When I was in college, my father tore his rotator cuff. My childhood home had a really steep driveway, and he slipped on some ice and fell down, catching his fall with his right hand. Dad was right handed, and he lost a lot of use in that arm. He couldn’t raise his arm above his shoulder anymore, and the doctors told him that he shouldn’t bowl anymore. My dad loved bowling; I never knew him to not be on a team or two, from as early as I could remember.
Dad got pretty mopey after his injury, and at one point was very down in the dumps feeling sorry for himself. I was over at my parents’ house when he was complaining that he couldn’t do things anymore, because he couldn’t use his right hand. The task at hand that day – changing the light bulb in the hallway.
I was annoyed by his attitude, and I got pretty snarky with him and told him he was just going to have to figure things out. I dragged a chair over to the hallway, pulled down the light fixture cover, and changed the light bulb, all with my left hand. I told him that if I could do it, so could he.
The next week, dad asked if I wanted to go bowling on Sunday morning. He was going to learn how to bowl with his left hand. We went together several Sundays, and talked about life and school and whatever came to mind, while he practiced left handed bowling. After a little time away, he went back to his league and spent the next 20-some years bowling as a lefty.
This morning I finished a 15K; the Hot Chocolate Run in Seattle. It was my second time doing this distance, although if you read here you know I have done many half-marathons.
I haven’t been training; I haven’t even been exercising as much as I normally do in the last several weeks since my dad died. I’ve just been trying to get through all the day to day stuff. Yesterday I felt like absolute garbage. But I didn’t want to bow out of the race.
While I was walking and jogging this morning, under a clear blue, cloudless sky, I was reminded that sometimes all you can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, and keep looking up, and keep knocking the miles and tasks off the list. You just have to let the muscle memory take over. Even if you don’t feel like you can. Even if you don’t want to. Because you can do it. And someday, you’ll want to again.
I’m also blessed to be surrounded by amazing women who lift me up and carry me, even when they might not even realize they are. They are a big part of why I crossed that finish line this morning.
I finished the 9.3 miles in 2 hours, 14 minutes and 14 seconds, for a pace of 14:25 per mile. It wasn’t a fast time, and I didn’t run as much of the race as I normally would, but I finished.
Just keep going. You got this.