Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why I Run (or try to)

What started out as a challenge from my daughter to run a marathon, has blossomed into a compulsion to run. It's hard to explain, since I was previously a self-proclaimed loather of all things athletic. I used to be content to sit on my couch and watch the boob tube and knit and make fun of people who exercised. "yeah, I don't run because my pantyhose always catch on fire" or some other quip of its kind. However, when the dishes in the sink are even trying to reach their own height record and the laundry can create its own dead lift maximum, I find myself wanting to set my own personal records. Will I be faster today? Will I run longer today? The laundry and dishes and even the TV will be there when I get back.

Lacing up my shoes, I start to feel the adrenaline surge and I feel powerful. I step outside and breathe in the outdoors. It is easy to forget the dishes and laundry and work and have this moment for myself. I leave the phone, the internet and others behind me. The only person who needs me, is me right now. I am untethered. As I jog or walk, I feel the lifting breeze around me. Even at 85 degrees I am not uncomfortable. The scent of a backyard barbecue wafts around me and I wonder what the occasion could be or what they are cooking. As I round the corner, the fresh cool, clean smell of a nearby yard sprinkler invigorates me as I run through the halos of rainbows and smile to myself. I turn down my music player so I can hear the mockingbirds at play watching me from nearby trees. 

A mile into my run, I hit my stride and focus on my rhythmic breath pairing with my footfalls on the pavement. I challenge myself. "Just a little bit longer" or "a longer stride" or "if I could just make it to that telephone pole". Although I still cannot run a full mile without walking a bit, I am feeling stronger with every day that I try. As I make the last stretch for home, I feel like a horse that makes sight of the barn at home and step up my pace for this last bit of the run. The clouds over the houses are alight with a pink and orange glow from the rising sun. I walk up the driveway to my house and although I have worked up a good sweat and my legs feel spent of most of their energy, I feel mentally lighter. I can now approach the rest of my day with a renewed focus. This is why I run.