Thursday, September 29, 2011

Running Therapy

Last night, my mom called to tell me that my great uncle Lorenzo passed away. He was 81 and he'd lived a full life. He was quite a character and never could stay in one place for more than a few months. He used to send my grandmother letters to update her on where he was. We could go years without seeing him and then there he would be, on her doorstep, with nothing more than a backpack for his possessions. He'd stay for a month or two and then move on to his next stop. As a kid, it was always fun to get a visit from him because I didn't know anyone else who lived like that and it was fascinating to me. A little mind boggling too since I'm a plant yourself in one place kind of girl. Or used to be. His life on the road was an adventure though and I could only imagine all the places he' been, the people he'd met, and the things he'd seen.

My uncle Lorenzo was lean and wiry but had a little bet of pot belly – he loved his beer! He was quick with a smile and a laugh and when I picture him, it' sitting there, telling stories, smoking a cigarette with his trusty fedora tilted at a rakish angle. I hear he had quite a few girlfriends but my grandmother always shushed him when he brought them up. “Aye que Lorenzo” was one of her favorite expressions but she loved him. She' helped raise him after all.

I think this is hardest on my mom because to her it's like losing a brother. My grandparents lived with my great grandparents because my great grandpa was sick. My grandma was the oldest and almost all her brothers were still at home when my mom was little. When my mom was in the 1st grade, her teacher asked if she had any brothers or sisters and my mom told her she had 5 brothers. At the parent/teacher conference, the teacher commented to my grandma about having a handful with 6 kids and my grandma said “Those are my brothers, not hers!”.

I, of course, am sad but not overwhelmingly so. It's really hard to lose my grandparents generation one by one. We have a large family and I love that but it also means we end up losing a lot of loved ones. We won't get a chance to say goodbye either because he passed away in Mexico. There is only one brother left, my uncle Dario, and I feel more for him and my mom than I do for me. I just want to hug them.

The thing is…I'm doing okay. 10 years ago, I would have been a mess. I would be eating every donut I could find or scarfing down multiple burgers or sinking into depression. I think the thing that has made the most difference is my running and riding. It's made me much more even tempered, happier, and more able to deal with things. Instead of reaching for food, now I know that I'll feel better after my next workout and I'm okay to wait for it. I don't need a fix right then. I know I'll work it out eventually.

So last night, I went to bed knowing that this morning I had an interval workout and it would be hard, but it would be good. I ran 5x2's at 5K pace (7:42) with 2' rests. The “business” of getting the workout done helped me clear my mind. The running itself helped me feel better. I left the bad stuff I was feeling out on the road where it won't do any damage. And what do you know? That therapy didn't cost me a dime. Who needs a couch anyway? I am so thankful to be a runner.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear about your Uncle Leo, Lisa. Hope your mom is OK.