When I headed out for my long run on Saturday, my head wasn’t really in it. We had some unpleasant news that morning and a lot going on, but I knew I needed to get this run in. The countdown to my demise at the Leatherwood Ultra seems to be accelerating and I am still woefully unprepared. But I headed out anyway.
The weather would have been perfect if I had a little bit more clothing on. As it ended up, I kept teetering from okay to this sucks for most of the run. Unlike my usual running, I could never find my happy place physically or mentally. I tried speeding up and slowing down, but everything seemed forced and not quite right.
I turned on my ipod in hopes that a podcast would draw me in and allow me to escape my own mind and negative thoughts. Nope. Not happening. So I eventually tried old faithful: mule mode. Head down. Don’t think. Don’t stop. Don’t do anything but keep moving forward. And it worked.
For about 5 minutes. Seriously?
I kept running, wallowing in my misery, trying to figure out how I can snap my frigid fingers and make this 12 miles be done. And then a word from a podcast broke through my self pitying haze: Crohn’s. Uh, hello? What were they talking about?
I backed up the podcast a bit and figured out it was an interview with a runner who had finished his first ultra. The pod-caster had asked the runner what the worst pain he had ever felt was and it was when he ended up with toxic mega-colon as a result of his Crohn’s. He had to have his large intestine removed and the pain from his surgery was intense.
And it hit me. Mason has Crohn’s. I am running this race to raise money for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. I am going through all of this to somehow help people like this man…..like my son…..who suffer from a disease that is invisible to others. Mason is a division 1 college swimmer……but he still has Crohn’s. In his case and many others, looks can be deceiving.
Mason & I talked one time about how diligent he is with his eating, exercise and medicine habits. It is amazing how much he has given up. But he said he never wants to be in as much pain again as when he was initially diagnosed. I remember it well. It was morphine level pain. It was pain he still remembers. It was pain that I pray he never sees again.
So here’s the deal. I finished my 12+ mile run with a frown on my face and blood in my shoe (another story). But I finished it. As I will the next run. And the one after that. Because now I remember why I signed up for this flatlander’s nightmare. I inflict pain on myself so one day others, including Mason, can be relieved of their pain.