Ryan Donnelly's Blog

Something Different

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(** This Post Was Previously Written on Thursday Night, September 9, 2010**)

Today I decided that I wanted  to take a  little break from the “norm” and write about what I did today.  The only reason I am taking a brief pause from writing about my rehab story is because today I learned something  new about myself. 

A lot of people have been writing me e-mails for advice about overcoming obstacles in their everyday lives. Each and every e-mail or comment I receive,  humbles me to no end. It boggles me  that you guys think I have insight to offer, but I am so thankful that something  that once pained me can bring happiness to another individual.  

That being said, the past three or four days have been tough mentally and physically.  I got a nasty stomach bug and it wiped me out. I’m talking the kind of sick when it takes too much energy just to get up and shower or brush your teeth. I even missed a BBQ at my sister’s house, that Jess went to for both of us.   To top it off The following day after the get  together, I had a 40 mile training run  planned with my good friend Steve, and I had to cancel that too. My body was not letting me keep any promises, but I had to listen to it, I really did not have a choice.

I laid in bed for the better part of three days, battling fatigue and frequent bathroom trips( tmi?). I had trouble staying hydrated and it was impossible for me to consume anything from my normal quality diet. 

After the bug subsided this past Tuesday night, I decided to take it easy on Wednesday and not train.  It was killing me that I couldn’t get out and run.  I’ve talked to so many people about this new found passion of mine, and why I love to run long distances. Running keeps me grounded both literally and figuratively,  and  it helps me clear my mind.  So laying in bed and not being able to get out and bust my ass was weighing down on me pretty heavily.  

This morning I finally felt ready to head out and run.

It was such a beautiful morning, it was as if mother nature cut summer off and turned fall on full gusto.  It was nice and cool, with a brisk breeze. It was perfect running weather. 

I had a fantastic conversation with an old friend about life and what he and I have learned over the past couple of years. It made me  so happy to hear someone had found their way and was taking life on with a smile.  So to keep it real, he motivated me to get up and go.  Isn’t its amazing how encouraged you can become after an intelligent and interesting conversation? It’s even better when you didn’t expect it. I was feeling good, and I was ready to take on the pavement.

I got up and did my normal pre-running rituals. This consists of me slabbing  on Vaseline in certain “areas” and heading out in my Jeep to stage waters around my town. This process makes Jess laugh and usually duck down as far as she can go in the passenger seat.  We buy tons of waters and/or Gatorade’s and 007 style,  I hop out of the car and hide them along my running route.

During the time I was bed bound, I put on  a ton of excess water weight that I haven’t had on in quite some time.  Since it was also cooler then usual out, I decided to test my body and shock it with more clothing.  I put on three shirts and a hoodie ( sorry to Jess’s little brother Ryan for sweating in his shirt haha) and headed out the door.  I wanted to make sure that I sweated the bug out of me while dropping the extra weight. 

To be honest, the extra weight in the beginning  of my run was felt immensely.  My run was  lot more painful then usual because my joints hadn’t been run in a while. The way I look at it, my body was like an old car, it just needed to be gassed up again.

 Once I got about 4 miles in, my body started to thank me.  The natural painkillers  in my brain kicked in and the chemicals  filled my body with this euphoric feeling.  I was good-to-go, for now. 

I ran down to my favorite place in the area, Island Heights. About 6 miles into the run I found myself at the waterfront. As I ran I took in the beauty of the water and  all the old homes in the area.  My smile never left my face, and I was in utter bliss.

As quickly as I could soak in this feeling, the winds changed in my mind.  My body started to crap out, I had sweated through all of the shirts and my sweat shirt was soaked.  It weighed me down and I was questioning whether I was hydrating enough to keep up with the fluids  I had already lost, but I knew I was OK enough to keep moving forward. 

I ran for another 4 or so miles and was holding my own until I hit a mental road block.  My mind completely shut down.  I remember running and a voice popping in my head telling me, “that’s it, you’re done, you need to stop right now.”  The voice in my head was spewing so much negative shit that I was getting pissed at myself .

Out of nowhere it dawned on me that I had to keep going. I couldn’t listen to the voice in my head anymore, I was over him.  Before I knew it, the voice stopped. It gave up, but I was still moving.

This morning I hit a new personal level of existence.  It was not even close to my longest run, but it was by far the most physically and mentally excruciating. I had never had both my body and mind give up on me and still be able to go forward. 

 It made me think, “what was controlling my body if they both quit?”  It made it clear, at least to me, that we have more inside us then we think.  My inner fire was raised a couple of degrees today.  It was an experience that I will never forget. Even if long distance running isn’t your thing, I hope you find something in your life that makes you come alive like I did today. I think I might have tapped into something magical. I think I might have tapped into something real.  Something different.

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