Mile Eleven

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About a month after my PCOS diagnosis and before falling fully down the rabbit hole of infertility treatments, I ran a half-marathon.  It was one of those “bucket list” kinds of things I’d begun training for in earnest shortly after we originally began trying to conceive in April because I knew deep down something felt “off” and didn’t want to face it.  I took my running habit, ramped up, and signed the papers to run in November.  If I was wrong, I figured, I’d walk or give my registration to someone else.  In the meantime, the long runs gave me something else to focus on.

The day of the race was a mildly overcast, cool but not cold November day – perfect weather.  I lined up at the start and took off with the other runners.  The first mile was great.  I was excited, my adrenaline was high, and it flew by.

The second and third miles were not so great.  This was the point where I began to realize what I’d gotten myself into and I fought the part of my brain that kept telling me I’d never make it 13.1 miles.  When I passed 3.1 miles, I wondered why I hadn’t just signed up for a nice 5K.  Then I’d be done.  However, as I kept running, mile four felt easier and I started enjoying the thing.

I ran through the countryside.  This particular race tends to be quiet, isolated, and doesn’t have the quantity of spectators or cheering that I’ve read others have.  I ran over country roads, admiring the farmland, enjoying the quiet.  I caught up with an old buddy and ran a mile or so with her, chatting.  Otherwise, however, I was by myself with my i.pod and loving every minute.  Seven miles passed.  I have this.

Then I hit mile eleven.

I really wanted to run the entire race without taking sections to walk.  But as soon as I got into that eleventh mile, it wasn’t merely that I wanted to walk.  I wanted – seriously – to lay down at the side of the road, quit, and let the race organizers come pick me up.  I hit the wall, and I hit it bad.

A combination of factors were probably at play here: eleven miles is a long way to run, it had been a bit since I’d had water or electrolyte replenishment, and in a 13.1 mile race, eleven is right at that nasty spot where I was close to the finish line and yet far enough away not to have the adrenaline rush of being “close”.  It did not matter.  It sucked.

A hill rose up in front of me.  You have got to be kidding me, I thought.  This wasn’t even a real hill.  I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, so I know hills.  This was more of a tuft of dirt but the placement infuriated me.  The irritation gave me strength.  I ran up it and finished out mile eleven.

I finished shortly thereafter, just in time to see the winner of the marathon cross the finish line, get some water, and celebrate with Arthur and a few friends and family who had come to cheer me on.  I was glad I had done it and I had managed to complete it my way – without walking a single step, and well under three hours.

~*~

Really, in the vast majority of ways these days, I’m fine.  Happy, really.  Not needing the support the way I once did.  At this point, I love where we are in life and it’s good.

There’s one more embryo, frozen.  Tested.  Waiting.

I’m procrastinating on calling the RE’s office even though Arthur and I have a reasonably solid plan because…well, it opens doors.  It reminds me that I’m not all powerful, that plans fall apart, that doing everything right can still result in heartbreak in both expected and unexpected ways.

I like feeling in control.  I know I’m not, but on a day to day basis, it’s really easy to pretend, to slip into the minutiae and let the illusion remain.  Calling the RE, putting in motion the final plan, means letting go.

It’s time to run mile eleven in this race.  Face the tuft of dirt.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Because the finish line is somewhere close.

This (long-form 😉 ) post has been a part of Microblog Mondays, where the idea is to write in your space, usually a short post but whatever moves you.  If you want to read more, head over to Stirrup Queens!  Thanks to Mel for originating and hosting.  

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6 thoughts on “Mile Eleven

  1. This is insanely tough. On the one hand, you have the family you want. Most would assume that it’s easy here on out. But I know the love for those embies and the emotional investment that is required to go through this process. Preparing is harder than most can imagine and the outcome, no matter what happens, will change you. Anyone who assumes this is easy is very naive.

    I know the temptation is to push through, seeing how close you are. But I also think, like with mile eleven, you need to focus on the next few steps, honoring yourself in the process. And I’ll be here, cheering for you no matter what happens. Because you are brave and strong, running this last bit while carrying the weight of the world.

  2. I ran in high school, distance, but the thought of running 13.1 miles makes me physically ill. That is an amazing thing, to push your body through those walls and finish the race even when you want to lie on the side of the road. And so cruel to have a hill pop up at that particular point.

    I wish you luck in deciding when to start the race in setting up your FET. It’s hard to be in that in between place, where you have an embryo in the wings and you know you have to do something at some point, but it seems daunting given where you are with your family, and revisiting all those appointments and procedures and emotions and hopes and fears seems like a big Virginia hill. Wishing you all the best!

  3. Mali

    I agree, this is an excellent analogy. Congratulations on finishing it, and getting past mile 11. The second part of that analogy is that the race ends, no matter what happens during mile 11. Good luck!

  4. My hat is off to you — first, for running that race, and second, for the race you’re about to take on. Both amazing challenges and you should be commended for even thinking about attempting them!

    As Mali says above, one way or another, the race will end. We’ll be here with virtual hugs no matter what happens. Wishing you all the best!

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