Acceptance show Progress

Today my favourite ultra-marathon is being run and I should be running my 7th one.  In the past ten years of running, I’ve only missed three for child-rearing reasons. This year, for health reasons, I’m unable to even run one kilometre, never mind a tough 56km! We’ve all been exposed to those stages of grief and loss where we move from denial to anger, bargaining and finally into acceptance. I have not lost anyone but I have lost something quite vital: my health and the ability to run ultra-marathons, potentially forever.


I’m not a particularly fast runner but I can persevere and run far. It takes a great deal of commitment to do the training and towards the end it really gets gruelling. I know that I’m capable of running better times but I’ve been doing what I can, given how depleted I’ve been over the past few years. I’ve always thought that when my kids are bigger and when the business is more stable, I can apply myself to running, and reach more goals around speed. And now that feels like an impossibility, knowing that putting my body under strain will cause my health to regress. It is indeed a loss for me.

Runners tend to seek out doctors who will tell them they can run but just to take precautions. I remember really doubting my doctor when he told me no exercise at all. And now I realise how harmful it was, and could have been, as my symptoms included irregular heartbeat. Many runners have passed away on races from heart attacks, and it’s due to an underlying condition, just like I have. In January, I was still resisting and quite clearly, in denial.

But by the time it has come to the day of my favourite race, I’m not in denial and I’m not angry. I’m quite ok with being home for the Easter weekend with my kids. I’m monitoring my favourite people with the app and enjoying the race on TV. Sure, it would be great to be part of it and I do miss the vibe and the sense of achievement that comes with doing something so hard.

I’ve found myself saying lately that my health collapse has been a blessing. It sounds cheesy but it has been a catalyst for change. And I needed something major to happen, in order to rearrange my life. My work is changing, my family dynamic is changing and my contracts with parents and friends might have to change too. Some contracts are cancelled and some will have altered or new terms in future. People resist change but I’m going to have to fight for myself so that my health does not slip backwards.

Your relationships are tested when you’re in crisis. The people I expected most to support me, have not. And some who I see as acquaintances have come through for me, offering to look after my kids when I need a break. I don’t even get that support from my parents. These insights are a gift, allowing me to identify the really special people around me.

I’m still not running and not really even exercising. I miss it tremendously, especially my close running friends with whom I’ve shared many hours of fun, laughter, struggle and growth. But if I can arrange my life well and be conscious of what drains me, I can make arrangements to meet some goals in future. I’m also now well-equipped to know who I can lean on.

For the past few months, I’ve found the recovery quite boring and frustrating. But today I have noticed that there’s progress in the fact that I’ve accepted my new life.

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I am a champion for living your passion. Writing is my passion, my destiny and my calling. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and a wife and live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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