Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Long Run

Today’s run took me a long way from home. It was my furthest outdoor distance at 6 miles and a very long way for this girl who still considers herself some kind of running imposter. I’ve been running now for a little over a year and I still feel like I’m an imposter when it comes to running. I have a really hard time seeing myself as a “real runner.”

Today I ran a new route, mainly because I had a lot on my mind & it was Sunday and my long run. I needed to try to focus on some new thoughts and change my state of mind.

My run took me down Main St passed storefronts, lakeside for a long stretch, past beautiful condos, delicious smelling restaurants, a trailer park, down a highway, and back again. I decided part way through this run was almost like a mirror to my inner life lately. Parts were easy & I was excited getting to the view of the lake. But soon past I started to tire and all I could think of was the delicious aromas coming from the Italian restaurant I had just passed. I wanted to stop and envelope myself in the comfort of a yummy pasta dinner. The smell triggered a memory of my mom and her homemade sauce and suddenly I missed her profoundly. The reality of the distance ahead started to set in.  But I kept going.

I was distracted and questioning my goal distance by the 3 mile mark. I passed a run-down trailer park and in my mind I felt as emotionally run down these days as the trailers I saw there. But I kept going.

I ran through the next half mile where the sidewalk had ended and I was afraid the shoulder wasn’t wide enough. I’m a rule follower, a “stay on the sidewalk kind of girl” I rarely venture into the unknown or the dangerous, until lately. But I pushed past the fear and I kept running.

I suddenly saw the turn-around point in the distance. I was almost halfway done. I felt proud of myself & energized but soon after I started to get a side stitch so I had to slow down. I don’t like slowing down. But if I didn’t slow my pace and adjust for the pain I knew I would end up having to walk. I hate walking more than slowing down so I slowed my pace and kept running. 

Slowly, I kept pushing forward looking only at the few feet of sidewalk now ahead of me. I couldn’t help thinking of the MLK quote, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other even when you aren’t really sure where life is leading you and just keep pushing forward at your own pace.

The best part of today’s run was when I hit mile 4.5. I finally felt like my brain and my body were in sync. My breathing was effortless and I hit that point where you feel invincible and like you could just go forever. It’s almost a kind of high. I haven’t hit it in a really, really long time. But once I hit it, there is not much that is more satisfying. Suddenly my mind is clear and I feel like life is smooth and effortless. It doesn’t matter if I go or stay. Love and life are complicated but in this moment none of that really matters. It will all just work and all I need to do right now is put one foot in front of the other and eventually I’ll arrive at my destination.

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