For the record, I consider anything faster than my walking pace, a run…
So, I’m not really a runner. My body isn’t made for it. I hurt when I run. My calves tighten instantly like stretched rubber bands ready to pop. The arches of my feet scream and my hips ache. I’ve been attempting to run for about two years now, and within the first half mile, these pains return and stay with me until I finally succumb. Yet, I keep lacing up my kicks, enthusiastically thinking this time will be different. It never is.
This morning I started my run feeling good, better than average. My aches returned a few minutes in. I pushed them out of my mind, bouncing to the beat of the music. At some point it hit me that the familiar voice of the runkeeper ap lady had not come on yet…I must be doing better than I thought! She is programed to tell me my pace and mileage every 5 minutes. I kept pushing. I hit the end of a street, which I know from experience is about a mile…still the ap lady had not come through my ear buds. I looked down. DAMN. I must have hit the pause button…six seconds into my run. I had no idea how fast I ran…and instantly I wanted to quit.
I thought to myself, are you running because you want something to measure? If you are not able to measure it, does it make it worthless? This is a common thread in my life right now…something I’m working on…You see, I like numbers. Numbers are safe. They are constant, reliable. 2+2 is always four. I love the exactness, the perfection of math. If done correctly, you are always right. No, I thought, that isn’t why I run. Although I do love logging a run into runkeeper.
So why am I running, torturing my body for what seems like a minimal amount of calorie burn? It isn’t the only exercise I do. I take a weightlifting and dance classes at the gym. I work in a 90 minute hot yoga class weekly. Running is battle, a true war between my mind and my body. For the next 2 miles I allowed myself to contemplate this.
Where I live we have awesome trails that wind around the various neighborhoods and provide views of the lake. This is where I run. Even though I have music blaring in my ears, it is my escape from the noise. Sometimes while running my mind goes completely blank, sometimes it solves problems, sometimes my focus is the music and at other times it is my screaming tendons. In the spring I’m reminded to soak up the world around me as the smell of honey suckles blooming fill the air. In the fall, the changing of the leaves tug at my heart signaling what I already know, life is short. The gators in the lake reinforce that fear is always looming right under the surface. The blue herring is both a symbol of strength and calmness as he effortlessly plucks fish from the lake. The wild flowers sprinkled along the trail show the artistic work of God’s hand. I deeply breath it in, while pounding the pavement, replacing the negative energy I’ve inadvertently consumed during the week with the simplicity of nature.
I run to see the world through a micro lens. For me, it isn’t just about the stats (how fast, how far, how much). It is about the silent exploration, the anticipation of what will unfold on the trail. I may never be a great runner. I’m not even sure that it matters to me. Through this process, I realized there is freedom in being a pseudo runner. More important to me is the desire to explore, to witness life from a new perspective, to be open to what is around the corner, to absorb, to allow it to change me for the better. Running is so much more than the act itself. For these reasons, I will fight through the pain, battling my own body, against all odds.. pushing..sweating…to log another mile…and gain another ounce of clarity.