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Dealing with Disappointment

Dealing with Disappointment

Running shoes

I should have crossed the finish line to my first half marathon a month ago.  I should have felt the weighted medal around my neck signifying a giant goal met.  Prior to April of 2013, with perhaps the exception of having been chased by a dog, I was never a runner.  It was in March that one of my best friends asked me to run a half-marathon.  He knew I loved a good challenge and thought this would be a good fit for me.  I looked critically at whether this was the right time for me and at my intentions for this type of monumental goal.  I determined he was right and I accepted the challenge.  I committed.

I began running incrementally on the treadmill.  I then went inside an actual running store and was fitted for running shoes, blushing and embarrassed the whole time because I wasn’t a “real runner.”  Come June, I was running 30 minutes non-stop on the treadmill and began training outside. I had ideas that no one should have to see my sweaty self running red-faced through their neighborhood.  But I did it anyway.  With my training partner by my side, I woke up day after day at 5:15 a.m. and got out and ran. To my utter surprise and delight – I loved every single thing about it.

At the end of July, in the middle of a run, I felt a shooting pain in my right hip.  I walked it off and kept going.  A few days later I was limping and couldn’t fake my normal gait any longer.  I was injured.  The doctor confirmed my injury, along with my incorrect internet based self-diagnosis.  I had sprained my IT band where it connected to my hip.  Rest, rest, rest, ice and no more running were the only answers to healing.  There was no way I would complete the half-marathon in October. 

I was devastated.  I looked up at the vision board hanging on my bedroom wall with pictures of running shoes and inspirational photos that was now blurred through the tears.  It reminded me of another “should have.”  It reminded me of seeing my old wedding pictures.

I should have been married for over fifty years.  I should have been married to the man who would drive me to the beauty shop on Tuesdays while he wore a bowtie.  I loved being a wife.  I was good at being a wife.  When an injury took over my marriage and there was no other answer other than to not be married any longer, I was devastated.

Disappointment is a bitter feeling.  Left unattended it can be crippling.  I learned from my injuries that in nursing disappointment, the same advice applies.  Rest, rest, and rest.  Otherwise known as “Give yourself a break!”

I did not run a half-marathon in October.  But I learned that I am strong, that I can commit with enthusiasm to a healthy me, and that it is good for my well-being to spend regular amounts of time outside.  I am a divorced mother.  But in marriage I learned that I am capable of compromise, that I delight in supporting people I love, and that I am a direct communicator.  And despite the end result of the goal not being that which I envisioned, I take these learnings forward.  With the satisfaction that the journey mattered most. 

Angela Dunne