Our July writing prompt was, “I see the finish line”.
The following is a collection of responses we have received from Lane 9 Project community members. Please enjoy the following responses and if you haven’t already, write your own! You will find our August prompt at the end of this post.
by Joelle Zarcone
I see the finish line, and it’s peaceful. I made it.
I found running when I was in college, born out of an admiration for the runners in my life, and a desire to finally feel athletic. I hit the treadmill slowly, carefully, unsure if I could actually be a runner. If I was cut out for it. Memories of being the last one to finish laps in middle school gym class told me otherwise.
But I tried.
I dove in head first, and I loved it.
Miles upon miles, treadmills and tracks and the New York City streets. It had my heart, right from the beginning.
By the time I started graduate school, I considered myself a runner wholeheartedly and I was running just about every day. I stopped being able to listen to my body, and the only thing that mattered was that I ran. Even if I was tired, or had a cold, or had to be at class earlier than usual, I ran. And if I didn’t run – if for some reason, I had to miss a day – forget it. Might as well have put a “closed for business” sign up – I couldn’t function. No focus, no patience and a sudden inability to understand what was appropriate to eat if I didn’t need fuel to make up for the calories burned through all those miles.
Running became all I could think about. I wondered how other people did it, living their lives without constantly worrying how or when they’d be able to fit in a run, or knowing if they’d done “enough.” How could anyone go about their day, eating however much they wanted, without exercising? I started reading healthy living blogs, and tried to eat cleaner and become more fit. I lost touch with what my body really needed or wanted, and couldn’t see that running controlled my moods and my habits.
Without my even noticing, running had become an obsession, and morphed into a way to control my weight, born out of a genuine interest in becoming healthier. It triggered a cycle of disordered eating that would take me years to acknowledge, never mind end.
I would run too much, eat too little, and then get injured. The pattern would repeat for a couple of years, and I still remember how much it hurt my parents to see that I wouldn’t – or couldn’t – give myself a break; that I was just hurting myself – not changing for the better.
It wasn’t until I started racing, and realized I need to eat more or else I wasn’t going to make it 13.1 miles, that the pattern finally ended. It was then that it also clicked that my body couldn’t handle running daily, and that it wasn’t necessary to be considered a runner or a healthy person.
Just as innocently as it had started, the obsession ended, and I settled into a new pattern, and a new – much healthier – relationship with running and exercise and food.
I run now because I can, because I want to. I run for myself. Not to offset that cookie I had with lunch, or because I’m “supposed” to.
I see the finish line and I’m free. I made it.
by Sarah Curran
I see the finish line…13 years in the making.
I have been in this place before. I have come so close, so many times, only to stumble again. I want it so badly. Recovery. Freedom. A life worth living. Can I let myself feel proud yet? Ease up my grip? Can I get excited?
There is a persistent little voice in my head telling me there is no point, that I will fail again, that this illness is simply my destiny. I refuse to listen to this voice. I refuse to do another lap. I will keep that finish line in my vision, put one foot in front of the other. I will anticipate that “wall” as I round the last bend and I will push harder. I will reach that finish line, cross it, and I will continue moving forward. Because I am worth it.
by Ruth Wilson
I can see the finish line…but I’m not finished yet. One lap down, three to go. ‘Why did I choose the long race?’ I ask myself. It’s been two years since I have run this cross country course. Two years since I have raced a cross country meet. I’ve been dreaming of being back out here.
A lot has changed but the course is familiar; same bends, turns, mud patches, hills and dips. Two years ago I was as fit as I ever have been, fast, thin, muscular. But I was tired, and running scared. I was in the lead but the others were closing in and I was desparate to stay ahead.
‘Keep going’ I tell myself as I turn off for another lap. I am different now. Healthier, stronger. I am running for me now. For the love and the freedom.
I am cover in mud, my legs are heavy, I have a long way to go but I am not done yet.
by Heather Maxey
I thought I saw the finish line. I’m four months into recovery from surgery to reshape my femur and repair torn cartilage in my hip, an injury brought on by bad genes and a decade of running. This recovery is long. It’s discouraging and it’s painful. I’ve been plugging along, going to physical therapy, riding my stationary bike, and doing everything I can to get better so I can get back to running. Then I started having the same pain and instability in my other hip.
I had x-rays, which revealed the same bone deformity that made my cartilage more fragile in my surgical hip. I had an MRI, which showed another tear. I met with my surgeon, who confirmed the worst-case scenario I’d developed in my head the second I felt that first twinge in my “good” hip: I needed surgery. Again.
I thought I saw the finish line. Now it just feels like I’m in the middle of a full marathon, when I thought I was running a half. Just when I thought I was done, I have everything I’ve just completed still in front of me to go through all over again. But as one of my runner friends told me once at the midway point of a long run: “you’ve run this far, you can do it again.”
So, here I am at the starting line of another long, tough recovery. But this time I know what to expect. I’ve run this race already. I can see the finish line.
Our August Writing Prompt is, “This is womanhood”…
Start a timer for five minutes. Get your pen going as soon as the timer starts, and see what happens. Just keep writing. No judgment, no erasing, no going back. “Stay in the room.” When the timer is up, you can keep going, leave it unfinished, rip it to shreds, or come back to it later. Write your truth. You don’t have to share this with anyone (but you can share it with us)!