Running was cool for a while

For the last seven weeks I've been combating a groin issue. Icing and stretching. Compressing and more icing. Graston and chiropractic adjustments. Hobbling for 100+ miles across Utah and Colorado. 

I named my groin Gretchen, as one does. She became the butt of many jokes while I tried to douse my tears and frustrations during my MS Run the US segment. 

Turns out this whole time it wasn't Gretchen at all. Sorry, girl. My bad.

I've had a fractured pelvis the entire time. There is a very clear crack in my pelvic bone. I BROKE MY PELVIS SOMEHOW. 

I found this out Friday after an X-ray finally unearthed the problem in my privates. I subsequently, as I do, spent four hours in tears after that. I didn't want it to be a fracture. I wanted it to be a muscle problem. I don't know what I wanted it to be. But I definitely didn't want there to be a broken bone in my crotch at the start of a long summer in Bend.

Here's the thing about Bend: it's beautiful. Being a runner in Bend is paradise. I moved here five months ago and immediately drowned in the running community. Every weekend was full. Half my weekday mornings were spent with friends on a pre-dawn run.

Everything was running.

So I cried for all those reasons. Pity, mostly. Bend is lonely without half of what makes you who you are and everything else 2,000 miles away. 

I don't know the outlook yet. I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon to get a better look at the X-rays and determine how long I have to handle my pelvis with care. Zero running. Nothing but healing. Two thumbs and one pelvis down. 

There are totally 100 percent worse things. In fact, look at America. I'd rather have a broken pelvis than any of the fucked up things happening in our country literally as I type this blog post.

But dammit, do I really have to have a broken pelvis right now?

I feel super antsy and lost. I worry about the 2017 Boston Marathon, as if thinking ahead ten months makes any sense whatsoever. I've got plans for this pelvis, man. Dang.

Mostly I feel so... at odds about my MS Run the US experience.

Every day out there, as the entire concept of running got worse, I felt defeated. I felt like I was failing. I felt whiny. I felt like I was letting people down. I felt like a wimp. I felt like I should shut up because at least I don't have MS. I felt frustrated. I felt like I knew something was most certainly not okay with my body. I felt dumb. I felt like that one girl who couldn't cut it. Couldn't hang. Wasn't strong enough. Wasn't ready. Had to walk.

But damn. I HAD A BROKEN PELVIS. 

I feel mad. 

At nothing, really. Just mad. And now I'm mad that I have to spend an entire lonely summer without my outlet and my peace. 

And now I'm depressed about it again.

LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT. 

See you on the flip side, runners.

Day Six

"I'mma keep running 'cause a winner don't quit on themselves." - Beyoncé

It felt appropriate to start this blog post with an incredibly relevant quote from Queen Bey, herself. A lot of Beyoncé happened during the week as we tried to pump ourselves up for another day.

A lot happened, in general, during the week, while I tried to pump myself up for another day. Songs with lyrics I can't repeat out loud, highway dance parties, laughing fits, conversations with body parts, tears.

Obviously tears.

Day six was big. It was my last day. I was coming off a much-needed rest day and only had 10 miles to cover. Ten miles felt like nothing compared to the previous days, but another 10 miles of painful walking down the shoulder of the highway sounded like hell.

We bandaged up my feet in every possible place. We stretched Gretchen. We named my groin Gretchen, did I tell you that? Of course we did. We also named my ravaged pinky toe Phil. These are the little pieces of memory that I'll always remember. Laughing hysterically over sexual innuendos while Kendra crawled into bed with me each morning to stretch out the muscles in my crotch.

Kendra. That girl. She became a sort of sister, sidekick, best friend, mom, teacher, doctor and additional heart all in one. She and Myke were my crew for the week. You don't see much of Myke, but you see his incredible talent in the photos I've been able to share.

Kendra was my person. We bickered like family, but bonded like sisters. We had to keep her a secret throughout the week because she would be surprising friends during the next segment, which was tough, but mostly for a reason I didn't realize at the time. For one, the number of photos and memories I had to keep to myself all week was huge. But also, I later realized, she was so instrumental to my week, and I had to keep mum about it.

She kept me fed, kept me hydrated, kept me covered in sunscreen, gave me much-needed hugs, and most importantly, kept me laughing. We laughed so much. I will always be grateful to her for that. Put your number twos in the air, Kendra.

As we drove to the starting point of day six, I tried to convince myself that it'd be OK to walk the entire day. It was fine, right? I walked pretty much everything else. But it isn't what I wanted. Not at all. 

The morning was so beautiful. The first early morning I had all week. It would've been worth it to wake up that early each morning just for the sunrise. I stood on the side of the highway, stretched out, thinking about all my friends who sent amazing messages overnight. 

I took my first step and ran. 

I RAN.

Don't get me wrong, it didn't feel awesome, but I hadn't run a step since day two. I decided to attempt rotating running and walking every quarter-mile, and that's exactly what I did. 

Segment seven runner, Kaitlyn, and her mom, Sue, joined me for a few miles, which kept spirits soaring and made the miles fly. 

With a mile-and-a-half left before the finish, I said goodbye to the crew and prepared to run the final stretch. It's all I wanted. So I did it. 

As I got closer to the park, I saw my people milling around, the finish line standing strong in the grass, and I lost it. Every emotion from the last six days exploded. Happiness, sadness, disappointment, joy, pain, laughter, love. 

I didn't have my parents, or Todd, or my sister, or my usual lifetime cheerleaders waiting for me, but I had a crowd. Kendra and Myke, Kaitlyn and her parents, a few of the runners who showed up to save my butt on day five. They were all there, and they were happy, and I was sobbing and laughing, and I could relive that final sprint through the grass over and over. 

I made it. And it was absolutely nothing like I planned, but it turned into a completely different and wonderful adventure on its own. 

Since crossing the finish line after 165 miles and six days of excitement and disappointment and love and solitude, I've gone back and forth so many times about my experience. Which is partially why it's taken four days to complete the last blog post about it. 

But in the end, it was my journey exactly as it was meant to be. Nothing in the last four months has gone exactly as planned. Moving to Bend, and every struggle that's followed, has taught me more about myself than I'd ever have learned if it all went according to plan. 

Mostly: I will do it. I don't always take the easy route, but I will absolutely do it.

All the walking I did, while exhausting, boring, and painful, it gave me time to enjoy the shit out of it. Have you ever live-tweeted a 30-mile walk? The number of people who began following along last week, asking questions, sending encouragement, inquiring about MS Run the US, it only increased the awareness for the cause I was out there for. 

Taking a day off and searching for backup runners led to dozens of new friends for the organization, and more people to understand and appreciate the mission.

I felt so much love for six days. My six days were exactly what they should have been. Not what I wanted, but I also want a cat farm, one unicorn and a field of baby goats, but I can learn to live with what I do have instead. 

Because what I do have is good. 

Much love, MS Run the US. For many, many years to come. 

Day Five

"In a moment of pure frustration today, I came to the conclusion that there is no angry way to say 'bubbles.'" 

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Today was not my day. Today belonged to the group of selfless, magical strangers who came to the rescue to knock out nearly fifty miles in order to get me close enough to the finish to have a good final day. 

I'll be honest, it was harder than I thought to give away my day. The gratitude I felt for our new friends was matched only by a disappointment that my body said no.  

That gratitude though.  

Two of the six runners who logged miles for us today knew no one  from the organization. As word spread yesterday, they simply came across the message and stepped up to the plate. Logan drove three hours last night to be here so she could kick off the day.  

Friend and segment seven runner, Kaitlyn, along with her mom, knocked out a few more, while Luke and Katie threw down 20 miles before Madeleine finished off the day.  

It was amazing. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart. I also made new friends, which is never, ever a bad day. 

Tears flowed a few times today as I watched the day pass and began realizing tomorrow is it.     

I've just got ten miles tomorrow. Ten beautiful miles heading into Steamboat Springs.  

Please let those miles feel okay. 

Kaitlyn is joining me at the halfway point and promised she will get me running that final mile to the finish line. 

She gets it. She's been there. She had rough moments during her own segment a couple years ago. And she knows how sacred that final mile is for the runner.  

I just want my mile. And I want that finish line. And I want to cry and be done and rush home to everyone I love for every hug. 

Man, do I want hugs. 

I don't get that, unfortunately, since I'll be heading back west to Bend instead of continuing east toward actual  home, but I've felt the love from afar.

They'll all be with me tomorrow. They know it and I feel it. 

So, thank you.