Why do we do this to ourselves? JT just finished a book about running where it stated that 8 out of 10 runners will get injured each year.
Do we do it for the shin splints? for the knee problems? for the joint issues? for the I.T.B.S. ? (which is the problem I have) or for the thrill of pain?
I can't tell why anyone else does it. And if you asked me 5 years ago I would have told you I wouldn't be caught dead running -- unless Nordstrom was giving away Lancome Mascara and the ONLY way to get one was to run...and then I probably would have bribed someone else to run for me. But here I am- Running.
Everyday I cinch on a sports bra, pull my hair back, and lace up my shoes to go to the gym. But there is something different when I do that same routine to go Running.
There is nothing better than a crisp autumn afternoon in Washington for a nice run. I actually ran through a crunchy pile of Maple leaves today! Talk about euphoric! The crackle of leaves breaking under my feet- releasing the warm smell of maple! I almost closed my eyes. (but I know better than that, I grew up with Maple Trees- and I know that under every layer of crispy leaves is the wet layer that hasn't dried out from last night's rain and will be slippery as heck!)
I think I may have figured it out. Why I run. I won't run on a track. I can't run on a treadmill. The only joy I find in running is outside. I think that is half of why I love running. Being outside. With the fresh air blowing past me (ok, ok, if you have seen me run - you know I am hardly going fast enough for anything to "blow" past me).
I discovered today it is the freedom I love about running. Just Going. Moving. Change. I can't run on a treadmill because I can't stare endlessly at the Bravo channel on the Gym's T.V. I suffocate on a track because I can't stand knowing that I am running in circles. Even running the path around the lake gets mundane. I like change. I like knowing I am getting farther and farther from a messy kitchen. Farther from the calls of mother hood. Farther from the duties of life. Closer to silence. Closer to being an individual. Closer to myself.
(I shouldn't have to insert here that I love my life. -but I will - I love my kids, my messy kitchen, my role as a wife and mother, that is not what this is about)
I remember something I started doing years ago at EFY as a counselor. When there would be a moment that I loved. That I knew I needed to cherish for forever. I would try to capture it by opening up my arms wide and inhaling deeply. Silently I called it my Freedom Stretch. I would absorb whatever wonderful moment it was. Usually a moment when I was alone and remembering a perfect part of my day. I did this on the Mission as well. Particularly with the sky. The sky was huge in Madagascar. I loved it. I loved feeling like it went on forever with endless opportunities. I loved absorbing the smells, sounds, and feelings from my mission.
And here I am doing it again- when I run. When I am sure that no one is looking - I extend my arms and run as fast as I can down the hills. When I am brave- I close my eyes. When I am nervous - I open them up and look up at the sky. I soak it all up.
What does this have to do with anything? My blog isn't about running. It is about my life.
When I heard we were moving to Rochester- I was nervous (of course) but deep inside I was starting to stretch out my arms and Run. I was getting off of the treadmill of reapplying that we have run on for 2 years. I was leaving behind a track that kept my life going in circles. I was seeing a giant new horizon like the ones in Madagascar. I knew I would need to be brave, to close my eyes and let it happen.
It isn't that I wanted to escape anything here. Just like I don't actually want to escape my children when I go for a run. It was just the thrill of freedom. Freedom to start from scratch. To redefine myself. To dream big.
Now- as the prospect of U.W. enters the picture - I have a lot to think about. I am hopeful that JT gets accepted. I know this is a great program for him. I know that it will be "easier" than moving (as everyone points out) but I am not yearning for easy. I know that whatever is right- will work out. I know it will be wonderful to stay close to family and friends.
I think I will just need to find a new way to feel that freedom here. To find that newness and change and adventure in my own backyard. And I think I will start by running.