Thus, I went to Philadelphia to cheer for Greg and my Capital Area Runners teammates.
It really comes down to focus. Where do I choose to focus my attention and my mental space? I could choose to focus on things that would only make me miserable. Examples of this (things to steer clear of) are speculating on the time I would have run if I had been able to train all summer, my current inability to cover a half-marathon distance, and what times I will run once I start racing again. I told myself that I would not think about these things during the weekend. But in order to NOT think about something, you need to have a focus point to replace those negative thoughts. I chose to focus heavily on:
- Supporting Greg throughout the entire weekend and doing whatever I could to help him.
- Cheering for Greg, my teammates, and other random runners during the race (I love cheering for randoms. The look on their faces is great when I call them out as looking strong!)
- Taking photos of Greg and my teammates that I could later send to them
- Getting to know my teammates better during the pre-race dinner on Saturday night.
|Greg at mile 4.2.|
Unfortunately, the fully-charged battery on my good camera died early on, so most of the "action" photos were taken with my cell phone camera. But they still came out okay and my coach used them in the weekly team newsletter. That made me happy.
Some of my teammates offered me condolences and sympathy for not being able to race. They assured me that they knew how hard it was to not be able to be out there racing. I really appreciated how supportive these particular teammates were being. And the way I felt when they said these things really solidified something for me. I'm okay with it. Yes, it's hard not being able to run, but actually not that hard. I have felt a greater sense of despair with other injuries and illnesses far less severe than mono simply because I didn't have the tools to cope effectively with them. I actually enjoyed the entire weekend quite easily because my focus was exactly where it needed to be.
I learned that you don't have to be running in a race to be a participant in the event. And you don't have to be physically training to improve yourself as an athlete.