Saturday, September 23, 2006

I think I get it.

I just got back from a run.

My coach advised not running for two weeks. This way, my body can recover from a lot of the damage that Ironman did to it.

Two weeks? Two whole weeks? But...but...I NEED to run...

OK, so two weeks is technically at midnight tonight, right? So I'm not TOO far ahead of schedule.

I started out at an easy pace and my heart rate monitor was set to yell at me anytime I went over Zone 2. And it yelled at me--a lot. I had to really slow down. But you know what? It didn't bother me. Because I know that if I want to recover, if I want to come back stronger, then that's what I have to do.

So I ran down the road and passed the center of town. I then passed the Middle School, where little 5th and 6th graders were playing tackle football in their big equipment, and little girls were in little cheerleading outfits. Still looking a little overwhelmed, but improvising, and growing into their new surroundings.

After that, I passed a little park, where there are tons of trees. The air was humid, but at the same time, there's a new crispness to it...a sign of my favorite season. Autumn.

I love autumn.

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Everything around you seems to be a bit more vibrant. The trees you've passed a million times turn yellow, purple, and red. Eventually, the leaves fall and everywhere around you, you can hear "crunch, crunch" under your feet. The clouds coming over the lake are a little grayer, as a sign of what's to come. Whitecaps crash onto the shore, and the wind whips the leaves under your feet.

Even the smell of the air is different.

I love this. I love to run in this.

So on this, my first run since Ironman, I really had to just slow down so I could do it right. Right for my body, and right for the future. And I really got a chance to look around at everything.

The leaves are still very green, except at the top. I noticed that they are already starting to show different colors--mostly yellow. A little yellow just peeks through the end of the branches. I smiled, because I know that if I'm patient, I will get to see what's really coming soon.

And then I got to thinking.

The trees are a little behind me.

The trees remind me of myself--but not now. Myself about 9 months ago. I started to change, but very slowly. So slowly that those who didn't really watch very, very closely, wouldn't even know. Eventually, in this crazy journey of the past 9 months, I shed a part of myself. I left a part of myself behind that had some doubts and fears. And I arrived in Madison and as I entered the water, I was down to just me. No one else, no leaves, just a vulnerable yet strong thing that was stripped down to its core. I lost a lot of things I didn't need at the time, but kept what would keep me going--and what would keep me surviving.

And eventually, by May or so, the trees grow their leaves back. No one tells them to do this. No one rushes them. In fact, you can't control it at all. It comes from within, and it will happen on its own time schedule. Usually in March I notice little red buds. By April, some of the buds are turning green--but the kind of green you only really notice when you look at the whole tree--not the individual branch. And then, one day you realize that the leaves are all open. You don't even remember watching them open, but all of a sudden, they are just there, and you can hear them in the breeze and there is green everywhere you look.

And it's always the same tree. But it is renewed. And as the cycle begins again, you know you'll never see the same colors.

So in some sense, I think I'm finally understanding the way that Ironman has transformed me. I'm still just me--same old me, with my values and thoughts and friends and job and laundry.

But despite this, something is different.

I'm me that's been totally, completely made vulnerable to become stronger. I've broken myself down and shed quite a bit. And I know it will take me a little bit of time to build back up, because that's just how it goes. But if I give it time, I'll have a whole new set of colors to unfurl.

I'm me that really knows, with all of my heart, that Anything Is Possible. Anything.

So I can't rush the next round of colors, and I can't even tell you what they are and what they will look like. But they'll come. I have plenty of time.

And I'll promise you they are worth waiting for.


Lance Notstrong said...

Gives a whole new meaning to "slow down and smell the roses" :-)

Laurie said...

Beautiful post and great metaphor.

Michele said...

Wonderful post!

triteacher said...

I too am burgeoning (gotta use that word now cuz I don't get many chances) with new stuff. Can't wait to see where this takes us...

M said...

I can't wait for Spring!

Lana said...

What a great analogy...I'm glad you are being patient and enjoying yourself.

E-Speed said...

great post as always!

Also my fave time of year :)

RunBubbaRun said...

Geat post, you do write beautifully, things change but we are still the same, but so much a better person after this years adventure. Look forward to know what you have in store for 2007.

Manitoba Guy said...

I wish I'd have listened about rest. I didn't ride outside until today, 13 days after IMW...but the indoor ride and the other stuff at the gym, plus the 2-3 runs sure didn't help my knee.

Today's ride, not good. Knee hurts, now I have to really rest and that is the worst part! So hard to battle that little voice inside.

Habeela said...

Sigh! The one thing I miss the most about living in a city are the trees in fall. The park just doesn't cut it.

I love the analogy in this post and I love how powerful it is to learn that you can literally do anything. :)

Papa Louie said...

And if the the spring and summer weather is just right the trees will show forth all their glory in the fall. We enjoy your very colorful post!

In the sky said...

I just started running and I couldn't pick a better time of year then Fall. You put everything into words I didn't know I felt. Great Post!

DaisyDuc said...

Colorful post!!! Nice to hear you are ready to run again!

greyhound said...

Sister Sara, I do love the way you write.

RunnerGirl said...

What an amazing post Sara! I too love running in Fall, and I LOVE running in the fall rain!

Scott said...

Truly insightful Sara... this post has some really nutritious food for thought.

Fall is also my favourite time of the year. August... not so much!

Mallie said...

We're almost getting fall weather down her in Georgia. I'm so looking forward to those longer, slower base miles, both on the bike and on foot, enjoying nature and not missing the mosquitos one bit.

Don't forget to take pics and give us the skinny on your return to fat tires with the hubby!

rob reddy said...

i saw you running Sat. as I drove past the Medic - told my daughter in the car with me, hey that was trisaratops - she did Moo with me - Kloby was quite impressed and mentioned that you looked like a faster runner than me!!

Spandex King said...

I love fall running. Kind of like the good before the bad. WINTER. Yuck!! Dreadmills.

TryAthlete said...

What's the next TriSaraTops adventure? Can we come along?

xt4 said...

What a great post Sara. I'm so connected to your thought processes it's eery. Thanks for this -

Kurt said...

I just got caught up on your blog. Great race and congrats on your Ironman!

I love the fall. It is the best time to race!

rice said...

I love fall as well. Being from Northern Ont. I would spend every weekend of the fall in the woods. To this day the smell of the fall makes me want to just pack up and go. Frosty mornings were the lakes have a thin layer of ice on them but then by afternoon its 20C outside.. Just love it.

But like Vivaldi I love every time of year. Maybe its the change, like you said.

Well that’s all beside the point. The point is, I think you get it too.