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Break the Body. Heal the Soul.

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Just like that, Chellie’s segment of the Relay is over. It’s hard to believe that 6-days of her running back to back to back marathons has gone by so quickly, but it’s done and past. Segment two runner, Jay Rawlings, and his family have already arrived with the game plan set for some early, cool miles tomorrow morning. Though I am looking forward to crewing Jay through what is shapping up to be an interesting part of the 3,000-mile event, the Mojave National Preserve, I would be remissed to not reflect on the completion of such a monumentous effort on Chellie’s behalf.

It was difficult for me to watch her run all of those miles. I feel a certain part of me had to shut off the fact that she’s one of my best friends. After the first day, after the excitement and novelty wore off, it was all grit and guts and tears. I had to look the other way and drive further when I knew she wanted to rest. I had to tell her she was over-reacting when her calves were too swollen to fit through the ice packs. I massaged her muscles and pretended I had never felt her pain. I woke her up every morning with a cheerful smile, when a big part of me wanted to let her sleep and recover. I put food in her belly and pushed her out the door while ignoring her complaints of drop-foot.

I felt guilty.

But stronger than the love I have for her, and the ultimate guilt that filled my heart for somehow feeling that I made her do this, I know running. I know this activity can break the body but heal the soul. And though it was difficult for both of us (more so for Chellie), healing is exactly what happened this week over the course of those 6-days. There’s something unexplainable that happens when you wear all of your physical being away so all that’s left is who you are. And who you are when you don’t want to move forward, when you simply can not fathom another single step, is exactly what these athletes, and Chellie, have come out here to discover.

It’s not like there isn’t another option. Quitting is an option. The question is: When you feel so much pain that everything you know tells you to quit, but you don’t, what does that make you?

I’ll tell you. That makes you f’in awesome.

Chellie, congratulations dear. You earned it with every single step, mile-by-mile! You did it! : )

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  • by ashleyk
  • posted at 9:53 PM
  • April 21, 2013