Monday, 4 August 2014

I run, therefore I am

It's been five long months since I did any form of exercise more strenuous than walking around the block with Immy. Exercising as a single parent takes a bit more logistical planning, and plus I got so skinny that I figured it didn't matter anyway.

Of course, it does. Because there is a difference between being skinny and being strong. Having a body that thanks you by doing things like not collapsing when you walk up two flights of stairs at the office.

Anyway. I decided today was the day. I hauled my clothes out from the back of the cupboard, laced up my running shoes and took Immy to my folks so they could watch her for 30 minutes while I went for a run. Before I left, she asked me: Mama. Do those shoes make you run faster? And I looked at her, and reminded myself that honesty is always the best policy, and I replied: No my darling. NOTHING IN THIS WORLD CAN MAKE YOUR MAMA RUN FASTER.

Except maybe being chased. By a pack of wolves. 

Anyway. I am always fascinated to read articles written by runners. The way they describe the experience. The feeling of their feet pounding the asphalt, the rhythm of their breathing, the way the air moves in and out of their lungs. So lovely. For them

I do like running you know. Although there are clearly so many things wrong with it. Like - why would you do it UNLESS you were being chased and your very life was in danger? And why does time seem to stand completely still when I run? Today I ran and ran, my heart soaring and my feet literally chewing up the kilometers. Only to look at my running watch and see that only THREE MINUTES AND NINE SECONDS had passed. Seriously. 

When I run, my chest feels like it's igniting from the inside. My legs feel like lead, and it's a constant battle of wills between my brain and the lower half of my body. One wanting to keep going, and the other begging to stop. Oh. And today, I ran past a father and son walking their dog. I exchanged a quick joke with them, and noticed that they were both staring at me as I continued on my way. I was a bit smug about it, actually. But in hindsight, I think they were just so relieved that I didn't drop dead next to them. Because honestly, a dead body at 6pm on a suburban Monday night is just so awkward.

But then. There are other reasons I run. Really good reasons that completely outweigh the minor inconvenience of not being able to breathe, or walk properly for three days.

Like that feeling that I get when I'm pushing my body. When I'm in a rhythm, and all I can hear is my heartbeat in my ears and the way my breathing and my steps are perfectly synchronized and I feel like I can run and run forever. The way my thoughts go quiet and my wrists are loose and my body just feels like it works.

And how much closer I am to the world. I noticed so many spectacular things during my run this evening. The way the trees are shrugging off their last tired, dry leaves. Stark branches reaching towards an indigo sky, ready for the new season. Anticipating growth, and new life. The jasmine that's already blooming, because it's always one month ahead of everything else. The highlight of tonight's run? I rounded a corner, and came to a dead stop. In front of me, perfectly framed by the street - the setting sun. A flaming orange orb, suspended. I swear, it was waiting for me. It winked at me, and with a final salute slid down past the horizon, and the street fell into shadow. I kept going, but I couldn't shake the feeling that the universe itself had smiled and nodded it's approval.

So yes. Running? It's SO hard for me. I don't always enjoy it. But it's always worth it. Things that take a bit more time and A LOT more effort usually are.

(photo credit: http://bridgerun.com/uploads/2013/12/running.jpg)

Happy Monday y'all. 

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