Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I am a Runner. Still.

I don't know why it didn't occur to me that running by myself didn't have to be a lengthy affair. I guess when your normal is six to seven hilly miles, it's hard to remember that some people run just two, or to conceive of yourself doing that. Despite the fact that I ran seven miles at a time for years, I am not capable of that now. Not after a year (or more, I didn't keep track of when things tapered off for good last year) off, anyway. So I gave myself permission to just get started again. Even if it's 10pm, I can still spend thirty or forty-five minutes running. It's better than sitting on my rear in front of the computer.

On the first night, I ran a solid 1.5 miles. The second, I added another quarter mile, and I'm fairly certain that tonight will find me running the entire two mile out-and-back I have planned for myself. That feels good. I didn't realize how much I missed running, really and truly missed it, until I took off for those first few steps, and felt joy.

I never had a running partner or belonged to a running group. Two of my three Pikes Peak Marathons I was joined for part of the downhill stretch by someone surely sent by God himself, to keep me from just sitting down on the side of the trail. But my training and my usual runs were almost always alone, because I liked it that way. I like the cool quiet of night and nothing but my thoughts for company. Now that I am a mother, with more to do and another person to share space with, it turns out this is even more important to me. Just me, just a valet key slipped over my finger, just my own slightly labored breathing. No iPod or GPS or any other accoutrements. Even earrings are removed to make things light. And it's heaven.

I think that often I have to let go of things to find my way back to them. I wrote on our family blog about finding a way to work out with Zinashi along, having resigned myself to meeting my need for movement with her along for the ride. It didn't occur to me until after I wrote it that I could slip out while Jarod was rocking her to sleep, that I could go a shorter distance or accept a more sleepy morning the next day. But it turns out that it's possible, and now probable.

Unless something goes awry, tonight will be the third night of my return to running. I always said that I hoped I would always be a runner, and was beginning to fear that it just wouldn't happen. But here I am, and it feels good, and I look forward to every night Jarod is tucking Zinashi in. For now, three nights a week, guaranteed. Three nights of quiet, of my two feet merrily slapping the sidewalk. Three nights of thought and purpose and joy.

Hallelujah.

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