Some fairly ominous clouds are rolling over head this morning so I decided to postpone today’s run until a little later. So here I sit on the couch, enjoying a cup of coffee, pondering my need to run when I know how hard it is on my aging joints. The answer is quite simple really. Running comforts me…no matter what ails me.
I have never been a fast runner, but I love distance! My father used to call me Forrest Gump because I would take off from their house on Cap Cod and run 10-15 miles like it was nothing. I found peace when I ran. My father was dying from lung disease and I used the solitude of running to help me cope with my fear of losing him. As the years passed, running became my sanctuary from the things that hurt me. I had to work past the pain of shin splints or a cranky knee to get to the place where I had that euphoric feeling of hitting my stride. All my troubles disappeared during that time and life was good. When my mother was ill in 2001, I had to run hours on my treadmill in the garage with a baby monitor in the cup holder so I could hear her if she needed me. It was my way of escaping without leaving her alone. The year she died, I ran countless miles to help me deal with the loss. During this past 6 months I have used running to deal with yet another loss in my life and suffice it to say, running is helping me to sort through the noise.
My days of running 40 miles a week are long gone and I am just as happy running 10-20 now. I try get up at 4 am a few days a week to get 2 or 3 miles miles in before work and I always set a goal of 5 miles for both Saturday and Sunday. On the weeks when I travel, I accept the fact that I have to do without my week day runs. It’s just too hard to fit into a busy schedule on the road. Instead of feeling guilty about it, it actually makes me appreciate my weekend runs all the more.
I think running is actually teaching me some much-needed lessons right now. I am learning to take pride in the fact that I can run at all and I am learning to feel great about my accomplishments, regardless of their size or distance. Getting out there and putting one foot in front of the other is the important part. Looking back with pride, regardless of the distance or pace, will give me the motivation to do it again tomorrow.
Life is about the journey and I pray I can keep running on mine for years to come…
PS – The beer tastes better after a good run 🙂