running vs. the past

Recently I got an email from the KC Track Club advertising an upcoming group run that happened to be in my area. When I got this email, naturally I was interested. Upon further inspection, I discovered that it wasn’t just “in my area”- it was VERY close to my home! Like, literally only a mile down the road!

I haven’t done many group runs- actually, scratch that, I haven’t done ANY group runs before. Running has been pretty solitary for me, but mostly because I don’t have many friends or family members who run, so I have no one to run with. At first I was pretty excited by this. A group run might be just what I need to push myself to the next level.

But when I inquired a bit further, I discovered that the coach at this group run is affiliated with a particular high school coach who also happened to be one of my old high school teachers. This is one of the risks of living in the same area where I grew up- sometimes I run into people I knew when I was younger.

That’s not exactly a “bad” thing, exactly. I went to a huge high school (seriously- I graduated high school with over 400 other students). Some of my fellow students (and a few of the teachers) were pretty cruel to me, and I have no desire to ever see them again, but I have mostly neutral feelings about the vast majority of the students and teachers- including this particular teacher/coach. He wasn’t a particularly good teacher, but he also wasn’t a particularly bad teacher, and mostly his class just blurs against all those other memories of high school.

Yet I really don’t want to see him (or pretty much anyone else from high school) again. I know that if I see anyone from that time in my life, the first question will always be “So, what have you been up to?” That’s fair- I know that’s probably what I would ask! But, to me, that is SUCH a loaded question.

What have I been up to? Far more than I really want to share with you. There was the car accident, the hospital, college, the hospital, fighting to graduate college, moving to Africa, moving home, setting up a business… It’s not that I’m ashamed by anything that has happened, but it has all been so intensely personal that I generally don’t want to get into it. Plus it’s been my experience that very few people understand the gravity of my survival and everything I’ve done since my accident- things I wasn’t supposed to be able to do. Not to mention, I know running tends to make me more open to sharing chapters of my past that I would not normally share! (See mile three of Hospital Hill!)

I’m not going to this group run, at least not yet. I’m not ready to risk meeting this old teacher/coach.

I have said, many times, that I will one day write a memoir. I’ve experienced so much and I really do want to share that. But not yet- I’m not ready yet.