When I got back to my seat, my mother was excited. She said “Your legs were like lightening!” I can still remember that day and the tone in her voice. So began my love-affair with running.
Several decades later, I still feel like I’m only fully realized for who I am when I’m out on a run. It’s like my body was designed specifically for this purpose. My doctor says that all ‘you-runners’ treat running like a religion. But that’s kind of the opposite of what it is for me. It’s when I’m running that I feel closer to God than at any other time. So running itself isn’t the religion. It’s running that makes me feel the most religious.
When I’m out on a long run (for me that’s about eight miles) I tend to go to the country, since we’re in a rural area. I begin by praying, thanking God for my ability to run since every day that I get older the odds become less that my body is able to accommodate my wishes. And then the thoughts come in. I’ve written two books while running. I’ve written multiple articles. I’ve problem-solved projects. My brain does things that I can’t get it to do at any other time. Maybe this is what meditation is for others. Although I’ve always assumed meditation was emptying your brain, not filling it up. I really wish I could invent a thought-recorder. The words, phrases, thoughts, ideas and all that pops up on a run are so much better out there than when I finally get back to my keyboard to write them down.
Because I’m out in the country I see wildlife. I’ve had to jump over a snake, I’ve had a peacock inspect my progress, I’ve had a Rottweiler consider chasing me (thankfully he opted out) and my favorite; I’ve had a coyote pace me for a full half mile. I thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of running with him. That feeling of comradery with a wild thing is surreal.
There’s something about the rhythm of my breathing, the feel of my heart. The stride of my legs that hypnotically lets my mind wander. I can go for miles and then realize that I don’t even remember running as far as I have because I’m so lost in my thoughts. This is definitely my therapy. My elixir. And in some instances, my sanity.
True story. I’ve finished writing this blog and decide to do stairs at the high school before proofing. As I’m going up a flight, a baseball comes flying over my head from the nearby baseball field and lands at the base of the stairs. I run down and pick it up. I hadn’t thought of the baseball story from my childhood for years, until this morning and then I got this one. I didn’t have to race for it and I didn’t have to give it back, although I did. Made me smile.