This post could have easily been called “Inspirational Runs” or “Running & Crying But in a Totally Good Way.” Twice last week I went out for a training run ended up having something beyond a runner’s high.
What started out as a typical slog, set of mind games where it is my brain vs. my body and a few curses as I went up one of the bountiful series of hills my ‘hood possesses, turned into what I can only describe as an experience. I’ve had runner’s high before but on Friday as I came up on a stretch of road that is part of my last leg I tuned in to the shade that graced my path on a very sunny day. The Dogwood trees were all in their baby pink bloom and discarded petals showered the road before me. As I ran down my last hill, the sun looking speckeled through the trees, a slight breeze drifting by, the petals swirling around me and Jack White’s (Yes, I will cop to an obsession) ‘Love Interruption’ begining to play I felt that everything suddenly became ideal. A smile spread across my face, I closed my eyes and breathed it all in. My body, my mind, my soul all seemed to be working together in perfect time. I finished that run with average time but was left with a feeling that stayed for the rest of the day. A feeling that went beyond accomplishment and into the spiritual.
After that I didn’t expect to feel anything like that again for quite some time. I’m behind on my training due to the pneumonia I had last month. While I know I will be ready for Zooma (10k) in Annapolis in early June, I am not confident about that 13.1 half-marathon I have in just four weeks. Not at all. When I left the house for my long run on Sunday morning I felt pissed and frustrated. Pissed that I got sick and frustrated that it took up that leap in training I really needed. I was running 3 miles and 4 miles no problem each week but the jump to 5 during the week and six and seven on the weekend I had missed because I was wheezing and weak.
As I hit the first three miles I felt slow and had to walk a few hills. Hills I used to be able to conquer. I hit a straight stretch of parkway and knew my miles were winding down. My mood improved and by the time I hit that same hill I had on Friday I knew I was in the homestretch. However, I was totally unprepared with the time that my iPod displayed. I was making record time and had only one calculated mile left. Suddenly, I wanted to own this run! No more sad one foot in front of the other. No way! I began to run, really run and it felt as if something or someone was actually pushing and propelling me forward with their hands on my shoulders. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
When Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow’ came on (this is not in my run rotation) a huge smile broke out on my face. This song has some deeply rooted memories for me. As a teenager E and I would play this song on the beach at all hours. We would dance across the sand, leaping, twirling and running. It could be in the dead of night, at sunset or sunrise. It didn’t matter but we loved to jump about, arms outstretched feeling incredibly free while this song played. Each time we played this song it was a truly joyous time. I hadn’t heard this song in a very long time. I ran faster but felt lighter, the smile became comically large and then tears poured down my face. I pictured E and I, felt totally in tune with my body and all that it could do now and in the future and felt as if I was going to burst. I hit a personal record with my time and then I ran another mile. I felt that nuts. I felt that good.
Not all runs can be that amazing, that soulful and spiritual but the ones that are well, those are the ones that keep you going out, logging miles and training for what seems to be an impossible goal. I thank God for those miles and my ability to experience them.