeling while it lasted.

    #2. Your comment ‘Grief is my marathon.’ also struck a chord with me.
    I was in a ‘Mindfulness’ grief support group for almost a year after Dave died. One of the things that stuck was a comment the leader made a few times about leaning into the grief and pain. Seeing what it’s teaching us. Initially this sounds like nonsense, but I realized that if you fight it – it’s hurts a lot more. If I let myself feel the sorrow and pain, I can keep moving on. (This is an ebb & flow process and I try not to fight it when the grief keeps coming back. I can still live with it around. It’s just there.)
    It also reminded me of Kris Carr and her fight with cancer. (Crazy Sexy Cancer is her movie and book). I remember her saying something like, “This will sound crazy to most people, but Cancer is my guru. It’s my teacher. It teaches me every day the hard things and the beautiful things.” When I heard that I DID think she was crazy, and didn’t understand it, but years later it now makes total sense to me.

    So, when you wrote ‘Grief is my marathon’, I read ‘Grief is my guru’.

    Grief is teaching me, whether I want to learn or not.
    It is teaching me that I am stronger than I ever thought.
    It’s teaching me that there is still beauty in sorrow.
    I’m learning that I can love again. Laugh again.
    It’s not the same, but different can be OK to.

    1. I love that. Thanks for sharing, Valerie.

  3. Hi Vee,

    I just wanted to say thank you for an amazing post.


    1. Thanks for reading, Maureen. Hope it helped in some way.