“The Waiting.”

I recently came upon a piece I wrote several years ago about my then current running plan.

“There’s more than one way to be successful.”, I’d told myself – and I knew, from experience, that this statement is tried and true.

I was in the mid weeks of marathon training – when the going gets tough, the tempo runs nearly tap you out, and the all too familiar feelings of inadequacy and angst begin to sink into your soul just as quickly as the sweat drips from your pores.

“No plan is ever “one size fits all”, and no two runners are ever alike.”, I recounted to myself, and for anyone who might be reading, searching for encouragement or comfort.

Now, here I am, deeply involved in the process of recovering from my injuries and, yet still, I find myself repeating the same things.

There is no “one-size fits all” plan to get anyone, anywhere, from where they are now to where they want to be. While the end goal may be written in stone, the plan is most wisely written in pencil – ready to be adapted and redacted, personalized just for you.

It’s been 5 weeks since my spinal surgery to repair the fractures in my thoracic spine and, today, we began Phase #2 of my recovery plan – addressing and treating the injuries in my lumbar spine and sacrum. It’s a daily commitment, as structured as my previous marathon training plans have been, that will span the next several months of my life with its treatments and therapies.

In the meantime, I find myself wandering… taking long walks, getting lost in thought, taking photos of moments that I encounter and beauty that I see. I immerse myself in writing, navigating the process of publication, breaking down old poetry and prose, song lyrics and stories; biding my time while allowing my body to heal, and the lyrics of an old Tom Petty song repeat inside my head:

“Every day you get one more yard,
you take it on faith, you take it to the heart –
the waiting is the hardest part.”

Tom Petty, “The Waiting”

The waiting. The in-between. As hard as it may be, it all serves a purpose. There is beauty to be found within these detours and delays. I’m doing my best to be patient, fully present within the process, but sometimes my consciousness wanders and the road seems to call out my name. In these moments it’s more difficult to be still, as my heart just aches to run.

Tom Petty was right – the waiting really is the hardest part.


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