Monday, April 23, 2007

Let's Talk About Running Before My Head Explodes

Why is it that just when you think you can't add anything else to life, life just goes on ahead and adds it for you?

I've made every attempt over the last few days to escape and find some place I can go where I need not think about anyone else's life. Yes, some of it is valid, some of it trivial and much of it ridiculous, but honestly, if I have to utter the phrase "what did you expect?" one more time, I might gag. Instead, I've tried to get away.
Just ask Barb who got five questions from me that I pulled straight out of oblivion and slapped into an email. She says it was painless, but I think she was just being kind. Or, you could ask Nicole over at Powered By Vegetables. She asked me if I had any opinions or recommendations on travel to St. John (U.S.V.I.). What she didn't realize was that asking me about Caribbean travel is sort of like asking me to share my opinions and recommendations on the importance of breathing.

Both, though, were attempts at escape. As has been my running lately. It is not particularly smooth nor consistent, but when I'm out there, sweating and my heart pounding, I find relief. It's a little like years ago, when I "got serious" about running and started to train regularly. It's a struggle, but also a progression. Today's run feels a little easier than the day before. My body, even if it's fighting me for each step, is also getting it's memory back. I feel my strides becoming a little longer, my lungs a little more relaxed. Last weekend, I ran five miles with a friend and was able to talk the entire time. What used to be normal is once again an accomplishment.

In my continuing effort to convince myself that there is good to see in every struggle, I'm also reminded how running has brought more than just cardiac health and two-piece bathing suits into my life. It has brought me people; through them I get encouragement, inspiration and most of all, a reminder that we're all more the same than we are different.

Lia, a woman so very close to her first marathon, is in taper mode right now. I forget how this feels, the way your mind and body react to mile reduction before a race. She reminds me of that. It's a normal feeling and yet, when you're in it, you feel so very abnormal.

Or Ginger, a runner who pretty consistently leaves me in awe, is coming down off the high of one of the biggest races in the world. Through her struggle with injury, weather and the unfathomable (for me) emotions of one of the highest pressure races of many runner's lives, she crossed the finish line. And now, she has a question on her mind so familiar to a runner: What now? I don't know the answer but I do know that through this, I'm reminded of the inevitable let down that comes after a major event in one's life. And, I'm also reminded that we get past it and be it good or bad, we can look back on that time a different person than we were before.

And then there's Michelle, who makes a thirteen mile run sound like walk in the park. Who talks about beat up runner's feet like she merely stubbed her toe. Who gives a race report for a 50K in much the same tone you might talk about your trip to the grocery store. A 50K gave her trouble, she says, so she'll stick to just marathons from here on out. Yeah, just marathons. Michelle, you pansy. But I can identify, because there was a time when I scoffed that the phrase "just a 5K." It happens.

I thought about all this on my drive to work this morning. How we "use" some things, some people, in our lives from time to time to escape. So all of you that are returning from vacation, expecting new arrivals and, living, breathing and most of all, sharing, have been part of my escape, too. I'm really thankful for that, because this last week, more than I have in a long time, I needed it.


Backofpack said...

You made me laugh out loud! Thanks for the kind words.

GirlGoyle said...

It kills me how all of you guys talk about running like it's a stroll in the park. I guess I admire your intensity. I may be the same way with riding. I go through withdrawals. But what kills me is when you say you ran 5 miles and talked the whole way. OMG!! Where do you get the lung capacity for that? And as for escaping through blogs...go ahead and use us! We like it!! Use and's why we blog.

Sizzle said...

good point!

e.b. said...

And know that we "use" you as well for the same thing.

justacoolcat said...

I had this weird dream last night that everyone became a runner. People were no longer commuting to work with cars, but instead running. I remember thinking "Huh, I had better get some good running shoes" like it was no big deal.

I blame you.

Bre said...

Here's what's strange: Yesterday I went running in my neighborhood (as I was far too lazy to drive out to the park) and after the first 2 miles I was ready to just... uhm... stop. But then I figured, you certainly get to this point and get past it... so I must be able to too!

So thanks for that :)

Ginger Breadman said...

What a great post. It's amazing how much we all really are connected, and what this running/blogging thing does for us . . . how we learn from each other, give and take, inspire and teach each other. Your post makes me think people truly do make the world go round.

Joe said...

> I'm also reminded how running
> has brought more than just
> cardiac health and two-piece
> bathing suits
into my life.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I shall have to conjure up your runs and those of your friends when next I am struggling and hating every minute of the elliptical. I have a feeing that will be tonight.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post and I can't thank you enough for all the wonderful info - I wish I could get on the plane right now.

afuntanilla said...

great post. thanks for reminding me. i hope you get the space you need.

Orhan Kahn said...

Wow, so many running bloggers. I'm impressed.

runliarun said...

Oh, it doesn't feel like tapering at all. My schedule has been so erratic that whatever I run now, long or short, still feels like hard work. Thank you for thinking of me.