The Refinery

In Going All Out, I describe my return to my running self and how energized I felt to be training for my first Marathon race. Since that post from May-2018, my race venue changed from NYC to Arlington, VA, but the change in venue did not reduce my delight in purposefully running again.  During the early summer months, it seemed surreal, the long runs, the speed workouts, challenging as they were, all of them gave me delight in knowing I was prepairing my body and mind for an epic event…running 26.2 miles on October 28, 2018!

If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.
Kathrine Switzer

Then, on August 10th, the wheels came off. Over a 24-hour period my body went from seemingly healthy and turned into a raging conflagration steeped in the melting pot of a full-blown shingles viral attack. I could not believe that this hideous malady had found me out. For all my good health and strength and well-being, I was laid out in such weakness, and racked with the firey pains so common to this hideous malady. How could this happen so suddenly, without warning? I was dumbstruck…awestruck really…with my unhappy fortune and especially for the disruption this had brought to my marathon training!

For three weeks I did little more than rest; and I use the word metaphorically. Sleep did not restore or invigorate; sleep could not be caught or latched onto; sleep only took me away from myself and cast me into strange, mysterious places of unknowing. Perhaps it was due to a lack of sleep together with a steady dose of unrelieved pain, but whatever the cause, I also realized a fermenting growth of anxiety sprouting like ugly weeds in my garden. Something like dispair seemed to ooze into my consciousness. I noticed these downward thoughts even while I accepted and acknowledged the fact that I am no different or exceptional from anyone else. None of us is immune from illness and disease. Even people who do everything right for their body can and will, from time to time, succomb to break-ins or break-downs in their well-being.

If we were to examine our diseases poetically, we might find a wealth of imagery that could speak to the way we live our lives. Following up on that imagery, we could attune our lives and allow ourselves to be corrected by the disease. That is what I mean when I say that without sickness we wouldn’t be cured, physically and psychologically. Care of the Soul ~ Thomas Moore

Thankfully, by the end of week three, I had an ephipany, a bolt out of the blue, rekindling the dark place of my pitiful thinking. Like an arrow finding its bulls-eye, the thought hit center and ran my runner’s soul clean through: You may actively recover your running (body) with the mindset of starting the marathon race! You may not be able to finish all 26.2 miles, but at least you may purpose to begin training…again. YES! YES, YES, INDEED! To toe the start line, come what may, would be my very own victory. Victory over illness; victory over dispair; victory over defeated thinking. The barb hit its mark!

A funny thing happened on my way to the Marathon…to be continued!


5 thoughts on “The Refinery

  1. Tina Vindiola

    I read this a handful of times, each time more intense and more victorious than the other, I felt every word. This is Life, at its finest, no?! Perhaps, the training you’ve done, most of your life, was preparing you for this? Who knows? What I do know is, without your love of self and intoxicating “Deb” attitude, it may have been more difficult to get through this. You have a village who is cheering you on and upward, we are all lining the pavement, can you see us? Go girl, go run fast, fast, fast. Much, much love to you!!


    • Dear Tina, your reading has captured the essence of my journey…especially through the refiner’s fire. Your words of love and cheer mean the world to me…I can see you…I can hear you…all of us…this race we call life is so full of intoxicating love!


  2. Ellie Brown

    Hi Coach.

    Sat down and read this three times: each time catching another insight, another boost of “go” and another layer of encouragement.

    One year ago I started my journey with you and your endless push to take care of myself. With that, 32 pounds went away, and as a few sneak back in, the Deb voice in my head gets me out there again to get’em gone. I learned how to use exercise as another tool to heal hurt, frustration and the “why me” pity party! 🤔

    You have taught all of us to be competitive with ourselves and.not with each other. You taught us that crossing the finish line means the world and the step over the line leads to another run, walk, jog Zumba, weight lifting, yoga, bike
    experience. You taught us to encourage others and to keep moving!
    And now you are getting the well-deserved love and support back from ALL of us. Continued prayers from us and strength training from the big guy upstairs as you heal!

    Keeping the faith my friend.

    Love ya. 🏃‍♀️ 🏃‍♀️ 🏃‍♀️



  3. Pingback: Of Fire and Ice – Think…Feel…Be….BodyWise!

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