You are probably wondering what a 10K has to do with divorcing a narcissist. In my world, it had a lot to do with my marriage, my divorce and life in general. It was 6.2 miles of tears (real ones!) and sweat but it also brought tremendous insight, healing and growth.
During my marriage, I was critiqued at every turn. If I ate the wrong foods then I was lectured about how many calories I was consuming. If I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo then I was met with a look of disgust. If I didn’t exercise for a week then I was lectured that I had just thrown 6 months of fitness down the drain by taking a break. If he thought that my stomach bulged while bending over then he would bring home a book on how to obtain the perfect abs. This was all occurring pre-children when my weight was around 115 lbs. I believed I was fat. No matter what I did, I was never good enough.
We used to run 5Ks together and it was the same story. It was competitive. I could hear his voice during the race saying, “you aren’t going to let her pass you–she’s 40lbs heavier”….”you aren’t going to let her sprint ahead of you to the finish line– she’s 15 years older”. At the finish line, I was always given “constructive criticism” about my posture, my pace or what I could improve on for the next time. I hated running because running equaled failure.
Three years ago, I ran my first 10K race from Morro Bay, California to the Cayucos Pier. The race is called, “Miracle Miles for Kids” and it is on the most beautiful stretch of ocean (see photo above for a glimpse). It was a few months after our separation and I had never run that far in my life. I signed up for the race and it became a mental, emotional and physical challenge for me. I felt like I was finally running away from his voice. As fast as I ran, I could still hear him every single time someone “heavier” or “older” passed me.
This weekend, I ran the same race. I hadn’t trained (and can barely walk today!) yet there was some force in me that had been eating at me for weeks to sign up. I remained non-committal until the morning of the race. I wanted to run it. I needed to run it. I laced up my shoes and we headed for the race.
At the start of the race, I didn’t have the normal pre-race jitters. There was no anxiety about my performance. I knew I wasn’t going to be critiqued. I was out there to cross the finish line and if someone heavier or older passed me, I cheered for them inside. That person who was 30lbs heavier could be on the tail end of a 400lb weight loss. That person who was 15 years older than me could have been training for this race and by God, they deserved to pass me. I knew that when I crossed the finish line, there would be no one to tell me what I could’ve/should’ve done differently. I knew there would be three people waiting at the end who were proud of me for signing up and completing the race.
The race was symbolic of life. There were rough patches to cross, boulders to go around, streams to run through and even places where my feet sank into the sand and I felt immobile. There were people on the sidelines cheering us on and there were some people who lent me a hand as I crossed the rocky parts. There were others who were so consumed with their own battles that they didn’t even think to assist those around them– I connected with those people also. Sometimes its important to fasten your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Each person was on their own journey yet we were all on a journey to the finish line– together.
When I started the race, I had no idea how much I would personally grow from running 6.2 miles. It was a reminder of how far I have come and how much I have healed. The race was brutal and beautiful at the same time– I laughed inside when thinking of where I was three short years ago and how far I had come since then. I cried while running from mile #2 to mile #3 –partially from emotions and partially because I was in physical pain. In all honesty, I thought of many of you and your stories while running– I reflected on the fact that One Mom’s Battle has many faces.
I completed 6.2 miles in 1 hour, 17 minutes and 8 seconds.
Thank you for being apart of my race– my journey— my healing. -Tina xoxo
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