That is how I felt during my run this evening. My previous run on Friday was awesome, going 3.5 miles. So I thought today’s run, just 2.5 miles, would be a piece of cake. Nope! I had a spurt of energy at the beginning but it quickly wore off, and for most of the run I was struggling. My right ankle hurt, my left knee felt weak, and I felt like I was lagging and couldn’t get in my groove. For the last .8 mile, I was running into a southerly wind, which was the last thing I wanted! I could’ve easily stopped, taken a 15 second break to gather myself, to soak up just a little bit of rest.
I unashamedly admit it: I do not like running. Okay, I liked my run on Friday because it felt awesome. (For some reason, my best runs have been on days when I’ve only gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before!) But at other times I hate running! I would rather be at the gym lifting weights or riding a bike outdoors. I am not a runner. And sometimes the thought of running a 10K (6.2 miles) scares me a bit.
So what kept me going? Why this “embrace the suck” concept?
It was the thought of WHY I’m doing this, WHY I’m training, WHY I am doing something I would rather not do.
When I go on these runs and I’m disliking them, I turn my mind to thoughts of our nation’s heroes, and in particular, our wounded warriors. Here I am, running on my own two legs, not injured, perfectly healthy….what is there to not love about that? Some of our soldiers we sent overseas come back without their legs. Some of them come back without arms, never to touch their loved ones or lift weights with their own hands again. And still others – many others, more than we realize – come back with unseen wounds, those of PTSD and TBI.
If these guys and girls can volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way and come back with wounds that have forever changed their lives, I can do a measly little run. It’s for them, it’s in their honor, it’s so that they can get the help they need. The 10K on June 9th will raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project and the Fisher House. On the front page of the WWP’s website, it says, “It’s not what you can’t do, it’s what you can do.” The WWP is all about helping our veterans heal from the physical and mental wounds of war. According to statistics on their website, over 50,000 have been wounded physically; 320,000 have suffered a TBI; and 400,000 suffer with PTSD. (The latter two are estimates.)
There is NO WAY we can ignore this. It’s easy to post our flag and slap a yellow Support Our Troops magnet on our car and feel all fuzzy-patriotic inside. But do we ever think of the nitty-gritty? Do we realize that freedom has a COST and our warriors are paying the price FOR us? Do we feel uncomfortable when we see a veteran missing a limb? Do we look on in horror when a soldier has an angry outburst over something that seems insignificant to us?
These are the hard questions we must ask ourselves. These are the realities that our wounded warriors face every day.
So what are WE going to do to truly say Thank You?