Tuesday, June 14, 2011

some honest thoughts about running

Last night when I was running I was thinking about how much I've really grown to love this whole business of lacing up my (overpriced but worth it) running shoes and hitting the trails.  I ran a little bit of track in middle school but it wasn't until after Juliet was born that I really tried to start running, just two minutes at a time.  She was such a difficult baby (Jules, I love you, but it's true) that I felt like I was going to go crazy if I stayed in the house one more minute, so I would very very slowly run around the sidewalk looping our block.  I was so slow and running was not fun, but I felt a real release of stress and anxiety and worry with every thud of my shoe against the pavement.

Yesterday I felt pretty wretched--not enough sleep, lots of distressed children, and not patient me.  I finally lost control when Neil asked me (for what felt like the millionth time) what features I wanted in a new minivan, and I just didn't care, and finally started yelling that I didn't care when he said I must have some opinion.  Then I apologized and started crying and finally went to go put on my running shoes and sniffled, "I'll feel better after I run, right?"  So I went out and ran four miles as fast as I could, and realized after a couple miles that I'm now to the point where I'm running for the sheer joy of running (as long as it's not too hot).  I felt like my mind was exploding with ideas and goals and plans and solutions during my whole run, and I was able to work out all my frustration with myself and think things through--and then I just quit thinking and just sort of sank into the rhythm of the run, and the beauty of the setting sun and the wind through the trees and the grasses and the little cottontail rabbits hopping along next to the trail. 

I think running always becomes so much more important to me after I have a new baby, because I am literally running away from my problems, so to speak.  There's just something about muscling through a difficult run or a challenging hill that makes me feel like I can go back and attack everything else with that same energy and determination (plus the endorphins help a lot).  And it is the only time in my entire day where I am doing something entirely for me that nobody can interrupt--nobody is touching me, nobody is asking for anything, and nobody is talking to me.  That sounds horribly selfish, I know, but it's true.  (And it's easier to push yourself another mile when going home early means going back to the fussy baby.)  When I run I feel totally unfettered from all my other responsibilities, and I can return home energized and refreshed and excited to see my family again.  It's so renewing. 

I don't think I'll ever be an amazing runner, because I just don't have the time to commit hours and hours every day, but I am so grateful for the fact that I can run as much as I do.  Running always makes me so grateful for the gift of a physical body, and makes me realize how marvelous it really is.  And I don't think this post has conveyed in the slightest how much running means to me (because I'm too sleep-deprived for words to come very easily), but I just have been thinking a lot lately about how much I truly love to run. 


aLi said...

I think you portrayed your love for running very much! I wish I wish I wish I was on the same level as you. Alas, I have gained 15 lbs since I had baby #3. So frustrating. I am itching to get back on the running wagon. My treadmill has boxes all over it still. Monday I jogged just over a mile outside. And then I ate like 7 cupcakes or something (they were sooo good!!!)... grrrr. Anyway, I love how you explained what happens when you run. Thanks for inspiring me to get up and run again tomorrow!!!

Jolena said...

I'm trying to get up the will to start running again. I promised myself I would start this week, but so far it hasn't quite happened. Your descriptions give me some impetus to get out there and feel that feeling again. :)

Hey, it's me...Jessica said...

Yes. That's why I run.

It makes me feel so alive. I say 'running away' is okay, as long as we always come back:)

A friend suggested I stop by your blog for inspiration on things to do with my kids. That was over a year ago. I've been inspired and overwhelmed at your ability to accomplish so much in so many facets of your life. You have extraordinary talents and I admire your passion for life.

Conclusion: I think we would be very good friends:)

Rachael said...

Jessica, thank you so much for your comment--it was heaven-sent on a very difficult morning.

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