Apparently I need to run

After my great running and post-run experience on Wednesday, I was disappointed to wake up on Thursday with yet another headache. Things have been really crazy and stressful at work, but despite that I’ve been sleeping better for some reason that I can’t figure out. Apparently I slept so well Wednesday night that I didn’t move at all, and so I woke up with a sore and painful neck and left shoulder along with the usual headache that comes with them.

But I decided that I really would want to run again the following day (this morning), and I knew that if I took a bunch of pain pills I’d be too groggy this morning to run. So I toughed it out with as little medication as I could stand. Last night I was still feeling lousy but I set the alarm for early-enough-to-run-before-work and left my options open for this morning.

I woke up half an hour before the alarm and lay there testing things. How’s the head? Neck? Left shoulder? Left hip? Knees? I wasn’t gettting definitive answers so I decided to simply go out and see what would happen.

What happened was almost as magical as Wednesday morning. I ran 3.1 miles in the dawn with a light breeze and dramatic black clouds overhead. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to my watch. I settled into a comfortable pace that — as the data revealed when I got home — varied by only 7 seconds across each of the three miles, and was almost a minute per mile faster than I could manage a year ago at this time.

I did remain aware of what street I was on at all times. My wildlife sightings consisted of exactly one raven. I saw three walkers (one with a dog) and one person on a bicycle. When I got home I captured this view of palm trees and sky.

Then I stretched, showered, went to work and jumped straight back into the chaos. I had two tough meetings. In addition, my work computer was acting up, kept losing the wireless connection and refusing to talk to the printer. But I managed somehow to keep the headache under control. It helped a lot that it was Friday and I got a reprieve on one of the hot projects so that I won’t have to work on Sunday afternoon just to get caught up.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is not my favorite time of year. I look forward to New Year’s Eve as the end of “the holiday season.” I fully expect to have rough days in December, and I am certainly having them this year. But I am so grateful that I am settling into this groove with running. It’s helping me deal with some truly awful stuff, cope with the loneliness, and find a path through this new, post-Kurt world. I still grieve, but grief is not the center of my moment-to-monent experience.

I should also say that you, dear readers, are a big part of my support system. With you out there, I don’t feel so completely alone. Thank you.


Posted on December 16, 2011, in grief, LIfe_goes_on, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Lori, I’m amazed that you can run with the headaches. I rarely have a bad headache, but when I do I laugh at myself because I realize just how fragile I really am! So I sure do give you credit for keeping up your running schedule. Beautiful photo,too! I spent some time on the phone today with a good friend on the east coast who has had a terrible year. She said much the same, “I’m just holding on to the New Year!” I think for many that’s a decent goal with a reasonable outlook on just how things are! I hope you get the chance to do the things that feel good to you this weekend…and no headaches. Debra

    • Debra,
      If I’d still had a full-on headache, there is no way I could have run. It was down to what I fondly call the “dull roar” stage so I figured it was worth a try.
      As for this time of year, Merle Haggard’s “If We Can Make It Through December” has been a “holiday” anthem of mine for many years. I always look forward to January when the days start getting noticeably longer, and even though I’m farther south this year I expect to feel the same lift when 2012 arrives. Sometimes a horrible year is best left behind.

  2. It goes both ways, though you may not realize it now… you are part of our support systems too. Amazing things that friendship brings. Just knowing you’re there helps. And you surely helped me through my difficult times. I’ve got to try this running thing… what is it? One foot in front of the other? 😉 okay … rambling again. off I go. hugs…

    • Patty,
      You’re right, it does indeed go both ways. That’s what true friends are for, and we have certainly been through some rocky times together.
      As for running, one foot in front of the other… Yeah, that’s all there is to it, especially when you’re slow. 😉

  3. beautiful picture, really capturing your world of light and dark…what causes your headaches? they seem to happen a lot and i am amazed that you deal as well as you do with them! Sending our love in this difficult time! Geri

    • Geri,
      The short answer on my headaches is an undiagnosed neck injury at age 16. A really talented physical therapist did wonders for me a few years ago, and they’re neither as severe nor as frequent now, but I don’t think I’ll ever be headache-free. It’s now just one of those things I have to learn to live with.

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