Monday, June 6, 2016

The Perfect Beast of Impossibility, or How Justus Sets Goals

The Perfect Beast of Impossibility is my favourite of insane companions. It has seen me through many adventures (moving to Japan, jumping out of a plane, moving to the States...) and is usually just the creature to spark my energy and imagination. Our courtship usually begins like this: I find a goal I feel within my abilities to achieve and decide that particular achievable goal, being achievable, isn't challenging enough to push me so I complicate the target. For most of my life, this has not presented a problem, and I have managed to do many fun and difficult activities. This worked well, that is, until I ran hard and headfirst into my chronic illness. 

Suddenly, I could hardly get to work (or exist), never mind actually accomplishing anything that smacked of ambition. So I shelved my longtime companion, The Perfect Beast of Impossibility. 

In August, I will have been sick for three years. It has only been within this last year, and really since January, that I have finally felt like I have a handle on my health. It may not be predictable, but I have a better understanding of what my chronic illness does to me and what my warning signs are. This means I have been able to support myself better, and consequently have not been suffering for all that I am ill.

And somehow, this understanding has given me the confidence to invite The Perfect Beast of Impossibility back into my life.

I have one goal.

One ridiculous, beautiful, shiny, and impossible goal. 

I'm going to run

That alone, as I am and my health is now, is very tricky and dangerous. So. Naturally I'm going to try to complicate that. 

I'm going to run in a race. 

Here we are closer to a challenge. Though The Perfect Beast of Impossibility and I know we have not quite gotten there yet. A race sounds good, but a 10km run was once a distance I could do without thinking or preparation. Though it presents a great challenge to me now, it doesn't push my boundaries. A half-marathon seems like a reasonable goal for a healthy person. I am not a healthy person, but I am still a fit person, so this is still within reach. 

I'm going to run a 10km AND a half-marathon. 

Yes! Here! This! But now I invite The Perfect Beast of Impossibility to run amock, and what does my beloved creature suggest but the RunDisney Infinity Gauntlet. 

I'm going to go to Anaheim and run a 10km race on Saturday, November 12th followed by a half-marathon on Sunday, November 13th, in Avengers-themed costumes with Gabe and my sister. 

Ah. Yes!!! This is the most perfect and idiotic plan that will challenge every part of me, force me to revamp my life to accommodate the energy expenditure and careful, injury-free running program of run/walk intervals, and require constant vigilance and health-care coordination. 

Gabe and I are in our second week of training. I have to nap everyday and get grumpy when I'm awake, so obviously it's taking a toll on my conscious hours, but it feels so good

I am an athlete. I was born an athlete. I was raised an athlete. My body is made for this. And it feels so good to be active in this way again. Running depletes my energy and is incredibly difficult with my fatigue and other health concerns. This isn't an easy path, and I'm sacrificing what few waking hours I have currently to make it possible. That said, The mental health benefits of using my body in a way that is such an integral part of me is immensely beneficial in ways I can't always quantify. It makes being sick more tolerable, for one, and it helps me connect to my body in ways that are not related to pain and limitations. 

That's huge. 

Even if we end up having to walk all the way through both races, or I end up only being able to do one of them, this challenge I've set myself (and Gabe by default) has made being chronically ill a healthier place to be, even if only mentally. 

Also, Disney!!!

And costumes. 👻

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