Finding out I have a condition that may make it impossible for me to run in the future led to a mini mid-life crisis that I must have forgotten to have when I turned thirty and thought to myself ”Eh, it's not that different to being twenty nine”. Running is a huge part of my life, my social circle here in Skellefteå consisting almost entirely of other runners, my free time when not running spent largely helping out with AIK-related activities (co-coaching the beginners group, for instance).
This realisation stopped me in my tracks. What would I do without running? Who am I if I can't run? What will I have left?
The answer is: not much.
It was a very scary thought. Sure, I have other hobbies. I knit. I read. I watch movies. But they're hobbies, not a way of life. And they always take second place on my priority list. Because, let's face it, would you rather be in a dark theater or running here:
Take yesterday, for example. I ran 36 km, a wonderful, pain-free, life-affirming 36 km, which, however, left me so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. My vague plans to go out with friends for dinner and a drink were promptly cancelled. How could we go out? I had just gotten run over by a bus. I tried reading my book but I kept reading the same sentence over and over again, my brain having suddenly lost the ability to turn letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into meaningful language. I was done for the evening. I put on a film and watched it without really understanding what was going on (although, to be fair, that might have been the directors' fault rather than mine, WACHOWSKIS).
|I was held captive under the blanket by a fearsome feline.|
A couple of hours later, J reminded me of a gig I had wanted to go to. A friend from AIK happens to be an excellent musician as well as a gifted runner, and I had wanted to watch him perform for a while. I told J I was way too tired to even think about getting dressed and heading into town. Besides, it was getting late. Way past my bed time. Yes, I am 90 years old, thank you for asking.
J shook his head and laughed. I'd like to think he laughed with me rather than at me but I suspect the latter was the case. Which got me thinking. Was I really that tired or just lazy? My legs worked, surely I could cycle the two kilometres into town. My eyelids were heavy but open eyes are not a prerequisite for listening to music. Or drinking for that matter. And we didn't have to stay long. One drink, then straight to bed.
With my condition-related thoughts at the back of my mind, I said yes. It proved to be a lovely evening, with great music, great company, and a great big smile glued to my face. I even managed to keep my eyes open. We stayed longer than just one drink. All this I would have missed if I had said no to going out.
I made a resolution to start saying yes more often. It can lead to wonderful experiences during this wild ride that's called life. And who knows? Maybe those crazy people that claim that life is more than just running are right.