For most healthy adults, physically moving on is much easier in comparison to mentally moving on. Although most people don’t understand why I run as far as I do, and it can be a literal pain in the ass, most days it’s easier to deal with than my emotional baggage.
I used to get exhausted just thinking about putting one foot in front of the other at a consistent pace. So when my manager suggested I try a half marathon last year, I thought he was crazy. For a girl who could barely run more than a mile, 13.1 seemed impossible. But after 16 weeks of hot, grueling training, I did it. I finished my first half marathon without stopping or walking. It challenged my body physically but more importantly taught me a mental strength I didn’t even know I had. Some how I convinced myself to just keep going.
Last year was also emotionally challenging. My friends and family will tell you that I’m a confident, outgoing and self-assured woman. They know they can count on me to be there for them when things fall apart. They will tell you I can be stubborn, have a quick tongue and hate to ask for help. I do my best to see the glass half full, make others laugh and always keep a smile on my face. From the outside I appear strong and assertive but for the last three years, on the inside I’ve been ripping at the seams. It makes me mad and sad admitting I’ve been recovering from a mentally and physically abusive relationship. How does someone so “strong” admit they were so weak?
I can talk and write about anything but when it comes to topics like domestic violence and conversations like #whyileft I couldn’t seem to put my story into words. I spent a lot of time blaming myself for allowing someone like that to come into my life. Someone who I had loved so deeply, yet made me feel so small. Someone who would one night drunkenly punch me in the leg during an argument because I tried to stop him from leaving. Someone who put his hands around my neck because I took his cellphone out of his hand and blamed me for provoking him. Someone who needed to be escorted out of my apartment by the police New Years Eve and still try to come back up after they left. Someone who continued to bully me by writing a scathing 10-page hate letter calling me a “shit head” and that I only worked well with men because I have “big tits.” Someone who would still harass me, two years later, by posting pictures on social media of places around my office and apartment. Someone who would make me feel completely and totally insecure.
I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that my situation wasn’t that bad, to keep looking forward and I would eventually move past it. Friends and family wanted to help but even they were at a loss. I spent a few months in therapy trying to piece together where I went wrong only to realize I needed to stop blaming myself. I found solace in writing but running was my saving grace.
It was the one thing I could do for myself, just me against me, to sort things out in my head for a while. I chose to physically beat myself up before ever mentally beating myself up again. That’s why I made the crazy decision to sign up for my first marathon in March. And it’s even harder to believe that the race is now only two weeks away.
Completing this race not only proves I have the physical strength to run 26.2 miles but the mental strength to get through the emotional marathon I’ve put myself through for the last two years. There are a lot of things we tell ourselves we are not capable of and at times, can’t imagine we will ever get through. By running this marathon, I’m freeing myself of the fear that’s held me back for so long and ready to celebrate this physical and deeply emotional victory on October 19th. Come hell or high water, I will finish that fucking marathon.