Morgan Casey’s Excellent Summer Vacation

What goes on through the summer of a collegiate runner? More than one might expect. I can admit to being quite glad to be back to school. With merely fifteen credit hours, twenty-five or so hours of running or related activities, and three or four various campus organizations on my plate. Throughout the summer I still logged all the miles, but instead of a few optional clubs, I juggled a few not so optional jobs to keep the rent paid and my belly full. Instead of fifteen credits I only had six, but something about cramming all those lectures into such a short amount of time reminds me of trying to cram an entire popcorn ball into your mouth at once. Oh yes, it is possible, but not recommended.

Summer had its fair share of fun amidst all of the work. With Ames being so quiet, my friends and I felt free to be a little more adventurous, I traveled home several times, and even took a trip to Jamaica. (More on that some other time.)

I spent much of the summer trying to finally get ahead of some of the health problems that were getting me down for months, and I think although never going away, these things are simply one more challenge I have, can, and will continue to overcome. I come from tough stock, and between my Cyclone family in Ames and my loving family back home I have a support squad that makes even secret servicemen look lame.

This support squad has come in handy already this semester. Two weeks before the Bix I had an issue in my low back and glute. It was just a little niggle, so I did some extra stretching and went on with my business. But the hill workout in the days prior to the Bix made the niggle a naggle, and soon the naggle became a problem. It got better, then it got worse. I tried a new rehab maneuver on a balance board (think plastic tube with a board plopped on top). My balance wasn’t too bad, but my luck turned out to be another matter entirely. In a brief lapse of concentration, the roller went quickly out from under the board, and I went quickly to the ground.

It went something like this:

<<THUD>>

Me: “Whoopsie!”

Trainers: “Gasp!”

Me: “I’m fine. Not doing that again. Ouchie.”

Trainers: “You’re fine though?”

<<laughter>>

Me: “On that note, I’m going home. I have things to do.”

Two Hours Later- “Hey Mom, I may or may not have broken my arm. I can’t bend my elbow. I think I can turn my wrist though… Ouch. Never mind. Well coach isn’t going to be happy about this.”

The next day I found out that I did indeed fracture my elbow and sprain my wrist. Luckily I fractured it in the “good” part to have a fracture, and I’ll make a full recovery. Anyone who has followed my series of unfortunate events shouldn’t be surprised that I managed to get an injury while doing rehab in the training room, but once again I can use my favorite phrase, “It coulda been worse!”

I even started running a little now. Between my arm and by back/glute it isn’t especially comfortable, but it’s running so I’m happy.

I’m happy for a number of reasons. Our team is looking super fit, and our newcomers are the best group we could have asked for. My blessed roomies have been a wonderful help opening jars, braiding my hair, and doing the other things that are quite difficult these days. My family is healthy, and helping me out more than I probably deserve.

Last week I came home to find one of the windows in my van busted completely out, and the very next day my mom and sister came to Ames to bring it home for Daddy to fix. My aunt and grandfather entertained me this weekend, and Grandpa rid the house of the flesh-eating centipedes that quite honestly wanted to kill me.

The simple things in life like ice cream, family, and not getting mauled by centipedes, are reasons to celebrate. And the more I celebrate these things in life the more of them there are to celebrate. It’s like having a birthday everyday!

Being happy amidst misfortune works differently. It’s easy to be happy when things are going right. But I’ve come to accept the fact that things are rarely going to be perfect.  The truth is it’s a challenge to be happy. Luckily, I like a challenge, and by putting a smile on my face I feel as though I’m “stickin’ it to the man.”

After all, when your relationships become like my elbow, or everything you have come to know shatters like my poor van’s window, those are the times when our true colors shine as bright as the summer sun.

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