Runing has taken on new meaning since I've been injured. I used to be constantly striving for a longer distance or a 'little bit faster' but these days I'm ecstatic to log five miles without pain. It took some time to let go the ego and settle into where I am but man I have learned valuable lessons. Lesson #1: Ignoring pain for five months is a bad idea.
My running partners have also changed over the past few months. My sweet Rachel ran until her sixth month of pregnancy but is finally resting up for delivery and my husband is running so strong that I can't keep up or run his routes - yet another ego blow but I'm still standing! So I've coerced some new girls a couple of mornings and I run alone a couple of mornings.
Which brings me to the tough run... I just can't clear it from my mind so maybe writing it down will help?
I was running alone two Sundays ago before my yoga class and decided to take a flat stretch of road to the base of a large hill and then turn around. Hills are no friend to my hamstring these days. When I got to the base of the hill, I could hear a horrible sound over the music coming through my iPod. I clicked it off and my ears were flooded with the sounds of a pig screaming from the house in front of me - which was also my turn around point. It was the most awful sound I had ever heard. Wailing terror is the best I can describe it. And then a man screaming awful guttural noises while killing the pig. And then many other pigs screaming in fear. I cannot express how loud it was. In the driveway a refrigerated truck sat idling. A woman was sitting with her legs dangling out of the open truck door, her head in her hands, covering her ears.
I panicked. Tears sprang to my eyes and I didn't know what to do, how to make it stop. Without much thought, I plowed forward up the hill. It hurt like hell but it seemed the best way to get away from the sound. But instead the sound travelled upward with me and resounded across the hillside as I climbed the switchback. Having only my legs to carry me felt like the classic nightmare of running but getting nowhere. I couldn't get my iPod loud enough and I couldn't keep the tears at bay. It was truly awful.
I don't know whether I ran far enough or if the noise stopped but when I could no longer hear it and could no longer see the road through my tears, I stopped. I squatted low and prayed for the pigs and prayed that whoever sat down to dine tonight would somehow think of the life that had been taken so violently. And I prayed that the woman in the truck who could not listen could also not partake of the pork - that her heart had been touched in some way. Probably silly on my part but even as I sit here typing, I am overcome.
The sounds stayed with me through my yoga class and I have had a hard time shaking the whole experience. I watched a few slaughterhouse videos when I was becoming a vegetarian as a way to "seal the deal" but I have never been physically close to a slaughter before that run. I drove by that house last night on my way home and saw another truck in the driveway with two people milling around the front yard. I rolled my windows up tight and cranked the stereo but I could not stop my eyes from watering as I gunned it up the hill.
I was reminded of a famous quote by Paul McCartney - "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian."
True enough Sir Paul.