I have historically been very poor at resting and allowing myself time to recover when I am ill, injured, or just not at my best.

Yesterday, I ran the Surf City Half Marathon.

I started the race injured.  I had some nagging quad soreness that would not go away, and had trained through it (instead of resting it) because I was so close to race day.  I finally took most of last week off because I knew I couldn’t start the race in that much pain.

When I got to the line, I didn’t feel great, but I felt okay…ish…or, at least, I told myself I did (Did you see the Beach City Challenges medal though?! I mean, I had to run for the whale!).

The back half of the race was a surreal experience. Before I learned to fuel during races, the back half was HORRIBLE for me. I would hit a wall of exhaustion at mile 11 and struggle to make it through the finish line.

Yesterday, I didn’t feel tired (in terms of breathing or energy) but my legs felt tight, leaden and in deep pain, for the last 4 miles of the race.  It wasn’t under training. It was overtraining, for sure.  I pushed myself through the finish with a time that was a couple minutes slower than the year before (the first time I haven’t at least course PR’ed since I began running) and 8-minutes slower (on a flatter course with pretty ideal running conditions) than the time I ran in October.

I was bummed.

I’m still in pain.

I am physically burnt out.

It takes critical and acute pain for me to take the time to rest and allow for contribution.

Which seems to be a theme lately.

If you’ve been following my blog for the last week, it’s been a challenging one.  I’ve been through worse, but this week hasn’t been easy for our family. The generosity and encouragement of our community has been not only our saving grace, but also our hope for the future.

Last night, after a long day and a longer 72 hours, I talked with my daughter, Asha.  It was like talking to a different person than the daughter I spoke to on Friday afternoon. The weight lifted off of her shoulders from the support we’ve been given and the love she’s been shown has been incredible.  The ability to take a breath and focus on her health after numerous small setbacks and managing a chronic condition is like a new lease on life.  We were able to talk as we haven’t been able to in months, with her letting me know the details of her situation that she had kept from me so that I wouldn’t worry or be upset at those around her, upset at things that I could not control.  Thankfully, she’s working with a primary care doctor (another woman of color) who listens to and supports her, as well as doing the work to figure out her condition.  She is, for the most part, stable (which I hadn’t been sure of–was no news good news or “I don’t want you to worry, mom” news?), although this last series of setbacks had left her incredibly discouraged. I don’t think we could have connected in this way without the love and support of our community.

In my pain, I am being made more whole. Usually on February 3, I go to my mother’s gravesite to lay flowers for her, my grandmother and my aunt, to honor who these amazing women have been in my life.  Yesterday, I couldn’t do so because of the rain.  Instead, as I lay in bed after the race–icing, resting, elevating, and foam rolling, I realized that the best way to honor my mother (and my maternal line who helped raise me), who sacrificed so much for me to be who I am today, was to be the best mother I could be, to take the time needed to rest and recover, to help my daughter know that she also deserved just a little space to breathe, that people saw and acknowledged her struggle, our struggle, and were here for her, for us, for me.

Sometimes growing is acutely painful.  But, if we hold on to and support one another, I believe in the promise of restoration.


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