Running Through Deployment

I originally posted this a few months ago on my personal Facebook page. I had an overwhelming response to it, so I wanted to post it here for anyone who did not see it and could use the encouragement. Deployment is HARD on everyone involved, and running kept me sane (saner? I was still a little crazy – let’s be real).

& holding each other

I’m not big on deployment posts (for whatever reason, since I like seeing everyone else’s posts on the subject), but recently someone made a brief analogy to deployment and running, which made sense to me. I’ve been thinking about it all morning and the analogy couldn’t be more accurate for me right now. Here’s my break down. Let’s use a 12-mile run as an example (since this is the most recent long run I have done):

Starting out (Miles 1-2): I always start out too strong. I tell myself to slow down, to pace myself, but it’s simply not a skill I have mastered (or can claim to be moderately decent at really). I feel fresh, I know I have done this before, and even though I’m nervous, maybe even scared, I know I can do it so I come out too strong. We were in a long distance relationship for about a year, part of that being a 5ish month deployment. We’ve done this. I’ve run this. This is doable.

Middle of the run/deployment (miles 3-10): I am in my groove and mostly zoned out. I check-in once in a while to see how I am pacing, but mostly I am working out the kinks of the run and finding my pace. I am now in the midst of the day to day grind, and so is he. We have our routines, but we check-in from time to time, see how we are each doing. It’s tough, but we’re managing.

End of run/deployment (miles 10-12): I am so tired. Everything aches and I want to throw in the towel. I want to stop and have it be over, but it’s only two miles. I have done this a million times. I can do this backward, in my sleep. This is the sprint. This is my strong point. I have never been sick after a run, so I’m not afraid to push my body the its breaking point. I’m not afraid of it breaking. We have done this before. We have gone months without seeing each other (the first 3 months we were married we saw each other in passing for a total of maybe 10 days). It hurts, and I ache, but the finish line is in sight.

Support: Of course, I could never train for a race or get through deployment without the unending support of my friends and family. Everyone who has taken care of Nate (for both!), called to check-in, sent post cards to let me know they are thinking of me, and listening to my unending discussions (again, of both).

Here’s to the sprint!

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