One of my favorite musical bands is Train. Additionally I have a soft spot for Country music. This year Train released a new album with a song titled Bruises. It has the best of both worlds – the great voice of Patrick Monahan accompanied by a guest Country singer, Ashley Monroe. This song is on my running music playlist and always makes me smile. The music is upbeat, at first hearing one would think the lyrics are sad, but to me they are practical. The chorus sums it up:
These bruises makes for better conversation, loses the vibe that separates. It’s good to let you in again, you’re not alone in how you been. Everybody loses, we all got bruises.
As I review my year, this post is dedicated to the bruises I experienced and shared here on this blog.
I started the year with the goal of learning to do a flip turn. It was not easy. I spent quite a bit of time at the pool jumping up into the water only to hit the bottom of the pool. I rolled to my side, smacked the lane line many times, and inhaled quite a bit of water. The countless failed attempts lead me to seek help from a lifeguard. After my first lesson I over came my fear of tumbling in the water, but I still needed quite a few lessons and hours of practice before I became a decent flip turner. There were physical bruises along the way, but also bruises to my morale. I was determined to overcome my fear – and I did.
In April I went out one evening for a three mile run. It felt good, but I did feel a little tired. On my way back and within a tenth of a mile from my home my left foot came down on a small crack in the asphalt. My ankle rolled and I heard the noise no one wants to hear – a pop. Ten days later I was registered to run a 10 mile race I was hoping to set a personal best in and five weeks later I was registered to run a half marathon. My ankle was sprained and purple with bruises. I did not run for a week. That was one of the hardest things I went through this year. The rush of endorphins from running were greatly missed. I swam through the sprain but had to put my flip turns on hold for several months. I did not run the 10 mile race, but I did make it to the half marathon and finished.
Most of my training the first eight months of the year were focused toward the half iron distance triathlon I completed on September 9th. My swim was very good, all of the time I put in paid off. My bike and run however were hampered by a whole wheat bagel. I have the most routine diet, but for some crazy reason I decided to eat a whole wheat bagel the morning of the race. Having never done this in training, my body did not like it. I dealt with stomach issues on both the bike and the run. What could have been a personal record for me turned out to be my second best time. The bruise here was to my expectations. What set me back was totally under my control. I learned a lot that day.
The next big event of the year for me was the marathon I ran in Sacramento, CA earlier this month. I have worked since July with my running coach and had the potential to run my personal best time and even break five hours. This time what set me back was completely out of my control. A tropical storm from Hawaii came to visit Northern California the same weekend. I ran in a complete downpour and very strong winds for the majority of the marathon. I finished. That alone was a big accomplishment. It was my third fastest out of seven marathons. I left with both physical and emotional pains. Not just the leg pain from running but also some rashes from arm warmers and then there were the doubts I would ever run a marathon again after that experience. It took a good week for the emotional bruises to fade, longer than the physical. I have not given up on the marathon and now have one planned for October of 2013.
Life brings bruises. I only focused on what I experienced in training. There were a whole lot more, let me tell you. We all got bruises – and sometimes it is these experiences that bring people closer together. At the end of the song the duo shares that they want to help each other, but also accept each other the way they are:
I would love to fix it all for you, (I would love to fix you too). Please don’t fix a thing whatever you do.
It is the bruises that make us who we are as much as the joys. And I would not change a thing.