January 3, 2012

Up, Up and…Oh

Up, Up and…Oh

Like all of us, there are things I said I would never do. There are also things I never imagined I would want to do. Of course, over and over again in this life, some of us (me) have to re-learn that there is always a danger in this kind of absolutism.

That said: I never mind proving myself wrong.

What we speak becomes the house we live in.
― Hafez

There is a great blog I discovered recently called Another Mother Runner (www.anothermotherrunner.com). They have great stories and advice – and some pretty cute t-shirts (yes, I ordered one). One of the two women who owns the site Sarah Bowen Shea sent me a nice note yesterday saying:

…But I suspect you love running a bit more than you’re owning up to.

The real truth is, if you asked me today, the answer is now complicated.

The physical act of running – can’t say I am loving that very much. It still hurts. Perhaps in some ironic way, however, it mostly hurts today in all kinds of places that it did not hurt when I started. And the places that used to hurt? I think some of them still may hurt, but just less by contrast.

On the other hand, I have found all kinds of things I can and do enjoy. Pain aside, I do like what is happening to my body – it’s definitely stronger and leaner than it was six months ago. I love being outside, seeing a beautiful view (the ocean, the river, a sunset), listening to good music. There is also something to be said for 30 minutes or so of solitude in an otherwise hectic life. Running has sort of given me a socially acceptable reason to have some time alone.

I am still hoping that one of these days I get blessed with that thing that real runners refer to as “runner’s high.” One reason I set a minimum one-year commitment to running was because when I asked friends who run how long I would have to run before I might expect that magical experience that makes them all get a crazy smile on their faces – universally everyone seemed to think a year was about right.

So here I am – I am now running. And maybe, just maybe I am half-way to discovering this mystical state – but along the way I am trying to stay open-minded about the whole experience. So on New Year’s morning, I ran up a hill on Catalina Island. I was frankly afraid to do this – I had not run up a hill and it looked really hard. However, I love a good view, and I figured I could do anything once.

Surprisingly – I liked it.

In fact, I had this little moment of elation as I reached the bottom that sort of pushed me forward. I went on and ran another mile that might have been the easiest mile I have run. It felt…good. I hesitate to say, it felt easy. It was such a good feeling that I thought I might try it again at home.

Yesterday, back here in Newport, I knew just the hill. Two weeks ago, in my car with a friend, we drove up that hill. There were runners, and my friend asked if I had run here. I laughed. I have no intent of ever running this hill, I said. It’s hard enough to run on flat things!

Yup – never say never. I did it yesterday. I am really afraid to put this in print – but I think there may be a chance that I like the feeling of running a hill better than flat ground.

Except for how I feel today.

Today, I can’t even list the things that hurt. Let it suffice to say that I have basically run every day for the past two weeks, but there will be no running today for me. Today there will be Advil®, and some stretching, and some reminding myself that I have a lot to learn. Maybe someone out there will even have some sage advice for me on how to run a hill and not wake up feeling like it ran me?



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