WORKING AT A FERTILITY CENTRE A RUNNER KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO GO THE DISTANCE
Today was decision day – was my body going to hold up to the distance or would it fall apart? Last night in preparation for my 21k run I had my wonderful massage therapist rub out the knots in my body and my trainer tape up the leg. I hydrated in the day and had pizza at night to meet my carb requirement.
But there are some mornings where everything goes like clockwork and other mornings, for some mysterious reason, they don’t, regardless of the prep. This was one of those mornings. Somehow the clock was moving faster than me. I left the house without taking my aminos.
Crap! I pulled up to the car park and had to turn around to head back home to get my aminos. My gift from the running gods since it would provide the gas for my 2 plus hours of pounding the road.
Thankfully the starting spot for today’s run was only 5 minutes from my house. I ran inside, gulped down my aminos, spoke to my friends who were heading out. We set a plan to meet at the top of the first hill.
They waited for me.
Those last 4 words may seem almost expected to some but when you are setting out to do these long distances and you live in the Caribbean, you need to get out and get back before the heat starts beating down on your back. Heat stroke is a real thing and you only need to experience it once to avoid it like the plague.
I saw their lights and waved. We fell into line like soldiers on the side of the road. Earphones in and it was then a tear escaped me. They had waited. They were there for me. My tribe had my back.
We had business to do today. This was not a chat and solve the world’s problems kind of run. Locked and loaded, we set off.
The kilometers ticked on. At kilometer 7 I wondered what the heck I was doing out there and questioned every reasonable facet of my brain. “Seriously! Who does this?” My body screamed.
To those suffering with infertility, have you ever noticed that 7 is the number that has significant meaning? For one we know, it has to be God’s selected number – sorry don’t remember all my biblical teachings growing up, but what I do know is that when you are having fertility treatment and you have to take 7 days of injections, it is a long week. The first 7 seconds after that the needle goes in is when the sting kicks in; count it and you will see I am right. It is the same with running, at 7km the pain kicked in. At 7km I wanted to quit. The pain in my arch had a voice and it was shouting at me.
I decided to ignore the screams and keep going. Some of those that were ahead of me started to turn. The thought struck me. On the fertility journey, many of us are on the same road, we are there for the same reason. We all want to grow our family. The road may take twists and turns and we all have our own journey.. The road to get pregnant is one that many of us didn’t choose but when we are on it, we need to know that we are not alone.
I turned at 10.5k
I was at the back.
I was alone.
And then she appeared in her white chariot. Ok! So it is a white Rav4 but you get the idea.
“I’m coming with you!” she shouted.
And just like that one of my dearest friends and one of the pillars in my life was there. She knew what this run was going to take and she showed up. She parked her car a kilometer ahead and joined me. We had 6 kilometres more to go. It was at this point that I needed to dig deep.
“Where do you want me?, she said. “In front or behind.”
“In front”, I shouted.
She is much faster than I am and I wanted to watch her feet.
My friend is one of those natural runners. She was injured ever since we did the half marathon in Savannah, Georgia. She has had knee surgery but can still out run us on any given day.
She started to pace but looked back every few minutes – probably for the “COME ON” I unconsciously shout when I have to push forward.
Just 5 more to go, just 4 more to go.
I genuinely thought I was going to die at this point. But then the funniest thing happened. My friend Karen put her hands above her head and started to dance and sing – right there on the side of the road, she belted out the newly released song from Arianna Grande and Stevie Wonder, Faith. “I have faith in you,’’ she was screaming!
And just like that my hands were above my head. With hands overhead and cackling laughter we were having our very own moment. Time stopped. And for just a few seconds it was just us in the gloriousness of friendship. It was the injection of energy I needed. I came up to her side and we soared down the hill with everything I had in me. My wings came out. We were flying.
I did it, a 21k run was behind me but the 10 lessons I learnt on that run will always be something I can pull from for strength. I am sure some of them will resonate with you
- Even when unprepared show up.
- Have people in your life that will wait for you. These people are your tribe.
- Pain is a part of life.
- It is ok to cry.
- It is ok to sing X Ambassadors “Unsteady” as a true reflection of your heart.
- It’s ok to repeat 4 and 5.
- When the going gets tough dig deep…and then dig even deeper.
- Find someone in your life that doesn’t need to be on the same path as you but is prepared to show up for you and not leave your side.
- Laugh. And not just a chuckle but have a silly crazy throw your hands in the air belly laugh.
- Take it to the end.
At the beginning of this season I said I was going to dedicate this race to each of my patients who ever had to do another round of IVF. I hope some of these lessons can help you.
The race is just over a week away. It’s time to register. It’s time to go again.