doing hard

This is how I have been feeling lately:

Turned upside down.
Inside out.
Backwards.
Sometimes really helpless.
Other times incredibly strong.

Things have felt really topsy-turvy in my world over the last few weeks.  Sometimes I think I’m doing a good job of holding it together for myself and for my family.

And then other times …well other times I just DON’T.

I guess what it boils down to is that there are highs and lows in life and right now I am literally trudging through a low.  I have been in this place before.  I don’t like it.  But I know that my only choice – the only choice that makes any sense to me, anyway – is to stick with it and put up a good fight.  I will forge ahead with passion and love and faith.  I won’t give up.  I will do what I always do – fight for what I believe in, no matter how much it hurts or how long it takes to get to the other side of this.  I will hang on to the ones that I love and make sure that they know they’re not alone.  And I will let them hang on to me, too.

But it will not be easy.
It will so NOT be easy.

This week I did a lot of hanging on to the ones that I love.  I leaned into them and they leaned into me.  We got through a really hard week.

TOGETHER.

And I ran.  I ran because that’s what I do when I’m happy and that’s what I do when I’m struggling.  It’s just what I do.  It’s part of who I am.

I went out for a solo run one day and gutted it out on the pavement.  It felt so good to push myself and let go of what was bothering me.  My 6.2 mile run was a new 10K PR.  I wasn’t going for that, but it put a smile on my face and made me feel lighter when I realized what I had done.

I ran in the woods with my friends.  We explored the trails and discovered new places to run and train.

Up down up down up down.
The soft earth under our feet felt amazing.
We were on an adventure, yet so very much right at home in the woods.
There is something so peaceful and happy and healing about being out there.
We averaged a 10:37 pace and I couldn’t have cared less how fast or how slow we were moving.

I went to the track before daybreak on Wednesday morning with the honey badgers.  This week marked my first **official** week of training for my very first Boston Marathon (!!!), and I so wanted to have a great track workout to kick things off.

The track is painful.  Circles and circles and circles.  Starting where you left off … going around and around and around, again and again and again.

Constantly fighting and pushing, while at the same time reigning yourself in so you can KEEP fighting and pushing for however long it takes to get the job done.

I love the track.

I love the track because I feel myself growing stronger through my pain.

Because I will get out of it what I put into it, and maybe even so much more than that.

Because I know that even though I finish right where I started, I also know that I am so much more when I am done than I was when I arrived.

Because I go there with people I love with all of my heart.  I can hear their footsteps and their breathing.  I can feel their energy and their grit.  We push one another and we pull one another.  We are on our own, fighting our own battles, yet we are so very much together.

This week we warmed up for three miles and then began the work.  I pretty much hated every second of it.  It was grueling.  But I crushed it.  And I was so happy, so much more than simply satisfied, when I was done.

1×1600
6:01

2×800
3:02, 3:03

4×400
1:27, 1:27, 1:28, 1:27

It was worth every second of pain.  Every moment of doubt that I chose to overcome.

As we ran home for our 2 mile cool down, I was thinking about how every time I have wanted to quit and didn’t, whether in running or in life, I have never regretted my decision to stay the course.  Every single time that I have thought I drained myself completely, that I was sure I had nothing left to give to myself or to anyone else, that I believed I just couldn’t go on anymore – BUT DID – I have come out of it a much stronger person with an even greater capacity to love and appreciate and give.  I have come out of it with more passion and more gratitude and more self awareness.  I have come out of it with a bigger cup to fill.

Good things come to those who fight.

The other day when I was complaining about how hard things feel right now, my husband said to me:

Jess, YOU DO HARD.
That is what you do.
When you believe in something, YOU FIGHT FOR IT.

And I know he is right.  There is no question at all that the right thing to do right now is to fight.  To stay my course.  To hang on to the ones I love and to let them hang on to me.

I’m doing hard.  And there is something amazing on the other side of it.

13 thoughts on “doing hard

  1. I had a feeling you were struggling. Yes, I am that sensitive, I have random feelings like this. My heart aches for yours but I am confident that you will ride this one out and come out even stronger. As much as I wish they could, I know my words can't take away the pain, but know that you are not alone and many people care and pray for you. Big Hug

  2. ahh-i just wish i could give you a big hug and we could go for a run and chat. so thankful for the phone conversations we have though. you are SUPER STRONG and you can get through all of this!! xo

  3. You will get through this! You have strength and are such a fighter. Glad you have running to keep you strong. When I'm down a trail run really makes me feel 100% lighter. Even just looking at those pics (is that Matt L?) makes me smile. Even though the battlefield is frozen rutted tundra right now I love it. And even the track…that place of many painful memories, can feel good! You've got this. hugs.

  4. Thank you for the beautiful words Jess! Though I know it means you're going through a hard time, you've perfectly captured some inspirational thoughts that I needed to read and articulated my own feelings about the track and the sense of accomplishment its hellishness can bring in a way I haven't been able to. I pray for the best for you, and thank you!

  5. I'm only getting to reading this now. Oh Jess, I'm sorry that you are struggling a bit right now and I hope that things are a bit better now. You are incredibly strong. You do do hard and you do it well. You continue to inspire me with your words, your commitment, your perspective and your hard work. I'm glad that you have running to help work through some of these feelings and I too love your running group. You always looks like you are having an incredible time. xox

  6. This post is beautifully written: “I guess what it boils down to is that there are highs and lows in life and right now I am literally trudging through a low.” It's nice to step back sometimes and recognize that simple fact. I just discovered your blog and am excited to read more. P.S. I am envious of how fast you are!!!

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