Once in my early twenties, I went for a horseback ride. A group of my friends decided to go and when I told my mom, she asked if she could come.
We got to the stables, saddled up, climbed aboard and set off for a lovely, evening trail ride.
Then, about halfway through our ride, we decided to run the horses a bit. My horse stumbled on a large rock and I went face first into the ground.
NOTE TO SELF: BREAK FALL WITH HANDS NOT FACE!
I was bumped, bruised, scraped and shaken up but otherwise fine. My mom, on the other hand, was panicked. This was around the same time Christopher Reeve was thrown from his horse and paralyzed. As I lay on the ground mortified and thinking, “Can I just get up now?” And our very young trail guide was saying, “Hey, can you get up?”, my Mom was saying, in a shaky voice, “Heather, don’t you move. Someone help me off this f-wording horse!”
I’m her baby and she was terrified. Ultimately, I was fine. I had a good story and a black eye and some scrapes to show off. The emergency room on a Sunday night was more frightening than the fall.
About a month after the accident, when my scrapes had healed and my eye was a normal color, my mom insisted that her and I go for another ride. Her reasoning? That old saying, “You gotta get back on that horse.” She refused to let the last memory of horseback riding for both of us be a traumatic one.
So, the two of us went for a slow, lovely evening ride. A cool breeze was coming off the LA mountains as the sun set and although we were shaky at first, we did it.
Of course, my mom was right. Just don’t tell her I said that.
After the LA Marathon this year, I was pretty broken. Not just sore, but my spirit was broken. Even though I accomplished this awesome thing, I was disappointed. I’m coming off an injury and feel like I’m starting from scratch and I want to be faster and stronger. I want so badly to be this great consistent runner and it is just not happening for me right now.
On top of running, I live a pretty busy life. I work full-time, I’m in grad school and I volunteer on non-profit boards. In the past I have always made time for a run. I refused to let my busy schedule be an excuse to not go.
Except after LA, I did.
It took me two full weeks to run outside.
I still went to treadmill class and did speedwork a couple days a week, but I couldn’t bring myself to go for a run outside.
I finally sucked it up one weekend and scheduled a four miler, then I kept putting it off.
I’ll run Friday after work became Saturday morning became Sunday morning. Finally, on Sunday evening about 6pm I no longer had an excuse.
I got dressed, filled my water bottle, put on my Garmin and left from home.
The evening was a lot like that second horseback ride. A cool breeze was coming off the LA mountains as the sun set and although I was shaky at first, I did it.
It was only 4 miles and I slowed to walk on some of the uphill portions, but I went for a run and it was perfect. I felt so good, it was like hanging out with a friend you haven’t seen in a while and picking up right where you left off.
That’s the point right? When we have negative experiences we can choose to leave them in our memories or we can choose to replace them with better, more positive ones.
I know it’s going to take more than 4 miles in my neighborhood to get me back to where I was, but I’m determined to get there.
I will continue to get back on that horse.