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    I Run Because I Can

    900 344 Terri Rylander

    “I’m too old for all that. My body won’t let me do that anymore,” my friend said.

    When people hear I run, especially some of the distances and places I run, I often hear replies like that. There’s a kind of sadness in their voice. Almost like the loss of childhood.

    I live in an area that is populated by many seniors. I play golf and softball with them.  I hear that sadness in their own voices. Bad knees, bad hips, achilles, poor foot structure. The sadness extends even into things they can probably control. Overweight, lack of confidence, fear of failure, resignation.

    I’m pretty lucky. I was blessed with a strong body and never really suffered any serious injuries that limit what I can do. I’m blessed to have had both good genes and a good childhood where I am not overweight, nor do I have any issues of confidence. Perhaps I’m just too naive to think that I can’t do something.

    My father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma this year. It’s been awful. In the three months since the diagnosis, he’s suffered nothing but extreme pain. It’s hard to watch. This is a man who was/is my role model. He loves the outdoors. He was an avid hiker, camper, and backpacker. I’m fortunate to have inherited that same passion to be outside and be active. But now, he’s spending more time in the hospital than at home.

    So, I run for him. I run for those whose bodies have broken. I run for those whose spirits have been broken. I run for those who never thought they could.

    I’m going for a run…because I can.

    Life: The Ultimate Endurance Race

    800 408 Terri Rylander

    Today was my first day back on the trail since the epic TransRockies Run in August. Sure, I’ve been running short distances on the pavement, but it was nice to be back out in nature–just me and the lizards. I find it beyond therapeutic and it was especially so today.

    See, I’ve been running an endurance race this past year that is tougher than anything I’ve ever done. It’s called Life. It’s one of those endurance races that keeps getting tougher as it goes. Much like TransRockies, every time you think you’ve reached the top of the hill and couldn’t possibly take another step, you’re presented with another, bigger hill.

    The gun went off last summer and the first challenge was a doozy. It was my marriage – or the end of it. It was probably THE most difficult decision I have ever made, but so far, I’ve passed. I’m on my own and for the most part, really liking it. For probably the first time in my life, I only answer to me.

    But, that first challenge presents even more challenges. It means I’m on my own financially too. And, wouldn’t you know, exactly every month this past year, something in the house has broken and required fixing–sometimes small things like the hinges holding my patio shades, and sometimes big things like the pool cover motor which cost $1400 to fix. I constantly joked about what the next month would bring and sure enough, it did.

    Also this year, some interesting health issues cropped up. First, a scare about some unknown “thing” living in my uterus. Apparently, uterine issues are more common in women who have taken Tamoxifen after breast cancer, which I did from 2004-2009. I guess the drug reduces the risk of cancer occurrence above the waist but actually increases the chance below the waist. Don’t remember knowing that before.

    At the same time, I found two lumps under my arm on the same side as my previous breast cancer. Really? WTH? So, the doc said let’s do a D&C and find out about the thing in your uterus and then let’s do a biopsy on the lumps under your arm. I had them done the Friday and following Wednesday after TransRockies.

    About the time I got my results, I learned my dad was seriously ill. He had severe back pain and was becoming quite forgetful. This is the guy who just last summer had been hiking and backpacking. Fortunately, my results were negative. Unfortunately, his were not. He has a cancer of the blood called multiple myeloma.

    The trail, still going uphill, took another unexpected turn. My youngest finds out she is pregnant at 23 years old and not married. Good news is, she is in a steady relationship and I like the guy. But really? Not what you want or expect for your kids.

    Just when you think, “OK, I can do this. These things suck but we’ll get through them,” another hill. Just this week, my dad’s diagnosis was changed from medium risk to high risk. He’s now going through weekly chemo treatments and a continual battery of tests.

    So, today’s trail run felt like an aid station. It replenished my soul. Where will this race go next? When do I get to my favorite part, the downhill? Only the universe knows. Just hope it really is making me stronger.

    Running From Something to Something

    800 531 Terri Rylander

    This post is not necessarily about running, but about life and how we never know where the road will really take us. I’m writing this on the eve of my birthday after receiving a text from my husband that doesn’t say happy birthday….. it says, “I’m done.”

    There a saying in the running world that most runners are either running from something or running to something. For me, I think I’m running from something to something.

    Although I thought life was humming along, I was actually avoiding the elephant in the room, and it was big.

    In 2006, I married my good friend Bruce. He was what I needed at that point in my life and I was what he needed. We took our friendship to the next level and decided to marry. I had a few reservations but those were overcome with security, comfort, and his maturity, especially compared to what I’d experienced previously.

    Initially, we worked together and played together. It was nice having a calm and sensitive companion. We traveled, played golf, bought a home in the sunshine and thought we were happy. There was a 12 year age difference between us and an even greater physical age gap. I thought I would be ok giving up my very active nature in return for stability and love. I did still try to do some active things, but they were always by myself. Golf became our only joint activity.

    As the years went by, I grew more restless and he grew more sedentary. The gap widened both between our physical ages and our relationship. After trying many times to engage him in activities that I knew he could still do, he chose not to and I had most of my fun by myself. Soon we were like two people, living side by side, in the same house, except when he traveled. And, when he was gone, my life was really no different.

    Running gave me time to think…or maybe it was a time out from thinking and feeling. Who knows. But through it, I realized it was a marriage I no longer wanted. That was very difficult to admit. Failing twice? Hurts.

    canstockphoto3339384So, today is my birthday. And who am I spending it with? My two best running friends. Where is my husband? He is in another state contemplating the end of our marriage. My running has definitely taken me from something to something. It’s a frightening road but I think, sadly, it’s the right road.