I have tried many, many times during my life to be a runner.
I never lasted more than a few months.
Back in December (remember December?), I signed up to run a ten-mile race next November. That gave me a year, I thought. I could figure out how to run a ten-mile race in a year. And there’s loads of support – there are apps, there are spreadsheets, there are people who have done this really well who are willing to offer advice and set up training schedules.
But I live in a region that is frozen through much of the winter, even now with climate change, so I didn’t start any kind of training. I know this about myself: I don’t like to run when it’s really cold. I didn’t want to start a program I wouldn’t be able to continue out of, you know, wimpiness.
But one warmish day, I just walked out the door and ran for a mile.
It kind of sucked.
I mean, it really sucked. It had been a while since the last time I’d tried to be a runner and running a mile hurt. It hurt my legs, my lungs, and the jiggly bits around the middle.
But I did it again, and then I did it again. And I posted pictures of myself on social media, not to show off my hot bod doing its thang, but as a way of applying some level of accountability to my future self who is going to want to quit. And the support was huge–friends and family and also people I barely know, all chimed in with hey, that’s awesome, keep going.
And the most amazing part about all of this? I did. I did keep going.
Luckily, we live in the woods. Our neighborhood lacks neighbors. I mean, we have one or two, but I can run for miles without encountering any other human. Which is good, because, you know, pandemic.
And one of the silver linings of being home every hour of the day is that I can walk out the door and start running and it’s not a big deal – I don’t have to put it on the calendar (remember calendars?) or come home from the office early. I can just go.
And it still kind of sucks, but also, it’s kind of amazing. I listen to music while I run, a mix of 80s music, Lizzo, Beyonce, Eminem, Taylor Swift, and some kind of salsa music, and it slips me out of whatever mood I start with, and I get home always, always happier than when I began.
We are all thinking about the after, right? What we want to keep, what we want to reclaim. This, the running, I want to keep. It makes me a better person. It makes me happier.
Dearest b, I miss you and you next word is bed.