Wednesday, May 22, 2013
This is the best piece of life advice I have ever gotten.
Breathe. Just breathe. Keep breathing. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Let it go. Breathe.
My pen pal turned bestie turned soul mate, Sara, gave me this advice once and continues to give it to me whenever I need it. (You'd be shocked how often that is!)
I am super excited about a guy and can't stop talking about him in a really fast New York voice and all my words kind of blur together and I am already planning our wedding by the end of the first date and I've got our kids names picked out before the dessert course comes and I just want to spend my whole life repeating his name over and over and over.
Sara says, Breathe.
I am sobbing so hard because a guy that I thought was perfect for me completely broke my heart into a thousand million pieces and I've never been so broken before and how will I ever survive??????
Sara says, Breathe.
I am running my first ever 5K --- and I actually mean RUNNING it --- and after 3 miles of sweat and pain and yes, even some tears, I don't think I can take another step, let alone make it to the finish line.
Sara says, Breathe.
It is scary how often I forget to breathe.
So that panic attack that happened when I found myself single again, just two weeks shy of turning 32? I needed to be reminded to breathe.
This is that "end of story beginning" I was telling you about in my last blog. Jason and I had been dating for almost four months, and had literally just broken up. So what does a semi-devastated yet aging Kimberly decide to do? The scariest thing I can think of. I decide to run a race.
I wasn't gonna walk it. I wasn't gonna jog it. I wasn't gonna cut corners or skip training or do it "just to say I'd done it." Hell no. I actually wanted to do something I was proud of, and this race scared the crap out of me. You see, Sara started out running 5Ks, then she went to 10Ks, then she went to half marathons, then she went to marathons. In fact, some of you amazing readers helped make her Magical Dreams come true, and sponsored Sara and her husband for their first marathon run in Walt Disney World on January 12th, 2013. I would like to add that this was the same day Bella married her husband in St Paul's Cathedral in London, England. You can see how my heart was torn that day???
Still, I have always said that I would not run unless I was being chased through the woods at midnight by a clown with a bloody knife and there were margaritas at the finish line. So what truly pushed me to do it? Running the 5K was scary, but not nearly as scary as being suddenly single again at 32.
I walked, jogged and ran every single day leading up to the event. I took dance classes. I went to the gym. I enlisted a slew of friends to sponsor me in helping Save the Elephants at the Bronx Zoo. I joined a team, to ensure I would not crap out the day of the race. And best of all, Sara drove all the way down from Rhode Island to run it with me.
As we were two very giggly school girls who hadn't seen each other in far too long, we stayed up way, way, way too late the night before the race and still had to drag our tushies out of bed at ridiculous o'clock in the morning. But we did get up, scoop up our other teammates, and with picnic baskets loaded and coffee cups emptied, we drove to the Bronx Zoo at sunrise. The energy and adrenaline pushed me through the first mile. I started off running, although I couldn't see the whole course. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up the pace forever, but I had a surge of confidence that I was a strong, confidence, powerful woman and I was going to RUN.
That slowed down a bit on Mile 2. The second mile was mostly hills. The faster runners had long since left me behind, the walkers hadn't quite caught up, and out of the 5,000+ participants, I saw very few people around me. Also, as this race was at the Bronx Zoo, I got slightly distracted by all the animal habitats I was running past. Frankly, checking out the tigers lounging or the flamingos in the lake was far more interesting than putting one foot in front of the other. Also, I was starting to be aware that things were bothering me. I had worked up a sweat and needed to take my hoodie off. My sneakers were tied too tightly and I had a huge blister on my right heel. The hills were killing my thighs as I had only ever run on a flat surface before. Any and every excuse I could use to slow down entered my brain and before I knew it, my motivation had waned to practically nothing.
As I entered Mile 3, Sara called my phone. "I finished!!!" she shouted at me in her Rhode Island meets Massachusetts accent. Where are you? "I just started mile three," I told her in a not huffing nearly enough sort of way. "Good! Keep going!" she exclaimed and hung up. It was no more than a minute before Sara showed up by my side. She finished the race with a Personal Record, beating her own best 5K time! Sara then ran part of the way back for Bella and saw her through the Finish Line. And then? Then she came back for me.
"Run!" she shouted at me. I had clearly been walking for a while. "But my blister...and my thighs...and the hyenas..." I protested. "I don't care about your fucking blister or your thighs or the hyenas! NOW RUN!!!"
Remember that clown chasing me through the woods with the knife? Suddenly, I realized the clown was Sara.
I started running, lost my pace, caught back up, lost it again. The sneakers and the blister and my hips and my mind...everything had thrown me off course. I wasn't the same strong, confident, powerful woman I started out as just two miles before. In the span of thirty minutes, I'd turned into a whiny little bitch. What the hell had happened?
Life had happened. The course beat me down. I was ragged and sweating and exhausted and couldn't see the Finish Line from where I was. I was hot and tired and wanted to give up. But there was Sara, yelling in my ear, telling me that I could do it. Believing in me more than I believed in myself.
Seeing that I was struggling to gain my composure, Sara kept repeating "Breathe, Kim. Take a deep breath. Run through it. Breathe in. Breathe out. Keep running. One foot. Other foot. Keep running. Keep breathing. You're almost there. We are going to turn that corner, and you know what you're gonna see? The Finish Line! And do you know who is on the other side of that Finish Line? Everyone. Everyone is there, waiting to cheer you on. To see you finish. Finish STRONG, Kim. Keep breathing. Keep running. Breathe. Run. Breathe. Run. There you go. You got this. You got this, Kim. Keep running! Keep going. Turn that corner. Turn it. Finish strong. Go girl. Go, I'm right behind you! Go, Kim, go go go go go!!!"
And before I knew it, I had crossed the Finish Line.
Sara was right. Everyone was there to cheer me on, to clap as runners came in, to help us feel like we'd just conquered the whole world. And that's exactly what it felt like. I was, once again, that strong, powerful woman I started out as. I lost sight of her for a while. But I found her again.
This is what happened with me and Jason. I started off as a calm, confident, amazing woman, capable of standing on my own two feet and doing anything I set my mind to. The course of our relationship got rocky. There were hills to climb (that felt like mountains to me) and I wanted to give up. I found any excuse to slow down, get distracted, lose my stride. But in the end, I chose to break up with him because we just weren't working. I chose to finish strong. I needed that reminder to breathe.
Ending a relationship isn't the end of the world, though it may feel like it at the time. The heartbreak will fade with each passing day. Time really does heal all wounds. You just have to give time, time. You will not die from a broken heart or a failed relationship, as much as you think you will, as much as you might want to. You will not shrivel up and die a spinster because you are single again at 32 years old. You will not lose all hope in love and romance and happily ever after just because one guy turned out to be a jerk. What you must do is recover, get stronger, return to the powerful woman that you know you are. Put one foot in front of the other. And most of all, breathe.