Pushing past doubt to the finish line

It’s here. We’ve reached the end! Training is complete and race day is on Saturday.

Today I did my last training run and a thought hit me from an article I scanned the other day. The world is split into “runners and non-runners”. That comment made me laugh out loud.

Can the cloth really be cut into two?

Those of us on the fertility journey I believe would say YES.

Sometimes it feels like the world is split into those who “have children” and those who “don’t have children.”

Depending on which side you are on, you can view the world differently. For anyone struggling with fertility you have heard it a hundred times:

”So, when are you going to have kids?”

“What are you waiting on?”

For me, when people learned I was running this race, I keep getting:

“So, what time are you going to finish the race?” or

“How long is a half marathon?” (It’s actually 13.1 miles or 21.1 kilometres)

This week I found myself talking negatively about the race. Weird!

This race that means so much to me and has been on my bucket list of life accomplishments for some time now, was suddenly not being represented in the true light of my heart’s desire. It saddened me today as I reflected on this. You see, by brushing off people’s expectations of how well I would do in this race or flippantly groan about the training and the 4 am wake up runs and how I was “so over this!” it was as though I was wiping an old smelly wash cloth over all the miles and hours it has taken to get to this distance and diminishing the goal.

In fact, what I was really doing, was trying to protect this dream of mine.

How many of you have done that too?

When you are trying to get pregnant, month after month, and the questions start coming at you, it’s sometimes easier to just say:

“Oh, we are not ready yet for children” or maybe

“Kids?? Are you crazy! My life is too busy!”

But really deep down inside, in that vulnerable soft spot, what we whisper is… ”

“Yes, that’s right, that’s what I want and I am downright scared that I might not achieve it.”

I contemplated this as dawn was breaking and looked up and saw the sun, stars and moon in the sky all at the same time and made the decision to change my responses today. The combination of darkness and light at the same time is exactly where those of us on the fertility journey are daily. We mix our hope and dreams with the fear that it may not happen. When we are presented with the news that we need help to get pregnant and that IVF may be the only answer to achieving our dream of having a family one of the hardest decisions is to actually pursue treatment and take that first step forward.

That’s the thing about fear though, sometimes it can cripple us instead of driving us forward. Today in my world, fear was not winning. Today I stopped and remembered that a few weeks ago I dedicated this run to my patients and I changed my perspective.

There at the end of the road knowing I had just completed 14 weeks of training, I realized that running has taught me to push beyond my limits both physically and mentally. Every morning as I laced my shoes and hit that black asphalt I had to tell myself “You can do this”. Pain was part of the process. In the thousands of steps it has taken to get to this point, it is the possibility as much as anything that has kept me going.

Will I reach my goal? I won’t know that until Saturday but the support I have received from so many of you has made this journey one to remember for a lifetime. As much as my running team mates have been there for me it has been my patients and my non-running friends who have also in the past few weeks encouraged me to keep pushing to the end. So perhaps the world isn’t split into two after all, perhaps there is a thread that connects us all. We are in this race together … we’ve got this!

I’ll see you at the finish line!

– Rachel De Gale

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