I hate running. I can’t catch my breath, my asthma kicks in, and I have to use my inhaler a lot. My knees usually hurt for a solid week following a 5k. And not that simple, cramping pain- full, debilitating, I look like a 90 year old, pain (even my grandma walks better). Which usually kicks in about half way through every 5k.
To be honest, I was that kid in school that had the doctor’s note to get out of running. It irritated the cartilage in my chest. And I struggled to breathe the whole time. So I didn’t run the mile. Because I had convinced myself it hurt too much and I couldn’t do it.
I went for a run today. Actually, I set a personal record tonight for my mile, by 31 seconds. A mile that for years, I told myself I couldn’t do. I told myself was too hard. Was too painful. Was impossible.
Two years ago, I started running. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t fast, 95% of the time it wasn’t even running. I do it pushing two kids in a stroller, a seemingly impossible task for me, a non runner. To this day it still isn’t very pretty.
So why the hell do I put myself through that? Why do I do something that’s painful, that takes strenuous effort? Effort I once refused to give.
When Charlie was diagnosed, I was beside myself. I asked questions, but didn’t always understand. I was in shock. I didn’t know how we could ever get through this. I didn’t know how we would deal with this. How we would move on. I thought of what we were giving up. We were losing a “normal” child, and getting one we weren’t prepared for. Or one we thought we weren’t prepared for. I thought that was painful for me.
And then I proceeded to watch HIM go through three unscheduled open heart surgeries. I watched HIM vomit around a breathing tube. I watched HIM learn how to breathe on his own again. I watched HIM withdraw from narcotics and swim like Nemo, levitating off of his hospital bed in agony. I watched HIM get poked and cut and irritated. I watched HIM get infections. I watched HIM in congestive heart failure. I watched HIM as his lungs filled with blood. I watched HIM as he fought to live. There was no doctor’s note to get him out of it.
I watched HIM gather his strength. I watched HIM fight. I watched HIM learn to persevere. I watch HIM win.
I started running for something bigger than me. I started running to raise awareness. I started running for a little boy (and way too many like him) that has done everything that seemed impossible. That has faced everything that was too hard. That has run marathons day after day while lying in a hospital bed. For a little boy whose chest truly has been irritated to the largest extent. A little boy who spends several of his days and nights unable to breathe and truly can’t catch his breath. A little boy who runs anyways, with no signs of slowing down.
Running has become something so much more than just running.
I hate running.
I love Charlie.