I woke up yesterday morning and every bone in my body seemed to ache. My knees were cranky and creaky. There were several factors contributing to this pain and so I got still. I meditated. I sifted and sorted through feelings and images that needed my attention. I set an intention for feeling lightness and ease in my body and I breathed. I saw myself as healthy, whole and pain free. As I came out of my meditation, I moved slowly, stretching and began my day.
It is counter intuitive to want to go out on a run when you feel pain. I had 3 miles on my calendar so 3 miles it would be. I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal, banana, quinoa toast and OJ. It was raw but I refused to wear my running tights so donned my capris and put on layers. We (Tom, my partner in running and life and my coach) opted to go to Jamaica Pond.
I read Bill Rodgers Marathon Man after seeing him at the Hyannis Race Expo last year:
I shared my journey on the road to the Boston Marathon with him. In my book he wrote, "We are lifetime runners. Let's run forever."
Running came naturally to Bill. He had to work at the discipline of running in order to become the champion he is. Running does not come easily to me but my strong suit is discipline.
When I run around Jamaica Pond, I can feel his presence and hold the image of him chasing butterflies when he was a boy. Jamaica Pond was his go to place for training.
There were two women who were walking at a pretty good pace in front of us. I looked at Tom and asked him if he thought we could take them. We did and then he reminded me I needed to get back into a rhythm of my pace.
After our first lap, he had me stop and take a water break and catch my breath.
We resumed and soon the two women who we had passed were now way in front of us because we had taken a water break.
Could we take them again?
I increased my pace. I sprinted a little and wanted to take off but my right knee said that was a bad idea.
"Okay, I'll do it this way," I told Tom and did a fast break with race walking.
We passed them.
They passed us when we took another water break and got a huge lead on us.
I was going to let them go but I could see we were within reach again.
I poured on the speed and one last time, we passed them.
I had my fastest run since 5/9 when my pace for a 3.22 mile run was a 17'51"/mi pace. It was the first time since I began my running career 6 years ago, that I felt the thrill of racing. It was an imaginary opponent, and two very worthy opponents whom we thanked after we finished our run but I imagine that's how the champions feel when they are able to overtake their opponent and win the race. Yesterday it all came together for me and I finished with a 15'33"/mi pace; two minutes/mile off of my pace since I've returned to the roads in earnest. We never know what may happen from one run to another as I learned from reading Bill's book but it is an exhilarating feeling when it does all come together.
I felt that I was channeling Bill Rodgers on that run as I am training now in earnest for the Tufts 10K.
In 2011, after my nephew's suicide, I got away from running and the running community or should I say I let running get away from me.
I saw this from my friend Reno Stirrat on Facebook this morning and it captures how I feel about being a runner:
And I love this quote from John "The Penguin" Bingham about being a runner:
"I learned that the only requirement to be part of this wonderful group was to run. I didn't have to be fast. I didn't have to be great. I just had to run. And that's when running became not just something that I do but something that is a part of who I am." - John Bingham
Yesterday I went out really fast (for me). Tom was concerned that I went out too fast. I told him I wouldn't do this if it didn't feel right in my body. Somebody from 'another lifetime' posted something on Facebook that got me really fired up. Before we went out on the run, I blocked the person and cleaned out a few more Facebook contacts. I realized as I ran that I was leaving that part of me even farther behind me, embracing the person I am today.
As I used a combination of sprinting and race walking, I could feel the pain in my joints and in my bones dissolve.
Running is more than a workout for me. It's medicine for me; mind, body and Spirit. And then when I return to the stillness, I discover that I have taken yet another step on my healing journey.