I am a runner. I am obsessed with the “high”. I am always ready to challenge myself to be faster, to be better. As cliché as it may be, running is my therapy. I run to sweat away my worries. I run to find guidance in making choices in my life and I run to be inspired to be better than I was yesterday. I love to run. I don’t ever not “feel” like going for a run. I run to see my hearts in nature that are directing me to the things I see in my dreams. I run to be better than I was before my heart failure. And I also run, simply because I can run again.
About three and a half years ago I acquired a rare heart virus that damaged my heart. There wasn’t a day that went by I did not essentially grieve the loss of my physical ability to go for a long walk, let alone go for a run. When I got the okay after my heart surgery to start exercising, I remember testing the waters and pushing myself, only to be reminded by my heart, it’s just not going to happen. It didn’t take many setbacks before I lost all my confidence in my physical ability. Time and again I tried to find my comfort zone, and failed. What I was capable in my head was no longer an option. I no longer knew my limits until my heart rate would go through the roof and I would be forced to rest. Just shy of a year ago I made the choice to “start over” again to try to build up my endurance. I was very cautious at first. I just couldn’t bear to have another setback. I started taking short walks, close to home. I began noticing hearts in nature. Before long I could walk a little farther and the hearts would always seem be right where I needed them along my path, reminding me my heart was going to heal.
My walks turned into walk/runs and I began to feel myself, and my heart growing stronger. I began to recognize my (new) comfort zone(s) and I was able to push myself just a little past them each time, without it resulting in a major setback. I decided to train for the law enforcement program after I graduated with my BA in December of 2012, instead of going on to a Masters program. And today, here I am. As I rested a moment on top of my favorite mountain trail, overlooking the city, my eyes filled with tears as I realized how far I have come in the past year. I still have more training to do before I am running my old mile times. I don’t know that I ever will. But in some ways does it matter? I am not the same person I was before my heart failure. Seeing my hearts in nature along the way has shown me I will get to all the other things I dream of. And each heart I see renews my faith. So you see? Really the only thing that matters isn’t how far I may still have to go, or figuring out what to do with all the extra time I have right now. What matters is that I can run again.
Until next time, always be true to yourself and think like a boss!