Identity Theft

Army Wives season 4 has wrapped! I’m slowly adjusting to life without catering. It hasn’t been easy. Though, I did make my first successful omelette this morning! It’s the one thing I can’t seem to cook. They always turn out to be a disaster, but I got it together this morning. So what’s been going on?

A few weeks ago I organized some of the cast and crew to join a beach run that was happening on the Isle of Palms coast. We actually had a great turn out, of about 10 people or so. I took it upon myself to make us custom AW shirts.

Despite my best efforts I could not keep up with front-runners, who in this case turned out to be Fort Marshall’s own Sally Pressman (aka Roxy Leblanc). She totally took it to all of us. She managed to finish first amongst the AW runners and also took first in her Age group! Anne Gross took third in the same age group! She’s been racking up wins left and right.

Yeah, go on gloat.

Not bad for someone who has only recently made a return to the sport. I started out slow, (I’m still not feeling so hot, more on that later) hoping to take the return a little bit faster. I saw Sally make the turn around, but there was no catching her. We had a seriously stiff head wind coming back, but she had the eye of the tiger. She just put her head down and kept pushing on at a ridiculous pace considering the wind and sand. I was super proud of everyone for crossing the line and happy that so many had turned out. I’m always excited about bringing in more people. That’s in fact a big part of the reason I run.

Recently I’ve had to ask myself the question, “Why do I run?”, and “What am I going to do if I truly can’t anymore?!?!” I hate to sound so dramatic, and I can’t believe I even had to ask myself this over a sprained ankle. I feel silly quite frankly. People have certainly overcome worse things. Some people have come back from things as traumatic as cancer. Some people have even had 3 different types of cancer at the same time and then gone on to win some big bike races……and I’m going to be done in by this? Over the past week I received more news confirming this possibility. I’ve been told by more than one “medical professional” that this injury has a serious likelihood of being of a permanent nature. Even my own research into the matter points to permanent instability in my left ankle.

I’m kind of ashamed to admit it but, this past Friday I more or less freaked and had myself a little a mental breakdown. The reality of not being able to do this anymore was just something I was not, and probably never will be, something I’m ready to deal with. That’s not a reality I want to live in, yet her I am, living in it. Great now what? I tend to keep things to myself. I hate burdening other people with my problems, but this time I put out the SOS to my closest friends. I ended talking with my friend Lindsey at 1 in the morning. Fortunately she’s in Colorado at the moment so the time zones were on my side. We ended up talking for over an hour. She seemed taken back by the person she was speaking with. She knows me fairly well, but she didn’t know the person she was talking to that night. Put simply, and I’m sure this will sound ridiculous to some, but I am not me if I’m not running. Many can certainly attest to this….Yerdua…. (not an sp)

I’m a runner, before all else. This is how I want to be recognized and it’s how I identify myself. It’s become my purpose in life. So what’s a guy to do when you take away his purpose? I don’t think Lindsey could believe what she was hearing. I’m not one to give up easily, or at all for that matter, but here I was throwing in the towel, dooming myself to simply meandering through life, something I’m starkly against. Whenever I have talked with friends who were in a similar state as to what I found myself in, I’ve always been fond of the following quote “If you come to a fork in the road will you choose to go right the way more people go, or left, the way fewer people go” Most reply “Well I guess I would go left” ” What they don’t realize is that you can always just pick the fork up. What that means to me is that if you are faced with a situation where there do not appear to be many options, there is always another way. I certainly wasn’t listening to my own words.

Let me try to put into simple words the gravity of this situation for me, personally. Imagine if you’re a dancer, or baseball player, or artist, and you were told that you were done. I would think that you would be devastated. It’s your purpose in life. It’s what your here to do. I’m here to run. But it’s more than just a personal pleasure. Yes, I love running. It’s given me clarity, focus, drive etc… But it goes beyond that. I run for more than myself.

Anything good that has ever happened on this planet has stemmed from inspiration. Someone did something great, someone else took notice and was motivated and inspired to do something great of their own. It might not be related to what that person had originally done, it might not even be close, but they were inspired to achieve something for themselves and consequently for everyone else, even if that wasn’t the intention. It’s a chain reaction. I believe this is the primary reason why we are all here. We’re here to support each other and to inspire each other. Everyone has this capability, and it takes on an infinite amount of forms. I can do these things and It took me over 20 years to find a way.

Why do I run? I run because yesterday I went to a chinese takeout to pick up lunch and the host their noticed my 50k trail run shirt I had on. His english wasn’t great but he understood that my shirt meant that I had run 50 kilometers up and down mountains. Through bad english and pantomime we had a five-minute conversation about running. He was astonished that you could even run that far, and he almost lost his mind when I told him that people have run much much further and that I myself had some extreme runs planned for the future. He just couldn’t grasp how that was humanly possible but I told him you just take it slow, one step at a time. I could see in his eyes that I had sparked an interest, and I like to think that later that night he went out for a little jaunt. It certainly motivated me to hit the pavement later on. Mutual inspiration!!! That’s why I run. I run because it’s relatable. Not everyone has a bike, not everyone hits the pool, but everyone knows what running is like, and everyone can participate (yes I know, barring certain circumstances, I am somewhat of a realist here) Everyone performs this act every single day, some just do it very slowly. But everyone gets it. It’s something that absolutely everyone can relate to in form or another. You don’t need to go out and buy fancy equipment (though my closet is full of every kind of running tech imaginable) You just need a decent pair of shoes, and a sturdy set of legs.

I run because I’m good at it, and I’ve never truly felt like I was particularly good at anything. I run because I can. I run because walking takes too long. I run because my dad and grandpa can’t. I run because gas is expensive. I run because I’m afraid. I run for the shirts. I run to feel alive. I run to keep personal demons at bay. I run for the pain. I run because I could never get into drugs and alcohol.

So there I was Friday, 1:00 in the morning, seriously contemplating life minus all of the above. That’s why I freaked. Fortunately Dr. Shoemaker calmed me down, and was able to talk some reason into me. I spent all day Saturday doing quite literally nothing. Just sat around feeling miserable and played a lot of Words with Friends. (by the way I’m kind of unstoppable at that game so if you want to try your luck, my screen name is glennikin)  Sunday I woke up and had a revelation. Something occurred to me, and that something was, “since when did cant’s become a bad thing?” I love when the odds are against me. I love it when people tell me I can’t, or I won’t. That stuff is rocket fuel! But this time I was telling myself this. I got out of bed, downed a smoothie and a protein bar, hopped on my bike and hit the road. I went all out for about 40 miles. It was glorious, and not in the way romantic Hollywood sort of way. I haven’t been keeping up with training so much. Work and self loathing has been getting in the way, and I paid for it. That’s another thing I love about running and biking. If you don’t stay with it, you pay the price, and I paid dearly, but I kept at it. I woke up the next morning and went for a run. I woke the morning after and did 50 miles on the bike. Today I hit the gym and rested my legs.

I’ve basically decided that I’m not buying it. I’m going to keep at this until my foot falls off, because then at least I’ll go out knowing that I really did try. And Patrick, you are free to tell me “I told you so” if that does happen.

To quote a good friend of mine: “There will come a day when I am no longer able to do this. Today is not that day

And if that day should come, I will find other ways to maintain my identity as a runner. I’m putting the white flag away. This is war!

P.S. 30 Seconds to Mars is ok with me.

P.P.S Go see Inception. I’ll say no more.

~ by glennikin on July 29, 2010.

2 Responses to “Identity Theft”

  1. Glad to hear you are being more positive and are feeling re-energized! I can’t wait to say “I told you so,” too 🙂

  2. There’s my optimist…

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