Some Runs

photo (5)For some runs, I feel graceful–stag-like– as my stride finds harmony with the wind.  I smile at everyone I pass.  I feel like I could go forever.  Those runs are the easy ones. I live for those runs.

For some runs, all I can feel is each ache and pain in my almost 40-year-old body.  Each steps mocks my efforts and erases my concept of myself as a “runner.” Those runs suck.

For some of them, I am all Chariots of Fire– in full possession of glory, endorphins and positive thoughts.  On those runs, I look up and see I am almost home.  Time passed without me thinking about the running. During those runs I compose blog posts or let memories slide in to keep me company or think about the quadratic equation.  Those runs touch my heart.

And there are other runs where I feel rage coursing through my body.  I have imaginary fights with people I haven’t seen in years.  I pick fights with Jeff and myself and with you– all while my feet pound on the pavement.  I use my feet to process the injustices and slights and confusion that otherwise bottle up inside.  During those runs, I keep going until I feel the sweet release of forgiveness and tolerance, even if I have to do a few extra laps.

Some runs are a hybrid of them all– they may start out effortless and end with me in a raging huff & puff.  Others begin with the greatest of exertion and end with the sweet thrill of accomplishment and gratitude for my healthy body.

During some runs I can get out a good cry, but I have to run slower because of the blurry vision.  Some runs I can laugh at a joke I heard hours before but didn’t get until about mile 2.

And sometimes, I just stop in the middle.  I tell myself: “I’ve had enough. No more running for today.”  On those runs, I let myself off the hook. I let myself walk and slow down and breathe.  I let myself be someone who can bail out if she needs to.  It’s hard to stop in the middle of a run, but when I do, I know I’ve done something harder than actual running: stopping. Those runs make it possible to be a runner in the first place.



32 thoughts on “Some Runs

  1. My dad was a huge runner before his knees gave out. I, myself, only run if chased by zombies. It’s interesting to hear you describe the different kinds of runs you have because, as a non-runner, I honestly didn’t realize that each one wasn’t always the Chariots of Fire kind. Good for you for pushing on with all the ones that aren’t!

  2. I am a bawling mess here. Thank you for this. If you — do-it-all, nothing-slows-me-down, I-can-juggle-more-things-at-once-than-you-can-handle-in-a-year superwoman — if you stop once in a blue moon, it gives little ol’ me permission to as well. Without feeling the tremendous guilt of having you to keep up with all the time.

    I almost skimmed this post because I am not a runner, but this was about life and I absorbed every word. Beautiful.

  3. I don’t run, but I feel the same way on my walks. I can’t wait for Daylight Savings in a couple of weeks! More time to be outside–Yay spring!

    Awesome post!

  4. I run with a posse of fabulous women (we are now all over 40). They are my soul mates. My runs are my talk-therapy and my girl time. I sometimes go it alone like a “real runner”. And I know those good days and bad days. And I haven’t quite gotten past the shame of the days I just can’t hang in there. Maybe I can now that I know I’m not alone.

  5. You have the right approach! I never got in the right groove. I was too all or nothing. I ran 6 miles every day in grad school until my knees hurt. I guess maybe I was running from the stress of school. It was not healthy. Now I mostly hike b/c my body is almost 50 and well, that extra decade….

  6. Wow, what a fantastic post! And it’s so true. I never exactly understand why running the same path can be such a different experience on a given day, but it’s definitely part of running. And now you’ve inspired me to get my butt out the door, so off I go!

  7. My what cute feet you have! 😉 My runs are similarly filled with imaginary fights and ongoing dialogues. Thankfully I don’t run very far so the arguments are short. And surprisingly one sided. Hmmm … I love what you wrote about stopping, easily the hardest part for me to wrap my head around.

  8. As a very beginning runner, I really appreciate hearing that it’s not always easy and effortless. I always had this notion that once you’ve been running for a while you always have those movie runs where the people just breeze around (of course they were probably only running for a minute!)

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