Up until this past year, I have felt like I was on a route. My life was organized, and although I still took some wrong turns . I knew the route I was on was going to get me where I needed to go. Over the past several months however, I was taking more than just wrong turns. My life changed 180* and I was traveling in the complete wrong direction, or so I thought.
The past five months has been full of unexpected turns that have felt so significant that I felt as if I were lost at sea- no land in sight and I was all alone. The truth is, no matter how many people are there for you during this time, only you can find your way through the waters.
One of the hardest things for me, was deciding to step away from competitive running. For months, many people told me, that I was only hurting myself more by running as much as I was. However, running is my outlet. Even when Life circumstances left me lost at sea, feeling like every direction was the wrong one, running gave me a temporary escape. I kept pushing myself to run. I spent an entire summer crying my way through 6-12 mile runs because my joint pain was so intense. I spent months not making it a full week to practice because of constant flares. I trained my butt off, only to flare on hard workout or race days. Despite these setbacks, I wasn’t willing to give in. During this time, I was in denile as to how much running was actually causing flares. I kept trying again and again until finally I broke out in hives after being at the track. This gave me a clear sign, that I would need to change my direction.
Officially quitting the team left me an emotional mess, and I couldn’t believe how unfair life was being. I was lost and I was waiting for someone to find me and guide me in the right direction. However, as time went on I realized nobody could come and guide me, I had to find my own way. I had to create a route and trust in my journey.
Intitially, quitting the team was extremely hard for me to deal with because, I didn’t realize that I had the power to create my own route. I am now on an alternate path. By stepping back from running, I realized that biking and swimming is easier on my body and gives me less flare ups. Through that discovery, I have decided to attempt training for a triathlon. This way, I am still running, but my running mileage will be kept low enough to prevent my body from flaring. I am going to give this new found route a chance. If I happen to get lost again, I now know there are endless more routes to choose from.
Life is not easy, or fair, for anyone. There is going to be multiple times in life where you feel lost at sea. I promise that there is always an alternate route. Sometimes it can be tricky to find at first, but keep searching and trust yourself. You will find it!