Running?

Some of these posts were intended to be about actually running, and I have fallen pretty short in that regard.  The obvious reason is, that I have not gone running since I don’t remember when!  Many true runners would argue that I can’t call myself a runner at this time, but I think that is up for debate.  The heart of a runner still beats inside of me, and I know it’s just a matter of time (and knees) before I hit the streets again.

Do you have anything in your life that you wish people knew about you, that defines a part of you, that you take great delight in, that you can’t wait to talk about, that you hope someone brings up in conversation so you can jump in with your experiences?  Running is one of those things for me, second only to my relationship with Jesus and my family.  Memories of my hours that turned into years of running come back at surprising times:  there are some rubber traffic cone holders outside of my son’s school that smell just like an outdoor track.  I think of running with schoolmates every time I see the high schoolers practicing, huffing and puffing and straining to be faster with each lap.  Sometimes in the “fall” down here, there is a smell in the air that takes me back so vividly to runs through Audubon Park in New Orleans, where I did a lot of long runs to prepare for a marathon.  Even my husband has taken up running fairly regularly, and I confess that I’ve felt twinges of envy when he heads out.

Could it be mine again?  I’ve tried the whole jogging stroller thing.  My daughter either wanted to be held, wanted to walk, or just wanted to go home and have a proper snack and play.  That’s not running, it’s mothering amidst great exertion.  If I want to do that, all I have to do is go to the store, where she also wants to either walk or be held, and I pull the loaded cart alongside us–it’s cardio and weight-training!  Could I go after the kids go to bed?  This is the most realistic, but my husband and I have an unspoken arrangement in which he goes to work out at the nearby gym and/or go for a run after the kids’ bedtime.  There are workouts I enjoy doing at home, so it’s not like I’m always just sitting on the sofa.  It is too late for me by the time he gets back to head out myself, and I also crave that time with him once he’s back.  It’s a set-up that works for now, and I know that as frazzled as I get being a stay-at-home mom, my problems don’t hold a candle to the stress he faces at his job.  If going to work out at night eases his mind and helps him handle the strain of his career, then I happily give that opportunity to him!

I definitely have the desire to go back to running.  No other exercise can raise my endorphins, elevate my mood, strengthen my whole body, clear my mind, or make me feel quite as accomplished as running.  I’m not a sprinter; in my strongest days, before my first and only marathon, I could course around the path in the park for hours (and then join my friends for a few hours of ultimate frisbee).  Just one more loop.  I can do it.  I would find myself catching up to high school track teams as a college student, and try to pass them.  There was such a thrill in testing my limits, breaking my own records, building my endurance, and just going.  I have no problem with being quiet or being alone, so long-distance ventures were a good fit.

I wonder what toll the years have taken.  I’m not in college anymore, I’m in my mid-30’s.  Playing hard-court tennis since the age of 5 has not left my knees in the best of conditions. Over-training for that marathon didn’t benefit my joints, either.  Can I get it back?  Can I head out for hours again, letting my mind relax and wander, while my legs settle into that beautiful rhythm?  How much longer will it be before I make my re-entry?  Am I using this long break from running to get into shape, or will I have to brush some cobwebs off of my muscles?

Just writing about this is making me anticipate my next run even more.  I have a feeling I will be essentially starting over, which is both frustrating and humbling, but I’m willing to take a few steps back before bounding forward.  Who knows?  Maybe the years to come will be the best ones yet!  All it will take is those first few steps out the door…

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7 comments

  1. I am certainly no runner. However, I have had a similar experience with the piano. I come from a very musical family and felt a bit too pressured with the whole thing and backed off. That and once I had moved out of home, I couldn’t lug a piano around as I lived in shared accommodation. Everything had to pretty much fit in the car. We picked up an old piano at a Church garage sale and its needed a lot of work. As a result, it’s been used as a storage unit and for displaying photographs and hasn’t been used much. My daughter and I have taken up the violin this year and my mother asked me why I didn’t just pick up the piano again. Around this time, my husband had another go at trying to repair our piano and replaced all the felts. This made quite a significant improvement and I decided to start practicing again. I can still play the first movement of Moonlight Sonata from memory so I had quite a shock when I could no longer play C major scale hands together. My left and right were quite out of synch and it took a few days of these 30 min practice sessions to pull it off. It was very humbling. At hte same time, it’s been 20 years since I’ve really played the piano regularly so I have no grounds for complaint. You reap what you sow!
    I hope your jogging experience goes better.
    Have you tried jogging before your husband leaves for work? I’m no early bird personally but a few of my friends do it and feel it sets them up for the day.

    1. Piano is an instrument my husband and I wish we had learned as youngsters. I played flute starting in fifth grade, and only play it once in a while now. Our son started piano lessons at school last year, and it is great to hear him making progress, though he doesn’t always enjoy practicing!

      As for my running, I’m not sure early mornings would work well–my toddler has been calling for me in the pre-dawn hours and she is not yet at a point where Daddy could fill in. Further, I have a hard enough time getting going in the mornings. I know that once my daughter starts going to school, my freedom will expand, and I hope to include running as much as my body allows it!

      1. There are times I miss the pre-school years but there is also a sense of relief. A sense of being able to breathe again. Just being able to get out the front door without it being some kind of military exercise. That said, my friend has been minding her nephew lately. He is one and he sits in his pram at coffee with us and is just gorgeous and we can enjoy him. I think he is one of the most loved babies I have ever seen. His cousins take turns pushing him along and showing him off to their friends. Lots of cuddles all round. It’s not like when you’re doing it day in day out. It’s hard to experience that as the parent.

      2. I treasure this time in my daughter’s life, just as I did with my son, especially because I know it goes by so quickly. As much as I long for little breaks here and there, I also know in just a year or two, my little girl will be off to school and I will be looking back at these days fondly. I guess it’s part of blooming where I’ve been planted! I joke to my husband regarding the running and other exercise that my “40” will be the new “20”–meaning I hope to be in excellent shape with more free time!

  2. Reblogged this on The Blogging Pot and commented:
    Today, I’d like to introduce you to Running the Race. I keep going back to this blog and even though we ;live on separate sides of the globe and Winter is Summer and Autumn is Spring, we have become friends sharing the highs and lows of bringing up young kids and also having a flame in our hearts. xx Rowena

    1. Thank you for sharing a link to my blog and for your kind comments. The feelings are mutual!

      1. Thanks Alison and even though I vowed to get to bed early tonight thanks to my free hour of post-daylight savings time, I am still up but I am going to bed right now! Goodnight! xx Rowena

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