Now, don’t get excited, it’s not what you think. I finally changed my last name. Please welcome Mrs. King. Yup, we’ve been married for two and half years, and on Thursday night I had an urge to begin the process immediately.
I carried my previous name for over 22 years. That is more than half of my life. Considering the fact that the first half of my life included a baby-hood, a childhood and teen years, as well as that majority of the second half of my life was spent in the US, you can say my identity is what that name was. I got married (first time) at a tender age of 20. Good, bad or indifferent, that is over, but the name stayed. It was too much hustle, I felt I owed it to my children, and my Russian citizenship makes it extremely close to impossible to make the change. So, I never did, neither when we got divorced, nor when Larry and I got married. I made history for that name, in my career through work forces and science paper publications, in my running, with my friends, my new vocation as a health care professional, and, of course, as a mother. That name and I were inseparable, no matter how difficult it was to pronounce it by Americans (and boy, did you try, and did you mess it up!).
In the end, children grow up and don’t need me to adhere to the name to identify themselves as my blood and tears, but my former life kept pulling me back. I needed to stop being “former Missis”. Past belongs right there, to the past. Let the “now” begin.
Lots of things shall be put behind. Not forgotten, but really just left there to allow me to move forward. Like the fact that I spent a better part of the last 8 months merging from one injury into another and not running. Somewhere along those long weeks it became extremely clear to me that running is much to me, of which I don’t even have words to describe, and that no matter where I am, or what I do, it just is. Regardless of pace, distance, endurance, goals and destinations. Day in and day out, I always know I will be doing it again, never a doubt. Even if my competitive spirit has to be left behind along with the name, and so are my goals…
I ran a handful more times this week. I have a plan to line up at the start of Austin marathon, for which I registered a long time ago. I paid my fee, and I intend to use it. Larry will meet me up at a couple of crucial points (like 13 and 19 miles) to allow me to drop if my foot feels like it’s not a good thing at all. I have no idea what it will be like, neither in pain, nor in time. Back in the summer, I wanted to break my very weak personal best, now I am worried how long the course stays open. My past is behind, I am a new runner now, trying to enjoy the masses and the day.
We laugh. Really. Some month and half ahead we both have a 45M race in New Mexico mountains. I thought I was going for the win. Now I am worried about cut off's. And even about the ability to make it half-way point. So, we make jokes – what else can we do? It is going to be so much fun! Really!
I appreciate every step I make running. It’s not a new appreciation, nor is it old. It just is. I appreciate my body and promise to treat it better. I don’t always keep my promise, but I remind about it often enough to be ok with it all. Nothing for granted. Neither running, nor marriage.
I met with my girlfriend Shannon today for a Bikram class. She is an injured runner as well, so we can commiserate. Suddenly I am acutely aware of how many people around are limping and taking time off. Ouch, really. Perspective is everything.
This time away from being in the midst of “it all” allowed me to dis-associate and look at the ultras and clubs and races and community a bit differently, with another angle, or something. Interesting observations, let me tell you. I feel old and old-fashioned. Kind of like taking a husband’s name when getting married. Lots of food for thoughts and pondering, especially when doing those slow runs and listening to the hurt (and heart).
The path of shedding the layers associated with the past, at least those that don’t allow me to move forward, will not be fast nor painless. But it’s a process much needed to be done. On, on, never in one spot, never stagnating.