Maybe it really is the new shoes. They’ve stopped my joints from aching at night. They’ve kept my hips from seizing during runs. My arches have stopped cramping when I finish. They’ve changed my form, built new muscles, and now I’m just waiting for them to start cleaning my house.
Maybe it’s because I’ve stopped comparing running to giving birth. Although I still see many similarities. I came to the realization that’s it’s incredibly difficult to psyche yourself up for something when you’re stirring up memories of some of the most painful moments in your life.
Maybe it’s because I have incredibly kind and patient running partners who allow me to go at my pace, talk myself into doing things, and help keep me accountable. Also they bribe me with beer if I finish.
Whatever the reason, I’m running. I’m running further than I have. I’m running longer than I have. I’m running just as slow as I always have. I think that one is never going to change.
I’m running at least three times a week. I’m running for over an hour at a time. I’m running in rain, in wind, and on top of worms.
I’m covering the bottoms of my feet with duct tape to keep them from getting blisters. I’ve gotten over the ridiculousness of it once I realized it’s the only thing that has ever worked for me.
I’m planning around running. Meals, dates, lunch hours. Running somehow crept onto my priority list without ever alerting me to its presence. Just when I thought I’d broken up with it…
Now I find myself almost looking forward to a run. I try to plan out all the difficult topics I’ll contemplate in between inhales. All the soul searching I’ll fit in after each exhale. All the growth, peacefulness and insight I’ll gain with each mile I check off. In the end, I usually just think about oxygen and how I need so much more of it.
I tell myself “you can do this, you can do this, you can do this”. Over and over again until my feet match the rhythm of the words. It’s my mantra and I punctuate it with aggressive pounding of my footsteps. And when that doesn’t work I tell myself “if you finish this, you can eat chocolate cake”.
I’ve stopped trying to love it just like I’ve tried to stop hating it. I’ve met it somewhere in the middle where we shook hands then back stepped, not quite trusting enough to turn our backs on each other. We have an agreement where we show up. Both of us. And that’s enough for now.
I’m running. If I’m not careful, I just might become a runner.
You ran in the rain on your day off. There is no “might,” you are a runner.