Friday, September 19, 2014

5k goals

Earlier in the year I gave thought to how I would become strong enough to endure open heart surgery or, basically regain my strength from a palliative year. Through Cardiac Rehab I realized that I really enjoyed walking. At least I did earlier in the year since I couldn't really do much of it last year. On a very lucky day ma belle would stick me in a wheelchair with a bigger oxygen cylinder (my requirements at the time) and we'd go around the block. It was such a gift- it meant the world to me. It may have only been a block away around the crescent but I felt like I was out in the world since I rarely got that opportunity .
So, while in rehab I gained strength. At first it came slowly and I was moving faster than the white haired ninety year-olds. It was so hard to accept my limitations. My spirit was so much faster than my body in January. Now here we are nine months later and I'm about to walk 5kms. I know for most people that's an evening's stroll. For me, I "trained" for 6 months. Towards the end of my rehab, my physiotherapist and I designed a program to increase my strength, and motivation to get stronger but stay positive and patient. I used short walks/races as motivation to get me from one marker to the other. I started with the 2k during Canada's biggest race-weekend in May. I think the biggest increase in ability and strength happened between the first few months to 2 kilometres. I really noticed the changes. For one, I would have less and less discomfort carrying my O2 cylinder. Now I barely notice it sometimes. It's more of a nuance than anything but the strength is now there to carry it everywhere.
In June I increased to the 3km with a smaller local "race". Though I did not have an official race during summer months I did increase - though I did slack off, like any good Canadian during our too-short summer months.
So here I am, 2 days away from the Army 5km. This "race" is a big accomplishment for many reasons. First, in my own physical journey from palliative to here. Ma belle reminds me that in those first weeks at the heart hospital I could barely walk down the hall in my CCU. Ironically, it was with the same physiotherapist. So here's my 100 foot journey.
This race is also a tricky one for me. As a pacifist I do not support war or any military things/events. More than 6 years ago a dear friend of mine came to town to run in the race and asked me to come support him. I did but it was hard. At the finish line there were tanks and memorabilia and "support the troops" BS that I had to remind myself "I'm here for him, not this pomp and circumstance". Then a year or two after that I met ma belle. A solider. Ooof. Through her I have learned a lot. I have come to respect who she is though I still do not support war. This race is as much for me and my struggles as it is for her and all the other soldiers: how they've been mistreated, left out to hang when they do their jobs. (Don't even get me started in the mental health aspect of it all. One of the reasons I've kept up with my certifications and registrations is I hope to continue the help that I've been a part of, even in a small way. Though I'd like to do more.)
So, there you have it. I've just explained why I was feklempt when picking up my race kit today. It means so much more than what's on the surface. I've come full circle and I hope this is the beginning of many Army "runs" (walks) for me.
Only time will tell - time, more medical procedures and faith.

See you at the finish line.