Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Making Sense of Things and Searching for Mojo

It's been awhile since I've blogged, and mostly it's been intentional. I haven't had the energy to do much lately, least of all try to work out what's been going on in my own head, so getting it out in paragraph form online was about the last thing on my to-do list. I'm still trying to figure things out, and I know it'll be awhile until I feel 2019 level happy while running down the streets or flying through the air on a bike. Logically, I know I need to keep going, and this is me trying to do so, but in reality I feel like I'm going through the motions and that's it.

The pandemic I could handle, and staying off Facebook for the most part helped a lot with that. Sure, it began making me stir crazy, and eventually there were a few full on FOMO cringy crying spells when I saw how many people were already racing and going about life, but I can handle that feeling, or I thought I knew how. I began throwing myself more than ever into running, etc., and after a few months of that I developed an IT band issue with my left knee. I had no choice but to RICE it- rest, ice, compression, elevation. It didn't help the stir crazy feelings in the slightest, but I'm no stranger to re-starting training at a later time, so I did my best to get through it. Luckily, I'm happy to report that my knee feels almost back to 100%, and next time I'll be sure to foam roll after each run. Lesson learned.

Through it all, I talked to one of my close friends, Conor, about it, and talking about it seemed to keep us both moving forward and full of hope. We chatted most days, actually nearly everyday for the past 3 years. At the time I met him, he was well on his way to finishing his goal of running 100 marathons. He loved traveling and running and had friends everywhere. He had a great sense of humor and a love of adventure; he even climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro! He ran ultra-marathons and half marathons and 10ks and 5ks and whatever else ks you could throw at him. Most of all, he was a great person and friend. Sometimes people who have been running for awhile can condescendingly say things like, "It's ONLY 3.1 miles." to a newbie. No matter how many miles Conor ran or where his adventures took him, he always remained so down to earth and humble. He dedicated his time to helping a group of new runners get started, and always had encouraging words to help them along. He was never a one-upper, and he was always genuinely happy for other's accomplishments as much as his own. He was a sweet, kind person that anyone would be happy to know. My boyfriend and I were going to plan a trip to see him as soon as the mess 2020 threw at us all was over.

Two weeks ago, Conor took his life as a result of the pandemic. The world is a lot less colorful without him in it. I wish he would have reached out for help, but the logical part of me knows that's not how depression works. Depression doesn't care how much you love your family and friends, or how much they love you, it's chemical and requires help. I constantly find myself thinking one thing, and then correcting myself right after that. I wish he hadn't chosen to leave us all, but maybe finding his love of running gave him time he wouldn't normally have had. Maybe I would never have met him and been lucky enough to have known him. Regardless of his leaving too soon, he found his true passion and lived it to the fullest, something that many people don't experience, even if they live to be 100. There are times I want to get mad at him for doing what he did, but I can't be mad when I think of the pain he must have been going through. He left me a song, and I'll never be able to talk to him again, but I would never take back knowing him for an instant, even for as sad as I still am. The pandemic takes victims who don't have the virus, and often they aren't counted when they need to be. I am thankful to know some of Conor's friends and family, and they are wonderful people. My heart goes out to them during this time.

Besides dragging myself to the track like a zombie, and even having a mini melt down and leaving one day right before a race, I haven't had much desire to do anything else. Sometimes I go for walks around the neighborhood; I listen to the birds and give the flowers, rabbits and bugs a closer look. Sometimes quiet is good when you're trying to make sense of your own thoughts. Ultimately, I know Conor would be encouraging his friends and family to be their best and try their hardest, so to honor Conor's life and memory, and to make him proud, I am going to try my best to do just that. I'm going to try hard for him to get my motivation and happiness back, starting with a race this weekend. I had the best intentions of racing tonight but I just can’t. I'm not quite there yet, but I have to start somewhere. Conor, thank you for your friendship, your time, your encouragement and for giving me confidence. You touched so many lives and are sorely missed. I'll never forget you.

Conor Cusack
10/22/71 - 6/13/20


  1. I am so sorry to hear about your friend :( What an inspiration he seemed to be to so many.