I contemplated writing this. I contemplated what the title should be even more. I contemplated adding a photo. I couldn’t think anymore so I moved on.
I hate complaining when I know that my problems are laughable in comparison to those who have real struggles. But I would like to think of this blog as a place for me to share my experiences with anyone who is willing to listen and maybe, just maybe, what I learned can help someone else out there. Even if it’s just one person. So here goes…
I love my job. I genuinely, honestly do. I am so fortunate to work in an emerging field where we are pioneering what’s to come. I also love the people I work with and the clients we work for. They are all incredibly smart and literally the hardest workers I know. With that being said, this week was one of the most intense work events of my life. The tally thus far is 92 hours of pure high-energy exertion for the week (not counting my two and a half hour commute each day). I know that our hard work is definitely evident in the results and I couldn’t be more proud of them and the team. However, when I flew home from LA yesterday, I continued to work and have a glass of wine. I got thoroughly buzzed off of one glass and was so tired I couldn’t sleep. How is that possible?!
Despite my exhaustion, I naively decided to go for my long run Monday morning. I hadn’t been able to run for four days because of my work week and running is my sanity. It calms me, let’s me think, and rejuvenates my soul (cheesy, I know. But true). Thankfully, I had made earlier commitments to meet Katie for my long run that morning, so that promise was enough to get my exhausted ass out of bed. I could feel that I was beyond tired, but I just wanted to get out there.
We started off with eight miles against the wind and chatting away. I could immediately feel my body saying, “WTF, Page. Give it a rest.” But I pushed on. At the half-way point, we randomly ran into my other friend Corinne and decided to join in on her run (which was a great change of scenery). After running with Corinne, we also met up with the always witty Tiffany and Angel, both friends I met through my local running club, Forward Motion. At this point, I could feel the lead in my legs making themselves at home.
As a runner, it’s so easy to ignore those signs and push through them, because most of the time, we should. Other times, we get confused with what is legitimately our bodies telling ourselves to calm the F down and just rest. Regardless, I wanted to run so I insisted despite how much lethargy I pretended to avoid.
At about 14 miles in to our 16 mile jaunt, the sun was beaming, I was one Gu in and I felt my stomach and lungs filling with something. It wasn’t food, mucus, bile, or anything that one would normally associate with over exertion. This feeling soon became overwhelming and I felt like I was going to puke – but what? Not food. No, no, it didn’t feel like that. It soon rose into my throat as if I was drowning in my own body. Finding the words to accurately describe this experience is quite difficult, but whatever it was, it consumed me. I thought I could push through, but I had to stop. With just a mile and a half to the finish, I bent over and I could feel my eyes welling up.
I could hear Katie and Corinne in the background in the background saying, “Oh no, oh no.” Tiffany and Angel stopped. I bent over with my hands on my knees waiting for puke, water, anything to come out. Get out! Get out! I insisted that Angel, Tiffany and Corinne go ahead as Katie stayed back with me. Too embarrassed to do it in front of anyone else, the only thing that came out was…tears.
Like that, I just cried because I was 110 percent purely exhausted. All I wanted was to run, but my body was completely drained. Physically. Mentally. Everything.
Katie, being the ultimate pep-talker, listed to me rant and rave about the things that I dream of for my life and how I just don’t want to be this tired anymore. I cried and we walked about a half mile more and soon picked back up a slow jog with the group and finished our run in the rising heat of Danville.
I’d like to say that I know what happened out there and have an ideal solution for it. But I can’t because I don’t. All I can say is that balance is a difficult struggle that I am still trying to figure out. Big dreams require work, but how do you balance that with your passions? At that moment, I was beyond tired and at a new state of a breakdown. Is this what pure exhaustion feels like? Was it something else? What do I do? How do people manage this, especially with kids?! For now, crying helps me get it out and usually after I do, I feel better. Then again, running is also what usually helps me deal.
What I do know is this: I thrive off of hard work and the results that come with it. That will never change. But I want to do big things beyond running and working, and I’ll need to push through. I’m not sure how yet, but I’ll learn to deal and find the balance because as we all know, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you handle it.” Plus, it’s just one bad run. One bad run in a world of much, much larger issues is nothing. Come on, Page. Get with it. I’ll rest, refocus and move on.
I’ll consider this a lesson in slowing down when necessary, cherishing rest and being thankful that I have an amazing job, I’m healthy, I have two feet that can carry me for miles, and some of the best friends and family a gal could ask for. All in all, life is good and I’m a very, very lucky girl.