Strangely enough, I think I am more relaxed when I'm by myself or if I'm with my husband. Perhaps it may be due to the fact that I'm not as accountable to someone who is completely defenseless during those moments.
After I fell ill, having had so many issues with my adrenals and low cortisol levels, which is the hormone most people depend on to help combat stress, I tried to avoid doing jogs with my kid. I did them often when she was only five, and it's something I really missed doing. I still remember adorning my little one with a helmet, knees and elbow pads, tying a rope around the front handle bars of her bike and pulling it up hill as she cheered me on to keep pushing and keeping going. Don't laugh, but I kind of felt like Rocky in training, and I could even hear its theme song blasting away inside my head.
I stopped doing that two years ago, because I had this fear that if I was placed in a situation when I would have to defend my little one's life, I didn't know if I would have the adrenaline or stamina to be able to do so. I've been healing and getting better each day, but I still had that question eating away at me every time I thought of doing a partner run.
I hate it when fear binds me, so I took a chance and decided that it was time to start that tradition, once again. After all, I had been running on the treadmill for the last month or so, and I thought I was ready. Well...I got off to a slow start. Pounding on that pavement with all that weight, really placed a huge amount of pressure on that bad knee. Every step I took felt like an ice pick chipping away at my cartilage, and I began to doubt whether this had been a good idea or not.
Little one was simply happy to be riding a skateboard with handlebars she could maneuver in different directions. Several times I reminded her to stay within a few feet next to me, and several times, this little person failed to listen to those rules. I probably shouldn't have done this, but I eventually gave in and allowed her to explore a little further out as long as I could keep an eye on her.
Coming back home we were on a down hill, and she sped down that hill oblivious to the speed she was going. Call it woman's intuition, but I knew instinctively something was about to go down. Sure enough, she tripped over something and careened into the asphalt. She was about 50 feet away. I noticed her reaction when she fell: nonchalant, as she sat up and dusted the gravel off her hands. That was...until... she took a look at her knee. And then... that SCREAM! I had never heard a more blood curdling, frightening wail than the one that came out of that child's mouth. Oh my God! There's a bone sticking out of her body, was my immediate reaction. What- was- I- THINKING letting her go off ahead of me?!! I'M THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD!
Suddenly, I burst into a full sprint. I felt no inflammation. No pain. No fatigue. In fact, I ran faster than I had run in a very long time. My peripheral vision blurred as I zoomed down that hill, feet on fire that transported me back to my high school years, doing the 100 meter dash. I had one goal and one goal only: Get to that wailing kid who looked like she was about lose unconsciousness, as I was sure she was suffering from massive blood loss by now seeping out in buckets.
Within seconds I caught up to see how bad the injury was. I had two feelings: Relief and disbelief. I was relieved it was merely a superficial wound, and incredulous to the fact that this kid had quite the flair for the dramatics and the lungs to back it up on top of it. But this was her first official skate board injury, and seeing all that blood oozing through her scraped up skin really scared her. But, I was proud. No, I wasn't proud that her super sonic shriek nearly gave me a coronary, nor that she fell and hurt herself. I was proud of the fact that when the time called my body for a fight or flight response, my body agreed. It didn't shut down or give up. That's progress.
I hear women question themselves all the time whether they would really have it in them to use the tools they learned in self defense should the time call for it? I know, because I do it myself too. More so now that I am out of shape, once again, and I have so far to go to get better. Why do we do we punish ourselves this way with those thoughts? What I learned from this experience was that despite the insecurity, despite the doubts, my body is instinctively wired to do what women were born to do best-- protect their loved ones.