Friday, November 9, 2012

Look up!

I still remember the weekend that I was at the CrossFit Running and Endurance certification several years ago.  I was excited to go because I love to run.  I thought the fact that I ran all the time and enjoyed it would make it an easier certification.  I was wrong.  Turns out I had terrible form and it ended up being one of the most difficult certifications I have ever attended.  Add 107 degree temps while doing running drills and workouts outside and at times I felt that I was just hanging on until the end of the day.

It's funny how we all have our our habits that we develop.  Many times we do not even realize what we are doing until an outsider points it out to us.  Brian Mackenzie was leading the class, but Carl Borg was his right hand.  As we went through drills, I kept hearing the same 2 things from Carl..."USE YOUR HAMSTRINGS!" and "STOP LOOKING AT THE GROUND!"  I still remember the last day when we were doing a workout and he finally yelled at me, "MARSHA!  STOP STARING AT THE GROUND!  LOOK UP!  THERE'S A BEAUTIFUL WORLD AROUND YOU TO SEE!"  I haven't thought about that in a long time, but those words came to my mind Monday as I walked out of the gym and stopped to lock the door.

I've put off writing this since because at that moment, I made a decision...a decision to "look up"...a decision not to be consumed with pain and disappointment...a decision NOT to cry...and I knew writing about this was sure to bring tears.  I hoped that maybe I had used all my tears up but unfortunately there's still some in the reserve I guess.

I got married 21 years ago and I planned to be married forever.  Unfortunately there's 2 people in every marriage and we can only control 1 of those 2...ourselves.  I won't get into detail to spare my loved ones more pain, but I will say this...deciding to divorce after 21 years has been the most difficult, heart breaking, surprising, disappointing, hurtful decision I have ever made.  I pride myself on being strong.  I encourage others to find their stay positive and believe in themselves.  I was able to do that for a long time, but over the past month I have fallen into a dark place that left me very weak at times.  It's left me questioning everything I have ever known and believed.  At times, I have felt hopeless and wondered if I will ever get the strength and happiness back that I once possessed.
They say old habits die hard, and for me that is the truth.  I improved my running form at that certification but there are habits that I had formed for 40 years prior to the class that I still have to watch for and one of those habits is looking down at the ground while I run.  I know exactly why I do it.  I do it when I am tired or when it gets hard for me.  It's like if I can just stare at the ground, I don't know how far I still have to go and I can focus my energy inward. 

As I stood at the door and put the key in the lock, the most amazing fall breeze swept through and blew my hair.  The temperature was perfect, leaves were falling and making rustling noises on the concrete, and for a moment I paused to take it in.  I thought about how much I love the good it amazing it is to watch leaves fall off the trees and then reappear in the spring...and for that brief moment I was happy.  I was able to look outside myself and enjoy what was around me.  I was transcended above all the hurt and pain that I have been so mired in and as the wind blew I could hear that familiar command, "MARSHA!  STOP STARING AT THE GROUND!  LOOK UP!  THERE'S A BEAUTIFUL WORLD AROUND YOU TO SEE!"

 You see, I've been doing what I do on a long, hard run.  I've been looking down because I didn't wanna look up and see the end further away than I wanted.  Unfortunately in my attempt to make things easier...I made them harder.  Sure, I couldn't see how far I had to go, but I couldn't see anything else either.  I couldn't see the good around me and I haven't been able to muster the strength I needed because I wasn't really sure where I was at.  All I knew was I was hurting and I wanted it to go away.  I still hurt.  I'm still scared, and I still feel like a failure in some ways but something changed the day the wind blew my hair and the voice from the past told me to "look up."
It's hard to fight a battle when you don't know what's coming at you.  It's hard to be strong when you can't see how big the obstacle is.  Don't make the mistake that I've made.  Face whatever it is in front of you.  Know that it doesn't matter how far you have to go.  You have the strength and the determination to endure and cross the "finish line" better and happier than you were before.  Don't look down and be weak.  Look up and be strong!


  1. Marsha,

    Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts, pain, hurt and triumph.

    I hope you do look up and see what is there but also find what you are looking for.

    You are an incredibly brave woman despite what you seem to believe about yourself.....sometimes looking down at the ground for so long, does make one appreciate what is up and around them all the better. From pain comes growth.


  2. Thoughts and prayers are with you. It is difficult, but looking up is the best thing for you to do. Blessings!

  3. Twenty-one years is still a success Marsha. I'm sure that you have some beautiful memories from it and I hope you're starting to heal and feel amazing again. x