How much have you paid for an hour of therapy? Physical therapy? Psycho therapy? Massage therapy? The costs range from affordable to "you paid how much?" I consider running to be "my time....me time." I don't listen to music, usually run by myself (especially during obtuse training hours) to solve a problem, to clear my mind and collect my thoughts. During this week's runs, I gathered my thoughts for this entry. When people ask what I think about or what my mantra is during these races, I sum it up with this phrase, "How much more can I take mentally when I have nothing left physically."
It has taken quite a number of years and many sessions IN therapy to talk about much less write and blog about it. For much of my childhood my father (hence forth known as my mother's husband) was an unemployed alcoholic abusive monster. Many days coming home from school, I was afraid to open the door, afraid of who lurked on the other side. Was he sleeping? drunk? passed out? angry? or a ticking time bomb waiting for me to announce I was home? It varied day to day, minute to minute. Battles ensued between the two of us. He would chase me room to room and around the house or the around the yard. Being 6 foot 2 and 240 plus pounds with a long reach he had the edge on his second son, 4 foot nothin' and barely 70 pounds. I won't give you full details but you can imagine when caught I was a rag doll that took the blunt end of cabinets, counters, washing machines, tools, wooden boards, leather belts and if nothing was in reach a fist would do.
It was our own Broadway drama, starring my mother's husband as the abusive monster, my mother as abused victim number one, all three children as victims two, three and four. When the curtain came up, the parents were engaged in a screaming, swearing hand to hand battle. My older brother's role was to take my younger sister to another room where she couldn't see what she could hear. My role was to step in for my mother while she decided who to call or where to take us. Every time I was knocked down I got up for more. I thought to myself, "he can't win, he'll never win. Get up, drag yourself up. Whatever he can dish out, you can take." Over the years, the scenery changed but the plot remained the same. Being kicked out of two houses, having to split the bills with my mother and paying for numerous expenses a high school student shouldn't have to pay I stepped into professional therapy. My brother married, moved out and started his life and my sister went off to college and the Peace Corps hoping to get away as far as possible. I stayed at home until I was in my late twenties partly because I didn't have the money to move out and partly to protect my mother, the battles still occurred just not as frequently.
I didn't take my first drink until I was in my mid twenties. Married in my late twenties and divorced several years later. I had/have issues and trust me, I am always working on them. Running keeps me grounded. Running keeps me sane. You might say I am running away from something, you might say I am running towards something but as of right now I run for me and my time. There is something utterly relaxing about hearing the rhythmic patter of my feet, my breath and my heartbeat.
Could it be I am running from a demon, a ghost or trying to win a battle I am incapable of winning?