I’m not a fan of ‘chick flicks’. In fact, I’d much rather witness two hours of Robert DeNiro dodging bullets, Will Smith catching bad guys, or Paul Walker drag racing cars. But I plead guilty to enjoying “Legally Blonde” (the original, not the sequel) and in fact, one of my favorite lines from the film plays out during the courtroom scene when the main character defends her (also fair-haired, of course!) sorority sister. She rationalizes her defense by stating the obvious: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”
Bingo Ms. Witherspoon! Over the past six years, running has become part of my (almost) daily routine. As crazy as it sounds to some people, it is the motivating factor that gets me out of bed most mornings. I lay there and ask myself, “How many miles am I going to jog today? Can I beat my time from yesterday? Should I do interval training or just run at the same pace the entire workout?” (Yes, I am borderline addicted.)
Two weeks ago, I joined a Running Club. Five minutes into my run with my new pals, I went SPLAT on the street corner. For the first few minutes, embarrassment trumped physical discomfort. But since my threshold for pain is close to non-existent, I was soon close to tears as I watched a bulbous, grapefruit-sized lump blossom around my left ankle. It’s been about 12 days and I still feel like Bambi on my crutches – wobbly, slow and unsteady. Getting around is frustrating and difficult and I’m counting down the days until I can be mobile on my own two legs again. And, of course, from a physical and mental standpoint, it’s KILLING me that I can’t run. (Waiting to see which will happen first… will I LOSE my mind, or GAIN weight because God forbid it should be the opposite.)
What keeps me going? Knowing there are many people that are experiencing devastating circumstances/illnesses, situations that dwarf my problem. Every day I come to work, I hear/read about young children who are going through rough times, whether they are recovering from a physical ailment or attend counseling sessions to recover from the horrors of abuse at the hands of a trusted family member. Others are in transitional housing and are forced to share a roof and walls with strangers, unsure of what or where “home” really is. And then there are those who have appointments multiple times a week cemented into their calendars – Physical Therapy each Monday, Occupational Therapy on Tuesdays, shots every Thursday, and so on.
Perhaps children are more resilient than adults but nonetheless, we have the opportunity (and pleasure!) to work with many of these brave youngsters through our WISH and HERO Programs. We consistently hear from Counselors, Social Workers, Child Life Specialists, Nurses, Physicians, and Shelter Directors how these children are an inspiration to everyone around them – their own family members, their peers and the (medical) staffs. Although I haven’t directly interacted with these children, hearing their stories, seeing their photos, and communicating with their caretakers has inspired me during my road to recovery, thus making running and children my two new motivators!