What’s Love Got To Do With…It?
Goal for this week (8/15-8/21/2022) is 80 miles. It's taken me years to get the feeling back and not plod along in my run. I began to feel stressed and burnt out on racing probably in mid-2006. 2007 in Texas was the first time I got so sick in the US National 24-Hour Championship mid race I had to stop. Between pissing blood, back pain and vomiting whatever I drank. I was a mess.
After a near year layoff of racing ultras and super-high mileage weeks from 1986 through 2006, I did rest running most of 2007. In September 2007 I prepped for the US National 24-Hour Championships in Texas. During the event in November 2007, I called my coach down in Fort Myers, and told him I had to drop and would try to fix my issues in my hotel room alone. I drove to the hotel and arrived in my hotel room bathroom in agony pouring water into me. This time without puking.
I called my coach Dante and put him on speaker. “Tell me a story Dante. Occupy my mind. I’m fine.” He did. Then finally twenty minutes later, pissing blood and most pains abated. We remained on the phone for another thirty minutes. I was fine, peeing Poland spring, no nausea and no pain. I was ready to eat cookies and have a coffee at two in the morning.
I'd been racing it since 1976, it was now a year later, November 2008. I was and had been fried on racing, running/organizing charity ultra-running events, and life. I'd just flown to Texas and ran three days after bursting an ovarian cyst. Three days earlier, I lay ready to puke on our bathroom floor once more. Curled up in a ball after losing my guts too many times to tell and into the dry heaves. Too, feverish, and in pass out mode. Only to be scolded ten days later by a doctor in my office with a “What the He…!” I replied, “I’m real good now. Just down a quart. Well, maybe two.” She shook her head.
Although, I did not stop running over the years. Even though I changed sports in March 2009. I still maintained weeks of 90-120 miles a week. It being less than had been in my normal training regimen. Which was 90-230 miles (mostly on the higher end from December 2000 till 2010) a week at the end of 2000 till about mid-2012.
As I competed not only in grappling (May 2009, first tournament), then in MMA (first fight October 8, 2010) . I trained ground then stand-up (started July 15th, 2009), five days a week. I ran seven days a week. I weight-trained three days a week at home. Doing all this while parenting, 'wifing', working full-time. Yes, I made all the meals, food-shopped, did playground and playdates with and for the kids every week, made/packed all the lunches. They didn't purchase school lunches. I wouldn't allow that. My husband and I tag-teamed house chores and he took care of the trees and lawn. I was in charge of shrubs, flowers and the vegetable garden. Only thing was I just didn’t sleep much. One night a week of nine or ten hours sleep. And the rest were three and a half to five hours of sleep a night, mostly.
I wondered when or if I would ever return to just running. I enjoyed doing a new form of groundwork in 2019. Yet, I missed MMA the way Phil Dunlap taught me. It had been nearly five years. I missed the guys I trained with as well from Phil’s, that was two and a half years.
A few of us had hung on together training at one another’s homes, backyards, or a facility they’d found or invented. That all went well until I needed to get back into the ring or the cage. This time without Phil. It was now 2016, Phil was now 2,000 miles away. I found a boxing gym thirty minutes away from my home.
The question was, would they take a 54-year-old seriously? I’d been pro in MMA I’d fought just nine months before professionally in MMA. But this was a straight up boxing match I’d been offered and took. I had six weeks to get ready. An older boxing trainer Steve took me under his wing after a phone meeting with the owner and then a meeting with the head trainer, the owner and Steve realizing I fight south-paw. I was raw, scrappy, and in some kind of shape. It was like Steve was taking a happy bag of donuts with too much sugar. It needed some black coffee to make it a meal. Again, at the YESS Gym, I felt ALIVE again. I fought and won my boxing match.
My running was down to seventy miles a week at that point. I was in the gym four to five days a week. Soon Steve who’d been ill was getting worse. There were no offers for me. I was thirsty, but the world of fighting had no water for me to drink.
So, it’s taken me quite a few years to feel it. That feeling of excitement the night before a track workout, a hill repeat day or a run of twenty miles or sixty. It depends on where you’re at with your running. I had a variety of incentives to keep on keeping on with running regularly.
One was, it made me a better fighter. It gave me an edge in the cardiovascular arena of grappling, boxing, and MMA. No, I wasn’t doing this for fun. I did it because it was encouraged by my husband… And well, three or four sessions into my self-defense training, it MADE ME FEEL ALIVE! My coach Phil Dunlap saw me trying to express it in a private self-defense session at nine o’clock at night to him, That’s what I was looking for. Long runs, hard runs MADE ME FEEL ALIVE! And I’d lost a piece of that due to an injury from the attack, with six years in and out of physical therapy. I still ran and raced, but with some difficulty. My auto-immune system being compromised from the stresses of 1991-1994, remained to haunt for years to come. However, I’ve learned to be distracted by positives, positive thoughts. Fighting seemed on a whole new level of ALIVE! I’d had rarely ever felt.
I can say I’d felt dead much. Dragging myself into those ALIVE moments. It had to do with too much stress. Lack of my own significance in my life. I kept wondering why? But I can say I knew why. It was all the hard work of everything I’d done, down the drain because of one thing. The attack and damage from it had drained my spirit. And the only way to feel ALIVE again? I needed a shift. I was always happy in a general sense. That is probably because I’d witnessed the worst in people, yet I wasn’t them and I knew so. I’d witnessed horrid diseases eating people alive I loved from the time I can remember. A trauma-specialist commented to me over twenty years ago, “You really get it.” I queried, “Get what?” She replied, “You get life. Most don’t.”
So, for seventeen years after the attack, I’d drag myself out of bed in fake enthusiasm and march forward as if nothing bothered me. So, the bad people and my assailant didn’t win with their jealousies and hatred. I would conquer it by getting out of bed and do what none of them ever did. I’d kill the suffering, sorrow, hatred, and jealousy with passion. Passion was and is in the oneness with nature.
It was just outside my door. It lined the almost durable macadam with cement. Too, the trees of different seasons. I would and still do listen for chirps, leaves rustling, rain or hail pelting me, perhaps the silence of the snow when I ran and as I run now. Then I knew it was and is all I need to extend Love over hate. Good over evil. It’s Passion. With Passion, comes Hope. It’s a cycle of circles, if you let it. As we may know a circle is never ending. It’s like a wedding band. There is no beginning and there is no ending. That’s Love, it never ends.--- Jody-Lynn Reicher