Something that I really love about running is that a run can take you unexpected places. Sometimes, too, those places are not physical locations, but rather places in your mind or in a conversation. Today was like that.
On most days, Lina and I talk more about guys on our runs than about anything else. Maybe, just maybe, we talk about running itself as much…but I’m dubious. (I almost feel the need to defend myself and say something like, “We only talk about guys because we just get sick of talking about current events and literature with everyone else all the time,” but that is a lie, and I’m not actually afraid of people thinking I’m vapid. So, no defense will be given.) But today we deviated from our topic of choice and I was reminded of why I value running and my running buddy-ship so much.
The back story is that earlier in the week, my mom went in for tests on her kidneys (more about her battle with kidney cancer can be found in the Donate tab above). For the past year and a half, she has had these tests and received only good news. A few months ago, her kidney function was tested and it was miraculously good. My mom only has one kidney, and she has been working hard to eat a diet low in things like protein and legumes (both of which put stress on the kidneys), in order to increase her kidney function.
For the first year after she had surgery to remove one of her kidneys, she didn’t see much improvement in her kidney function despite her efforts. It was frustrating, and so we were all elated when it seemed like her hard work had finally started to pay off. In the past two months, however, my mom has been traveling a lot and the stress of doing so has taken a toll on her body. She developed gastritis and, I found out today, received her first bad news in over a year regarding her kidney.
Her kidney function has gone way down again and her creatinine level is up, among other indicators that my mom’s kidney isn’t as healthy as we want it to be. Oddly, I had a bad feeling about this when I found out she was going to have the tests done. For some reason, I felt even more worried than usual.
Anyway, my mom has been on my mind a lot this week and after talking to her today, I felt the need to release some of the worry and sadness. On my run with Lina today, I told her what was going on and it just…helped. It was lightly drizzling the entire time we ran, and it seemed as though my outside environment had synched up with the way I felt. As we ran, Lina listened and when I couldn’t keep my teardrops from mixing with the raindrops, she started talking instead.
By the time we reached 3.5 miles, our heavy conversation had naturally lightened and I felt lighter, too. Running through the rain was so nice and I’ve noticed that when you talk about stuff on a run, it tends not to follow you home – at least not with the same strength. Running, and especially running with a good listener, is cleansing, and therapeutic, and I am so lucky to be able to do it.
Obviously, I still have to deal with reality and the negative emotions that accompany it, but days like today make things better. Some runs are all about numbers (pace, distance, time) and some are about so much more.