Running out of the Void…

Running out of the Void…

October’s beauty along Maine’s northern coast was painted in reds, yellows, and oranges, the trees were heavy, drooping towards the road as though they were ready for a long rest. The petrichor of the asphalt was potent radiating from the slight precipitation allowing gravity to pull it down towards the ground, my head, and arms. Cool to the touch but quickly warmed by my body. 38,001, 38,002, 38,003, was occupying my thoughts taking one step at a time getting just slightly closer to the destination. My breath was heavy, but calm reminding me of why I was there in the first place…

To Whom This Concerns,

I let you inside my head, I gave you power, I let you take a piece of my confidence, I let you have a part of my aspirations, but I am still here. Thank you for all the pain you gifted to me, thank you for all the tears I’ve cried, thank you for the void you’ve provided. I first noticed you in early February you were a slight twinge, a small instigator. I was able to ignore you that’s what I was best, you’d go away on your own right?

With every new step my breath became much more heavy, much more labored the break down of glycogen was occurring to ensure I could continue each new step. At this point lactic acid was forming in the upper and lower sections of my legs it burned as a warning signal to my brain to stop, but I couldn’t and I wouldn’t. I was running out of the void, out of the empty space, out of the state of being without something, out of the hollowness…

Wrong. You laughed, the more I tried to ignore you the more power I gave you. Doing the damage physically and mentally scarring me…but I didn’t know. I fed your appetite with the lack of nutrition and the caffeine in my veins, you survived and got stronger with every sleepless night. I was falling deeper into your black hole into the emptiness you provided, eventually only escaping the pain through Diphenhydramine citrate, you laughed again because you fed off the combination of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen compounds placed perfectly in a line just the way you like it.

40,001, 40,002…counting helped distract from the oven-like burn of lactic acid in my legs, and the sharp knife-like stabbing in my right shoulder. 40,098, 40,099 pain is subjective to everyone I’ve come to realize that and it is characterized both positively and negatively. Pain is a void and is experienced physically and emotionally. I like many others have experienced both kinds of pain. 40,151, 40,152, it separates individuals in any one moment. Physical pain being experienced in a loved one can create emotional pain in another. Pain interacts with everyone differently and individually. Pain is a basic bodily sensation induced by noxious stimulus received by naked nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort, and typically leading to evasive action…

You crept from my body to my mind, I let you have all of me, I wanted it to be concluded, I wanted your control released. I was losing to you and I had accepted that. I fell deeper into your darkness ignoring any hope of solution, resolution, or response. Sleep was my escape and I allowed myself to accept the satisfaction of slumber. It brought thoughts of warmth, happiness, and ease. I liked the mask you placed over my mind shielding me from your grasp as to distract me ever more just before you finished your work.

40,552, 40,553 with every new step I realized what I could have been missing, the slight breeze scented with salt engaging my lungs breathing deeply relaxed the sensation of tiredness. The echos of laughter and cheers unfurled my brow soften my complexion and reversed the shape of my unbending mouth. The warmth of the sun peaking past the heavy clouds reflecting its light off of the asphalt…40,999, 41,000 with every breath was a relief, a response, a resolution a reason to be in this moment, a reason to let go, and a reason to live…

You didn’t win though, you didn’t have a chance to finish your work, I found a way to take the mask off and open my eyes. I have fully formed fibroblasts from the scars I let you leave. They linger in my colon, on my arms, and in my mind, but only as a reminder of the shackles you once held. Thank you for the strength you provided, for the confidence, for the pain because I now know how to structure my limits you provided a standard that I will constantly surpass.

55,332, 55,333…55,334 the loud speaker from the distance was announcing in a muffled tone the names and numbers, people I didn’t know yelling “keep going” and “you’re almost there” as I approached the point of two tenths of a mile, I looked in to the faces of people on the sidelines energetic, happy, and encouraging all who pass. As I approached the point of two tenths of a mile tears accumulated in my eyes, sweat was dried to my face, and I couldn’t feel my feet. In this moment I had completed twenty-six miles, but still two tenths to go. It is funny how long that distance seemed considering I had just run twenty six miles, its as though the route was taunting and challenging me in that last two tenths…

Thank you for all the opportunities you took from me, for if you hadn’t I would have never known how to challenge myself. I would have never known how strong I could be, I would have never known what it really meant to live life to the fullest. You provided perspective on my life that I’ve since embraced and only you could have given me that. Although we are now stuck together you’ve given me more reason to be present, let go of myself, and keep you at bay. Forever Thank you inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s Disease, or whatever you’d like me to call you…now I’m going to get things done!


The person living outside the Guts.

55,445…it took me fifty five thousand four hundred and forty five steps, four hours and fifty six minutes to run my first marathon. It was by far not the best time, but I carried myself standing tall and smiling all the way because the pain I captured during my diagnosis helped me with the pain I felt in the marathon. I smiled at the pain as it took me to a new level that I would have never otherwise known. As I took that step passed the line I was immediately welcomed by strangers as the announcer called out my name and number what I remember about that moment was how happy I felt, the high in the moment of finishing a marathon was as addicting as cuddles on a snowy morning… “Kalyn first marathon finisher” will ever be in my head as a reminder to the girl a year prior couldn’t even finish one mile without stopping. I will not be that person again and that’s okay because we all grow and with growth we learn, we gain perspective, and we take a step. I have since completed a half marathon and a 10k this is only the beginning…I have colored a new picture and will continue running out of the void…I extend my hand to those who want to run with me…

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