I went running today for the first time in a very long time. It felt great. I meant to just go for a walk along the river with Casey in the stroller, which I did, but, when I turned around to come home, I just felt like running. So I did. I ran for a mile, maybe. It was good to run simply because it was what I wanted to do and because it felt good. I’m a runner at heart, although I haven’t kept up the habit for a few years now. In high school I ran to compete and in both high school and college running was a way to stay in shape and keep my body looking good. After college, running became something that both felt good and helped me feel good about how I looked, but it wasn’t always fun. Today I had fun. I felt free and invigorated. It was different. Pushing the stroller while I ran, I used different muscles and a different form than I was used to. It was hot and I sweat, a lot, and I felt every burning breath fill my lungs to capacity and although I didn’t run fast, my cross country training instinctively kicked in and I felt my self pushing the uphills a bit and letting my stride lengthen going downhill. I don’t think our stroller is technically a jogging stroller but it has three wheels and runs pretty smoothly and it must have good suspension because it takes the bumps in the sidewalks pretty easily.
For a while now, even before I was pregnant, I have felt the calling to start running again but there was always an excuse not to. I didn’t want to run in the city, it was raining, I was pregnant. I was always able to put it off and was simply too lazy to put on my tennis shoes. Now, after one short run, the fuse has been lit and the passion to start running again is burning within. Especially with those crisp fall days approaching! I’m reminiscent of my cross country races on Saturday mornings- the butterflies wriggling around in my stomach as we warmed up, those last few sprints before the absolute stillness as we stood at the line waiting for the starting gun, everything disappearing in those first few moments when all you are thinking about is getting a good position in the pack. The races themselves were never easy but the feeling after finishing a race where you’ve run your hardest is like nothing I’ve ever felt. It’s a drop dead exhilarating exhaustion.
I don’t want to race again, not yet at least. But I do want to run.