Saturday, December 03, 2005

Having a good run...

Ominous skies loomed, clouds draping down like silk curtains, warning of an impending storm. Quickly stretching, she took note of aching muscles and her tired body, made more weary by her toddler's sudden sleep strike the night before.

As she started out, she felt it every time her feet pounded against the pavement. She questioned herself and what she was trying to prove with this. The run was only 7 days away now and she'd only gotten 2-3 good runs in the last month. True, her body was in better shape from working out at the gym consistently, but experience told her that wasn't enough to jump into a race with no training.

As she felt her body fall into a familar rhythm, she turned up her headphones. Music would take her through this run, she was sure. She didn't know if she'd make the whole 3.2 miles she should that morning. She needed to do this to prove to herself that in one week she could make it without stopping. Her pride was on the line, and her perfectionist tendencies would not allow her to take on this "fun run" or enjoy it at all unless she could finish respectfully, without walking. No, she'd rather not run at all than to have to walk.

As she ran, her mind drifted to random thoughts--what needed to be done that day, the trees dropping their leaves, cars passing by, and past discussions with neighbors. Before she knew it, she was halfway into the run and she felt no pain. She had forgotten this feeling after getting in motion. It is as if her body started moving on auto-pilot and would not stop until it was time. She had been told once that she did not have the body of a lifelong runner. Larger boned and flat-footed, many times a long run on pavement would leave her feet cramping in pain, bruising on her arches showing the signs that perhaps they were right. It was true that runners were usually small and wiry people, fine-boned and light on their feet. It wasn't that she was huge and uncoordinated. Her body had started changing with regular workouts. Her legs were toned and her face had thinned somewhat. She still carried her problem area around the middle, but that too was starting to show signs it might shape up. She had hope now that she could get in the shape she needed to live healthy again.

As she ran, she noted the patterns of leaves on her path decorating it in ambers, golds, and taupes. It looked like someone had scattered them there like breadcrumbs leading her to her final destination.

She loved the look of her neighborhood, lined with huge oaks and pines and naturally-grown landscapes along carefully planned sidewalks. The outer brush hid the thousands of homes behind it, making you think you were in the woods somewhere. When they'd found this place, the advertisers had boasted "Come to the Trees." After the stress of building, sadly many of the big oaks had fallen, but she felt encouraged that homeowners had just finished a mass planting to keep the trees growing in years to come. It amazed her to think that as many people lived in her one suburban neighborhood than did in her whole hometown.

She reached the last stretch, music pounding in time to the rhythm of her pace, body finally starting to feel hot from the steam of her sweat and body heat hitting the cooler air. The balmy and humid skies had finally found Fall there--even though it was really supposed to be winter already. It was perfect weather for running. She was so grateful for that.

As she finished her run, she felt a huge sense of pride and accomplishment. She would try that race in a week. She could do it! And while she knew the hardest part would be to put aside her competitiveness and do her best, she had such a real motivation to compete. She needed to prove to herself she could do it. That she could continue this onward, finding her way to strength both mentally and physically, to fight the nagging diabetes that she'd been dealt this year.

And, as her drenched body opened her front door, face beet red from heat and body trembling from exhaustion, she knew she would do this for herself. She could not accept anything less.


Blogger Babs said...

wow. You go girl! Sounds like you even experienced that elusive runner's high!

One important question: what kind of tunes were playing on your run? I'm dying to know. ;-)

10:17 PM, December 03, 2005  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...

Oh, I have a great playlist. I'll email it to you soon! Sampling: Eminem, Guns N Roses, and even Marky Mark. HA!

11:05 PM, December 03, 2005  
Anonymous callie said...

ah, yes. that dread of the run ahead of you -- but then magically, after the first painful minutes (10? 20? 30?), your body hits its stride and you forget the work it takes to propel you forward. i miss running. but not enough, i don't think, to start again! :-) your post inspired me a bit though...hmmmm. i've been taking a break for a month or so and i miss the runner's high. bravo to you for finishing your run and for unknowingly challenging me to do the same. i'm here from michele's today but will be back on my own.

11:09 PM, December 03, 2005  
Anonymous irene said...

I've given up running two months ago... so I'm most admirative. and, Marky Mark???

3:20 AM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger Karen Rani said...

How inspiring! Very well written! I gave up running 4 years ago and believe me, I should start again! Good for you!

7:52 AM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger Vanessa said...

I admire you so much for committing to a race! You go, Mama!

9:03 AM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger Lisabell said...

I have always hated running, but reading your post made me curious about it. I always wondered why people would do something that hurts my body so much. "Runner's High" eh? I have never hit that, nor the part where it stops hurting. Come to think of it, I've never made it 10 minutes without stopping, gasping for breath.... ok, now i'm depressed. ;)

Good for you, though -- I greatly admire your self discipline.

12:00 PM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger kenju said...

Whew! Reading this makes me tired!
More power to you, though, and I hope the run goes well.

Michele sent me.

3:14 PM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger craziequeen said...

crazymomcat - here from Michele's tonight.

Wonderful post - very illuminative.


3:19 PM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger Carmi said...

What a beautifully crafted piece of word imagery. You perfectly described my feelings whenever I hit the road - alone.

Visiting from Michele's tonight. I continue to pray for your Dad. I know, unfortunately, what it's like to watch a parent go through something like this.

10:00 PM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger Steph said...

Good for you - you can do this! Hit that run and kick some serious butt. I trained for a marathon once and since then have decided that distance running is mental illness, but hey, you go girl!! ;)
By the way, Michele sent me...
love your blog!

10:03 PM, December 04, 2005  
Blogger Crazy MomCat said...


7:26 AM, December 05, 2005  
Blogger Tyra said...

Good for you on doing such a great job! I only managed to get 2 walks in last week, this week is not looking much better as far as time goes.

8:43 AM, December 05, 2005  
Anonymous Theresa said...

Woohoo!! Better to try, than to defeat yourself before you even start!

11:18 AM, December 05, 2005  

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