Monday, February 28, 2011

ante up

I've always done things sort of "all or nothing".  Poker ~ all in.  BMX ~ all in.  Running ~....  it never matters whether I'm a natural at the things I do.  It matters that I bring it, and do it to the best of my abilities, so that I can enjoy it to the fullest extent possible.

Take riding horses.

I was really good at it.  I was a natural.  I mean, I hate to be like that, but at one point as a teenager/young adult I was riding with/grooming for one of the top trainers in the country.  I was poor though, and in order to "make it" in horses, you need money.  lots and lots of money.

So I can ride a horse.  And if it's the right horse, on the right day, I can feel, think and breathe with the horse.  I look right, think right, and the horse moves right, and no one knows how or why the horse moved, and sometimes that includes me.

And there is something indescribable about taking a 1000 lbs animal that has it's own will, and convincing it that not only does it want to do what you're thinking, it wants to do it perfectly because YOU asked, and oh by the way, let's just go jump over that huge obstacle that looks like an explosion of flowers.

Never mind that the horse's natural instinct is to avoid the flower explosion.  We're going to ride over and jump it, and look good doing it too.

A thousand pounds of muscle, bone and free will in my power.  And all I have to do is ask.

Sometimes there is a moment when you're jumping, for me this is usually over an oxer, which is a wide jump so there's a lot of hang time, when the world actually pauses, and you have clarity.  Hopefully you use that clarity for something good.  Usually the clarity 'memo' is something like, "where's the next jump on the course", but sometimes there's other things to be heard.

The last oxer I ever jumped was on a young thoroughbred named New.  Big, dappled gray, and stupid.  Stupid hotblooded nice moving horses are my favorite kind, really.  So Newman (said in the Seinfeld hiss) and I were jumping, and we had the perfect jump, total greatness, and the earth paused, and I heard a small internal voice speak up, "Hey, this is kinda dangerous."

Truly, I never jumped again.  I don't know if it was psychic or psychotic or stupid or what.  I just know that the universe sent me a message and I listened with my whole heart.

So here I am.  Broken, or at the very least Booted, waiting for tests that may or may not determine the fate of my spring running.  Regardless of what the tests say though, I'm going to be "benched".  I've been injured now for over a month.  We're nearly in March.  I got hurt in mid January.  I've spent this last month and a half whining and complaining, bemoaning my lost run, pining for something which I cannot have because it is not for me right now.

And I am considering the idea that I've been "doing it wrong".  I tried to just get by with this injury.  Instead I am beginning to recognize the need to go into this "recovery" with the same passion and drive with which I do everything.

I need to listen to the universe with my whole heart.

That requires that I stop talking, and listen.


Jodi H said...

What a fantastic post. I always admired those people that could ride horses the way you could. I guess I never thought about the danger but you are so right. So sorry to hear about your injury. I can't even begin to imagine how frustrated you are. Hang in there!

Run with Jess said...

Beautiful writing... hugs to you!

bobbi said...

gorgeous post.

when I was a middle school girl, I loved horses. I drew them and painted them and collected them (well, small plastic versions anyhow). I always wanted to be the girl who rode the horse over all those crazy obstacles. alas, that was not my fate.

you are so wise. you will soar through this recovery, I just know it...

Jen said...

Oh, sweetie! I love this post, but my heart aches for you.

I think... I need to quick complaining about my runs... and be grateful that I can run.

This doesn't help you any, but really, your last couple of posts... I think an article to Runner's World is in the works! Seriously!

Julie D. said...

G, forgive me, I've had to do some blog catching up. First of all, you will get through this. I don't 'know' you in person. But I know you in 'blog-land' and from what i 'know', you will kick some serious butt in this active recovery and come back stronger, mentally and physically. This sucks. Completely. I admire you from a distance and understand too well how you are feeling right now. Hang in there!

Liz said...

wow. what a beautiful post.

i do hope you a healthy and speedy recovery.