Today I ran 2 miles without stopping. But like a lot of earned accomplishments, things don’t always end up happening like you think. The weather was worse than any of the previous five weeks I’ve been running; it was bitterly, cruelly cold. And windy. And toward the end, rainy. And for some reason my body hurt, and for the first time since restarting my running career I wanted to give up. I didn’t feel great until the last half mile. I was robbed.
The sight of my son in my car, each time I passed him, helped encourage me. When I run at the track the kids are expected to entertain themselves for the thirty-five minutes I’m walking, stretching, and running (today it was just Nels: Sophie had taken two buses, there and back, to have a lunch date with her dad). Maybe the biggest awesomeness of my running is to make this time for myself and let the kids see me doing it. I’ve spent the last seven-plus years rediscovering prioritizing my interests. And it’s hard; because in taking an hour or less out of the day for just me it can feel so arbitrary, selfish. Gee if I didn’t do this I could make sure the laundry gets done, or by the time I’m back home it’ll be noon already. But in doing this I’m telling the kids I’m willing and able to care for myself, not just them and their father. And I expect them to sort it out while I’m doing it.* And when I get back in the car – sweaty, elated, brilliant – I thank them for their help and patience.
And while I’m at it, is what I do really “running”? Not so much, as another runner who lapped me no fewer than three times today proved. More “jogging”. Or perhaps “lumbering”.
Today my heart and lungs felt great; my shins and pelvis, not so much. I finished it though. My last quarter mile was accomplished to Pulp’s “This is Hardcore”, and I was fought by sideways rain and gusts of wind so violent as to literally take my breath away.
While we drove home Nels and I spied a beautiful rainbow.
11/17/2009 Edited to add: I’ve had a few comments here and in actual, honest-to-God real life from other people who want to run but think they “can’t”. Sallie at PlusRunner.com is one of my many inspirations for running, and I want to give her a shout-out – and a Thank You, for helping me do something I’d been wanting to do for some time. It’s hard to read her site and continue to come up with reasons or excuses why you can’t get out there and get moving.
* By the way, Nels took a leak on the field during my first half mile. And I was across the campus when it happened. So today I discovered that “boy peeing” is a rather particular posture. Because he was so stealthy I couldn’t see any bare flesh or anything, I could just tell what he was doing by the way his feet were collected, his shoulders slightly gathered. I kind of blame the HS school track (although I did discuss with Nels, no thanks, one does not piss in a public place) since the facilities are public yet, oddly, the bathrooms are usually close.