The moment I hit the dirt in South Africa I got sick. I haven’t been this sick in years. You know those little mucus monsters on the commercials (I usually duck behind a pillow and let Scott tell me when they’re off the screen)? They have taken up residence in my face. I have the type of cold that leaves you sitting on the couch most of the day wondering where your normal amount of energy went. In these past few weeks a friend lent me a book called Born to Run. The author tracks down a legendary tribe in Mexico that runs 100 mile races just for fun. All the time. Like it’s no big deal. The crux of this book is that we were all born to run and the enjoyment of it comes from doing it correctly and having an intrinsic love of it. Reading this while you have a face full of little green monsters is a large booty biting irony.
I have run since I was about twelve years old. I think I was the only person on my lacrosse team that actually ran the miles that our coach assigned us. I am slow, but I like it. I love that moment where your hips fall into line, into that easy sway. I love that moment where your breathing eases and becomes rhythmic, finding that beat with your footfalls. I love the open road, that endless possibility. I love going somewhere on my feet. That’s how you get to know a place through running, walking or hiking. Not from behind the stale glass of a car. Whenever I am on vacation and I can I run. Whenever I go back to a place I have lived I re-visit my running paths. I say hello to my old friend, the prairie path, or that patch of beach, or those curves in that neighborhood road.
A fear that I had was that after I had a kid I would have to stop running. I’ve seen so many of my friend’s exercise lives stolen by that sweet little tot that they gave birth to. Seen lots of excuses pop up. Gyms with day care are expensive. I don’t have time. Jog strollers are too expensive. Yada, yada, yada. Still, though, I was scared.
Some time ago in a far away mind set I used to get up at six am and go running. At first it was hard, but then eventually I knew that the extra fifteen minutes of guilt ridden sleep did not add up and that I might as well just get up and pound the pavement. I loved those days; you started the day feeling healthy, alive and well. They died when I was about six weeks pregnant and morning sickness set in. I tried to run through a bit of my pregnancy. I ran a 10k at fifteen weeks pregnant and then hung up my running shoes because with that big of a belly it just felt wrong. I switched to walking and had to talk myself through it, it’s okay to walk, it’s still exercise. I was back in my running shoes four weeks post-partum. The other I went out and just kept going, when I got home I had been running for about 50 minutes, it seems that I am back. I have yet to start the six am routine, four wakeups in the middle of the night really puts a downer on your get and go in the morning.
There is always that line with being sick where you cross over from feeling like a bedridden invalid, that tired place where you decide that you’d better sit this one out, and then finally that place where you decide that you will feel less sick if you dive back into your normal daily activities. Monday was that day for me there were two milestones. Scott is running a wilderness training right now and I have realized the only way for me to get any exercise is to do it before he leaves. So I did it, I ran at seven thirty. Not quite six, but still it counts. I only ran for twenty five minutes, but still it counts. It hurt, but still it counts.