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.