Thursday, February 17, 2011

In sickness and in health

So I feel crappy. I have dodged every illness that has plagued the universe all season long, and just when we get good weather (the forecast says we might hit 60 today) ... BAM. I catch it.

I'm rolling with it okay. Plenty of fluids, getting my rest, taking my vitamins. What more can I do? Not much feelin' like getting a workout in, although I have kicked it the last three nights. Monday was a glorious outdoor run; Tuesday, two classes (weights plus cardio) at the gym; and last night, hot yoga. Felt great to stretch and sweat. Tonight is supposed to be a run, but with the amount of energy I don't seem to have today, it's not lookin' good.

The surprising thing is, if I'm not up to running, I will miss it. I will miss doing something I avoided doing for years. Running, I've discovered, is my outlet. It's how I've found my way. It's solitary runs in nature, group jaunts to nowhere on a treadmill at the gym. It's training for the next race, hoping I won't come in last. And it's race day, when running becomes the single most enjoyable activity one can do all by oneself, in a large group of people.

Running is independence. It's something many say they cannot do, when most of them could ... they simply choose not to. (One sure exception? My brother.) It's the thing that makes me feel like a mess when I'm out there, and like a superhero when I'm done.

When I started running, I began to discover myself again. I ran back to Maggie.

It sounds crazy, and maybe a little new-agey. I knowthat, but it's okay. See, it's given me goals. Complete a 5K; complete an 8K; complete a 10K; try a half-marathon. Just try. See if you can do it. It's given me challenges, and with that, the opportunity to succeed.

I still run three minutes and walk two minutes, consistently, on every run. Can I still call myself a runner? Yes. I am a runner. I am focused on this body, these legs that carry me for miles each trip. I step outside, pick up my feet, and I fly - slowly and low to the ground - across the pavement. Even on days when I don't feel up to my scheduled run, I can still call myself a runner.

I am unbreakable.

I am unstoppable.

I am a runner.

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