Tuesday, June 18, 2013

running with the heart

Some days after work, I find myself suited up and on the Lake Shore Trail.

Some running days are better than others, like some days are better than others.

Today was a particularly rough run for me.  It was hot as hell - 87 degrees on my iPhone as I laced up my tennis shoes.  Hot enough that I really wanted to turn up the AC, pour a glass bottle of Pinot Grigio, and watch the Bachelorette.  But the half marathon is ever approaching, and I'd prefer not to embarrass myself, or die, so I put on nearly as few clothes as I possibly could without getting arrested, put my iPod on shuffle, and headed out.

I trudged through the first mile, barely.  I was pushing myself, but the concrete and heat were pushing back.  I kept going, and somewhere between mile two and three, I had an epiphany.

I don't love running, but running loves me.

It's a sport of solitude, of you and your music and your thoughts and your breath;

It's a sport of harmony, strength of lungs and legs;

It's a sport of gratitude, for an able body and mind;

It's a sport of humility, for the next step is uncertain.

It's a sport of strength, for each step is earned.

So I crank the music, and lose myself in the solitude, the harmony, the gratitude.  I hear my lyrics and and my breath.  I lose myself in the stabs of pain in my calves and in the ebb and flow of runners and bikers along the lake.   I lose myself in the profound way in which I feel small in this universe, and yet significant.

I don't love running, but I love the way running makes me feel.  Like I don't have to prove anything to anyone, except to the voice in my head telling me that I'm not an athelete.   No one is trying to beat me, and I'm not trying to beat anyone or anything except the part of myself that wants to give up.

It feels like I can do anything and everything, and all I have to do is take another step, and another, and another...

I am a person who runs with my brain, most of the time.  I know what my run is going to be - whether it's a mileage or an increment time, and I rarely deviate.  My lungs scream, and my brain wants to give in.  My legs feel tired, and my brain slows them down.

Today's run was hard for me physically.  I was tired, and hot, and sweat was pouring off of me.  I clawed through each step, each tenth of a mile a mental victory.  It took all I had to keep telling myself "just get to the next tree, you can make it to the bridge, get to the next pier".

But I did it, and I earned every step.

My biggest challenge at the half marathon isn't going to be the thirteen miles (although, you know what, those are going to be a bitch).   I am a person who runs, when I run with my brain.. but I am a runner when I run with my heart.  When I run, the competition is within me.  It's me against myself.

Brain versus heart.

But the beauty of running is that none of that really matters.

All that matters is that you show up.  And take a step, and another, and another...

1 comment:

  1. Solid post! So good! Please keep putting one word in front of the other! Your writing here is so real!

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