Last Sunday, while working on my deck I tripped over a poorly placed extension cord and went down like a ton of bricks (well, maybe not quite that gracefully). Unfortunately, the bottom half of my leg somehow got tied under the top half which created an rather unhealthy stretch at the top of my knee. In a split second, my streak of 507 days of consecutive running was over.
The original plan was to take a day off. Continued discomfort necessitated another day and then a third. Three days ago I packed my running gear with every intention of getting back in the saddle during my stay in Gillette, Wyoming. My hotel was near a nice park, the park had a nice trail. I would be back! Unfortunately (maybe), upon arriving in Gillette, I found that the town had regressed…… into WINTER!
Faced with 30-50 MPH winds and very cold temperatures, I have to tell you that, without a streak to protect, I found it effortless to pass on my daily ritual. “I could use the extra days off,” “it will be better for my knee to rest more, not less.” Well thought out rationalizations, indeed. But mostly, it was COLD!
This morning I awaken to the sounds of my home. No wind out there. It’s going to be close to 60 degrees today. My knee feels fine. Hmmmm, no excuses. I guess I have to run.
HAVE TO RUN????? No, I’m lucky, I GET to run today and while this little hiatus has been interesting, I am completely ready to return to my daily gift. The last two days, I have not quite felt like myself…. out of sorts, if you will. Yeah, sure, I was in a different town; I have lots of stressful activity surrounding the selling of our home and the purchase of the next one. I have a plethora of reasons to be out of sorts. But isn’t there always reasons to be stressed? Couldn’t we ‘not be ourselves’ every day?
Through this “break” I have been treated to an understanding as to why I really run. No, I’ve kind of rejected the thought of racing and actually training for an event seems like it would be tiring. I’m not trying to fashion a new improved body although that wouldn’t be a disappointing byproduct of the activity. I just need to run because, well….. I need to run. It grounds me. It connects me to the universe, aligns me with a force bigger than me, helps me sort out the mess in my world, but mostly – it allows me quality time with me. I get to be anyone or anything I want, without limitations and with nothing held back. I get to inspect my deepest (and shallowest) thoughts and feelings, trying them on to see how they fit. I do my best thinking, creating, composing, analyzing, sorting and dreaming while on the run. I’m missing that. I’m missing ME (and it’s only been 6 days!)!
John Parker wrote, “He ran because it grounded him in basics. There was both life and death in it; it was unadulterated by media hype, trivial cares, political meddling. He suspected it kept him from that most real variety of schizophrenia that the republic was then sprouting like mushrooms on a stump. Running to him was real; the way he did it the realest thing he knew. It was all joy and woe, hard as diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.”
So pardon me but I’m off for a little grounded, freedom. See you later…