Running has given me more than any other single thing in my life. It taught me how to get around my city. It facilitated the most fulfilling friendships of my life. It showed me how to explore -- both the outer, physical world and the inner one. It schooled me in how to be gritty as fuck, how to dig deep and truly surprise myself. It knighted me with a confidence I’d never known before I used it to push myself. It gave me a reason to test my own limits and then it rewarded me with new mental and physical strengths.
The truth is, on paper I had some real running successes this year. I went running in Vancouver, Iceland, Paris, and Copenhagen with new and old friends. I ran my first Ragnar; completed the Vancouver Half Marathon; medaled twice at the Gay Games, winning silver in both the 10k and the half marathon; and I completed my second marathon and first World Major in Chicago. But I’ve been on the edge of falling apart through all of it, and injury has overshadowed these accomplishments.
Running has given me a lot, but it’s also revealed some things I wish weren’t true about my limits, and specifically about my skeleton.
Highlights and challenges from a year of grasping at running
Bones are supposed to be strong. When a building is worth anything, it has good bones. When we know something to be deeply true, we know it in our bones. Bones are the scaffolding of life, they literally hold our bodies together.
My bones are not strong. This is a frustrating, abstract truth that manifests itself in cracks that snake their way around me, under my skin, in broken dark places. They bloom into pain, senesce into rage and depression. They make my body a problem I can’t control.
I’ve been running, talking about running, thinking about running and writing about running for a long time. I love this sport the most; I will never not love it because it has given me too much. Even the things I wish weren’t true, but are ultimately useful to know. But I don’t want to write about it anymore, at least not publicly, at least not for now.
That’s part of the reason I didn’t post anything to this blog in November, so close to my goal of posting every month of 2018. It’s part of the reason I’m putting this little project to rest and leaving it in 2018. I’ve enjoyed the structure and creativity of this blog, but it has come to its natural conclusion. I’ll be focusing on book blogging in 2019 over at my new site, Pages and Bones.
The story of the name is more related to Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones than my actual bones, but the metaphor of bones as solid structure applies on that level too. Also, it sounds cool and it wasn’t taken ;)
Running and I are not done. I still have lots of #loftygoals when it comes to my sport, which will be my sport forever no matter how much I’m able to practice it, to visit it on weekends and take it to new places and earn medals and miles with it. But as I broaden my athletic horizons to include swimming, cycling, and strength training -- and as I figure out the best strategies for moving forward with the body I have, with the help of some great doctors and the world’s most wonderful friends -- running necessarily has to remain quiet for a time. I don’t know how long. But thanks to running, I know how to deal with uncertainty. I know how to sacrifice things in service of the people and things I love. I know how to work hard, really hard, and that my mind and body can gain strength with practice. I know how to endure.