Living like a Starfish

A starfish can break off an arm to avoid being killed by an enemy. In doing so, the starfish can also regenerate that arm in about a year.

Sometimes we have to learn to be more like a starfish, and adapt rather than surrender to the waves that capsize us.

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At the end of June 2017 I experienced my first debilitating running injury, a second metatarsal stress fracture. Having been an avid runner since 2013 this was a very trying time. Off my feet as much as possible, a boot lent to me from a friend, no running whatsoever. I struggled to feel like myself. My mood declined and stayed there as I wasn’t getting the endorphins I often had many times a week. Life flat out sucked.

 

Nine weeks of rest and I started to run again. After training for a mere five weeks, I ran the Chicago Marathon in 5:18:44. This was by far my slowest marathon I’ve ever ran, coming in about a half hour behind my previous slowest marathon. This was a pretty big kick in the confidence, although I had to remind myself multiple times that I trained a quarter of the amount that I normally would for a race. If nothing more, I proved to myself that this injury wasn’t defeat but instead something that made me a more mentally tough runner. 

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Following Chicago I had to find the next thing to look forward to. Lucky for me, the Walt Disney World Marathon fell on my 27th birthday. Run 26.2 miles on my 27th, 1/7/18, how could I not? I signed up for the race the week we decided to move to Charleston for a bit and try out a new adventure.

 

I decided to run for St. Jude as I often have, and committed to raising $2,500. I was excited to have my sights set on a new race, and had more motivation to get out for some long runs. The following week I received an email that while the website allowed me to sign up for the race for St. Jude they didn’t actually have any spots left and I wouldn’t be able to run as the race was sold out. I was miserable. Travel plans had already been made. I had looked forward to a trip to Disney and spending my birthday running a marathon. I had been so excited to raise money for a charity I believe in, and now that wasn’t going to happen.

 

I panicked for a bit, cried it out, and made some calls to figure out what my options were. At one point I thought St. Jude had openings for the Goofy race, running the half marathon one day and running the full marathon the next, but that was also a mistake on their website. I went to the list of charities and landed on Catch A Lift Fund, a charity that helps post 9/11 veterans get acces to workout equipment, gym memberships, and peer networks to help them get their physical and mental health back. While it was difficult to know my efforts weren’t for St. Jude, a charity I’ve spent years supporting, this charity seemed to be a great option. A friend of mine who served in Afghanistan told me that CAL was a charity that was helping him to get in to a hockey gym in our area, so I knew their mission was legitimate. Onward with my training and fundraising!

 

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I ran the Walt Disney Marathon, stopping for character pictures along the course. I went out really fast because I wasn’t used to running in the dark and the race begins so early that’s the first half of the race was over before the sun started to show up. I finished the marathon in 4:48:55. About a half hour quicker than Chicago just two months prior. Finally some relief that I would be able to be back to my running self now that my stress fracture was in the past. For a moment in time I thought the Disney Marathon was out of my reach, but I found CAL and raised $700 for a charity that gives back to those who have given their all.

 

The past few months have been a lot of focusing on what we miss about Nashville. The music scene and the ability to catch a writers round any day of the week, the hills and elevation in general, the people including my Fleet Feet community. When we decided to stay in Charleston things were on the up and up. We were finding lots of opportunities and felt excited about living by the beach. However, when you live on the coast during the winter months, beach weather is a bit nonexistent so that excitement got put off. Altogether we made two trips back to Nashville to gather up our belongings and move them with us or store them in a unit for an eventual return to Nashville.

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Ben and I have ran a couple local races now, trying to find our groove in a place that still doesn’t give us that complete homey feeling, and beach weather is upon us so we’ve got sunny days ahead with ocean breezes. We’re currently in the process of regenerating a life that we really want to live keeping in mind that we’re going to be getting back to something bigger and better for us down the road. Trying to live like a starfish isn’t the easiest thing but sometimes it’s necessary for survival.

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