I haven't been up for much writing lately. (You may have noticed...) So my first New Year's Resolution is that I'm going to force myself to sit down every other day and write about my runs. (Not the Montezuma kind.) And not just the boring athlete/how far I ran/how fast crap. I'm going to write about what running is doing to my brain.
Because I'm not just running for the number in the back of my pants (which is, apparently, a FOUR these days, which feels an alternate universe to which my brain has not yet adjusted). I'm running because torturing my body somehow makes my brain feel better. Monday I did the hardest run I've managed yet. Somewhere during the 20-minute mark, I couldn't decide if I wanted to die or keep going, so I kept going. So when my magic Couch-to-5k announcer finally burst through my Dr. Dre song to tell me it was cool-down time, I wanted to weep with gratitude.
Then Al Green started singing "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," and I actually DID weep. Openly. The gym was FULL, you guys. There was even a line for the treadmills. And as I slowed my run down to a walk, I tried to catch the tears before they rolled off my chin. All I could do was hope the people around me passed it off as sweat and not a nervous breakdown.
I still don't know if it was pent up sadness or if I was just that grateful to give my body a rest, but I'm guessing the more I run, the easier it'll be for me to know the difference. Whatever it was, I sure felt better afterwards. A good run. A good cry. Some Al Green. I'm good to go.
Then as I was walking to my car, it began to snow. You know those big chunky first flakes of winter that float down like feathers? I couldn't help but raise my palms and try to catch them. I felt like I'd walked out of the gym and into a movie. I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
I'm not sure what or who I'm running from, but I am already addicted to it. Part of me wonders if I like it because it forces me to be intensely present in my body. Every breath. Every foot step. Every thought. It all seems to last forever. Ironically enough, running slows me down.
Yesterday we went for a hike up on Germantown Road. It wasn't meant to be a running day - I'm trying to be a good girl and take every other day off - but that didn't stop me. Sam and Sophie and Joel were simply walking too slow and after about ten minutes or so, I just couldn't resist the urge and I started running intervals ahead of them and then looping back to walk with them for a while. I set my phone timer for five minutes, thinking I'd only run that long, but I forgot that I'd silenced my phone for the hike and I just kept running instead.
By about the seven-minute mark, I had an epiphany about me and Joel. It was intensely personal, but huge. I'm not ready to talk about us yet (mostly because I wouldn't know where to even begin or what to say), but that run through the freezing forest gave me a new level of clarity I doubt I could have otherwise reached.
I don't think I could stop running now even if I tried.